Voices

Millwood corrects old alley oversight

Millwood City Council voted to correct an oversight dating back to 1980 during Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.

In June, the council approved vacating a portion of an alley located between Dalton and Euclid avenues. Millwood Presbyterian Church was to pay $1,000 and the property would be transferred to the church, which requested the property vacated for its planned $1 million expansion project on the south side of its current building.

Upon reviewing past files, City Planner Tom Richardson discovered a clerical error. In June 1980, the city approved an ordinance vacating the property, but it was never filed. The original ordinance did not require the church to pay for the property.

“Vacation ordinances are not codified like other ordinances,” Richardson said. “I think this is an example of what happens when you lose ‘institutional memory’ through turnover in elected officials and staff, both on our part and on the church’s.”

In light of the discovery, City Attorney Brian Werst encouraged the council to adhere to the previous council’s decision and release the church from paying the $1,000 based on “consistency and good act of policy.”

The council unanimously approved the amended ordinance. Before it can be recorded, the church must file paperwork allowing the city the right to grant easements for construction, repair and maintenance of existing and future public utilities.

In other news, the council reviewed a resolution outlining revisions to the Shoreline Master Plan, specifically in regard to public access on private property.

A previous draft used the word “encouraged” when discussing public shoreline access across private land. This language was not accepted by the state Department of Ecology. Instead, the department held fast to its requirement that the word “required” be used in regards to public access on private property

“Essentially what we sought out to do was to add language to our regulations that captures the City Council’s desire regarding respecting private property rights of public access,” Werst said. “This is not language new to Department of Ecology. This is language similar to what is found in the city of Spokane’s public access regulations.”

In addition to altering the language regarding public access, Werst said the city added language outlining preferred land uses regarding water-dependent industrial uses and nonwater-dependent industrial uses.

Written public comment on the Shoreline Master Plan will be accepted until 5 p.m. April 4.

The council also approved Eastern Washington University’s $2,609 proposal for a cultural resources investigation. The investigation is part of the Buckeye Avenue sidewalk installation project planned for later this year.

The investigation is part of a state program to “protect archaeological and cultural resources” that could be affected by state-funded projects.



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