By Brandon Cline
Managing Editor 

Ritzville City Council makes appointment to Planning Commission, receives bids for 1st Avenue Project


March 14, 2019

The Ritzville City Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting on March 5, where they vacated an alley and approved an appointment to the Planning Commission.

The council kicked off the meeting by addressing Ordinance 2129, which would vacate an alley at 310 E Elm Ave on the property of Block 33, Greene and Prouty’s First Addition to the City of Ritzville. The alley is located between Lots 1-8 and 9-16.

The ordinance states that the vacated alley shall be “conveyed, returned and belong to Kenneth and Joneel Russell,” who own both of the lots. The Russells plan on building one home on the property this year, and another home on the same parcel sometime in the future. The vacation of the alley between the two lots would allow for two houses to be built on the property.

The ordinance, which passed unanimously by the council, states that the City reserves and retains a 20-foot-wide utility easement in the Paha Creek Drainage between Elm Avenue and Dogwood Avenue.

In a previous meeting, Clerk-Treasurer Julie Flyckt said that the City had been working with the Russells for nearly a year on this parcel, while Ritzville Police Chief David McCormick noted that he thought the Russells did a fantastic job of cleaning up the property. Councilmember Dennis Chamberlain said he thought it would be quite an improvement after the Russells had completed the process of building on the property.

Mayor Gary Cook reported to the council that Richard Koss was resigning from his position on the Planning Commission after 15 years. Koss resigned from the commission on Feb. 19.

“It has been an interesting and enjoyable 15 years,” said Koss in his resignation letter to Cook. “I have learned many things concerning city procedures and planning, and I hopefully have contributed to the betterment of this city.”

Cook also reported that he had received interest from John Rankin via a letter on March 4. Rankin highlighted his background in architecture and art as to why he’s “more than qualified” for the position, as well as his work in the Ritzville Historic District for the last 20 years.

“Of course, when I have projects before the commission, I would have to recuse myself,” Rankins noted in his letter. Rankin also added that Stephen McFadden, Flyckt and Chamberlain “seemed to think it’s a good idea.”

Following a brief conversation, the council voted 4-2 to approve Rankin’s appointment to the Planning Commission. Councilmembers Scott Yaeger and Mark Weigand were the two ‘nay’ votes, while Debbie Chapman was excused from the meeting.

Flyckt shared with the council that her, Cook and McCormick have recently been working on establishing a fund that is specific to the seizing of property, usually in drug-related cases. The money accumulated in the fund would go toward new equipment and equipment upgrades for the Ritzville Police Department.

McCormick said that money that has been obtained via the selling of illegal drugs is the property that is most commonly seized, but noted that firearms can also be seized through a court order when said firearm is being possessed when a felony has been committed.

In other news, the Ritzville Public Development Authority issued a Certificate of Appropriateness for 1920s vintage lights for Columbia Bank to install above the bank’s outside deposit box. Councilmember Chamberlain said the lighting is required by the Revised Code of Washington for outdoor deposits.

Councilmember Yaeger shared preliminary bids received by the City for the 1st Avenue Project that will occur later this year between South Clark Street and South Jackson Street. The City received three bids: Wm. Winkler Company out of Spokane for $480,735.75; Granite Construction out of Moses Lake for $553,903; and Central Washington Asphalt out of Moses Lake for $517,205.

Another update on the process will be provided at the next council meeting on March 19. All three construction companies that submitted bids have worked with the City on past projects. Yaeger said that he believed each of the companies are all very qualified.

At the previous meeting on Feb. 19, Yaeger said he had been receiving calls from businesses on 1st Avenue who had questions about access and traffic during construction of the 1st Avenue Project. He said he was working with Varela & Associates to give the businesses concrete answers on how they will be impacted. Construction is expected to last from May to July, with no construction occurring during Memorial Day weekend.


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