The City of Chelan Comprehensive Draft Plan was presented to the community in an open house and meeting held on March 15, 2017 at Chelan City Hall. Community members were invited to view proposed new zoning initiatives, ask questions and make comments.
The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires the City to review and update the Comprehensive Plan for GMA Compliance, as necessary.
“Earlier this year with the types of development, we have a lot of concern with protecting the [Chelan] Butte and with the higher density developments on the North Shore,”Planning Director for the City of Chelan, Craig Gildroy explained. “Council instructed staff to do a new visioning process for the rural intent of the Comprehensive Plan. Everything has been pretty consistent throughout this process, with the same major themes; protecting lake water quality and views.”
According to 2015 data presented by the city, Chelan is the second largest city in Chelan County after Wenatchee and makes up five percent of the countywide population. Chelan’s permanent city population is roughly 4,045. The Unincorporated UGA (urban growth area) is estimated to have another 355 residents. By 2037, Chelan city limits and UGA would add over 400 people for a total of 4,880 people. During summer months, the seasonal population can grow to 25,000 including tourists, permanent residents and part-time residents.
The planning department looks to address ways of accommodating those increases in population through 2037 with the updated Comprehensive Plan.
“It’s not just the people that live here that we have to plan for, it’s the tourist and the people that have the 2nd and 3rd homes that we have to look at for the next 20 years,” Gildroy said. “It’s not uncontrolled growth. It’s going to be controlled growth.”
During a workshop held on Feb. 15, 2017, proposed zoning changes were presented to attendees for discussion. The workshop addressed re-zoning proposals for Urban Growth Areas, Special Use Districts, Foothill Residential Areas, Tourist Accommodation Foothills, Commercial Areas, Housing Variety and Compatibility, Downtown Neighborhood Infill, and a Review of the Lake Chelan Airport Land Uses.
“We heard a lot of comments on protecting our agricultural identity and keeping Chelan feeling like a small town,” Gildroy stated. “That’s definitely a theme of the plan. We are looking at using the special use districts as the gateway to our community.”
Based upon comments and recommendations from citizens, the Planning Department created a “draft plan” which was presented to the community at the March 15 open house and meeting.
The deadline to complete the Comprehensive Plan update is June 30, 2017. On April 25, the Planning Commission will make their final recommendation to City Council on the Comprehensive Plan and implementing regulations. The City Council will then hold a public hearing for the community on May 23 before deliberating on June 13 and 27, 2017.
“We plan to have it all wrapped up on June 27th. From there, an ordinance is adopted and becomes effective in 30 days,” Gildroy explained.
The 2017 Comprehensive Draft Plan can be viewed by visiting the City of Chelan Planning Department website. Notes from the meetings held to develop the draft plan can also be viewed as well as additional information regarding how citizens can get involved in the process.
(By Jillian Foster)