Lake Chelan Valley residents rolled up their sleeves for hands-on exercises to provide input and ideas to the city of Chelan Planning Department during a Vision Workshop on Nov. 16, 2016, as one of the first steps in the Comprehensive Plan update.
The city of Chelan council chambers was full of locals ready to help in the visioning process for Chelan and the next 20 years. The Comprehensive Plan Update is a requirement of the Growth Management Act, and will guide Chelan’s physical development from 2017 to 2037.
“I’m really happy about the turnout tonight,” said City Planning Director Craig Gildroy. “We can’t do the Comprehensive Plan without you. It wouldn’t mean anything because it is the community’s plan.”
Consultants from Berk Consulting and city of Chelan planning commissioners assisted in the workshop, facilitating small group exercises and opportunities for residents to provide feedback in various forms. The plan includes elements of land use, economic development, housing, capital facilities, utilities and transportation.
“What we’re trying to get from this meeting is the vision statement for the Comprehensive Plan,” Gildroy said. “It’s what we want to be in terms of land-use for the next 20 years or more.”
The main theme of the evening was “how would we like to see Chelan change over the next 20 or more years?” and “What is your headline for Chelan in 2037?”
After a brief presentation outlining what defines a comprehensive plan and key elements taken into consideration, the room broke up into small groups for a hands-on activity.
Five groups each took an aerial map of Chelan to mark important areas and assets to protect, places to improve and routes to add.
“Part of this planning process is to really get into our goals and policies to really make sure that we are meeting the intent statement,” Gildroy said. The adoption of the plan is ultimately done by the city council, after it is reviewed by the state to give agencies the opportunity to comment and give feedback.
Common themes emerged from the small group exercise, with residents identifying the following issues key in the future of Chelan:
- Water quality and public access to the lake
- Implementing more trail systems
- Low impact developments and more affordable housing
- Protecting/preserving the Chelan Butte
- Three Fingers—possible development or public park
- Improve parking throughout downtown Chelan
Key community members also attended the workshop and participated in the group exercises including Fire Chief Tim Lemon, local scientist Phil Long, Chelan Valley Hope’s Sharon Lukacs, Campbell’s Clint Campbell, local real estate agents and more.
“It’s gratifying to see the interest in lake water quality,” Long said during the workshop. “I really appreciate the comment on checking out the septic systems, the runoff and those kinds of issues as they are crucial in how the lake will be going forward.”
The consultants and the city planning department will take away several marked up maps on important aspects of the community according to local feedback, along with comments on the online survey.
The Online survey is open until Nov. 30, 2016: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Chelan_Vision
According to the Comprehensive Plan update timeline, the update will be done in June of 2017, with several more opportunities to provide public comment in the coming months. The city will publish all of the materials from the workshop on the city’s website by the end of the month.
“It was really, really interesting to see all the similarities among the groups, I think that gives us a tremendous amount of clarity in terms of what the community would like to see in the future,” said Berk Consultant Jeff Arango. “I certainly learned a lot, and I’m sure everyone else did, and if you haven’t, please check out the online survey.”
(By Kaitlin Hetterscheidt)