May 25, 1998
Mayor: Community at crossroads
by Jane McClure
CARNATION--Describing Carnation as "a community at the crossroads," Mayor David Hunter opened last week's council meeting expressing hope that city staff, council and citizens would work together to address important community issues, including the future of the police department, changing the format of city government and exploring options for sewers. Acknowledging public mistrust and disappointment with the city's past performance, Hunter asked for time to correct problems and explained that governing is a slow process because decisions have to be based on a review of all interests.
"My job is to make sure the process works," Hunter said. "And we haven't always done a good job of it...I'll be the first to admit that." The council elected Ron Chapin to serve as council chair and mayor pro tem, a position that was left vacant with Hunter's appointment as mayor.
The council also passed a resolution to accept the proposed Stephens annexation petition and instructed the planning board to forward a notice of intent to the King County Boundary Review board. Urging council to act in a manner consistent with the King County Comprehensive Plan, area resident Steve Hallstrom commented that the land in the proposed annexation had not been designated as part of an urban growth area by the county because it lacked the protection of a levee.
City Administrator Randy Suko announced city staff would meet with King County's Sewage Review Board May 27, and that the mayor and council were requested to attend a June 18 meeting with the King County Health Department regarding a variety of septic issues. Several downtown commercial property owners expressed opposition to the city's involvement in siting a drainfield under a sport court adjacent to the proposed town center project, which would accommodate new public restrooms, the existing youth center and also enable the privately owned Pete's Tavern to open.
"Why is the city advocating for (Pete's Tavern owner) Zeigler?" asked property owner Roberta Yoshimura, who said she and her husband would file a class action suit to stop the city. Tim Ballon, of Septic Technology, Inc., questioned the city's decision to issue building permits for Pete's Tavern and the hotel before King County approved septic plans. Suko later explained that the city wants to tie into Zeigler's nibbler system, which would treat effluent from the public restrooms before it enters the drainfield. He said this would save the city an estimated $3-$5,000, and that excess capacity, if there were any, could be considered for use by other businesses on the block.
In other council business:
* Hunter announced the hiring of Rich Gould as finance director and the appointment of Bill Johnson to the civil service commission. He reported one vacancy on council and one on the planning board.
* The mayor also reported a claim for $500,000 in damages had been filed against the city. The claim, which alleged civil rights violations by the city's police department, has been referred to the city's liability carrier for review.
* Councilmember Paula Turner reported the community development committee was exploring the possibility of siting a park near the farm owned by Linda Pfeiffer, and that Metro was considering options to provide better transportation for Valley youth.
* Acting police Chief D.J. Nesel said all Carnation police officers would complete a three-month course of training with the King County Sheriff's Department. He also reported departmental policies and procedures were being reviewed, as were the city's criminal codes. Three years of case files were ready to be audited by King County, at no charge to the city, he said.
* Fire District 10 Chief Jon Fallstrom told the council the district is increasing its volunteer recruitment efforts. Eligible candidates must be at least 18 years of age and undergo a physical ability evaluation, an oral interview and a written test before being accepted into the 12-week training program.