Northwest NEWS

June 8, 1998

Editorial

Is this a case of conflict of interest?

Pete's Tavern (a privately owned business) is requesting a change of use permit to add a full service 100 seat restaurant and beer garden. The water use statistics for this type of business is an average of 1,600 gallons of water per day. D.R. Strong Consulting Engineers, Inc., a Kirkland corporation and designer of septic and sewer systems, states that the proposed Carnation community drainfield for Pete's Tavern, the public toilet and the youth center is only designed for less than 900 gallons of water per day. Is this a system designed for failure?
  
   D.R. Strong, contracted by the City of Carnation to design the community drainfield, sent a notification letter, dated May 12 to property owners near the proposed community drainfield. In this letter they stated, "This system will serve one commercial facility, Pete's Tavern, the city owned youth center (the city does not own the youth center,) and the proposed city-owned restroom. As a matter of fact, on May 14 the "Carnation Youth Center was closed."
  
   The Strong company further states, "The system will be controlled by the city, and they have the ability to operate the system so that it meets the intent of all Health Department regulations, as well as environmental concerns." Why did the city decide to obligate all the tax payers to pay for, maintain and operate the drainfield for Pete's Tavern? "The mayor, city administrator, planning board and city council are going to ensure a continuing source of revenue, using your tax dollars to open Pete's Tavern" as seen in the Valley View, April 27.
  
   City officials expect the tax payers of Carnation to own and be the public entity responsible for operation and maintenance of the on-site sewage disposal system. The mayor, city administrator, planning board, D.R. Strong Consulting Engineers and the city council believe that "The neighbors or owners of any nearby property will not be harmed in any way by the variance that has been requested." They state that with proper installation and maintenance, this system will operate as designed for years of useful service." The proposed drainfield area has had four prior drainfields that have failed. Why are they not working toward the proper installation and maintenance of a community drainfield system designed for years of useful service, so all Main Street properties could benefit from such a drain field?
  
   Randy Suko, the city administrator, states in the on April 27 that "He is working on providing an easement that would allow Pete's Tavern to open and would deal with King County on the issues of a community drainfield at a later date." Suko suggests that UDAG funds be used to pay for the restrooms and that the city council replenish these funds to ensure a continuing source of revenue to support local economic development projects." Does economic development mean install, operate and maintain the drainfield for Pete's Tavern?
  
   Suko is also quoted in the Valley View, April 27, "The city (Carnation) is requesting King County Council Chair Louise Miller to convene a special meeting of the Sewage Review Board to resolve this issue and other issues that have impeded projects in Carnation over the past year." As of April 27, Council Chair Ms. Miller, stated that she had not seen any paper work or spoken with Randy Suko about the Sewage Review Board to resolve any issue.
  
   The D.R. Strong Company was contracted by Pete's Tavern October 1997 to design their drainfield system. Pete's Tavern was approved to open for business January 1998. Why are they not open?
  
   Septic Technology is a design company in the Carnation city limits owned by Tim Baumann. Why did the city not invite locally owned businesses to bid on the community drainfield design job?
  
   The City of Carnation and D.R. Strong state "The neighbors or owners of any nearby property will not be harmed in any way by the variance that has been requested.
   With proper installation and maintenance, this system will operate as designed for years of useful service." Will the tax payers be harmed when the septic system fails and Pete's Tavern can not operate?
  
   The city will generate tax dollars from the sales of food, hard liquor, beer, wine and tickets. Is there some conflict of interest going on here? It all just makes us go Hummm!
   Rick Pezzner and Roberta Yoshimura, Carnation