By Don Nelson
A seldom-used ordinance came before the Winthrop Town Council last week in the form of a request for relief from the town’s off-street parking requirements.
Ordinance 372 — so rarely invoked that no one on the council or the town staff could remember the last time it was used, if ever — allows a business to “mitigate” parking requirements by making a cash payment to the town.
In this case, North Cascades Mountain Hostel on Castle Avenue agreed to pay $3,000 to the town in lieu of providing two additional off-street parking spaces.
Mayor Dave Acheson said the ordinance was originally intended to apply, for the most part, to businesses along Riverside Avenue.
The ordinance provides that mitigation fees go into a fund for procurement and maintenance of public parking within the town. If the money isn’t spent within five years, it is refunded, with interest, to the business owner.
Some council members weren’t sure that’s such a good deal for the town and suggested revisiting the ordinance.
“I don’t like it much,” said council member Gaile Bryant-Cannon.
Nonetheless, the council approved the agreement, inasmuch as the ordinance is in place and its requirements were met.
In other business:
• Acheson said that an interim town marshal will be named while a replacement is sought for Marshal Dave Dahlstrom, who resigned last week to fulfill a military commitment. The town’s civil service commission will begin the process of soliciting candidates immediately, Acheson said, with the goal of having a new marshal in place by February or March of 2014.
• The council agreed to seek applicants for a vacancy that will occur when council member Sue Langdalen becomes mayor on Jan. 1. Because the Jan. 4 meeting was cancelled, a new council member won’t be seated before Jan. 15. Interested residents should contact Town Hall.
• An agreement under which Aero Methow Rescue Service leases town property where an ambulance garage is situated was extended for six months. Aero Methow is considering options, including buying the property from the town.
• The agreement under which Winthrop provides building inspector services to the Town of Twisp was renewed for another year. Twisp will pay Winthrop $38.54 per hour for building inspection services.