Stanwood City Council met Thursday, Oct. 24 and put a list of zoning requests on the Comprehensive Plan docket for further study, amended the Schmitt/Von Moos development agreement and created an ordinance that brings part of a county lodging tax to Stanwood. An agenda item that would remove the “Citizen Comments” period at the end of the meeting was postponed to the next council meeting.
Washington’s Planning Directors Association presented Planning Director Patricia Love with an achievement award recognizing 30 years in the planning profession. Love couldn’t attend a gathering of planning directors in Lake Chelan in September, so Barb Mock of Snohomish County awarded Love a plaque at the Oct. 24 Stanwood City Council meeting.
Patricia Love became Stanwood’s community development director May 28 after working 25 years for the city of Mukilteo. There, she held every planning position from assistant planner on up. She’s also worked in the private sector as community development manager for Perteet Engineering.
Love regularly attends Planning Commission meetings and gives talks covering how things work. She methodically researches what the commissioners and council members need to know to make sound decisions regarding growth. She also works with the Parks Trails Advisory Committee.
Love had been commuting to work in Stanwood, but recently moved to Camano Island.
“I’m part of the community now,” she said.
Lodging tax comes home
The Council adopted a lodging tax ordinance, which would create a fund and establish an advisory committee.
“It takes 2% of the lodging tax currently paid to Snohomish County and gives it to us instead,” Finance Director David Hammond said.
The proposed lodging tax is not expected to immediately generate a lot of money, but it will provide data to help determine the demand in the area for a hotel in Stanwood.
With no information on the scale of lodging in the city, the city will estimate $1,000 per year for 2020, Hammond said.
Schmitt/Von Moos development
After a public hearing, Council approved a resolution that ensures that all three types of housing will be built as required in its Traditional Neighborhood Zoning. Phase I shows a build out of single-family and duplex dwellings.
Phase II includes a minimum of 18 units on a multi-family lot. Should the developer sell the property, before full build out, the requirements will be passed onto the next owner.
Council voted on Oct. 24 to move an agenda item to the Nov. 14 council meeting that would amend “Council Rules of Procedures” to remove one of two times for “Citizen Comments.”
The amendment would keep the comment period at the beginning of the meeting and remove the comments at the meeting’s end. The amendment adds directing citizens to sign in with the city clerk before the meeting if they wish to speak.
Resident Denise Long addressed the council on Oct. 24, asking them to keep the final comment period so that people can comment on issues that come up during the meeting.
Amendments to “Council Rules of Procedures” includes a new section, “Council Communications.” It spells out how the council will follow the state Open Public Meetings and Public Records Act.
Records must be retained according to law. All documents files, communications and messages related to city business are not private, but property of the city. This includes emails, texts and social media posts. The city has the right to request access to email and other records whether on city computers or personal devices that council members use for city business.
Council members are encouraged to use the city’s email system for city business. They are responsible for preserving all city business records on their private devices; which is subject to public disclosure laws.
Communication guidelines say council members must be clear that their social media posts are subject to public disclosure and record retention laws. Unless authorized by the council, members’ posts should clearly be their opinion and not that of the city or council. Guidelines say council members shall not make disparaging or harassing posts.