Council paves way for new trail
By Craig Howard
1/9/2013 9:39:42 AM
One of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in Washington could have another path forged by this autumn.
The Liberty Lake City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to approve an interlocal agreement with Spokane County that would allot $264,160 for the design and construction of a new trail along the north side of Sprague Avenue from Liberty Lake Road to Molter Road. Completion of the project is anticipated by October.
"Right now, it's a gap in the trail system," said City Administrator Katy Allen, who introduced the topic at the meeting.
The funds were generated by something known as Transportation Benefit District, or TBD, formed in September 1999 by residents of the Liberty Lake area who agreed to tax themselves in order to pay for construction of local trails. The TBD originally sprang from the Pavillion Park Trail Committee, a group comprised of about 50 residents who supported the idea of increased amenities for walkers, joggers and cyclists.
With the TBD about to expire, the remaining funds must be spent by the city on trail construction, effectively zeroing out the TBD account. The idea for the Sprague trail was originally included in the Liberty Lake Trails Master Plan adopted by Spokane County prior to the incorporation of Liberty Lake in 2001. The Spokane County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution last month to transfer the leftover TBD revenue to the city for the purpose of building the trail.
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The next City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday. It will include a public hearing on a proposed amendment to political signage in the municipal development code. Although City Council meetings are normally two weeks apart, the Council is meeting for consecutive Tuesdays because the first regularly scheduled meeting of the month would have fallen on New Year's Day.
While Allen pointed out there is currently no city money dedicated to the trail project, she said there has been some talk of the Liberty Lake Historical Society adding some features along the route, possibly in the form of monument signage.
In another land-use discussion on Tuesday, the governing board gave its blessing to the city to turn a parcel in Rocky Hill Park over to property owners in the area. The terrain in question was deeded to the city by the Meadowwood Homeowners Association in 2010, but, in Allen's words, "is not a functional use of the park and the homeowners have requested that the city declare this property surplus so they can take steps to acquire this parcel individually."
Several residents of the area spoke in favor of the land interchange on Tuesday, including John Munro, who has appeared before council in the past with concerns over the state and use of the property.
"Hopefully, this will be something that is beneficial for us all," Munro said.
While comments over the Rocky Hill tract took up part of the meeting, crickets could be heard when council addressed Ordinance 98-A, an amendment to the municipal noise ordinance. Nary a word was spoken during the public hearing on the matter, which was approved by council and changes the regulation on construction within city limits - and its accompanying clamor - from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Allen also provided an update on snow plowing throughout city limits on the heels of the heaviest snowfall of the winter. Newman Lake-based Peplinski Contruction - a longtime contractor with the city for de-icing and snow clearing services - took to arterials and residential streets on Sunday and Monday with a cost to the city of $9,000. Allen said the city will typically spend between $30,000 to $75,000 on snow removal each year, depending on the severity of the weather. Meanwhile, city crews are responsible for moving ice and snow from local trails.
Lee Mellish, general manager of the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District, and Kottayam Natarajan Jr., the newest member of the LLSWD Board of Commissioners, were in attendance at City Hall as council authorized Mayor Steve Peterson to sign a memorandum of understanding with the district regarding the policy for review of stormwater regulations. Under the agreement, LLSWD would handle review of stormwater facilities for a single residential development in areas where the watershed is within city limits, while the district and the city will collaborate on the review of a project involving a major development or commercial enterprise.
"I think this will clarify things for developers," Allen said.
Council also finalized appointments for each of the three municipal committees for 2013, starting with community development, which will include Dan Dunne, Shane Brickner and Lori Olander. The finance committee will be comprised of Odin Langford, Brickner and Olander while the public safety committee consists of Keith Kopelson, Josh Beckett and Cris Kaminskas. Council representatives on an ad-hoc committee to discuss the future of the field purchased from the Central Valley School District last year will be Brickner, Dunne and Olander.