Scholten to leave as ML planner
The Jan. 30 Medical Lake Planning Commission meeting marked an end of an era.
Glenn R. Scholten announced this would be the last meeting where he acted as Medical Lake city Planner. Scholten had served on the department for the last seven years. Prior to coming to Medical Lake, he had worked for the city of Cheney.
City Administrator Doug Ross said in an email that he will be running day-to-day planning and future Planning Commission meetings while Scholten will still be used on a project basis.
During the meeting, Scholten presented the end of the year Planning Department status report, which he would send to Mayor John Higgins. Scholten mentioned that the comprehensive plan amendments and development regulations were revised at the end of 2013. He told the commission that plan and regulations were updated to be in line with the Washington State Department of Commerce (Growth Management Division) directive for all cities planning under the Growth Management Act to update their comprehensive plan and development regulations in the next year or two.
Scholten mentioned there were updates that need to be made to the comprehensive plan, specifically to the population and housing statistics in Chapter Four, Land Use and Chapter Five, Transportation. He explained he did not have the 2010 Census Data that was needed to update the population and housing statistics in those chapters because the data was unavailable until 2012. Although he was able to find some census data online, Scholten said it was incomplete and was not sure if he had all of the appropriate date to complete the housing statistics.
Scholten brought up the shoreline management plan and said he is still waiting to hear if it passed. He explained the plan had met all of the state requirements and he had met with Shoreline staff at the state Department of Ecology several times to finalize it to their requirements. He believes the plan will pass if it has not “already been signed off.”
“I’m not worried about it,” Scholten said. “The delay is on their end.”
Scholten also brought up a section in the memo that addressed needs and recommendations for the City Council.
One suggestion was for the to create citizen participation events, such as focus groups, public meetings and workshops, to allow the community to feel they have some input in the city’s future. He added that the city can gather data from these events, put it toward a rewrite of the Comprehensive Plan, and update the plan’s goals, tasks, policies, program tables and information tables.
Scholten suggested a quicker response from the City Council on projects completed by the Planning Commission.
The final suggestion from Scholten was for the city to implement a Geographic Information System (GIS). Scholten explained the GIS is a precision tool for mapping what different departments in the city can use. He added that the software is not expensive, but the city would need to train one of the employees to operate the system.
Commissioner Peg James said having the software would be “very worthwhile.”
Following the needs, Scholten brought up the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS). He explained that until the city reaches a decision regarding the JLUS implementing regulations, the city’s urban growth area remains unclear.
Scholten said the commission does not have to approve the memo, but they can sign off on it and he will submit it to the mayor.
After he was asked if meetings would continue to be held on the last Thursday of the month, Scholten said that it would be Ross’ decision. James added that she would miss Scholten.
Prior to adjournment, Scholten took time to thank the rest of the Planning Commission for being their hard work and for being professionals.
“I have so enjoyed working with you guys,” Scholten said. “It’s been a good seven years.”
Al Stover can be reached at email@example.com.