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City agrees to revisit lighting ordinance


August 3, 2016

Rodger Nichols

FOND FAREWELL: Mayor Mike Cannon thanks Hanna Hoffman for her time on the city council Monday night.

A pair of public hearings on proposed new ordinances had to be had to be continued to a later date at Monday night's Goldendale City Council meeting. The hearings had been properly noticed in The Sentinel but both concerned proposed ordinances that were many pages long, and the agendas and council packets were inadvertently not posted online. That meant only people who'd gone to the city and obtained printouts of the ordinances would know the details of the proposed ordinances.

Council members did take some testimony, notably from Angela Hoffman, representing the Chevron station, hotel and Papa John's Pizza. She said that she had that day obtained a copy of the proposed new outdoor lighting ordinance, and that after reading the proposed ordinance, she met with the mayor and her sister, Rep. Gina McCabe.

In a statement read to the council, she said "We pointed out some provisions which cannot be practically enforced, some with unintended consequences and some which are not reasonably affordable at the price of lighting today." Hoffman also respectfully requested that the council reject the proposed ordinance as it was written and instead convene a task force that would "involve all the stakeholders" to achieve an ordinance that would both protect the night sky for the Observatory and consider cost and safety factors.

Council members readily agreed and Mayor Mike Canon promised to name members of a special committee that council members would have a chance to approve at the next city council meeting.

Councilors also continued a hearing on a new ordinance on administration of development standards.

Dana Peck and Nicole Lundin made a presentation on the new reworked website for the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, which has been very well received. They also explained that following last year's Googlefest in The Dalles, they had applied for and received a $120,000 grant of "adword" credits from Google. That allowed them to select certain words, such as "Goldendale," and when they were included in someone's Google search, an ad for the Chamber would appear at the very top of their search page. A click on the ad would send the browser to the Chamber site. In using just over $4,000 worth of the credits, they reported a number of dramatic increases in Web traffic to the site. Traffic for the month of June 2016, for instance, was 86 percent higher than June 2015, a total of 3,072 visits, versus 1,972 in the same period last year

"Our goal was to get more visitors to the site from outside the area," said Peck, who noted a 275 percent increase in traffic from Seattle, and a 400 percent increase from The Dalles. "It's working," he said with a big grin.

In other news, Police Chief Reggie Bartkowski said he had met with Klickitat County Commissioners, city representatives, Sheriff Bob Songer, and Prosecuting Attorney David Quesnel on a proposal to institute a 1/10th of 1 percent local sales tax with all the proceeds dedicated to dealing with the problem of drugs.

Bartkowski reported that commissioners, who could enact such a tax without a vote of the people, said that wouldn't raise enough money to do the job properly. Instead, he said, they were leaning toward a putting a 3/10ths of one percent local sales tax on the November ballot, as long as local law enforcement agencies could come up with a clear and specific plan to use the revenue.

Aftet the meeting, Bartkowski said he would propose that the tax be of limited duration-perhaps three years-to check its effectiveness. "We want to be held accountable," he said. "If it's not working, we shouldn't be doing it."

In other business, the council approved an information technology agreement with Radcom Technologies, an agreement for bond counsel with Foster Pepper PLCC, and waiver of the fee at Ekone Park for the Central Klickitat Parks & Recreation District, which has taken over the youth soccer program.

And councilors thanked Hanna Hoffman, who has been serving as a nonvoting student representative on the council since last October. She, in turn, thanked the council for the opportunity to learn how the city works and said she enjoyed it very much.


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