OTHELLO — The Othello City Council met for two hours Monday evening and discussed a proposed amendment to the original development agreement with Columbia Basin Health Association, instituting codes for new and current accessory dwelling units and to give recognition to members of the police force for exceptional work.
The evening started off with Othello Police Chief Phil Schenck presenting the Othello Cancer Support Group with a check for $2,130 that the police department raised during their “No Shave November” fundraiser. The money will go to help cancer patients with things like gas vouchers and gift cards, hotel expenses and food.
“It is delightful to be able to help them,” said Nancy Faix, one of the Othello Cancer Support Group’s representatives present, in reference to the cancer patients they help.
Altogether, the department raised $3,490. Of that, $360 went to the American Cancer Society and $1000 was designated for Shop with a Cop, a program that allows children in need to go Christmas shopping with members of the police department.
Schenck also presented four members of his staff with recognition for outstanding work. Officers Eduardo Martinez and Rolando Hernandez were recognized for their work in stopping DUIs. Hernandez was delayed a few minutes from the meeting because he was booking a DUI. Officer Jaime Mendoza received the Officer of the Year award, while Supervisor of the Year went to Officer Brent McFarlane. Support Staff Member of the Year Valarie Lolkus was not in attendance.
The council heard a report on the transportation study being conducted on Highway 26 from 14th Avenue to Thacker Road. It was reported that stakeholders in the project had met Monday afternoon and preferred using roundabouts at strategic intersections to traffic lights. An open house was announced for the evening of April 18 to allow the public to view the proposed traffic plans and to give comment. A final report will be presented in June.
A public hearing was opened to discuss an amendment to the original development agreement between the City of Othello and Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA). Currently, CBHA has a temporary certificate of occupancy. They are seeking a permanent certificate, but there are a couple of items on the original development agreement that still need to be met. Othello City Attorney Kelly Konkright, former CBHA CEO Greg Brandenburg and current CBHA CEO Nieves Gomez all agreed that they want to get the final points of the agreement completed, but have had difficulties doing so due to changes in personnel at both the City and CBHA. During the meeting, they could not agree on the terms laid out in the proposed amendment. Council member John Lallas proposed a committee meeting next week with Konkright and CBHA representatives to work out the details. The public hearing was tabled until the March 11 Othello City Council meeting.
Two city planning commissioners were on hand to propose the institution of a code for Accessory Dwelling Units. A public hearing on the proposed code will be held April 8.
The final item on the agenda was a proclamation for the 22nd Annual Othello Spring Clean Up Days to be held on April 6. Members of the community are encouraged “to dispose of old junk vehicles, appliances, yard debris, and yard vegetation, in an effort to improve the appearance of the community;” and students “are encouraged to help clean up areas around their schools and citizens are encouraged to pick up litter when they are out on walks around the city,” according to the proclamation.