Town Council approves creating hearing examiner position, duties to be determined

Eatonville now has a hearing examiner for certain land use matters — or at least the position was created by the Eatonville Town Council at its July 12 meeting. Last week's decision was the first step for the council in its efforts to improve the town's planning and building procedures.

“I was, and remain confident, that the process for reaching a recommendation — a final plat is still decided by the council,” explained town attorney Gregory Jacoby. “Even with a hearing examiner. The final plat is decided by the council.”

His comments reflected the previous council meeting two weeks prior during the first reading of Ordinance 2021-6 that saw questions about the exact duties and powers of the potential new position, including Councilmember Robert Thomas questioning the process for the creation of a hearing examiner.

Not much had changed in the time between meetings, with Thomas noting he was still uncomfortable voting on the creation of a position he described as ill-defined.

“That’s putting the cart before the horse by any measure,” he said.

Jacoby retorted, “I would say you’re being asked to approve a position that has no power.”

Once the council has selected a person to serve as hearing examiner, Jacoby said, the council gets to decide what power the hearing examiner will have or not have by amending the Eatonville Municipal Code as such.
“You will decide what power the hearing examiner has,” he concluded.
Thomas was the lone no vote.

In other business, the council approved Rod Knockers Car Club’s lodging tax advisory funds application for its 25th annual car show, set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 18 in downtown Eatonville.

The Revised Code of Washington provides authority for cities to adopt a lodging tax of up to 4 percent of lodging charges made by hotels and motels. Eatonville receives lodging tax funding and invests these revenues in community events and projects that attract visitors and tourism dollars to Eatonville. RCW 67.28.1816 requires applicants applying for any use of lodging tax revenues to now provide estimates of how any moneys received will result in increases in the number of people travelling for business or pleasure on a trip.

• The council approved a supplemental agreement for construction management services for the State Route 161/Washington Avenue North Corridor Streetscape Project. Estimated total services costs are $19,001.


• The council passed a first reading of an ordinance repealing Section 2.64 of the Eatonville Municipal Code, Inspection of Public Records, which has not been updated since its adoption in 1994. The repeal will make way for a revised public records policy.


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