Longview Council OK's rate hike

Longview Council OK's rate hike

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Newly-elected Longview Mayor MaryAlice Wallis Thursday night cast a tie-breaking vote to impose a 6% stormwater rate increase, which will take effect Feb. 1.

The increase would add 82 cents a month to the utility bill of an average city customer. The council previously declined to take action last month on the proposed increase.

Council members Hillary Strobel, Ruth Kendall and Christine Schott also voted for the increase. Council members Steve Moon, Chet Makinster and Mike Wallin were opposed.

Also during the meeting Thursday night, members of the Sister City delegation spoke about their recent experience in Wako, Japan, at the end of October.

Mark Morris High School junior Judith Pergiel-Lopez said her experience on the trip inspired her to start a new joint international club between Mark Morris and R.A. Long high schools so her classmates can have a similar opportunity

Councilman Moon called her a “trailblazer” because last year was the first time the Sister City delegation was able to send Longview high school students to visit Wako schools.

“She’s setting the way for more kids to experience the program and the exchange,” Moon said.

The council also approved two zoning and land use changes recommended by the Planning Commission. (Councilwoman Schott excused herself from both votes because she currently serves on the Planning Commission.)

The first proposal would allow ground floor apartments in the general commercial zone provided that 50% of the first floor space facing high-traffic streets be dedicated to commercial uses. Under current zoning, residential uses only are allowed above the first floor in commercial zones.

The changes also include increasing the maximum building height to 60 feet in general commercial zones and removing front yard setbacks.

The owners of Del Ray Mobile Home Park first sparked the zoning discussions over the summer, indicating their interest in future development of the park into an apartment complex. The news alarmed current residents in the park. Park owner, Larry Foster, then said he has no intention of developing the park. The controversy springs from a family feud, he told The Daily News.

The Planning Commission’s other recommendation was to change the land use zoning classification for six locations in Longview. One of those locations is the Longview Presbyterian Church, which has an empty lot behind it’s facility at 3808 Pennsylvania St. that it is considering converting into multifamily housing, City Planner Adam Trimble told the council.

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