Wednesday, October 20, 2021

ML council hears update on comprehensive plan

by KAYE THORNBRUGH, Hagadone News Network
| October 14, 2021 1:05 AM

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake needs about 250 housing units each year for the next 20 years to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population. That was one item Kevin Gifford of Berk Consulting Inc. shared with the Moses Lake City Council during a workshop prior to the regular meeting.

Gifford presented the council with an overview of the current draft of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which was approved by the Moses Lake Planning Commission Sept. 23. The Moses Lake City Council must review it, adopt it and make its own recommendation to the Grant County commissioners, who have the final say.

Required under state law, the plan is a map to guide city development decisions during the next 20 years. The plan examines land use, housing, utilities, transportation, capital and essential public facilities needed as the region grows. It covers Moses Lake, as well as the associated urban growth area, or UGA.

The draft plan projects Moses Lake’s population will grow from 25,146 to more than 35,000 by 2038. But the city could exceed growth rates well before that time if recent trends hold, Gifford said. The population has grown by about 2.4% on average each year.

“It’s prudent to write your comprehensive plan to address a higher level of growth than you think is going to happen,” he said.

A recent housing study showed what Gifford described as a “mismatch” between current housing stock and the community’s needs.

For example, Gifford said, units with two or three bedrooms are on the rise — and so are households made up of just one or two people.

“There might be some unmet demand for slightly smaller units to serve these one- and two-person households,” he said.

The plan must at least be in front of the Grant County commissioners before the end of October for the city to be “in compliance” and eligible for state funding, city manager Allison Williams said in an earlier meeting.

Bernadette Crawford of the Moses Lake Community Coalition addressed the city council at the regular meeting Tuesday, in part to request funding for the 2022 budget.

The organization invites different sectors of the community to discuss local issues, such as suicide prevention and substance use among local youth, while collaborating with different groups to meet shared goals.

Last year, the city council approved a $10,000 budget as part of its partnership with the coalition.

“Our county suicide prevention task force has lost its funding,” Crawford told the council. “Our coalition would like to step up and support those efforts a little bit more.”

The council also voted unanimously to extend the prohibition of delinquent utility shut-offs and late fees through October. Normal shut-off procedures will resume in November.

Council members voted unanimously to reject all five bids submitted for the airport fuel storage project.

The lowest bid came from Ultra Tank Services, of Bellingham, at $342,000 for a refurbished 12,000-gallon fuel tank.

The process for soliciting new bids can begin immediately.