In order to make it easier for new businesses to open up in town, the city approved Monday an ordinance that will temporarily suspend transportation impact fees and utility hookup fees when a new owner or tenant wants to use a commercial building for a new use.
"Each change of use triggers an evaluation of hookup fees and traffic mitigation," said Paul Ellis, the city's assistant administrator of capital projects and economic development.
The ordinance will provide an incentive to potential businesses to locate in Arlington rather than other places. It is limited to commercial businesses that want to make less than 60 percent tenant improvements on a building's value and are customers of Arlington utilities, Ellis said.
The city is planning a public hearing April 16 on the Airport Master Plan Update Comprehensive Plan, a project that started in 2008, according to airport manager Rob Putnam. Residents who are curious about changes to the plan may consider attending the airport commission meeting April 10, when the commission is expected to approve the plan. After so many years of work, Putnam is hoping council will finally approve the comp plan on May 7._
Council approved on Monday $85,277 in Hotel-Motel Lodging Tax grant awards. The fund is collected from hotels and lodging facilities inside the city, and funds are intended to attract visitors to Arlington.
Approved proposals include $25,000 for the Arlington Fly-In, $14,985 for the Arlington Arts Council's concert and performing arts series at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center (BPAC); $10,000 for the Downtown Arlington Business Association for the Arlington Show-n-Shine Car Show, the Arlington Street Fair and Hometown Holidays; $9,960 to the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce to help cover costs of the Visitor Information Center and 2012 Fourth of July events, including the Pedal, Paddle, Puff Triathlon and Fireworks on the Fourth. Council also approved $7,362 to the Red Rooster Route farm tour and $4,000 for Olympic Ballet to present "The Nutcracker," at BPAC, as well as funding support for city-planned projects, $8,500 for summer events in Terrace Park, including Shakespeare plays, movies and concerts, and $5,200 for the annual Eagle Festival on the first weekend in February.
The proposal was approved as presented by the Hotel/Motel Lodging Tax Fund Committee (LTFC). Unfunded proposals include video promotion equipment costing $6,300 for the city of Arlington, funds to complete a light-pole banner project launched several years ago by the Arlington Arts Council ($9,456), a road and parking lot at Country Charm Farm ($38,000) and $18,000 for entryway signs, which were funded by Snohomish County's lodging tax program.
A member of the LTFC, Councilman Chris Raezer explained that the committee discussed which proposals were most likely to attract visitors to Arlington, and that choices had to be made since there was only $90,000 available in the fund.
"The committee could not see how a parking lot at Country Charm Farm would attract visitors," Raezer said.
Also on Monday, council approved a contract with Cascade Materials to haul biosolids to "the east side." Public Works Director Jim Kelly informed council that the city has been under contract with Parker Ag, Inc. for hauling biosolids in excess of what the city's Biosolids Compost Facility (BCF) can process. The company has ceased business operations and Public Works issued a request for proposals to six DOE licensed contractors.
"Cascade Materials is the lowest qualified bidder," Kelly said.
Council also approved an interlocal agreement with Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management. DEM assists the city by providing services that enhance emergency operations. Staff training, Mystate communications and web software are among some of the services that Arlington benefits from, said assistant administrator Paul Ellis.
DEM provides materials such as sand and bags during flooding events and the city is represented on the DEM Advisory Board that develops plans and goals.