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Arlington City Council discusses amendment to animal care code


A crowd of animal rights advocates filled Arlington City Council chambers for the workshop meeting Monday, Sept. 14, when Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Ventura reviewed options for updating the city’s animal care and control codes on tethering animals.

The proposed amendments evolved out of a case involving a dog named Blaze. Animal rights advocates Shannon Oquist, Tami McMinn, Linda Pehri, Jennifer Haystrom, Deborah Darling and Marilyn Limber expressed concerns about the health and well-being of Blaze, who, they allege, has been tethered for the past five years. And, they allege, the cone on his head should be there for only two weeks and it has been on Blaze for too long.

Ventura recommended a blend of legislation from the state level with language borrowed from the current Tacoma Municipal Code allowing tethering during the day, with a specified time off the tether during the night.

The last update to the code occurred in 2011. If passed this Monday, the city of Arlington would be the second city in the state to adopt tighter controls on tethering of animals.

The animal rights advocates asked how long before it would take effect and requested rapid response to the situation.

If approved this Monday, the amendment would be published on Thursday, and would take effect five days later, or Tuesday, Sept. 29, said Kristin Banfield, director of communications and human resources.

This week, City Council was also scheduled to vote on an amendment to the city’s municipal code regulating the installation of above-ground flammable and combustible liquids storage tanks.

At the workshop meeting, Community and Economic Development Director Chris Young explained that the code currently has no regulations for the placement of above-ground flammable- or combustible-liquids storage tanks. This allows any proposed tank, regardless of size and product to be placed in any zoning district within the city, including residential areas.

The proposed code amendment allows the city to regulate the size of tanks in specific zoning districts of the city, Young said.

Council was expected to accept a donation of $31,000 from Cascade Valley Hospital through the Arlington Firefighters Association to fund training and wages for a temporary firefighter position. Acting Fire Chief Tom Cooper explained that the donation would cover the costs of hiring and training a temporary firefighter position during a 10-month vacancy left by Steve Daggett as he attends paramedic training at Harborview Medical Center.

Cooper said the void must be filled to continue an adequate level of service. A volunteer firefighter was selected to fill the void and is now in training for the temporary position, Cooper said.

New ambulance needed

Council was also asked by Cooper to move forward on the replacement of cab and chassis of a 2009 ambulance (Aid 47) that is currently out of service due to engine failure. The ambulance has traveled 175,000 miles and is due for replacement in 2016. Staff proposed installing a new cab to save about $90,000 compared to replacing the entire unit and suggested piggybacking on a bid issued by Kittitas County Hospital District 2 with Braun Northwest.

Council also reviewed last week a WSDOT Airport Aid Grant to pay for pavement maintenance. Airport Coordinator Tim Mensonides said that the airport commission approved a contract for the project in the amount $123,918.85 at their Aug. 11 meeting. WSDOT Aviation has awarded nearly $62,000 toward the project.

Staff requested that council authorize the mayor to sign the WSDOT grant and associated documents for the project.

Addition to Centennial Skateboard (Sk8 Fest) permit

Organizers of the Sk8 Fest set for Oct. 10 in downtown Arlington have requested an additional road closure on Third Street east of Olympic Avenue to Dunham Avenue from 2 to 9 p.m. Oct. 10.

Banfield explained that event organizers want to add a slide jam to the event.

“A Slide Jam is a downhill showcase of style and skills,” Banfield said. “It is not a race.”

The original street closure was approved July 6.

Community Transit explains ballot measure

At the Sept. 14 workshop meeting, Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath spoke about the Snohomish County transit company’s desire to expand services with increased support from residents that will be requested on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

“If not approved, we will maintain our current level of service,” Heath told council. “The proposed increase in sales tax would enable us to expand services.”

That, he said, would help grow the economy and preserve a quality of life.

If approved by voters, the projected cost for the average adult resident would be $33 a year.


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