ILWACO - After receiving letters of interest from Brad Weatherby, David Johnson and Don Parsons, Ilwaco city council started to consider how to fill their vacated council seat less than a month after the death of councilman David Fritts.

Mayor Doug Hubbard explained that the decision rests on the council since there isn't a set formula for selection of a council member in this situation. He asked that each candidate introduce himself and tell them why they were interested in sitting on the council.

Weatherby, a firefighter and paramedic employed by Pacific County Fire District No. 1, said his experience in public office comes from serving on the North Beach Public Development Authority board. And while he enjoys serving the public, he is not eligible for the water district board, so he gave thought to serving time as a councilor.

Johnson, the president of the Lakeview Estates Homeowners Association, explained that he has management experience and previously worked in a "high pressure" job at Intel computers. Recently he started manufacturing a wheel system he created to transport pontoon boats.

Parsons, a Long Beach business owner and resident of Ilwaco, ran for Mike Cassinelli's council seat in November. He explained that he has been on the Ilwaco Planning Commission for 2 and one-half years and is now the chair of the planning commission. He stated that he cares about the city, is constantly continuing his education and hopes to bring clarity to the issues that council might face.

Jensen asked each of the candidates to describe their decision-making skills.

Weatherby said it is important for the council to come to a consensus on what the city's goals are and to always keep those goals, as well as the public, in mind when they are making decisions. He added that it isn't wise if the city pays an attorney for advice but fails to follow the attorney's advice.

Johnson stated that he never enters a job without knowing the full scope of the job. He plans to interpret the law as he understands it and make his decisions for public good.

Parsons said he would listen to each issue and make an individual decision based on how he understands the issue.

Council agreed to hold off filling the vacant seat until the next meeting. They will choose the new city councilor on March 10.

Discovery HeightsA public hearing was held for the Discovery Heights preliminary plat for phases two through four. Prior to the hearing, councilor Fred Marshall publicly noted that he is related to one of the partners in MSW, the three men responsible for the development of Discovery Heights.

Councilor Mike Cassinelli felt that Marshall should have recused himself for the sake of the "appearance of fairness clause" and felt the city should hire an attorney for no more than $500 to investigate the clause. Marshall left for the duration of the hearing in protest.

Dale Barrett of HLB Otak presented the proposal for MSW. Phases two through four of Discovery Heights include a 96-acre residential subdivision with 86 single-family lots and 10 attached Abito (formerly Pennbrook Homes) townhouses. The residential lots would range in size from 10,061 square feet to 31,520 square feet, while the town-home lots would range from 4,486 square feet to 5,165 square feet.

Phase two will consist of 28 lots overlooking Holman Lake and the Discovery Trail on a cul-de-sac street extension from the north part of Lighthouse Keepers Road. Phase three plans include 53 lots on Ocean View Court. Phase four will feature five single-family homes and 10 townhouses on Discovery Drive.

Cassinelli raised zoning concerns while council member David Jensen asked about MSW's plan to connect Discovery Heights to the Discovery Trail.

Hubbard opened the public hearing and Don Berger was the only person who chose to speak. Berger stated the council was "not informed enough to make a decision" and felt that impact fees should be considered to cover additional expenses for public libraries, fire departments and other services. He expressed a need for sidewalks in Discovery Heights, which are not in the plan. Berger also referred to the city's comprehensive plan, raising concerns about off-street parking and low-income housing.

Hubbard closed the hearing. Cassinelli stated that telemetry should be included in the contract.

Councilor Ron Willis made a motion to approve the Discovery Heights preliminary plat for phases two through four, based on the findings of city staff. The motion passed.

Planning servicesAfter reviewing the request for proposals, Hubbard presented council with a contract for city planning services with Ecological Land Services and recommended the city move forward with the contract. In the past, the city had budgeted $26,500 for city planning services, but Jensen questioned if they city could afford it. Willis motioned to authorize the mayor to enter into contract negotiation, so long as the contract does not exceed $25,000 for the fiscal year. The contract was approved.

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