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Shelton Mason County Journal
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July 17, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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July 17, 2014

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Thursday, July 17, 2014 -Mason County Journal- Page A-3 li By GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncoun com Ken and Jeannine Lar- son have no problems finding off-leash dog parks for their two canines to roam in Cali- fornia, where they spend half the year. They also enjoyed many options near their for- mer home in Seattle, including Magnuson Park. But since moving to Mason County, the Larsons can't find a single place where their dogs can run free and socialize. For many people, dogs are "more like surrogate children," Ken Larson told members of the city of Shelton's Parks and Recreation Advisory Com- mittee on Monday evening. "People want their dogs to be happy." Dogs need opportunities to socialize with dogs, and they also need exercise, Larson said. "A dog is not meant to sit around bored all day," he said. For the past year, the ad- visory committee has been discussing the development of an off-leash dog park in the Shelton area. Pets are not al- lowed in city parks. Owners can walk their dogs on leashes on the city's Huff'n' Pufftrails on Shelton Springs Road. Dogs are required to be on leashes in the city, The closest dog park is in northeast Thurston County, a 5-acre site that formerly served as part of the landfill in the Hawk's Prairie area. The talks are preliminary, but as board member Bill Young stressed at Monday's meeting, "It seems to me we need the land first." Mark Ziegler, director of the Shelton Parks and Recreation Department, said the dog park doesn't have to be within the Shelton city limits. But Ziegler said he reached out to the county parks department about an off-leash dog park, and "it's not on their priority list." The Larsons were among four residents who attended Monday's meeting. Jeannine Larson said there are two types of people who use off-leash dog parks: those who stroll with their dogs, and others who sit in chairs and chat with each other with their dogs nearby. Ken Larson said a basic dog park needs land -- even as lit- tle as a half acre -- a fence, a garbage can and a list of rules. People can bring their own wa- ter, he said. A park the couple frequents in California is divided into ball fields, a children's area and an off-leash dog park, Jeannine Larson said. "They're not on top of each other, but they're part of the same park," she said. Ken Larson said he walks his dog on the trails in the new Mason County-owned Oakland Bay Historical Park off Agate Road, despite a large sign that states "No dogs allowed." Lar- son said he rarely encounters anyone on their strolls, and the trails are becoming over- grown. He suggested the park would be an ideal location for dogs to roam offleash. He also suggested that the owners of tree farms could designate a few acres for such a facility. Advisory committee mem- ber Marilyn Vogler suggested an ideal site might be the grass parking lot where disc golfers park next to the Huff'n' Puff. Jeannine Larson agreed, pointing out that the site would be seen by many drivers at that busy intersection. Young said the committee also talked to the Squaxin Is- land Tribe about establishing an off-leash park near the ca- sino, but they were not enthu- siastic. The parks advisory com- mittee next meets at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Shelton Civic Center, 525 W. Cota St. commission ates d Chamber seeks money for improvement study By GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncounty, com The city of Shelton is considering contributing money toward a downtown "visioning" project proposed by the Shel- ton Mason County Chamber of Com- merce, but one commissioner said he is "skeptical" about its usefulness. "I don't know if there's a lot that can come out of this," Commissioner Mike Olsen said at the commission's study session Monday. He added, "I don't want to see another (study) put on the shelf and nothing comes of it." The chamber is asking the city for $25,000 to help hire the Seattle-based firm Forterra to create a "vision" for downtown. The chamber requested the mon- ey at the Shelton City Commission's work session on June 30. The orga- nization proposes to pay $54,000 to Seattle-based Forterra -- formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy -- to help create "a complete downtown vi- sion and a trajectory for improving our downtown business corridor," accord- ing to the request. Downtown businesses would contrib- ute the remaining $29,000 for the proj- ect, Chamber Executive Director Heidi McCutcheon told the commission June 30. Green Diamond Resource Co. has already made a financial commitment, she said. The proposed work includes advice by experts in architecture and "walk- ability," and on getting downtown busi- nesses and organizations to work to- gether. On Monday, City Administrator Dave O'Leary said the city could con- tribute about one-third of the $54,000, or about $18,000. That money could be drawn from the city's strategic reserves, he told the commissioners. If the study is completed by June, some of it could be incorporated into the city's comprehensive plan, said Steve Goins, the city's director of community and economic development. But Olsen said he feels the city should not put up any money until the chamber has secured the downtown business's share for the project, as well as a list of businesses that have contributed. "I fear it will be a small number of businesses and Green Diamond," he said. Some of the wording in the Forterra proposal is vague, Olsen said. "What's a 'walkability study?' " he asked. "Can't we do that ourselves?" Olsen also noted that no repre- sentatives from the chamber were attending the meeting. The organiza- tion's presence would have allowed for some "give and take" on the dis- cussion, he said. Commissioner Tracy Moore said she supports the proposed project. "What's valuable is that it does pro- vide a vision for city policies and cohe- siveness among projects," she said. The project allows everyone the op- portunity to examine what they like about the city, and to think about what they want changed, Moore said. Forter- ra will also help find money to fund the proposals, she said. Forterra also has a good reputation, which gives the project more credibility as the city seeks grant money to fund projects, Cronce said. While residents and merchants have many opinions on what should happen in downtown Shel- ton, Forterra brings "an outside voice," he said. Cronce then announced he will con- tribute $2,000 to the project, not as a commissioner, but as the owner of the downtown business Case by Case Jew- elers. Cronce said he agrees with O'Leary that the city should be the lead agency on the project. He said he supports the city covering one-third of the cost, which would be about $18,000. The commission is scheduled to dis- cuss the proposal again at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Monday. The success of the proposed plan will depend on the support of the chamber and downtown businesses, O'Leary said. "If you don't think you can work it out, it will be a waste of money," he said. Closures today, Friday on Northcliff Road STAFF REPORT news@masoncounty com Northcliff Road in Shelton will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today and Friday as a crew replaces a cul- vert on Canyon Creek. Northcliff Road will be closed be- tween Birch and Poplar streets during that time. Traffic changes will be posted on signs at North 13th Street, Poplar Street and San Joaquin Avenue. Up- dated information also is available at the city's website at www.ci.shelton. wa.us. The Shelton Mason County Chamber of Commerce proposes to pay $54,000 to Seattle-based Forterra to help create "a complete downtown vision and a trajectory for improving our downtown business corridor." Journal photo by Gordon Weeks ATI'ENTION VOTERS & CONCERNED CITIZENS.* DO YOU KNOW that current Mason County zoning laws permit commercial Marijuana Producer/Processor operations in your rural residential neighborhood? DO YOU KNOW that the money from Marijuana operations goes straight to the State & not to the benefit of Mason County? DO YOU KNOW that while State law requires these to be 1,000 ft away from public spaces, the County permits Prod./Proc. operations to be just 100 ft away from your home/child's school bus stop? DO YOU KNOW that these compound-like facilities have a perimeter of security cameras & operation hours of 8am to MIDNIGHT? DO YOU KNOW that WA Liquor Control Board official reports (liq. wa.gov) also warn: "Due to the high monetary value placed upon marijuana, areas can experience a number of home invasion robberies, thefts & murders related to marijuana cultivation." "Marijuana plants produce a distinctive odor that is often detectable far beyond property boundaries. This strong, distinctive odor can interfere with neighboring owners use & enjoyment of their property. In addition, this odor...may alert malefactors to the location where marijuana is grown, creating the risk of burglary & robbery at the location." "Water use & fertilizer runoff to streams or groundwater is also a concern...Only soils in high state of fertility produce good crops of hemp. In particular, we recommend adequate application of nitrogen & phosphorus, practices that put streams & groundwater at risk of pollution." DO YOU KNOW that Mason County requires no environmental impact tests, water/runoff tests or requirements for these operations, r ? providing almost no oversight to how it will affect you neighborhood. DO YOU KNOW this is NOT a fight against Marijuana, 1-502 or business, but a plea for our County Officials to properly zone for this industry & still protect county citizens & property? DO YOU KNOW that your presence at the Tuesday, July 22 at 6:30 PM Commissioners Meeting will inform your elected officials on how to votel Attend & demand a change to Zoning Laws & keep these out of your RURAL RESIDENTIAL neighborhood! 5