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home : premium content : news May 24, 2016

2/21/2013 10:40:00 AM
Council grants water hardship to property owner outside the city

Ian Dunn

The Leavenworth City Council has granted a hardship request by Mark Hebert, to extend city water to his property on Icicle Road, outside the city limits. Hebert's property is located on Icicle Road across from the entrance to the golf course.

It is long, narrow and steep, mostly under 50 feet wide, with no good place for a well, said Dave Schettler, Leavenworth city engineer, at the Feb. 11 study session.

"He looked at two well drillers. They looked at it and were not even comfortable giving a price, because it is too difficult to construct a well on that site," Schettler said. "They thought it was really risky because they would lose their drilling rig."

Hebert sought a well-variance from the Chelan-Douglas Health District because his property is too close to the county right of way. The health district requires private wells be located 50 feet from all property lines and rights of way.

He was denied the well-variance because of the proximity to the right of way and because drilling in that location would be a significant risk for bank and road edge stability. For these reasons, Hebert came to the city asking to connect to the city water system.

"Number one, he did buy the property knowing that he could not get water. This isn't like he bought it and discovered he could not drill a well," said Joel Walinski, Leavenworth city administrator. "I'm not trying to state a case. I'm just trying to make sure you folks have the facts because communities have gotten in trouble when providing water outside of the UGA (Urban Growth Area) when they shouldn't be providing the water. We need to be very careful."

Mr Hebert did buy this property knowing full well he would not have access to city water, Walinski said, and Chelan County had already said that this piece of property, in all likelihood, could not support a well.

"Even with that background, I think it would behoove us to let him have city water," said Councilman Peter DeVries, "We could be hard-nosed and say, you knew it, I'm sorry."

The council has already approved another water connection outside the UGA, by Buford Howell, Mayor Cheri Kelley Farivar pointed out. Walinski said that situation was different.

"Each one of these hardships has to be judged independently. Two years ago, you approved one next to the boat launch and for a different reason than this," Walinski said. "A word of caution. You don't want it to be carte blanche. The water line runs in front of my place, so I can go out there and create a reason that therefore I need city water."

The city does not want to get into the position of supporting high density development out East Leavenworth or Icicle, outside the UGA, he said.

"It really shouldn't be a slam dunk," Walinski said. "I do want people to think about it."

It was pointed out the city water line does run right in front of Hebert's property. At the Feb. 11 Leavenworth City Council meeting, the council voted 6-1 to grant the hardship to Mark Hebert. Councilman Michael Molohon voted against.

"So he is going to try and build a house on that lot? There is a house right next door that sits empty 90 percent of the time and that just irritates me," Molohon said. "That should be a park, a place to walk. It should not be a private residence."

In response to a question from Molohon, Hebert said he did not intend to reside at the property himself.

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or

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