News Flash Home
The original item was published from 9/14/2022 6:14:02 PM to 10/1/2022 12:00:01 AM.

News Flash

Press Releases

Posted on: September 7, 2022

[ARCHIVED] City Council Recap for September 6, 2022

090722 City Council Recap (Instagram Post (Square))


Led by Pastor Greg Steible, Whidbey Presbyterian Church


Led by Mayor Severns


All members of City Council were present.


Approved as presented.


Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce Vicki Graham, out-going Chamber Executive Director, provided an update on the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and services they provide. Highlighting the work the Chamber did over the past two years and during COVID to support businesses with check in calls, grant assistance, and services. She praised City Council and staff for their partnership.


The Council received public comments both electronically and in person. Comments covered a variety of topics, including: the Angel de la Creatividad, special needs access at City parks, traffic signal request, creating a community Halloween event on the last Saturday in October, and the Human Resources Generalist investigative report regarding Councilmember Munns.


Approved as presented.


Mayor Severns provided an update on City and community events, including his thanks to Cynthia Mason and the Board of the Oak Harbor Music Festival. He reminded everyone of the need to slow down and observe school zones now that school is back in session.


  • Councilmember Woessner commented on the Oak Harbor Music Festival and thank you to staff for the work leading up to, during, and after the event.
  • Mayor Pro Tem Hizon requested staff bring forward some suggestions for the traffic safety concerns and potential options to resolve them. City Administrator Oborn noted this was on the September 28, 2022 Council Workshop agenda.
  • Councilmember Hoffmire also commented on events mentioning Hydros for Hereos, Music Festival and other events at Windjammer Park. Complimenting the work staff does to make our community special and that Labor Day weekend wraps up the summer season.
  • Councilmember Stucky mentioned the tragic plane crash where ten people died near South Whidbey. He appreciated our Islands first responders for their work in response to the awful event. He asked the City Clerk if all public comments received by the City were forwarded to City Council and the City Clerk confirmed this.
  • Councilmember Munns stated she also wanted to thank the community for the work on all the festivals and events. Staff goes above and beyond to address details for events making them safe and fun. She noted that as a City of 23,000 Oak Harbor has grown but still retains a small-town feel, and everyone pitches in. Additionally, she thanked Public Works for their work to notify the Help House about work on the street in front of their property. Councilmember Munns disagreed with the Mayor’s quote in the Whidbey News-Times article about the Human Resources investigative report being unbiased.
  • Mayor Severns responded, stating that during the compiling of the report the Human Resources Director Emma House and City Administrator Blaine Oborn did not have any involvement in the process.


Ordinance No. 1959:  Critical Areas Ordinance Code Amendments

Senior Planner Dennis Lefevre presented the code amendments to provide consistency to the City’s Oak Harbor Municipal Code in conjunction with the Adopted Shoreline Master Program effective June 2021. The Ordinance was reviewed by the Planning Commission and recommended for Approval. Senior Planner Lefevre reviewed the amendments to increase setback, prevent use of private tidelands for density transfer, and the process to date.  

  • A member of the public commented to request definition for “bluff” and for setbacks and how the code amendment will impact the Central Business District. Senior Planner Lefevre explained the reasons for the increased setbacks and confirmed the amendments will not impact the Central Business District.
  • Councilmember Woessner wanted the “in no case” language removed from the code and recommended more options for flexibility in the code. Councilmember Hoffmire agreed with flexibility in the code but did not agree with ambiguity. He requested the code include more defined definitions for bluff. 
  • Councilmember Evans questioned the transfer of water bluff and shared creative solutions that should be considered, similar to examples from the Lake Union area, because of his concerns about taking people’s homes in the calculation.
  • Senior Planner Lefevre offered to return with revisions from comments at tonight’s meeting. Mayor Severns requested a motion to continue the public hearing and recommended a motion to extend Ordinance No. 1959 to the first regular meeting in October. Motion by Councilmember Munns, seconded by Councilmember Woessner. The vote to continue the public hearing passed unanimously.




Purchase and Sale Agreement: 1081 & 1091 SE Pioneer Way

City Administrator Blaine Oborn provided a presentation highlighting the two properties the City is considering for purchase between SE Pioneer Way and SE Bayshore Drive. The area includes six undeveloped or under-developed properties. City Administrator Oborn showed an aerial image of the properties and highlighted areas 5 and 6 as those the City is considering purchasing. The cost of the properties has been reduced. Potential future uses included short and long-term options for festivals, open space, parking, and marina expansion, convention center, hotel, RV park, foot trucks, etc.

  • The initial options are to demolish the existing structures, conduct environmental studies on the property, and evaluate any necessary clean-ups, as well as potential development options while seeking potential grant/partnership opportunities.
  • Questions were posed from attending members of the public about potential Marina expansion and whether this would replace or expand the current Marina and about any potential RV park. Additionally, those providing public comment noted environmental concerns regarding fuel storage tanks that may remain on the property. City Administrator Oborn explained the potential Marina concept would be an expansion of the existing Marina and environmental studies would determine the future environmental clean-up required.
  • Councilmember Evans mentioned similar concerns about environmental studies and confirmed details in the purchase and sale agreement. He was supportive of demolition of the two buildings, the condition of which do not reflect positively on the downtown corridor.
  • Councilmember Hoffmire stated that Economic Development should be intentional and not haphazard. He noted he had spoken with State Representatives about potential funding for environmental clean-up via the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) Fund. He agreed with Councilmember Evans that the City should not hold on to the property long-term without having a plan for it. He shared some conceptual drawings from 2016 that were provided to him by Mainstreet Executive Director Margaret Livermore
  • Councilmember Stucky inquired whether the two parcels in the purchase and sale agreement were of a sufficient size for potential development without adjacent parcels. Councilmember Munns recalled past proposals for a boutique hotel on the parcels which was determined to be feasible but lacked needed corporate management.
  • Mayor Pro Tem Hizon made the motion to approve the Purchase and Sale Agreement for 1081 and 1091 SE Pioneer Way and authorize the Mayor to sign the agreement. Seconded by Councilmember Munns. The motion was approved unanimously by City Council.


2023 LTAC 2% Grant Program Referral to Council

Finance and Performance Analyst Chas Webster presented the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) background, application for funding, and timeline process. The current plan is to open grants up between 9/26 and 10/5.  She also provided the twelve-year history of grant revenue and grant amounts with balance projects and lodging fund balance projections. The suggested motion was to refer use of Civic Improvement 2% (lodging tax) funds of $500,000 in 2023 to the Lodging Tax Advisory Application

  • There were no comments from the public.
  • City Councilmembers, Finance Director, and the City Administrator discussed the reason for the current balance amount, the increase to funding, and the option for the committee to use the balance to assist the community in larger amounts than the past year. Also discussed the use of funds on a particular project, if one is identified, as well as options to reduce funding or change the dollar amount.  Councilmember Munns suggested a lesser total amount of $400,000.
  • Executive Director Vicki Graham of the Chamber of Commerce voiced support of the option for increased funds and explained the impact of the previous decisions on events, tourism, and the organizers. She also shared the impact of the Chamber of Commerce contract on their services and aid of potential applicants.
  • Councilmember Munns move to approve the suggested $500,000 for the LTAC funds to possibly be awarded for 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Hoffmire.
  • Councilmember Marshall mentioned that he was more supportive of $400,000 as suggested by Councilmember Munns. The vote on the motion for $500,000 passed five to two with Mayor Pro Tem Hizon and Councilmembers Evans, Woessner, Stucky, and Hoffmire in support and Councilmembers Munns and Marshall opposed.

Safe Streets and Roads for All – Joint Applicant Letter for Planning Grant Request

City Engineer Alex Warner presented the opportunity for receipt of infrastructure funding via a joint grant with the Island County Regional Transportation Planning Organization (IRTPO). The grant request would provide funds for the development of traffic calming, restriping, signage, and reconstructing roads for vehicular traffic, bikes, and pedestrians. The City’s application is to create the action plan to identify where improvements can best be made. If successful, the City would receive funding in the amount of $403,200 request with a 20% match required of $100,800 for full project cost of $504,000, the City of Oak Harbor provides $30,240 (the rate is based on population). This would provide new funding for roadway safety projects.

  • There were no public comments.
  • Councilmember Munns explained the process at the County (IRTPO) and asked Council to support it.
  • Councilmember Munns moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the joint applicant letter for IRTPO and commit up to $30,240 as matching funds for the Safe Streets and Roads for All planning grant request of $403,200 provided by the U.S Department of Transportation for the development of a county-wide Safety Action Plan with subplans for individual communities. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Hoffmire and passed unanimously by Council.
  • After the vote, Councilmember Munns thanked City Administrator Oborn for his attendance at the IRTPO meeting and support of City of Oak Harbor.

Council Goals Prioritization

City Administrator Blaine Oborn presented the document outlining the list of goals City Council submitted and facilitated a discussion of next steps. Council discussed multiple options to identify their priorities and scoring or weighting the list to create priorities for the City. Administrator Oborn will provide an updated rating form and outline for completion to the Council, who will return their ratings within the next week as requested by Mayor Severns.


Motion to adjourn by Councilmember Stucky, seconded by Councilmember Woessner. Unanimously passed by City Council. The meeting adjourned at 8:43 pm.

The City’s YouTube channel includes a video of the meeting. The videos are also available on Cable Channel 10/HD 1090.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Press Releases