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City Council confirms new planning commissioners
4/6/2011 10:58:27 AM

By Kelly Moore
Splash Staff Writer

The Liberty Lake City Council confirmed five new members Tuesday to fill vacant seats on the city's Planning Commission. Garret Hall, Tom Hufty, Laurance Laux and Robert Moore were confirmed as voting members, while Karl Patchin was confirmed as an adjunct member.

Planning Commission business has been put on hold since January, when four of the seven members moved outside city boundaries. In order to reach a quorum and legally conduct a meeting, the commission needs at least four members present.

Mayor Wendy Van Orman said the city received nine applications for the vacancies and interviewed all candidates before making the recommendations to the Council.

Garrett Hall is a licensed attorney for Hall Law Office, PLLC who deals with real estate and land use issues on a regular basis. He concentrated on real estate and business law in law school and has professional training in land use and zoning. He's lived in Liberty Lake for a year and a half.

Tom Hufty is currently retired with more than 22 years of sales management experience at large corporations. He's lived in Liberty Lake for ten and a half years.

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Laurance Laux retired in 2009, having most recently worked as the chief financial officer for Empire Health Services. He has a masters of science degree in Health Services Administration from California State University. He's lived in Liberty Lake for four years.

Robert Moore has executive-level experience at multiple manufacturing companies. When living in Montgomery, Ohio, he served on city council and was chairman of the planning commission. He's lived in Liberty Lake for a year and three months, and his daughter, Cris Kaminskas, is a current council member.

Karl Patchin currently works as the accounting manager for Esterline Advanced Input Systems. He earned his masters degree in finance from Gonzaga University and has lived in Liberty Lake for two and a half years.

The new commissioners will join standing members Sheila Bell, Dan Dunne and Frank Raney.

The purpose of the commission is to study and make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council for Liberty Lake's future growth through continued review of the city's comprehensive plan, development code and other items assigned by the City Council.

The Liberty Lake Planning Commission meets at 4 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at City Hall.

The Council also heard the first read of an ordinance to ban the marketing, sale, distribution, possession and use of electronic cigarettes to minors. Talks of such an ordinance started at the March 15 Council meeting. No state legislation currently exists to regulate the devices.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide inhaled doses of nicotine or a non-nicotine vaporized solution. It is an alternative to smoked tobacco and has been marketed as a smoking cessation product. However, the FDA does not approve it as a means of smoking cessation and has issued concerns regarding the product's safety, effectiveness and quality control.

Similar ordinances have already passed in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Millwood and Spokane County. The ordinances came after a resolution passed last year by the Spokane Regional Health Board requesting jurisdictions to take steps to regulate the product.

Liberty Lake's proposed ordinance calls for a $50 fine to minors who violate the ordinance and a $250 fine to any person or business other than a minor that violates the ordinance. The fines will be applied per transaction.

In other business:

After a public hearing, the Council tabled the second reading of an ordinance to amend the City Development Code and the River District Specific Area Plan Overlay to allow the Community Development Committee to review and make adjustments. The ordinance should return to the Council at its May 3 meeting.

Greenstone Commercial Managing Director Wayne Frost presented information on options for financing infrastructure in the River District. This included an overview of the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool and the Tax Increment Financing programs.

Van Orman announced a special meeting scheduled 7 to 9 p.m. April 26 at City Hall to discuss the possibility of a city administrator position for Liberty Lake.

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