The Odessa Record -

Town Council

Zoning, animals discussed


October 12, 2017

At its September 25 meeting, the Odessa Town Council heard from Steve Nelson of Century West Engineering in Spokane that the FEMA-funded project to repair streets in town would begin with surveying of Dobson Road that would begin in November and after that extend to other streets. Once the surveying is completed, grant applications can be submitted to the Transportation Improvement Board.

Also discussed was a zoning change requested by school superintendent Dan Read in order to make the newly purchased property of the late Viola Els a part of the school campus. Since a zoning change would require the drafting of a new ordinance, a public hearing on the issue was scheduled for the October 9 meeting.

Also set for October 9 was a public hearing on the issue of livestock within the town limits of Odessa as requested by ag teacher HaLee Walter. She requested a change in the existing ordinance prohibiting livestock in town so that students who are town residents can have opportunities to raise animals for their agriculture classes and for projects that fall under the Future Farmers of America umbrella.

Work continues on a truck route ordinance for Odessa by police chief Tom Clark.

Rental of the community center by businesses or non-profits. Council members discussed the difficulties of trying to come up with conditions for waiving or reducing the rental fee for some organizations. The consensus reached was that there would be no more exceptions, but the issue was nevertheless tabled for additional discussion.

Council committee reports revealed that the fire department had trouble with difficult terrain while battling a fire on Bureau of Land Management property and had to request smoke jumpers to help them out.

In his police department report, Tom Clark said he had received a letter of apology from a minor who was found guilty of vandalizing town-owned bathrooms. The minor will also have to pay restitution.

Regarding the policing of Deutschesfest this year, Clark said there were no major problems and no fights to deal with. He said he gave courtesy rides home to a few people who suspected they were likely over the legal blood-alcohol limit by closing time.

Lastly, Clark reported that the Odessa Police have received a donation of an automated external defibrillator for use in the town’s police vehicles from the Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center.

The October 9 meeting of the Town Council began with the public hearings on the school property zoning change. Input from the planning commission, represented at the meeting by member Tom Clavell, suggested that conditional-use permits be issued rather than going through with a much more cumbersome rezoning process. The council will give the matter more study.

The issue of livestock being permitted within the town limits under certain circumstances was opened to renewed debate. Agriculture teacher Walter again requested that small animals, such as chickens and rabbits, be allowed at the ag-shop building for educational purposes only and that larger animals, such as beef, goats and sheep be permitted only on the outskirts of town where property owners have enough space to permit proper care of the animals.

Odessa resident Jim Walter spoke out against allowing animals in town, saying that neighborhoods were already overrun with dogs and cats. If people want farm animals, he said, let them move to a farm.

The current ordinance bans all farm animals from residing within the town limits, although exceptions have been made for service animals and comfort animals. The council will take all public comments into account when discussing the issue further.

Public works director Rod Webster said his crew has been cleaning out dry wells, locating and fixing dead-end leaks in the water piping, hauling biosolids to the composting facility near Sprague and creating plans for patching potholes and investigating more leaks. Webster said the town is using less chlorine, which he attributes to lower water consumption as a result of leaks being fixed.

Mayor Hubbard announced that the town’s coffers will receive reimbursement for the work on First Avenue performed by the town crew.


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