Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Sell? Vacate? Other?

Bridgeport council schedules public hearing to discuss future of Atomic Way


BRIDGEPORT – A decision on the final disposition of Atomic Way, a small parcel of real estate located on Columbia Boulevard between 20th and 22nd streets may finally be in the works, thanks to recent actions taken by the city council at its regular meeting on Jan. 16.

Council members voted to schedule a public hearing at their next regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 20, to give Bridgeport residents the opportunity to comment on whether the city should sell, vacate, retain or pursue another use of the site.

“I hope we got some citizens to turn out,” said council member Phil Lee, who also serves on the committee studying Atomic Way.

Bridgeport resident Scott Wright, who owns property adjacent to Atomic Way has been negotiating with the city to create something positive for the site that remains unbuildable parcel as it currently stands. Wright said he has offered to purchase the property or work with officials to help the city vacate the property.

“Atomic Way has a negative value and has not been maintained for 20 years,” Wright said.

He said his property line takes in a portion of Columbia Boulevard as far as the soccer field and has offered to trade that to the city for Atomic Way, a swap that would give the city title to his portion of the street and reduce his property taxes as well.

“I’ve been paying property taxes on Columbia Boulevard for a decade,” Wright said.

Wright said vacating Atomic Way should not be a difficult issue because he has already participated in vacating two other properties with the city in the past. He said he also receives notices to clear brush on Atomic Way that Wright claims is actually growing on city land.

“As it is now, it’s a fire hazard,” said Wright and added that access down the bank leading to the river is so overgrown it is nothing more than a deer trail.

While many parties agree than something needs to be done with the boulder-blocked parcel, state, county and city regulations required several issues to be first clarified and resolved.

City contract planner Kurt Danison advised council members that any possible right-of-way claims with the state Department of Ecology needed to be investigated. There was also some concern that the Douglas County PUD might have a voice in the transaction.
City attorneys Chuck Zimmerman and Julie Norton of Ogden, Murphy, Wallace in Wenatchee have recently weighed in to advise on state and county conflicts.

In other business council members renewed the city’s annual contract with Okanogan County Transit and Nutrition in the amount of $1,250.

Bridgeport resident Mike Bjorstad brought a photo to the council meeting of a billboard along State Route 173 outside the city limits on the west end of town that has seen better days. Bjorstad suggested that the city contact the owner of the property on which the old sign is located and arrange to have it dismantled.

The old sign has been around for well more than a half century. Mayor Conklin shared a recollection of her husband, Ed, who remembered the sign being built when he was just a youngster. Conklin said the property owner has been contacted and discussions are underway to hire a contractor to remove the structure.


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