Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by the Thurston County AuditorRenew online and avoid long wait times and lines.Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall reminds vessel owners that all vessel registrations expire each year on June 30, and the state Department of Licensing no longer mails registration renewal notices. Vessel owners are encouraged to renew online at dol.wa.gov to avoid the hassle of wait times and lines at licensing offices.“You don’t need to wait to renew your vessel license. I encourage people to renew as early as possible if they are doing it in-person,” says Hall.Vessel owners can also renew in person at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office located in Olympia at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW in Building 1, Room 106. Owners will need their vessel’s registration (WN) number. The Thurston County Auditor’s Office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about vessel registration at the Auditor’s Office, call (360) 786-5406 or go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/auditor and click on the “Licensing” tab.Thurston County also has subagents who can process vessel registration renewals at eight convenient locations throughout the county. For information about subagent hours and locations go to the state Department of Licensing website at dol.wa.gov.
By John BurtonRED BANK –– A development proposal to construct a six-story hotel at the borough’s entrance is back again before the Planning Board, with board members expressing some issues with the plan.Five years since its plan was first proposed RBank Capital, LLC, returned Monday night to seek approval to construct a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn and Suites Hotel on the corner of state Highway 35 and Rector Place.The project is intended for a former Exxon gas station on the nearly 1-acre property overlooking the Swimming River at the northern entrance to the borough on the southbound side of Route 35, at Coopers Bridge. The site has been vacant for nearly two decades and has deteriorated.“It is an eyesore,” acknowledged Martin A. McGann Jr. the lawyer representing RBank Capital.However, the location has been mostly remediated, with the underground tanks removed, and is at the point that it is usable for this permitted use, according to Peter Ritchings, an environmental consultant testifying on behalf of the applicant. “Ground water contamination remains at the site,” Ritchings added, for about 5,000 square feet. Remediation is continuing.An architectural rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn and Suites Hotel for Route 35 and Rector Place in Red Bank.The plans call to construct the hotel to stand about 75 feet from the mean water line of the river’s shore. That would mean the actual structure would stand from foundation to rooftop at 82.2 feet. That is over what is permitted by ordinance and requires the board to grant a variance for height; but the excess is not so much as to trigger the need for a use “D” variance, which only the Zoning Board of Adjustment can issue and would require a higher burden of proof for the applicant to meet to get the variance. The site also requires a variance for parking, providing 75 spaces, while 78 are required; and a number of other variances and design waivers for signs, front- and rear-property setbacks, and for other shortcomings under borough requirements.The amount of relief required for this project caused board member Daniel Mancuso to ask, “Is there anything you’re proposing that is within our ordinances?”For some board members the real sticking point was plans to allow traffic traveling north on Route 35 to make a direct left-hand turn into the site, meaning vehicles would be crossing two lanes of southbound traffic to enter the property.Mayor Pasquale Menna challenged the traffic engineer Gary Dean and attorney McGann by asking if he could name another spot along the highway up to Garden State Parkway entrance 117 where traffic can make a left turn like this. “I can’t,” Dean responded.Board member Guy Maratta said that by making that turn, “Somebody is going to die. Mark my words.”A former gas station at the site.Maratta implored the developer to improve the situation and not create a future hazard as, “traffic is only going to get worse, not better,” along the roadway.The site has been vacant for as long as it has because, “This is one of the hardest sites you and I have seen in (land use) development,” given the constraints of the property, McGann told Maratta.“I’m asking the board to be reasonable,” to see this “eyesore” developed, McGann added.McGann went on to tell the board the state Department of Transportation has sole jurisdiction and has approved establishing a left turn lane at the property entrance.The proposed hotel will have 76 rooms ranging in size from 330 to 440 square feet, featuring an outdoor pool and a gym area. There will be no restaurant or banquet accommodations; the location is intended primarily for business and other transient guests. The developers have abandoned the previous plans to construct a boat dock, and instead are planning a boardwalk area that extends more than 200 feet along the riverfront, with benches and accessible to the public.The board plans to continue hearing this application at its Dec. 19 meeting.When RBank Capital had first brought its plan in 2011, it became mired in controversy and contention. There ware issues about whether the proposal should be heard by the planning board or zoning board given the scope and type of project. The borough council actually took to revising its zoning ordinance, hoping to clarify the debate. And the board heard from objectors including a borough resident who took issue with the size of the project given its proximity to a residential neighborhood and the environmental impact to the riverfront area. Another objector, who retained a lawyer to combat the proposal, was the owners of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Eatontown, who feared this location would siphon off its business travelers.The developer eventually withdrew the application and reapplied with a slightly modified plan this fall.
By Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson DailyIt’s taken more than five months but former L.V. Roger Bomber Sean Denison has found a home.The Bomber grad recently inked a trial contract with Spartak Primorje of the BEKO Professional Basketball League in Russia.“I’m excited to be playing again,” Denison told The Nelson Daily from Russia.“The team plays very unstructured offensively and has a run and gun style which is just perfect for me.”“It will be interesting to see how this season plays out,” adds the 26-year-old Denison.Denison has been on hold since leaving Eisbaeren Bremerhaven of the German Bundesliga in the spring.The 6’11”, 245-pound center/forward decided his former club was not the answer to his career.So taking the free agent route Denison waited until his agent found another team, most likely in Europe.However, when NBA Commissioner David Stern and his owner pals decided to lockout the players, there was gluten of NBA players on the market looking to keep busy.“The lockout played a part but it wasn’t just that, my last season wasn’t as good as it could have been,” Denison explained. “There’s no telling all of the factors involved but this year it took longer to find something good.”Spartak Primorje plays in Vladivostok, a city of 600,000. Vladivostok is the administrative center of Primorsky Krai, Russia, situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay, which is not far from Russia’s borders with China and North Korea.Spartak Primorje, 4-4, has been on the road but returns home for a game against Spartak after suffering losses to Triumph 92-82 and Lokomotiv-Kuban 79-72.Denison, who played in Turkey after graduating and playing four seasons of NCAA Division One Men’s Basketball with the Santa Clara Broncos, has spent most of the fall training at LVR with Bombers.However, prior to Christmas an early present came in from his agent.“The contract came up kind of fast as my agent told me about the team being interested and the situation looked good so I responded immediately letting them know I was interested too,” Denison said.“From there it was just a matter of getting my visa organized (the Russian embassy was closed for holidays at the time) and getting over there.“From the time I signed the contract it still took a couple weeks to get here just because I had to get a new passport in order to process my visa.”The BEKO PBL, in its second year of play, is the top league in Russian. The league has 10 teams and sports former Utah Jazz star Andrei Kirilenko, who signed a deal with CSKA Moscow in the fall.So there is little time for Denison to make an impression with the coaching staff.“The wait was worth it but I’m definitely happy to be playing again.”