City councilmembers hold town hall

Pullman looks to draft new codes, require regular inspections



Brandon Chapman, Pullman city councilmember, discusses transparency, new building codes and improvement plans for Pullman City on Saturday at the Neill Public Library meeting room.

BENJAMIN WHITE, Evergreen reporter

Pullman city councilmembers Brandon Chapman, Eileen Macoll and Pat Wright hosted a Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. on Friday night to discuss the community projects the city has been working on recently.

Councilmembers discussed how the city plans to improve the downtown area.

Pullman resident A.G. Rud asked councilmembers about their plans for dealing with the Mimosa building, which has been a point of concern for Main Street beautification.

Chapman said city councilmembers are looking into drafting new codes for the downtown area that might require regular inspections for vacant buildings. The inspections would cost a fee, which would incentivize the owners to make vacant buildings downtown into something useful.

The city cannot target one downtown business, and there are issues with requiring downtown landowners to decorate, Chapman said. Landowners might put something unsightly on their building out of spite and then say they have the free speech rights to do so.

In the last city council meeting, city attorney Laura McAloon presented a memorandum with examples of what other cities have done to regulate the appearance of downtown businesses. City councilmembers are determining what parts of those the city of Pullman could use.

Chapman said the city is looking at what other cities have done well and trying to apply that to Pullman while adapting it to Pullman’s community.

Other concerns with the downtown area are the trees, which have grown taller than expected, and the possibility of expanding sidewalks and bike parking.

Wright said the city is waiting until the BDS master plan is turned in during January before they make their own plans on how they will develop the downtown area.

Macoll said once the BDS plans are available, the city needs to begin work on the Main Street improvement plan.

“If we lose momentum on that, it will take us another twenty years to get [the Main Street improvement plan] back up again,” she said.

The library and the Maintenance & Operations Division have made great progress toward keeping good records for department efficiency and emphasizing transparency, Chapman said.

During the meeting, Chapman asked Joanna Bailey, library director for Neill Public Library, to share how the library has been improving user experience.

Bailey said the library has done what it can to make sure residents know the library is here for them. One issue is how long it takes for a book to get to the resident after it is ordered.

She said the library staff has been reevaluating their daily operations, finding what is redundant and eliminating that part of the process to become more efficient.

“It’s important to note that we went from a book taking three to six months from ordered to your hands. It’s now between ten and 12 days,” Bailey said.