New Gig Harbor mayor, council members sworn in

Posted on December 15th, 2021 By:

A new mayor, three new and one returning council member and a new police officer were sworn in during Monday’s Gig Harbor City Council meeting.

Outgoing Mayor Kit Kuhn administered the oath of office to new council members Brenda Lykins, Roger Henderson and Seth Storset and to returning councilwoman Jeni Woock, as well as new mayor Tracie Markley. The new council members and mayor will begin work in January.

New mayor Tracie Markley took the Oath of Office at the Dec. 13 city council meeting. Markley and new council members will take their seats in January

New mayor Tracie Markley took the oath of office at Monday’s City Council meeting. Markley and new council members will take their seats in January. Charlee Glock-Jackson / Gig Harbor Now

Kuhn also swore-in the city’s newest police officer, Kelsey Burgin-Dove.

The Council confirmed the importance of arts and culture in Gig Harbor as it approved the addition of an arts and culture element to the comprehensive plan. The element has been in the works since 2015 when a text amendment was added to the parks and recreation section. Since then, members of the city’s arts commission and an ad hoc committee have worked to create a separate, stand-alone element championing arts and culture in all their many forms.

“Our comprehensive plan is a statement of what’s important to Gig Harbor today and to the future vision of Gig Harbor. Gig Harbor has a rich history of embracing art and culture,” Councilmember Woock said. She listed many arts events that take place in town, including summer music concerts in the parks, live music in local restaurants and coffee shops, the film festival, art shows, high school band performances and theater events. The amendment passed 6-1 with Jim Franich voting no.

Mayor Kuhn congratulates new councilman Roger Henderson after the Oath of Office

Mayor Kit Kuhn, right, congratulates new councilman Roger Henderson after he took the oath of office Monday. Also sworn in were new council members Brenda Lykins, Roger Henderson and Seth Storset and returning councilwoman Jeni Woock. Charlee Glock-Jackson / Gig Harbor Now

The Council updated the operating hours in its parks code. Parks are now open from dawn to 6 p.m. or dusk, whichever is later. The change was made in response to a request from the canoe and kayak team that it has adequate time in the winter to finish practice and store its boats.

The Council unanimously approved Milna and Selca, Croatia, and Bodø, Norway, as sister cities. Milna and Selca are neighboring cities on the island of Brač in the Adriatic Sea. Bodø is a coastal city on the Norwegian Sea in the Salten region. The partnerships are the result of Rotary Club-led efforts.

After a lengthy, heated discussion, the Council reluctantly approved a rezone from single-family residential (R-1) to planned residential development (PRD) in the McCormick Creek Phase III development. A development agreement approved by a previous council allowed creation of 170 lots for single-family homes and designated another lot for a public/private parking lot. The agreement saddles the future homeowners with upkeep, taxes and insurance on the parking lot. Because the Council had approved a related resolution earlier in the consent agenda, they had no choice but to approve the zoning change. Councilmember Bob Himes noted that when the current council banned development agreements in 2019, the ban included PRDs, and in the future such zoning changes will not be allowed.

New police officer Kelsey Burgin-Dove's husband pins on her new badge after she was sworn in by Mayor Kit Kuhn.

New police officer Kelsey Burgin-Dove’s husband pins on her badge after she was sworn in by Mayor Kit Kuhn, observed by Police Chief Kelly Busey. Charlee Glock-Jackson / Gig Harbor Now

The Council approved Resolution 1226 adopting the ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan for the Public Right-of-Way. It had reviewed the resolution at an earlier meeting and changes it requested were included in the approved resolution.

Also approved was a resolution to replace a backfill preventer for the wastewater treatment plant.

A resolution to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife didn’t move forward. It concerned possible mitigation credits from DFW for demolishing an old pier at Ancich Waterfront Park, with credits to potentially be applied to a future project at the park. The Council agreed that there was no “guarantee” that the mitigation credits would be applied, and declined to act on the MOU.

The next Council meeting will take place on Jan. 10 with the new mayor and council members taking their seats.