Yelm Community Center
Photo credit: Yelm Chamber of Commerce
* Yelm’s Mayor & City Council conducted a Town Hall forum to get feedback.
* The public forum was conducted Friday, Nov. 4, 7-8pm, Yelm Community Center.
* Two issues for discussion: allowing marijuana retailers and food trucks in Yelm.
* Food Truck regulations proposal submitted by the Yelm Business Assn. (YBA)
* Excellent comments for both issues.
* The last public Town Hall community forum was in 2004 for proposed NASCAR track (though not city-led).
The first city-led Town Hall public forum in Yelm in over a dozen years was conducted tonight by Interim Mayor JW Foster, with the city council observing and listening.
There were approximately 40 persons in-audience, which was held at the Yelm Community Center. The council was not allowed to ask questions of the speakers, to which Councilor Joe DePinto shook his head in disagreement. I heard from several audience members wondering why councilor questions were not allowed, especially since this was an information gathering meeting. Now city staff will have to vet the publicly-stated facts on city payroll time, where councilors’ questions could have zeroed-in on details.
The public was invited to speak, limited to 3 minutes each, though could return for follow-up comments. While a broad cross-section of local citizens and representatives from each industry spoke (i.e. Washington Food Truck Assn, Labor Union representative of cannabis retailers), approximately 80% of the speakers voiced support in favor of each issue. Mr. Foster said the city staff will verify the facts presented, provide to the city council, with the council having on their agenda at a future designated time.
Interestingly, Interim Mayor Foster asked the council for permission to extend the session by 15 minutes to allow comments on other issues not related to food trucks and marijuana retailers for Yelm. There were none. The city had previously announced these two were the lone issues the council would hear. Therefore, citizens with other issues did not attend. Foster should conduct another Town Hall allowing citizens to voice their concerns on any topic. He closed the meeting saying there would be more Town Hall forums, to rousing applause!
BRAVO to Interim Mayor Foster for conducting and to councilors Stillwell and DePinto for proposing this Town Hall!