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11/28/2012 12:36:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Photo by Kacie Thrift
New speed limit signs have been installed along River Street in order to slow down traffic on the narrow street. Ray Schmitten of Cashmere has made a proposal to have part of River Street re-zoned so he can build a laundromat on his property. Some are concerned about the parking on the street, However, Cashmere Mayor Jeff Gomes said parking is only allowed on one side of the street.
Planning Commission approves new laundromat
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer

Local orchardist Ray Schmitten is one step closer to putting in a laundromat on River Street after the Cashmere Planning Commission approved his proposal to change the zoning district designation and comprehensive plan land use of his property at 312 River St. at the public hearing on Nov. 19.

Early this fall, Schmitten submitted a proposal to the city of Cashmere to change the zoning district designation and comprehensive plan land use map from multi-family to warehouse industrial on approximately half an acre. Schmitten wants to turn the property into a commercial laundromat for his employees that work in his pear orchards and locals. He recently purchased the property to use for extra housing and decided there was also a need for a place to do laundry.

The current multi-family zoning for the property has strict rules against laundromats so Schmitten wants his property zone changed. The planning commission, Cashmere Director of Planning and Building Mark Botello, Schmitten and Cashmere Mayor Jeff Gomes were the only ones in attendance. However, Cashmere resident David Swift sent a letter to be read as public comment during the hearing.

Swift wrote in his letter that he owns the property adjoining Schmitten's property. His main concern was if the zoning change did not include his property at 306 River St. Botello said the zoning change would not include his property.

Swift said another concern is the parking for the possible laundromat.

"There is definitely no room on the street with the photography business parking overflow on the street and the general public that parks on the street," Swift wrote.

Botello said the parking on River Street has been an issue before but Schmitten has room for a designated parking lot behind the building.

Another concern of Swift's is safety for children in the area because of the park across from the purposed laundromat. Swift said, because the road is narrow, the city or the business owner should be responsible for children-at-play signs, speed signs, and speed bumps.

Botello spoke with Chelan County Public Works, who are not fans of speed bumps because they create problems in the winter when city staff tries to plow. Gomes said the city recently had new speed limit signs put up on both ends of River Street by Sunset Highway and another one at Cashmere Valley Bank.

Planning Commissioner Ann Chipman suggested looking at changing the speed limit through River Street because a new business will increase traffic.

"The fact that it is a terrible road, as far as if you have people parked on either side. It becomes a one way road basically. You have to pull over and wait for somebody else to go by before you can get around," Chipman said.

Gomes said rarely people park on both sides because it is signed that only one side is for parking. He said he worked on River Street for 40 years, and on the same property Schmitten is proposing to change used to a laundromat. He said there was never a traffic problem with the old laundromat.

To address Swift's issues, Botello told the planning commissioners both speed limit signs and caution children-at-play signs have already been put up on River Street.

"The thought that occurred to me is we are talking about a laundromat. It's not like it's a Wal-Mart. It won't be bumper to bumper traffic on this street," said Planning Commissioner Chair, Dick Ryan. "It looks to be that a lot of his [Swift's] concerns are dealt with one way or another except for the things about the speed bumps."

Schmitten told the planning commissioners if the proposal is not approved, he will be using the property as housing for his employees.

By a three to one vote, the submitted proposal will be recommended to the Cashmere City Council, as is, for approval. Chipman, who voted against the proposal, said her problem is about the zoning change, not the idea for a laundromat.

The council held a public hearing on the proposal to change the comprehensive land use map and the zoning from multi-family to warehouse industrial on Nov. 26 but results were unavailable at press time. If the council approves the application, then the planning commission will discuss amending the zoning map and the comprehensive plan land use at their next meeting on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 782-3781 or

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