KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
Mayor Melody VanCamp addresses the crowd during her final Ely City Council meeting last Thursday.

The Ely Times

Mayor Melody VanCamp held her last meeting as the mayor for the City of Ely at last Thursday’s City Council meeting.

City Clerk Jennifer Lee presented both VanCamp and Councilwoman Jolene Gardner with flowers, and thanked them for their dedicated service to the city.  

VanCamp noted that she had a few things she wanted to say. 

“Winston Churchill once said, success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts,” she said. “For five and a half years it’s been a wild, roller coaster ride, and I’m proud to say I’ve only missed three meetings of that wild ride.” 

Vancamp thanked all of the city staff from administrative, to public works, roads, city council members and the city attorney.  

“When I walked into City Hall for the first time as an appointed official, Jennifer Lee picked up her notebook and said ‘What can I do for you.’ And that’s been the way it’s been for the last 5 1/2 years. She has been a wonderful woman, filling two jobs at the same time while being shorthanded, you will be a great city clerk.” 

VanCamp expressed how she was looking forward to returning to her business Sew Krazy, while wishing the new council and mayor the best of luck. 

“Chuck (Odgers), thank you for your attention to detail, your thoroughness, and months of 50 hour plus work weeks. You get more flack than credit, a thank  you isn’t enough but I do appreciate everything you have done.” 

When the hearing for the approval of the permit for the Learning Bridge came before the council, Teri Doty read her letter of support before the council.  

“I do 100 percent support the relocation of Learning Bridge Charter School to the proposed location on the 13th street,” Doty said. “To me, the charter school represents choice for families, and that is something that has been sorely lacking in our community since I moved here in 1996.  

“If the charter school had been in operation while my children were young enough to attend, I would have cheerfully enrolled them there. If the White Pine School District was adequately serving all families, no one would need to seek an alternative like Learning Bridge or home school type education.  I sincerely hope this variance is granted, as Learning Bridge Charter School has been a godsend to the families of children in attendance there.”

Odgers explained to the council that the planning commission recommended to approve the item, but with the caveat to have the developers follow with a traffic study.  This item was approved unanimously. 

The council also held a hearing and agenda item to approve consideration of an application for reclassification of property zoning of the property located at 18th Street north of Avenue M in Ely.  

The item was discussed, and it was noted that  a 200-foot buffer zone between residential and manufacturing zone was recommended. The buffer was for the  northeast and south side of Avenue M.

Councilman Kurt Carson qusetioned how the lots were going to be divided.

Odgers said, “I believe 13 or 15,  a developer will take those lots and create a subdivision.”  

Carson said, “So I don’t know why the county wants to pursue this avenue at this point, and flood the market, and really I would think it would be a good idea, to maybe not  promote a lot of new subdivision maybe you could actually pursue an avenue where you give a percentage to where we could take some of these dilapidated homes, clean them up and build homes on that, instead of expanding out?”

Hanson said, “It’s a good thought, one of our critical needs though is housing, we have a critical housing shortage.”

Carson said, “I don’t know how you can say that when there’s 15 undeveloped lots down there.”

Councilman Sam Hanson answered Carson’s comment explaining the  difficulty of getting the contractors in who want to commit to building homes.  

“I like the idea you said, tearing down older smaller homes, and building newer homes,  but  somehow a middle ground can be reached for affordable housing. 

“It might one of the projects in a couple of years, where we are going to need housing, eventually there is going to be something going on with the railroad with expansion looking down the road you need to do something.” Hanson said. 

The motion was made to approve the item, and it was approved unanimously.