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Design standard committee not a good idea...says city of Grandview insurance provider

GRANDVIEW - The city of Grandview's insurance provider, Washington Cities Insurance Authority, has advised against the formation of a design standard committee, according to City Administrator Scott Staples.

Monday, he told Grandview City Council the insurance provider conducted a public works audit in September.

"Debbi Sellers (Senior Risk Management Representative for the insurance company) and I had an extended conversation and she expressed her concerns to council...basically, her company strongly recommends any (business and construction) applications are received by staff," shared Staples.

The city of Grandview in preparation for its "Downtown Alive" project had hoped to develop a design standard committee to assist staff in the approval process related to downtown property. The idea was the committee would assist when a property owner wished to appeal a design decision made by the city of Grandview.

Staples said the insurance company recommends the approval of any applications are to be handled by staff members. They advised any appeals should be resolved through the appellate process already in place. This means a hearing examiner must hear any appeals made in regard to property owners meeting design standards set in place by council.

"This is to protect the city's liability," Staples said, stating Washington Cities Insurance Authority is the authority to which the city turns in regards to liability issues.

"In the past we have been able to use Sherri Brockway, our architect, and she has been able to work with staff to resolve any situations that have arisen," said Staples.

He told council it would be best if the city heeded the advice of Sellers and the insurance company.

"I recognize that the city doesn't like to give up control when a conflict arises, turning to a hearing examiner...but, there's a reason the insurance authority does what it does," said Mayor Norm Childress.

The council, hearing what Staples had to say and reading the advice of Sellers, agreed to have an ordinance written to address the issue in accordance with the recommendations.

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