Port Townsend: Split council approves mediation program

PORT TOWNSEND — The City Council voted Tuesday night to begin a program that would help settle disagreements between residents.

The council voted 4-3 to establish the voluntary dispute resolution program, which would use volunteer mediators to resolve neighbors’ disputes over issues ranging from noise complaints to pet waste.

“This will decrease the amount of staff time spent by the city on these matters,” said Mayor Kees Kolff. Kolff voted in support of establishing the program with Councilwomen Michelle Sandoval, Freida Fenn, and Catharine Robinson.

Councilmen Geoff Masci, Al Youse and Joe Finnnie opposed the measure.

Masci said the program, although voluntary, is a “needless bureaucratic intrusion into people’s lives.”

He said the fact the program is non-mandatory makes it “toothless and ineffective.” He said dispute resolution programs offered in the private sector are “underutilized there.”

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The rest of the story appears in the Thursday Peninsula Daily News. Click on SUBSCRIBE to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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