The Pullman City Council unanimously passed a revised ordinance that strengthens enforcement of COVID-19-related codes at parties.

The new public nuisance code and nuisance party code language now include violations of public health emergency orders and governor proclamations.

The Pullman Police Department in recent weeks has stepped up its enforcement at parties that exceed the 10-person limit where people are not following mask and social distancing rules. Currently, police are issuing infractions to the party host.

One of the changes in the revised code allows police officers to issue citations for individuals attending the party, as well. Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said this is in response to incidents where the party organizer collects money from the party guests to pay for his or her fine.

Under the revised code, the minimum penalty for a nuisance party increases from $150 to $250. A court appearance is mandatory and subsequent violations bring a penalty of $500.

Police in the past three weeks have issued infractions at 18 parties.

The city council also voted to deny a zone change that would pave the way for a 395-bedroom apartment building near a busy intersection.

The “Stadium Way Student Housing” project from Gilbane Development Company was proposed between Ritchie Street and Nye Street, near Stadium Way.

Many residents were concerned the increase of students living in that area would lead to dangerous levels of traffic as well as unwanted noise. Several city councilors on Tuesday expressed similar concerns.

The Pullman Planning Commission last month recommended the City Council deny the zone change from R3 medium density multifamily residential to R4 high density multi-family residential.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Glenn Johnson announced that City Administrator Adam Lincoln has accepted a position with the City of Pasco.

Lincoln has been the Pullman city administrator for four years. Johnson said Lincoln will stay with Pullman until mid-October.

The council discussed the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money it has been allotted to spend on COVID-19-related expenditures. Earlier this month, the council expressed a desire to use a portion of the more than $500,000 on marketing tourism in the city of Pullman. The city is currently seeking proposals from professionals to implement a promotional campaign.

Hailey Lewis, government affairs specialist for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, said SEL is concerned about spending CARES Act money on marketing a “COVID-19 hot spot.” She said SEL is asking Pullman to spend that money on increasing affordable COVID-19 testing in the community instead.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

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