Corrected start time: 6pm
There may be a “hot time” in the ole Newport City Hall Tuesday evening. The city council has been given a very hot potato by its planning commission. It’s the geologic hazard portion of Newport’s master land use plan. At the nudging of the state Land Conservation and Development Commission earlier this year, city planners have been grappling with how to make coastal bluff and dune back development safer, or at least more “out in the open” for land or home buyers relating to “high risk or active movement/slide” areas of the coast.
A very sticky point with many coastal bluff/dune back owners is not that they have to have a geologic study done on their property prior to selling or building on it, it’s just they don’t want to have to record on their deed that they are in “a high hazard or active” geologic area. They say such a recording is a black eye which can lower their property values and make their property harder to sell. They claim there’s already enough disclosure requirements under state real estate law. They complain that another notification of the status of the property is unwarranted. And a number of real estate brokers, title companies and banks agree with them.
However, City Community Development Director Derek Tokos and City Attorney Penelope McCarthy disagree. They contend that other cities and counties in Oregon have near identical requirements as proposed in the Newport ordinance which further protects taxpayers from lawsuits from those who may buy a home or lot, only to see it slide down a hill onto the beach or into a neighbor’s home. They say information placed on a property’s deed, a hold harmless clause, coupled with an indemnification statement is what’s necessary to keep Newport taxpayers from being dragged into court if something goes wrong. McCarthy also points to a statement from the city’s insurance company that they want the stricter reporting requirements as well.
The Newport Planning Commission wrestled with the issue for months, only recently deciding that it has become more politics than planning. So it’s now squarely in the laps of the city council.
The council will also be asked to consider creating a downtown Newport parking district which will assess fees on businesses in a defined area to help reorganize parking and to make it more convenient for shoppers.
Newport Police will also request that the wildly successful Saturday Farmers Market organization hire certified flaggers next year to improve crosswalk safety at SW Angle and Highway 101, where a fair number of market-goers cross the busy highway to get to the market. Police Chief Mark Miranda says he has assigned emphasis patrols to the crosswalk and even deployed police volunteers to monitor and guide pedestrians across. But he said it’s time that the market fix the safety problem with hired flaggers.
And the Surfrider Foundation is proposing a project at the south end of city hall that might bump up against the farmers market…a rain garden. Rain gardens are planted with native vegetation that receive rain run-off from sidewalks, roofs and other hard surfaces and directs those flows into the ground rather than filling up storm drains. Surfrider Foundation member Charlie Plybon has approached the council with an already approved grant to fund the project. And city staff seems to like the idea. Many rain garden information workshops have been held in the area over the last year or two, so there appears to be more and more interest in the devices.
The Newport City Council gets down to business Tuesday night, at 6pm.Share on Facebook