Lincoln City City Councilors covered a lot of ground Monday night including telling the Bruinier family of Portland that their upgraded 1962 billboard sign just west of East Devils Lake Road must be abandoned since a tree destroyed it recently. The council acknowledged that city codes allowed the family right to keep it since it was built before more restrictive laws were enacted on roadside signs. But since the sign was recently destroyed when high winds blew a tree down through it, the sign is now illegal. City Manager David Hawker said it would cost more than half of the cost of the total sign to repair it, and besides it’s on an undeveloped commercial lot. And undeveloped commercial lots are not to allowed to have such advertising signs put on them. The next move is now up to the family as to whether they will appeal the city’s council’s action to the Land Use Board of Appeals in Salem. No word from the family if they’re going to do that.
The city council moved ahead on creating a local improvement district for the Voyage and Lake Street areas of West Devil’s Lake. The project will bring city sewer lines to that part of the city rather than allow homes along those two streets to keep their aging septic tanks. Septic tanks in general are blamed to contributing to the lake’s low water quality. In addition to the sewer connections the two streets will be paved. Total cost to each home owner is estimated to be around $6,500. There was some discussion about where system development charges play into the equation. That issue was left for another council meeting.
Lincoln City Cultural Center Director Nikki Price gave the council an annual report on how the center is doing. In so many words Price said things are much improved over the past year. Price said membership has remained substantial, grants have been won, and that more emphasis will be placed on programs and their use of center facilities with a view to becoming more self-sufficient. Visitorship was up in 2012 along with the number of hours donated by volunteers.
Price said the center has hired a first-ever Director for the Chessman Gallery who will make the gallery more attractive and compelling for art lovers.
But there are problems on the horizon for the center, Price said. The big one is the center’s leaky roof which will not be cheap to replace. Other maintenance issues and enlisting greater community involvement with the center will take even more energy and fundraising and grant writing, along with continued “city involvement,” which is a code word for funds. The city’s contribution to Price’s salary is scheduled to end at the end of June, to be replaced, ostensibly with funds the center raises itself.
The council expressed their gratitude to Price for her imaginative approach to getting the center back on its feet but agreed with her that a lot is still up in the air and that both the center and the city must work close together to develop the best entertainment and programming ideas in order to keep growing the center.
The council also gave it’s thumbs up to extend a contract with Trout Mountain Forestry to begin planning a “gentle touch” logging of some of the overcrowded stands of trees within the Agnes Creek open space area. It appears that Trout Mountain will begin removing trees in the crowded stands sometime this summer. City Manager David Hawker said Trout Mountain will leave behind a forest that will begin to produce bigger and healthier trees, more resistent to disease and insects and provide better habitat for wildlife. The city will also derive income from the sale of the trees, now that the log market is coming back.
The city is still trying to develop a fair way to lower the water bills of those who suffered unanticipated water loss through vandalism, leaky toilets or leaky pipes under their homes. Some of those higher water bills can run into the hundreds of dollars. City officials say they need more time to work out the specific details of limited “cost sharing” with residents so they don’t have to pay much more than half of the increase, while being limited to one such occurrence over a five year period. The council will take it up again at a later meeting.
And the council received some advance information on Tsunami Preparedness activities coming up in the county – one of them May 7th at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. Public outreach programs begin at 3pm and 7pm and run a couple of hours apiece. Earthquake/Tsunami Preparedness kits will be passed out along with the latest tsunami inundation zone maps so everybody can see if they’re “in the zone.” If they are, they should refer to escape route information provided in the kits. Other Earthquake/Tsunami Information sessions are occurring over all of Lincoln County. All new inundation maps will be passed out in all coastal areas of the county – including Toledo. Door to door information campaigns are also anticipated.Share on Facebook