The Lincoln City City Council was supposed to meet on March 11th at 6pm. THE MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED!
The next meeting of the Lincoln City City Council is now set for March 25th, 6pm, at City Hall.Share on Facebook
Lincoln City Mayor Dick Anderson gave a somewhat upbeat view of the State of the City Tuesday, telling the Chamber of Commerce that much was accomplished in 2012 but there is more yet to do in 2013. He said despite the continued sluggish economy, those who make an effort can make big improvements in their own lives as well as contributing to the overall health and well being of the city. He praised Lincoln City’s first responders; North Lincoln Fire Rescue, Lincoln City Police and their many volunteers who make excellent emergency services available to Lincoln City and to its neighbors.
Mayor Anderson said that the city’s revenue picture is bright, but it may take a while to get there. He said although the city will be saving money by refinancing utility bonds and the successful completion of urban renewal projects, the big challenge will be the proposed annexation of Roads End into the city. The annexation will add more revenue to the city’s general fund without raising taxes on the rest of the city. Anderson and the council have said often that Roads End residents are enjoying urban services from next door Lincoln City without having to pay for them. Annexation, he says, will change that, although it will be a bumpy process involving administrative challenges to state land use law, the courts, and ultimately to the state legislature. But in the end, he predicts, Roads End will become part of the Lincoln City family.
Mayor Anderson also heralded the city’s expansion of video outreach to Lincoln City residents (and the world), not only with delayed broadcasts of city council and planning commission meetings on local cable tv, but also by the recent addition of LIVE internet broadcast of those same two groups on the Internet which can be viewed 24/7 immediately after the live broadcast concludes. He said hundreds of viewers watch the city council and planning commission every time they appear on the air and on the Internet.
Mayor Anderson said that Lincoln City’s recreation programs are healthy and serving hundreds of Lincoln City youngsters – 370 of them recently learning how to swim at the recreation center. Hundreds more participate in indoor soccer.
Attracting tourists continues to be the prime directive for the Lincoln City Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB). The VCB this week showed the council how social media like Facebook is becoming a primary magnet to draw more visitors to Lincoln City with verifiable results. To that end Mayor Anderson reported that gross hotel/motel room occupancy rates rose just under 6% in 2012 – no small fete in the middle of the country’s worst economic slow down since the Great Depression.
Also coming to somewhat of a culmination will be council-adopted regulations to keep Vacation Rental Dwellings even more of a tax revenue asset to the city while making them better neighbors to everyone around them.
Mayor Anderson also touted the beginning of real progress at upgrading the Nelscott Gap along Highway 101 to SW 32nd. He said 2013 will be the year the upgrade will be designed – then the next two years for actually building it. Mayor Anderson said the city is still working with Lincoln County officials to raise the level of East Devils Lake Road to enhance migrating fish and other water depended wildlife; working with the Siletz Tribe to upgrade the intersections at 101 and East Devils Lake Road and the Neotsu post over. Mayor also re-emphasized addressing the town’s crosswalk challenge, launching a septic tank replacement program for a number of homes on the west shore of Devils Lake.
Although Anderson made it a point to express his dismay that Lincoln City (if not the whole Centreal Coast) is an island of high gas prices compared to the rest of the state. Anderson said he’s a supporter of America’s Free Market, but that something must be done to stop the wild spikes in the prices we pay for gasoline.
And finally, some predictions for 2013 from Mayor Anderson. He said the nation’s economy is healing, although rather slowly. He told the audience that 2013 will not be a boom year that leads the country out of our long term economic slowdown. He called on business leaders to not wait to do something good on a big scale. He said visitors to Lincoln City need to see the town’s buildings come to life via upgraded maintenance as has been seen at Imprints and the Rocking Horse Antique Store. Mayor implored hotel/motel and other hospitality business men and women to welcome our tourists with smiles and top notch customer service.
Anderson concluded by saying, “It is often in times of great uncertainty that weaknesses emerge and threaten the future of a community. But it is the strength of a community that is on display as those weaknesses are corrected. Keep calm and carry on!…I believe better days are head for Lincoln City!”Share on Facebook
Lincoln City City Councilors took their first flight through the clouds of how best to regulate Vacation Rental Dwellings. And it appears they came in for, perhaps, not a smooth landing – but it was a pretty good one.
The council is reviewing a very detailed set of findings made recently by VRD owners, operator/managers, residents and other stakeholder groups as to how to keep VRD’s working well for their owners and commercial servicers, and for surrounding neighbors. In the past there have been horrific stories about wild parties, continuous bad behavior, chaotic parking and garbage issues and other problem that have made neighbors, if not whole neighborhoods miserable. And they want something done about it. Currently the city planning commission is reviewing the findings. And now the city council is weighing in.
During Tuesday’s workshop, the council said most of the more useful controls on how VRD’s are regulated and fined for bad management is found in the licensing of VRD’s The council liked the fact that VRD licenses have hooks that can get the property manager and owner’s attention. Fines can be substantial. Licenses can be revoked. Specific requirements in order to hang onto a license can be clearly laid out whether it’s about noise, illegal parking or trash/garbage problems. Councilors seemed to agree that property managers and owners must be kept in the loop when the police are called on noise, parking or garbage problems. Fining the tenants, they felt, only made the city appear to be too tough on tourists. It might hurt the city’s reputation. However, if the tenants are terribly out of control steps must be taken obviously. However, owners and property managers need to know immediately when complaints are filed and what actions were taken. And if there is a continued pattern of violations, then the specter of losing their VRD license comes into play.
On issues of parking, there are instances when there just isn’t enough. Councilors seemed to agree that a certain number of spaces should be required but that the garage should not be counted, because VRD’s garages are seldom used. There were discussions among the councilors about issuing a number of “parking permits or passes” that can be used at public parking lots.
The council appeared agreeable to dividing up the city into VRD YES and NO zones. VRD’s already established in NO zones would be treated the same as VRD’s in YES zones. Those in NO zones could be phased out upon the sale of the property. Other conditions might apply.
Councilors also talked about what are called Best Management Practices” or BMP’s. The council said VRD owners and property managers could get together and craft a list of do’s and don’ts about VRD’s and the way their run. The city would be willing to post them on the city website for public information and educational purposes. They would be recommended with no force of law or regulations behind them. More of a benchmark that hopefully would head off problems before they grow into violations of a business license.
As for illegally operating VRD’s, the council seemed comfortable with fines of $5,000 for the first offense, $10,000 for the second, and $25,000 for the third. City Manager David Hawker said, “These fines cannot be slaps on the wrist. It’s gotta hurt. That’s what these fine levels do. We can’t let fines be factored into the cost of doing business for the very lucrative vacation rental dwelling industry.”
In the meantime, the city planning commission is reviewing the VRD issue and will forward their set of recommendations to the city council. The council will also be holding further workshops on it. And then, sometime this year, all three sets of data and opinions will come together in a city council hearing, or sets of hearings, to formulate a new set of VRD ordinances to regulate their operations in Lincoln City.Share on Facebook
The Lincoln City City Council Monday evening got an up close and personal view of the future of tourism promotion, regardless of where a tourist destination might be anywhere in the world. Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) Director Sandy Pfaff and her social networking assistant laid out the new “facts of life” that are revolutionizing tourism promotion all over the world.
Pfaff described the exploding use of the city’s Facebook page and visitors website by thousands of visitors who are zeroing in on various attractions that Lincoln City has to offer; it’s hotels and shopping, natural environment and special events, restaurants and arts and crafts. Pfaff says the VCB’s Facebook page and website requires monitoring 7 days a week for as many hours as are humanly possible because the demand for information, questions being asked and recommended things to do in and around Lincoln City, is nearly non-stop. Pfaff says when somebody engages the VCB via their Facebook page, they expect a thorough answer and very quickly. VCB’s Facebook hits are in the hundreds of thousands, some of whom figure things out for themselves using the resources on the page, while others want personal contact.
With Mayor Dick Anderson leading the charge, councilors wanted to know if major tourism destination properties in Lincoln City are linking to each other so as to better satisfy the curiosity of potential visitors on what’s available for lodging, dining and recreation. The answer seemed to be a definite “no.” Pfaff explained that each property is worried that if they link to other properties, they might lose customers. Pfaff said it is far better that they link than to “stovepipe” each other which requires a lot more effort on the part of potential visitors to find out what’s going on.
On another front, City Manager David Hawker predicts that lodging properties will eventually be asked to report their occupancy rates in order to gauge the effectiveness of various tourism promotions. He said although just the thought of revealing such data scares property owners to death, such reporting in the future may be required in order to better fine tune local events and various promotions in order to ensure more visitors for everybody. By having the occupancy data, they’ll find out what works and what doesn’t. The key, says Hawker, is keeping that data absolutely confidential – shared with no one except for the few eyes charged with directing tourism strategies. He said working together to cross-promote events and activities that compliment each other, or offering entertainment centered around a common theme, can draw more and more visitors who add to everybody’s bottom line. Interlinking websites among major Lincoln City businesses will only get more important as time goes on.
Pfaff says the social media is immediate; it’s filled with tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people who are already motivated to have a good time on the coast. She says Lincoln City is getting accustomed to meeting their desires and preferences. And she predicts it can get a lot busier if they master this relatively new method of directing demand to Lincoln City via social media on the internet.Share on Facebook
The Lincoln City Council reluctantly recommended approval of the transfer of ownership of the Nauti Mermaid Bar and Bistro, at 1343 Highway 101, to a gentleman from the valley, saying they hope the new owner will be a good neighbor. Police records show a number of complaints about the Nauti Mermaid from neighbors going back quite a ways. One neighbor told the council that the bar has been loud and rowdy; patrons outside the bar even frightening his wife. He also made a contention about some patron behavior that has no place being described on a “G” rated news website.
The council was told that the new owner is from the Willamette Valley and has a good record running a tavern in a small town over there. Clerk Recorder Cathy Steere said she received a letter from him saying he couldn’t attend the council meeting but that he intends to run a good clean neighborhood establishment if the council goes along and recommends approval of the sale and transfer of the facility’s liquor license by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).
The council was told by their city attorney that although the OLCC has final say on all this, the council could temper their endorsement of the sale and license transfer by including some of the statements made before the council as well as copies of complaints filed with the Lincoln City Police Department alleging a long history of loud music as well as unruly patrons outside the establishment.
The council voted to do just that. They recommended to the OLCC that they approve the transfer of ownership and the liquor license to the prospective new owner. The vote also included instructions to the city attorney and city manager to come up with a city ordinance that establishes a legal procedure that the council could use to recommend denial of an application which it does not currently have on the books.Share on Facebook
A Seattle man sleeping in his R/V parked at a Lincoln City R/V resort was awakened early this morning by the barking of one of his two dogs. Jim Martin told North Lincoln Fire Rescue Captain Jim Kusz that he instantly smelled smoke and quickly discovered flames in the back portion of his R/V. Capt. Kusz said Martin grabbed a fire extinguisher but it didn’t work. Assistant Chief Doug Kerr determined that the fire had already grown too big anyway for the fire extinguisher to handle.
First-in fire units arrived to a fully engulfed RV fire. Firefighters managed to knock down the blaze quickly, but due the nature of R/V fires (they burn hot and fast), Martin’s 36-foot Holiday Rambler R/V was destroyed. His SUV parked right outside sustained heat damage there at the Premier R/V Resort off SE 101.
Martin praised his Blue Healer mix “Ryse” for saving his life as well as his other dog “Bryse.” All three escaped uninjured.
Captain Kusz and Assistant Chief Doug Kerr recommend smoke alarms in any dwelling, temporary or not. They say Martin claimed to have a smoke alarm in his R/V, but it wasn’t determined if it had been activated. Keep your smoke alarm battery fresh. Captain Kusz says he keeps several fire extinguishers in his home spaced throughout the house and garage remembering to keep them in specific spaces for quick access. He says seconds count as he and his fire fighters have clearly shown throughout the county with their “Burn to Learn” demonstration trailer as to how fast fires can grow and kill.Share on Facebook
From: Let There Be Arts
As a result of our recent naming contest the Regatta Lake Creature has a new name. The name combines two entries submitted by two students.
Rachel Scheuing, Taft Elementary 3rd grader, who entered the name SPARKY, and Allyson Hall, Oceanlake Elementary 2nd grader, who entered WISH GUARDIAN.
The Lake Creature was created by local artist, Heidi Erickson, and was constructed by Erickson and her fellow metal sculptor, Doug Kroger. It was commissioned by Lincoln City’s Public Arts Committee and was two years in the making. It was installed at Regatta Park in August, 2012. The naming contest was held during the month of December and there were 256 names submitted by student at Oceanlake and Taft Elementary Schools, as well as from the community at large. Those entries were given to a small committee that selected 13 names they thought were good candidates. Those 13 were then give to the artist, Heidi Erickson, and her assistant, Doug Kroger, for the final selection. They decided to combine two names. Nobody involved in the selection knew who submitted the names, so it’s wonderful that both schools are represented!
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE FINALISTS:
Levi Cotter, Taft, 3rd, SPIKE
Zion Elking, Oceanlake, 1st, SMILEY
Logan Meyer, Taft, 2nd, REGATTA
Erika Ariss, Taft, 3rd, REGATTA
Elizabeth Melo, Oceanlake, 2nd, LOVELY
Bridget Marsh, Oceanlake, 2nd, SILVER RED HEART
Angelina Kubic, Taft, 2nd, LINCOLN
Enzlo Towery, Oceanlake, 1st, BUZZ
Sam Colbert, Taft, 4th, BOB
Gage Pearson, Oceanlake, 2nd, GUARDIAN OF LOVE
Bear Reyes, Oceanlake, 2nd, GUARDIAN OF THE LAKE
Thank you to all who participated. There were many wonderful ideas and it was a tough decision!Share on Facebook
Lincoln City City Manager David Hawker recently announced that he expected the city to save a significant amount of interest through a resale of some of the city’s outstanding municipal bonds. But he said in a news release issued this morning that the savings on this week’s 2005 sewer bond resale, which takes advantage of current low interest rates, the savings were quite substantial; well over a million dollars which Lincoln City taxpayers won’t have to pay.
Hawker praised city Financial Planner Ron Tierney for assembling a re-auction of the bonds which took several months to accomplish. Hawker said Tierney re-packaged the current bonds which were earlier auctioned at an interest rate of 4.53% and put them back on the bond market for re-sale. The $8.9 Million still unpaid were re-sold at a rate of 2.44% – a savings of $1.224 Million. Hawker said “Bonds are paid with sewer bills, property taxes and system development charges. The amount we need from these will be less.”Share on Facebook
ODOT’s Jerry Wolcott told the Lincoln City City Council Monday night that they think the got it right in accommodating an historic building involved in the 25th to 32nd street improvements to Highway 101 in the Nelscott area. The old Nelscott Mercantile, now a wine shop, was declared an historically important building, having been constructed in 1927 by Frank Hallock for the Nelscott Land Company.
Wolcott said in order to preserve the building, they will be raising the road surface of SW 32nd by three feet and constructing a sidewalk around the north side of the mercantile building. They will also be “bullnozing” the corner which will contain a sidewalk and a north-side walkway along with preserving parking on SW 32nd.
From 32nd north to 25th, ODOT will be widening the road to include a center turn lane and west side bicycle and pedestrian paths. They will put in full curb, gutter and sidewalks on both sides along with new storm drains and new paving. And there will be a new signal light at 32nd. Wolcott said the project is weighing in at over $18 million, a lot more than originally forecasted, “But that’s what happens when you go from conceptual drawings to an actual project,” Wolcott said. “But we’ll find some cost savings as we get into construction.”
Wolcott said they’ll start the project in the Spring of next year, with a two year construction period. He said its going to be tough going as they move traffic back and forth across the right of way as they build the improvements, but in two years when it’s done, it will be a lot easier to get from one end of Lincoln City to the other.Share on Facebook
The Lincoln City City Council Monday night decided to take the first step in creating a special taxing district to bring city sewer service to the west shore of Devil’s Lake thereby reversing some of the less than healthy conditions of its water at certain times of the year. Aging septic systems around the lake are blamed for its poor water quality. The council voted to instruct city staff to draw up a resolution that describes property owners in the NE Voyage, NE Lake and NE 15th Street neighborhoods paying a property tax override to install sewer pipes and pumps for 57 homes in the area. Total tax bill over the life of the financing runs around $22,000 per household when it’s all said and done.
The council said it was time to stop talking about reversing the decline in the lake’s water quality and start doing something about it. Councilors were reminded that most septic tanks around Devil’s Lake are failing, or are close to failing, due to age. They were told that the cost of a new septic system is about the same as the city sewer install; homeowners pay either way.
However, some of the affected neighbors disputed the claims adding they don’t believe the city’s contention that 70% of the property owners within the boundaries of the “Local Improvement District” (LID) favor the sewer project. They also claimed financial hardship and did not want to be forced to hook in. The city contends it does have signed petition signatures of property owners amounting to 70% of the LID properties. They also hinted there may be a way to be flexible with financial hardship households in the LID.
As part of the project, the gravel roads in the area would be paved and maintained by the city. City officials said the city might be able to pick up 30% of the cost of that part of the project thereby reducing the total cost to the neighborhood.
That resolution outlining the special taxing district will likely be back before the council within the next month.Share on Facebook