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Depoe Bay: Bearing gifts, vacation home rentals and another step closer to restroom renewal on the harbor

Depoe Bay City Council Archive photo

Depoe Bay City Council
Archive photo

The Depoe Bay City Council is like most councils – if somebody wants to donate something to the city then they’re more than willing to take a look a what the gift entails. In the case of the gift brought before the council this week, the council decided to take a long hard look at the gift – the short and long term effects of the gift and it’s financial impact on local agencies, like the county, the fire district and others, that derive taxes from it.

The gift is two tax lots off Combs, north of Collins, both of them parking lots. The owner wants to donate them to the city on the condition that the city would be forever barred from selling them or using them for anything else but parking. A couple of councilors mentioned that the only difference would be that the parking lots would be maintained by the city while the Granat Family Trust no longer paid taxes on them.

City Councilor Dorinda Goddard questioned what would happen if the city some day wanted to do an urban renewal district or other redevelopment project that might change the land use on the parking lots. Would the family approve if the same or additional parking was created in the process? For these and other questions the council decided to punt on the issue, referring the matter to the city planner and city attorney for their review and comments.

Depoe Bay’s Economic Development Committee approached the city with an idea that could spur more room tax revenue for the town by expanding vacation home rentals (VRD) to all land use zones throughout Depoe Bay. The idea drew a quick rebuke from Councilors Dorinda Goddard and Barbara Leff who referred to the long and bitter battle over that very same issue some years back which produced the current ordinance on VRD’s. Councilor Zeke Olsen said he wasn’t around when all that was going on but would like to see the idea seriously reconsidered. Goddard and Leff said VRDs are a very sensitive issue because of their all-too-frequent disruptive nature in otherwise quiet residential neighborhoods. Both councilors said the issue nearly tore the town apart before the current VRD program was adopted. They added that expanding VRD use in Depoe Bay would certainly affect the incomes of local hotels and motels in the city.

The council decided to refer the “VRD in all zones” proposal back to the Economic Development Committee with the hope it would do some research into the long road the city traveled while coming to a consensus about where VRD’s can be set up and regulated. The matter may also be referred to the city planning commission.

And it appears that the city is drawing ever closer to having a renewed lease signed with the Robison Brothers who rents restroom facilities to the city on behalf of the public who visit the harbor. There has been a series of misunderstandings between city councilors and the Robison brothers on what is a fair lease or whether the city could launch their own restroom facilities down there. It’s been established that there are no spots large enough to do that. So the council asked City Clerk Recorder Pery Murray to research back to the original leases and see what the terms were and what was expected of each side of the deal. The issue is expected to be fully clarified at the second City Council meeting in January with an eye to having a new lease in hand and signed soonafter.

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