After some debate, the Yachats City Council approved an issue for the May 20th ballot to ask the voters to approve the city spending up to $400,000 to buy property to substantially expand parking in the main commercial core area of town.
Under city code, the Yachats City Council cannot buy real estate on behalf of the city without permission ahead of time from voters.
During public comment several townspeople criticized the council for trying to buy land for parking when the “renovated downtown corridor” plan is not even fully developed. But Mayor Brean said whatever the final configuration might be, the town will need more designated parking – and a considerable amount of it. He also noted that during special events throughout the year, a lack of parking turns the town’s residential areas into a giant parking lot, much to the consternation of local homeowners and renters.
Mayor Brean says up to $400,000 would come from collections of fees and taxes from tourists deposited into the Visitor Amenities Fund. He added that no additional taxes, bond funding or fees will be necessary to finance the purchase. And to head off any confusion as to what the money is truly for, Mayor Brean said the ballot language was stripped of any reference to a “visitors center” as being part of the purchase. And as a result, Mayor Brean asked that the original request for authority to spend $600,000 on the project be reduced to $400,000.
Mayor Brean said the city would purchase property only from willing sellers – no eminent domain will be used. And that all monies not required for the purchase will be returned to the Visitor Amenities Fund for future purposes.
The ballot measure will appear on the May 20th ballot.
On another subject, after taking considerable public testimony at earlier council meetings on what some have called neighborhood-disruptive vacation rental properties, the city council has tightened controls over vacation property owners and those who manage them. Under the new rules, owners must post rules of occupancy and that vehicle parking is limited strictly to paved portions of the property. No parking on the grass. The rules must be posted in a conspicuous location and that a local contact is listed, complete with phone number. The contact/manager must live in either the Yachats or Waldport areas.