Lincoln City City Council – The Neighborhoods and Counting Cars in and out of the city…and Roads End Annexation is now officially irrevocable.
Getting a Handle on Neighborhood Concerns
City Manager David Hawker announced Monday night that the annexation of the Roads End area is now finally consummated. He told his city council that no one protested the annexation so now it’s official. The Roads End area officially now enjoys regular law enforcement and guaranteed sewer and water service as well as regular access to other city services, including local rates at the community and recreation center.
In return, the city won’t have to continue being forced to act as a frequent and unpaid safety net for Roads End when far flung county sheriff’s deputies are out of position to respond to high profile 9-1-1 calls from the Roads End area. Roads End is now solidly under the jurisdiction of the Lincoln City Police Department.
And as part of state law, that covers some of the fine points of land use planning and urban development within city limits, the city is helping to develop a neighborhood association in the Roads End area so that a more direct line of communication between Roads End residents and city hall can be established. The idea is to create less of a top down relationship with citizens by establishing a more authentic grass roots group of neighbors that lets city hall know how Roads Enders are feeling about things, what they like, as well as what they don’t like. The Roads End Improvement Association, a longtime active civic organization in the area, will also provide feedback on major projects, improvements or changes to city services that affect their area.
The city is working off a state-approved list of expectations on how neighborhood associations are formed, and how their boards and officers are chosen. And thus far, the Roads End Improvement Area (REIA) and their 400 members, have done a good job of notifying residents of meetings and contacts. But the city council wants the REIA to more clearly designate who the group’s spokespersons are, keep track of where everybody lives and a more effective means of resolving grievances that members may have.
But just as the council was contemplating provisionally accepting the REIA as the official Roads End neighborhood voice, representatives of another Roads End group came forward to say they don’t want to be left out – especially as it might affect their property rights. Doug Rice, a ranking member of the recently formed Roads End Property Owners (REPO) said they’re concerned about the fate of their properties, strongly hinting on their REPO website that REIA’s Board and President intend to place limits and restrictions on those who own VRDs. Rice said if REIA is to be the official voice of Roads End residents, REPO wants their own opinions to be taken seriously as well.
In the past, City Manager David Hawker has said that any change in Roads End VRD zoning or regulations would be subject to the same process as any other land use issue that is handled within the city – that state law demands such a process.
In fact the city is currently deep in the middle of dealing with city wide VRD issues – where VRDs are currently located and how to better distribute them so as to preserve their valuable service to the tourism industry while also preserving viable neighborhoods for year round residents.
Hawker says Roads End was annexed into the city as is; that its land use zoning and designations will remain unchanged. There has not been any official prediction as to when any such changes might even be contemplated or what could trigger such a review.
The council decided that they were not comfortable with approving REIA’s application in light of these recent developments. Hawker said state law envisions a single organization voice for a neighborhood with well represented members but that an exception could be made if REIA’s and REPO’s Boards and members agree to work cooperatively together.
The council postponed their decision to a future council meeting. REPO’s current organizational make-up is all electronic without regular meetings as are required by state guidelines. And according to their website and Rice’s testimony, they do not have certain operational procedures as strongly suggested by state guidelines. So the situation remains quite unresolved as of last night’s city council meeting.
The other neighborhood association that applied to be accepted by the city, the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association, didn’t get very far either. City staff gave the group low marks for having too big of a membership net that included neighborhoods near the lake that more properly should be left out, as in the Neotsu area, Indian Shores and areas well south of the lake’s southern shore. The council also noted that there appeared to be problems with properly notifying potential association members of impending issues, enlisting their votes and and significant drawbacks in the way the group might handle grievances by members.
The upshot of all this was that the council wants to take up the two neighborhood membership applications at a later city council meeting after all of the above and a few more issues are properly addressed and resolved.
Water and Sewer Rates Going Up in Lincoln City
Sewer and Water rates are going up 4% effective effective August 15th. The city has been pursuing near annual rate increases for a number of years in an attempt to keep up with sorely needed repairs and expanding sewer and water related facilities and pipes in the ground. It’s a common problem up and down the coast as deteriorating infrastructure that lie under Oregon’s soggy and always migrating ground severely strains the system.
Releasing ADA information again withheld – but reason explained
Frequent critic of the Lincoln City City Council Jim Hoover, who is also a local contractor, again chided the council for city staff denying him access to important information as to the city’s challenges to make the town more ADA friendly, if not compliant with federal law. The city has been taking steps to get itself out of the dog house with Uncle Sam for a number of ADA shortcomings that the city openly admits it has.
However, Hoover, as being part of an advisory committee on ADA issues, wanted a full unredacted set of information developed by the city’s ADA consultant. City Attorney Richard Appicello said making such information available to ADA advisory committee members is not the problem. It’s the fact that the city needs assurances that the information, a significant part of which is confidential, would find its way into the public arena. Appicello says the city is currently assembling a strategy to address the higher priority ADA shortcomings and that ADA shortcomings around town are in the process of getting fixed. Hoover remained unsatisfied with staff’s explanation of evoking confidentiality.
City’s 50th Birthday year is gearing up
Representatives of a group leading the parade in the town’s celebration of 50 years as a consolidated city enlisted city staff and a member or two of the city council to join in the planning and the fun of that upcoming celebration. Members of the Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce reminded everyone that there is a big contest going on to design, for wide media distribution, Lincoln City’s 50th anniversary logo, commemorating when a number of scattered communities decided a half-century ago to stop going it alone and combine forces to save money, make government more efficient and to more properly promote the town as a destination resort community. Boosters say the Chamber is teaming up with the Lincoln County Historical Society, the Lincoln City Cultural Center and the Chinook Winds Casino Resort. More on this later.
And Mayor Dick Anderson reminded townspeople that the mayor’s seat along with three city councilor seats are up for grabs this November. He urged those interested in making a contribution to Lincoln City’s bright future to take out candidacy papers at city hall, third floor, Clerk Recorder’s Office.
City Manager David Hawker was pleased to report to his city council Monday night that what many said couldn’t be done was done quickly and efficiently on behalf of tourist nose counters. Hawker says ODOT has placed vehicle counting devices in the Highway 101 right of way so they can count cars coming, going and staying in Lincoln City. Hawker has been pushing for years to get ODOT quality vehicle counting devices – one at the north end of town, the other at the south end. Hawker says being able to count cars coming and going, and how many are staying, will be a huge advantage for the city which will be able to determine which local tourist events work best by counting the number of cars coming and going AND STAYING in Lincoln City.