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Depoe Bay grapples with an illegal intrusion onto city property and endures living proof that **** really does run downhill and pays for the reminder!

Depoe Bay City Council and the Schmidts

Depoe Bay City Council and the Schmidts

Local landlord builds deck over city right of way – wants forgiveness instead of removing it

Depoe Bay property owner Gary Schmidt approached the Depoe Bay City Council Tuesday evening seeking permission to keep a deck in place he built on property he owns at 125 Bay Street. He said it was recently pointed out that the deck extends too far out from the building – so far that it encroaches onto city property. He asked the city if there is something “we could work out, something creative.”

The chairman of the city planning commission told the council that once the error was discovered, the Schmidts were advised to appear before the city planning commission for clarification. The commission ruled that Mr. Schmidt built his deck so far out from the home that it encroached on city property, but if the Schmidts didn’t agree with the planning commission’s ruling they could appeal to the city council – with a 120 day deadline for filing the appeal.

Mr. Schmidt did not file an appeal.

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Tuesday night, some nine months later, he appeared before the city council to request for what he described, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as a “pardon.”

Councilor Barbara Leff, who was apparently in no mood for a pardon, pointed out not only had Mr. Schmidt not obtained a building permit from the city to build the deck, he didn’t appeal the planning commission’s ruling. Mayor AJ Mattila said he felt the council is duty-bound to accept the advice of the planning commission, meaning Mr. Schmidt must modify the deck so it does not encroach onto city property.

Rather than discuss the matter any further, Council President Zeke Olsen urged the council to refer the matter to the city’s planning director and public works superintendent to study the matter further and then recommend a course of action for the city council.

It means Mr. Schmidt must return in January to hear what options are available to him, if any, other than removing his deck from city property. Councilor Robert Gambino reminded the council that he opposes any accommodation of Mr. Schmidt’s request because to do so would set a precedent that would mean nothing but future headaches for the city.

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Is the seawall in the harbor moving?

The City Council got a status report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that raised a lot of eyebrows over what that report said. It said that a three inch subsidence of the parking lot overlooking the harbor near the seawall was not a major concern. The council instantly took great exception to that conclusion and promptly instructed staff to make their feelings known in a return letter to the Corps. Mayor Mattila and others claimed that the subsidence is related to the movement of the sea wall that is subjected constantly by tidal surges. Mayor Mattila said the Corps should explore whether a sheet pile structure should anchor the wall more securely. That recommendation is being included in the return letter.

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OMG! What is that smell??

Depoe Bay Public Works Superintendent Brady Weidner reported that something horrendous happened to a family that lives on Derrick Street. He said due to problems with the city’s sewer system coming down Derrick, it backed up into a home just upstream from a manhole junction. Weidner said the pipe was originally installed without enough downward angle to let gravity adequately pull sewage from homes above down to a manhole below. When it clogged on November 21st, raw sewage backed up in a home on Derrick Street, overflowing the family’s bathroom toilet and the bathtub. Raw sewage filled the bathroom floor and then escaped under the door. Kept going and covered floor and rugs beyond the door.

Weidner said a city crew managed to reroute the sewage and stopped the flow going to the house. Meanwhile the family in the home spent 9 hours cleaning up the mess losing some rugs, as well as being out of pocket for some cleaning supplies.

Weidner said he accepted the family’s bill for their trouble and promised that the city would correct the problem very soon and said a temporary fix should hold them over until a permanent fix could be scheduled.

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Then came Thanksgiving Day. Same thing happened. A clog backed up the pipe again. But instead of backing up through the home’s plumbing it ran across the family’s lawn and downhill into other properties.

Weidner said that he had his work crew scheduled to create a permanent fix to the problem on Tuesday, December 3rd. He said by the end of the day the sewage nightmare should be over.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Mattila reminded the council that Tuesday’s city council meeting would be the only one for the month and so he wished everyone a Merry Christmas and adjourned the meeting.

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