New lit sign for PAC, Thompson’s declares compostable pick up program big success, and Fire Department gets a $1.5 million Christmas present
What’s in a sign? Quite a lot, actually!
The Newport Performing Arts Center (PAC) was given permission by the city council Monday night to add something that the PAC has been sorely missing since the day it first opened many years ago. And that is adequate signage so locals and tourists alike can learn about current and upcoming theater, musical and other arts events.
The old manual sign at the corner of Coast and West Olive can only hold two hand made signs at a time, even though up to 15 entertainment events may be coming up in the near future. So the council changed city laws to allow electronic signs on publicly owned property. The sign contemplated for the PAC will be brightly lit and can be programmed to run as many messages as PAC Director Catherine Rickbone and her crew can sequence on it. Several city councilors suggested that having to hold one message for a minimum of five minutes was too long. So the council agreed that a more frequent change of event listings are in order. What that sequence interval will be is to be determined by the council at a later date. But the bottom line now is, if locals and tourists want to find out what’s always better than anything on TV, they’ll see it on the new PAC sign on the corner of Coast and Olive – after they install it, of course.
Newport updates its controversial business license ordinance.
It has been literally years in the making but all that hard and frustrating work has paid off. Newport City Councilors have finally approved a new business license law that every Newport business owner must acquire before they open up shop. One of the more contentious elements of the new law, that certainly contributed to the delay, was how to handle vacation condo rentals down at the Embarcadero – namely when condo owners rent out their place to out of town vacationers.
The city’s initial position was that any condo owner who sublets his or her property was, in fact, running a business – which requires a business license. A howl went out from condo owners that could be heard ’round the bay and so the city set up a business license task force to craft a business license that would quiet things down.
And they seemed to have produced a solution. The new business license requirement will be limited to only those who run their private rental operation themselves. The way to get around that is to join a rental association at the Embarcadero that acts as a rental broker. The rental broker will hold the business license so that no other business licenses will be required.
And a new city law for taxi cab licenses
When they finished capping off their spanking new business license ordinance, councilors turned to making the lives of taxi drivers a little less cumbersome. Instead of a taxi license applicant having to go through a long process of being certified to get a license and even having to pass muster in front of the city council – and a public hearing – taxi applicants can now pass the test by sitting down with the city manager, go over the application and then be sent on his or her merry way. There was a suggestion that the city get out of the taxi licensing business due to possible liability problems for the city if a taxi driver did something wrong. But City Attorney Steve Rich assured the council that while there is some risk – it’s a small risk at best. He said the idea is for the city to take reasonable steps to require that taxi drivers properly maintain their vehicles and carry adequate liability insurance.
This just in!! Newport residents like to compost!
Although 19% of all trash collection customers in Newport opted out of the compostables pick up program launched last summer, it means that 81% of Newport residents like the program and are participating very heavily in it.
Thompson’s Sanitation reported to the city council that Newport’s diversion rate – avoiding putting what doesn’t belong in the Coffin Butte landfill – is so high that the city is exceeding state suggested goals set for the program.
The city is crafting a “compostables survey” to be included in resident utility bills that will ask Thompson’s customers what they think of the program so far, and what might be done to improve it.
Agate Beach Wayside project – still in slow motion. Construction is planned – just not for this year.
After talking some more with the neighbors of Agate Beach, city officials say it’s clear many of them don’t want more tourists, locals or surfers parking on their streets behind Roby’s Furniture or using the path down to the beach at the north end. They want all visitors to use the Lucky Gap trail to the south.
City officials say that would partly defeat the purpose of the wayside project which includes more parking, showers and other amenities. So the north path to the beach, complete with a safer stair structure, appears to be the preferred way forward, at least from the city’s perspective.
The city’s under the gun to get the project moving although delays have been reported to be more ODOT’s fault than the city’s. In fact further delays by ODOT in hiring consultants to shepherd the project through more public review and design work puts the wayside project right up against the deadline, after which the project is cancelled. So as it stands the final design is coming out shortly with a contractor to be hired by the end of next September. And under the contract it must be completed by September 30th, 2016.
Rob Murphy no sooner becomes Fire Chief and his department gets a $1.5 million grant! What’s with that??!!
And finally, it may be a coincidence that Rob Murphy was promoted to “permanent” Fire Chief and then just weeks later the fire departments comes into $1.5 million dollars! But even if it’s not a coincidence it sure is good news for the fire department and for Newport. Newport Fire Headquarters on NW 10th is built on old fill material in an area that was formerly very steep and gullied. So in the event of a strong earthquake the fire department building may not survive. City Manager Spencer Nebel announced to the council Monday night that the city has received a $1.5 million dollar grant to strengthen the building and do some geological re-inforcement underneath so the building rides the quake better with less damage.