Thumbs up on Olivia Beach VR zone, sewer bio-solids lookin’ for a home and results from “Around the Town” tour on vacation rentals
Olympia Washington developer Walker John pitched the Lincoln City City Council Monday night to approve nearly thirty more vacation rentals in a new, year-round Vacation Rental zone in the Olivia Beach area near Nelscott. It’s bordered by Bard Road and Southwest Coast Avenue.
John said the homes would be largely 3 to 4 bedrooms with ample parking. No clogging local streets with overflowing vehicles. In the middle will be a large park, mainly for the kids with lots of play equipment to keep them busy. Clients, as well as the public, will have full access to what John described as a million dollar staircase down to the beach as well as access to the park. John capped it off by saying that there will be a full time employee on site to ensure that everyone has a nice time in Olivia Beach by everyone following the rules.
John reminded the council that the site of “third-phase of Olivia Beach” could be otherwise destined to hold 200 apartments, something John hinted did not interest the neighbors in the slightest. He said the philosophy of this third phase is to promote extended family trips and vacations to the beach, where perfect strangers can meet, become good friends and enjoy the beauty of the Oregon Coast. He also pointed out that restaurants, shopping, and the beach are all within walking distance of Olivia Beach, thereby reducing reliance on cars.
By this point the city council was probably wondering why earlier vacation rental discussions and debates spanning the past four years couldn’t have been as warm and inviting as this proposed addition to Olivia Beach.
Heads nodded up and down the council dais and the vote was unanimous to approve it.
But to remind them of more tough work coming up on vacation rental regulations city-wide, City Manager Ron Chandler said the council will be sitting down with him 6pm August 3rd, in a council workshop, to hear what he heard as he conducted town hall meetings up and down 101 over the town’s still raging civil war over vacation rentals.
Whether Chandler’s town hall meetings will bring any information to the table that present and past councils haven’t heard ten times over before, remains to be seen. But a fresh set of ears like Chandler’s might come up with differently nuanced strategies to actually bring the town back together. The vacation rental industry (and it IS an INDUSTRY) has grown to be a big player in the town’s economy. But there are those who contend VRs are turning Lincoln City into a town of mini-hotels with the tragic loss of a home-town atmosphere. Many residents lament missing the sound of the surf as they drift off to sleep. They say it’s being drowned out by loud parties, blaring music, neighborhood streets overrun with strangers and trash and all the rest.
We’ll see what Chandler and the City Council comes up with after their workshop on the 3rd.
Lincoln City Public Works Director Lila Bradley reported to the council that while water coming down Schooner and Drift Creeks is about a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule in its downward summertime taper, the city has a worse problem at the moment – disposing of the city’s sewer plant bio-solids – what’s left over after the sewer water is ready to be recycled back out to sea. Bradley says it used to be a snap to dispose of all that great organic fertilizer – but not these days. In fact there’s only one farmer in the Siletz Valley that will even entertain the thought – but even then only for a third of what Lincoln City residents “produce.” Bradley said bio-solids at one time were considered for drying and sold that way. But at the time, it was ruled to be too expensive. So they passed on it. But that and few other options are sure to be delivered to the city since Bradley and her crew have hired consultants to give them some choices – TODAY choices. So stay tuned for that.
But getting back to the water situation for a moment, Bradley told the council that Schooner Creek water levels are down what they normally are in early September. She said there may be some substantial water conservation in Lincoln City’s immediate future but she doesn’t expect it to be overly painful. She said Lincoln City also has emergency dibbs on water from Drift Creek, but of course, it’s down too. More to come.