Depoe Bay calls the shots – not the post office. Putting a 3% sales tax on the November ballot for retail marijuana. And possibly the beginning of the end for the Whale Inn
Whither mailboxes for home delivery?
The long drawn out saga about putting up mailboxes outside residents’ homes, rather than residents having to rent a mail box downtown at the post office, continues unabated in the city of the World’s Smallest Harbor.
Former city councilor Barbara Leff kicked off the discussion at this week’s city council meeting by complaining that a neighbor was convinced that the post office could mandate a home delivery mailbox for the her, even if it is on her (Leff’s) property and put it atop the city’s right of way underwhich run water, sewer, gas and cable TV lines.
The city’s attorney quickly set the record straight that the post office may have standards about the design and structural integrity of a mailbox, it has no power to compel any city or county to tell them where mailboxes can be placed when it comes to public rights of way. The attorney said cities, counties and states own rights of way. And they legally control who gets to use it, for what reasons and for how long. Phone poles, light poles, signal lights and lots more all have to be approved by the government entity that holds the rights of way in trust for the public which a city, county or state serves.
So, for those who want home delivery on the routes the post office travels in and around Depoe Bay, residents must first get approval from the city as to whether a mailbox can be located out adjacent to the street. The biggest catch in all this is that Depoe Bay streets are very narrow, and there is very little room for cars and trucks as it is, without adding lines of mailboxes along them.
So this long, drawn out feud between city hall, people who want home delivery and the post office, is about to get a little longer. That’s because at the next city council meeting, the council is likely to approve a set of rights of way protections for the city and its citizens especially if there are vital utilities running underground alongside the street. Some of the city criteria for approving a mailbox at the edge of the street are very strict – again they can’t conflict with underground utilities – they can’t use other people’s property to plant their mail box unless both sides agree – the mailboxes cannot impede traffic or crowd an intersection or reduce sight distances. And anyone wanting to put a mailbox out at the street must get a permit from the city to ensure those and other rules are obeyed. Councilors say Depoe Bay’s street grid still resembles the old logging roads of yore and therefore are not built to modern street standards that most people expect. So, ironically, what has been seen as a charming variation on an urban theme now causes friction over mailboxes.
The city council will review a mailbox control ordinance at it’s July 17th meeting. More public testimony is expected in what has become the Oregon Coast’s version of “The Never Ending Story.”
Depoe Bay Voters to decide whether the city will levy 3% sales tax on retail marijuana.
By not having a property tax on the books to help run the city, Depoe Bay City Councilors are always on the look-out for other sources of tax revenue to keep the city humming along, even if it can’t always identify the song.
Reflecting the will of the voters who recently approved the legalization of recreational marijuana, the state has authorized Oregon cities and counties to levy a 3% tax on its sales. Since Depoe Bay doesn’t have a property tax like most cities, the council is always on the look-out for ways to help keep the money flowing into city hall so that city services can remain at a level demanded by city residents. So the council voted this week to ask Depoe Bay citizens whether it would be okay for the city to levy the 3% tax on recreational sales of marijuana. The council doesn’t have an estimate of how much revenue that might raise but the amount is expected to be “substantial.” Final approval of putting the tax on the November ballot is expected to come at the city council’s next regular meeting July 17th. And yes, public testimony before the council will be welcomed.
A Depoe Bay public eyesore may soon be getting it’s “final notice.”
The old Whale Inn right off of Depoe Bay’s downtown, has been a derelict old building for many years, according to Public Works Director Brady Weidner. Weidner reminded the city council that the Inn has ceased to be an authentic lodging house except for transients and other rootless folks who use it as a convenient place to hang out and catch some sleep.
But because the old hotel occupies an economically strategic location, the city council decided to force the building owner(s) to fix up the place or watch it be boarded up. City code enforcement gives the city council the power to do that. In truth, the council would much prefer the old Whale Inn to be demolished and something new be built in its place – something that could add significantly to the town’s economy.
So the next step for city Public Works Superintendent Brady Weidner is to do a comprehensive building inspection on the Whale Inn and produce a building code report card for the city council to review. Weidner also reminded the council that the old Whale Inn is not the only architectural blight on the city. He said there are several others.