Lincoln City City Council: New sign ordinance is final, search is on for a new city attorney, city library going great guns and what to do with the city’s old “economic incubator.”
After holding a number of public meetings on ways to partially loosen up the city’s commercial sign ordinance in these recessionary times, the Lincoln City City Council passed new commercial sign regulations that pleased some, but not all current sign holders.
Top of the list, the council approved the use of small “sandwich board” signs while not counting the square footage of the signs against the total permitted sign space of the business. However, sandwich board or “A frame” signs cannot be placed on public sidewalks or in city streets. Other signs, like those that are huge and not in compliance with current city codes, were left untouched. The council numerous times cited the recession as a reason to leave the issue alone for the time being. The council, however, re-emphasized that owners of large non-conforming signs cannot have bright LED message changing signs added to their signs without bringing them into compliance with current city codes: Read that, shrink ’em down. The council reasoned that it would be unfair that owners of over-sized signs get an added display advantage by adding a new LED sign, while newer businesses still have to comply with recently enacted stricter standards.
Looking for a new city attorney
With the recent announcement that City Attorney Joan Kelsey is not renewing her contract with the city, the city council has set into motion efforts to find her replacement. The council told City Manager David Hawker to advertise the job opening in appropriate professional magazines and government newsletters seeking at least three types of responses – those who would be interested in being a full time city employee, a near full time contract city attorney, or a law firm that would have, on staff, a range of municipal code and state government statute expertise. Hawker said he would bring the results of the “call for proposals” to a council meeting next month.
From “Economic Incubator” to part-time “Butterfly Catcher”
The city council was again confronted with the question of how best to use city hall space on the ground floor that was once designated to provide a launching pad for new business start-ups in town. For a while they thought they had a winner, but the software business using the space sort of fizzled out, and the space is now empty again. The council explored setting it aside for regional government agency meeting space, a home for non-profits or other business uses. But none seemed to excite the council. The council told City Manager David Hawker to do what he can to get the space rented or otherwise designated for something appropriate; but also to be ever-vigilant in landing a good long-term tenant if he comes across one.
Driftwood Library remains vibrant and popular
Lincoln City’s Driftwood Library Director told the council that use of the city library is very healthy and that the library appears to be serving an ever increasing number of patrons. Director Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenny told the council that the just completed summer reading program for children saw a 4% rise in participation which means more children are now back in school without losing so much of their ability to read and write as they would have, had they not been part of the library’s summer reading program. Brodbeck-Kenney said research shows that children reading over the summer saves two months of learning from the last school year and that the library’s reading program is nearly as effective as enrolling children in regular summer school when it comes to reading proficiency. Brodbeck-Kenney said 521 children participated in the library’s summer reading program, or about 20% of the town’s children under the age of 18. If you include all the children’s programs at the library, there were 2,463 children participating and nearly 300 adults taking advantage of adult reading programs provided by the library.