Lincoln City councilors Monday night took the first step at trying to make the D River Wayside a little bit more about the ocean and less about overhead power lines and unattractive signal lights. They awarded a contract to a firm that will remove the signal lights at the wayside and D River, take down all the wires and re-install more up to date lights on long overhead masts that won’t so clutter the view of the ocean and the wayside. The new lights and cross arms should be erected by this time next year, according to Urban Renewal officials.
They also say that the multi-million dollar removal of unattractive overhead power, telephone and cable tv lines from Ebb Street up to Northeast 2nd will be swapped out for underground lines on the west side of Highway 101. But that’s going to take a couple of years to design and accomplish, we’re told. But when completed, it will remove all the hanging lines on the beach side of 101 from Ebb to 2nd, and will make the beach the center of attention rather than all that overhead clutter.
The council awarded $25,000 in marketing money to Hoop It Up which will be drawing basketball players from throughout the region to find out who is good enough at “3 on 3” competition and then advance to the national title game later this year in Miami Florida. Last year Hoop It Up drew 62 teams which filled a lot of motel and hotel rooms, along with seats at local restaurants. This year, promoters at Hoop It Up, played at Tanger Mall, are shooting for 150 teams which would more than double last year’s economic tourism benefit to Lincoln City. If they attract those 150 teams, the economic benefit would amount to $400-500 hundred thousand dollars in income to local hotels, motels and restaurants and room tax money to the city. So, they reason, that’s a good return on the city’s $25,000 marketing investment. Hoop It Up Boosters say local charitable organizations will be given free booths to fundraise for their own causes, including Taft High School, Angels Anonymous, North Lincoln Fire-Rescue, Samaritan Hospital and non-profits. The event is set for the last weekend in June at Tanger Outlet Mall’s parking lot area.
As per the recommendation of City Manager David Hawker, the city council decided to keep the ball rolling on eventually adopting new rules for approving and managing Vacation Rental Dwellings (VRD’s), which have labored under somewhat of a mixed reception among city residents. Many complaints of messy looking houses and lawns, big parking problems, lots of noise and other nuisance type behaviors led the city to hire a dispute mediator to bring everyone to the table; VRD owners, property management firms, VRD neighbors and others to map out where VRDs should be allowed and where they shouldn’t be allowed. Mayor Dick Anderson suggested it will take the better part of a year before the town can hammer out a set of ordinances that can make VRDs the economic boost to the economy everyone hopes they are but without all the attendant problems. The council will handle the nuisance end of the issue while the Planning Commission will handle the land use part of it; siting where they can be located, and helping to phase them out of neighborhoods where they’re largely unwelcome. And everything in between. There is a year-long process ahead of them, according to Mayor Anderson. A City Council workshop on the just completed study is scheduled for 3-5pm, February 26th, at city hall. The planning commission will be holding their own separate set of public meetings on the VRD issue over the next few months.
The council Monday night hired a couple of firms to help the city get back into ADA compliance on city owned land, projects and facilities. Those who help to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act came down hard on the city nearly two years ago after complaints were filed on the design and construction of the Wallace Reef stairwell. The stairwell was reported to have stair rails that were not at the right height for handicapped access, illegal open risers, turning areas that were too steep, no handicapped parking at the bottom and sand invasion on the stairwells that impedes the handicapped.
To help ensure that such oversights don’t happen again as projects are built within the city’s rights of way, public buildings, parks and recreation areas, the city has hired two firms to keep it on the straight and narrow. One company based in Sacramento will send up what was described as an ADA “SWAT Team” to literally blitz the city over a week’s time and inventory all facilities that should be accessible by the handicapped with special notation of those that are not and describe what it would take to bring them up to standard. Another firm, based in Lane County will be helping the city to gather and maintain public input, especially from the handicapped community, as to what their needs are around town. They’ll also work with city staff to ensure those needs are well understood and plans formulated to meet them. Total cost for all the work, $80,000.
The council learned that right after a recent heavy series of rain storms swept through Lincoln City in early January, they caused a new spring to gush water into and under the roadbed on NE 48th just north of 101. It’s bad enough that the roadbed was compromised but the local sewer line and the city’s main water line from the water treatment plant have been compromised. The report indicated that both lines are literally “sagging” below the road bed and that the road bed has fallen a foot or more in places along a 160 foot stretch of pavement. City public works officials said it’s good that the city has another back up water line intersecting 101 in the Cutler City area which can be used to serve the town in the event the NE 48th Street line breaks before they can fix the road and the pipeline. Public works officials say they’re watching the line very closely. They said they expect to replace the local service sewer line. They’re not quite sure about the water line. They said they want to see the area dry out before they make any repairs. In the meantime, through traffic on NE 48th remains closed.
And a proposal to add city sewer lines to an area of Devils Lake hit a speed bump Monday evening as a number of neighbors who live in the NE Voyage, NE Lake Drive and NE 15h Street areas took turn praising the project as well as criticizing it. Those who favor the installation of pipes, pumps and holding tanks for 57 homes in the area said they’ll help stop septic tank seepages into Devil’s Lake and the discoloration and algae blooms they cause. However a number of neighbors said the price for doing that is too high and besides, some of them recently put in new septic tanks. Another woman said she can’t afford the $22,000+ price tag that comes with the sewer lines and that she does’t want to be included. Others criticized the design of the systems and claimed there are weaknesses in the way things are laid out.
The dissension caught the council a little by surprise. They agreed to postpone any decision until their next meeting February 11th, 6pm, City Hall.