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At Aug. 6 City of Shady Cove Council meeting the topic of discussion – and the topic not to discuss – was the McBee annexation. In both the afternoon study session and the evening meeting the public was advised that this topic was not to be addressed during the public comments portion as the public hearing had been held and closed.
However the council – minus Councilor Leith Hayes who again excused himself from the proceedings due to conflict of interest – discussed the annexation in great detail.
It became apparent during the 90 minutes of debate that the council was split on the issue. Mayor Holthusen was for the annexation, Councilor Kyle leaning that way. Councilor Hughes was opposed, Councilor Bradburn leaning that way.
Arguments for each side included:
Con: Councilor Hughes read aloud a prepared document outlining his concerns. Foremost of which was – not surprisingly – water. He advised the original intent of the Urban Growth Boundary Realignment (an issue he had voted for) was to allow growth for the purpose of bringing water to all the residents of Shady Cove. He felt the proposed annexation was counter productive to that original goal and he could not support it until and unless any future construction brought with it water not only for the new homes built, but water for all Citizens.
This was not one of the nine conditions.
Councilor Bradburn’s concerns focused on the impact proposed new housing would have on existing roads. She stated it was apparent that several roads would need to be improved and that the citizens of Shady Cove would be footing the bill. She advised she could not support this.
Pro: the mayor felt that nine conditions attached to the annexation request were assurance that the proposed construction would be a positive for the future growth of Shady Cove.
Councilor Kyle noted that with the end of the Shady Cove Water District the task of bringing water to Shady Cove now rested with the council. He felt that the water facilities which would accompany the proposed construction (note: the current proposal allows for water only for the new homes) was at least a jumping off point toward providing water for all citizens as the water system they plan to install is modular in nature and could be added on to.
Try as each side might to sway the other, in the end the vote was 2/2 “Motion Doesn’t Carry” – this means it’s as if the motion never existed to begin with. Due to the aforementioned conflict of interest, Councilor Hayes could not be called upon to break the tie.
Other topics of note were discussed during the study session. Becca Croft, the city’s floodplain manager, gave a brief presentation advising that the preliminary new FEMA maps are now available. The new maps are far more accurate than the past maps, which were created in the 70s. Technology has come a long way. The floodplain has shifted with the new maps and homes which were not in it previously may be in it now.
Two open houses will be held so folks can see the new maps. The open house sessions will be on Aug. 20 and on Sept. 23. The maps are not available online or in any other fashion – they are enormous. The walls of city hall will literally be covered by them for the open house display.
The topic of law enforcement services was also touched on in the study session. With the police department down to two officers the city needs to move forward in one of two directions. Look into a contract with the sheriff’s department or work to maintain a self sustaining police department. The actual decision discussed and made at the study session was whether or not to look into contracting with the sheriff’s department as a viable option. The council decided to do so, wanting to know the details of each option before making a final decision.
So from Annexation to floodplains it seems water is the theme running through Shady Cove in ways from literal to political.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent