Unresolved issues appear to frustrate SC council and city folks

“To be continued…” how we hate the tease of seeing those three words at the end of a particularly intriguing TV show. Many folks had that same let down feeling as those words could very well have been written across nearly every agenda item of the Sept. 16th Shady Cove City Council Study Session and Meeting.

 

Action was taken on two very different issues involving roads. Council voted for and had the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the vacation of an undeveloped road off Rene Drive. The 25 foot wide strip was purchased in ’86 and runs through several properties. As the road literally has gone nowhere, property owners applied for the vacation. Councilor Gary Hughes wondered if the city should just give away property. Councilor Bill Kyle noted the City would receive tax money from the property owners who would evenly absorb the land and there was no chance the city could sell the strip as it doesn’t qualify as a property lot. City Attorney Steve Rich advised such vacations fall under very specific Oregon legislature designed for undeveloped roads only. There really is a law for everything.

 

Make that almost everything – for the other action taken was on an issue for which the city doesn’t have a specific law. It also involved Rene Drive. A group of neighbors, lead by Jim Ulrich, advised the council that several folks are walking their dogs on Rene and not picking up after the dogs have done their business. Shady Cove has no “poop scoop law” as it were, but the matter will be looked into under the Health and Safety section of the Nuisance Ordinance. City Administrator Joe Riker will contact the CSO and they will follow up on the issue.

Six other issues then proceeded to fall into that “To be continued…” category. There was to be a FEMA update, but Becca Croft from PWM was unable to attend the meeting. However the random drawing process for inspections has begun. Angalee Sutton advised the RHT “smart house” project is still in the interviewing builders stage. This project will be continuing for quite some time. RHT is offering home energy conservation classes starting Wed. 9/22 and running three Wednesdays in a row. Information is on the Shady Cove City Website and has been in the Independent.

Other issues were continued for lack of information: Gold Hill is without a Public Works Manager and would like to “borrow” George Bostic for a short time while they hire a new one.  They would pay the city for his services, but George would be away one or two days a week. The decision was continued pending more detailed information, but Council at Large is leaning against the loan.

Also the Boosters asked for a donation for the famous flags prompting Hughes to once again note his frustration with the city’s lack of specific budget line items for this and similar tourism donations. He noted he will vote “no” on all such requests (regardless of his personal feelings of support for the group asking) until such firm line items are created. In the end the decision was deferred until the Boosters can present a budget to council and have a representative present to answer questions.

This brings us to the two “heavy hitting” continuances of the night. First up was the Sheriff’s Department. Following the dust up of the Sept. 7th meeting many were eager for the monthly sheriff’s report to be given by Dave Strand. Strand dropped off the report, but was absent from the meeting for unknown reasons. This stirred up the conversation and controversy again with Councilor Hayes noting that in a recent meeting with the Undersheriff he’d been told “If you don’t like the contract you can end it whenever you like.” Hughes added that he had emailed a list of questions surrounding the issue to Joe Riker and “everybody” and had received no answers. Mayor Ron Holthusen advised the entire issue may go before the Oversight Committee and that an Executive Session would be held at the end of the night’s meeting to review sheriff’s records exempt by law from public inspection and the issue would be continued (there’s that word again) in a future meeting.

Finally there was the Public Hearing on a Zone Change Application for property on Brophy Way. Extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate all those who wanted to speak on and/or watch this hearing unfold. With the exception of Jane Hagan who questioned the council’s jurisdiction in the matter, everyone went home with their voices not yet heard. Councilors received over 300 double sided pages of information from various sources regarding this application within the week preceding the hearing. The mayor felt they could not make an informed decision without having proper time to read the tome of papers. Additionally he felt the public needed like time to acquire and study the documents. Hayes noted he did have some questions on the park from portions of the document he had read, but was advised by Attorney Rich not to ask them in regards to the zone application. Rich also said that the park itself would be an issue if/when construction began, but didn’t factor in to the zone application. Further he noted there is already a sense that council has pre-decided to approve the zone change because of the park and to discuss it prematurely would only add to that misconception. Citizens did ask for assurance they could speak at the continuance, and were advised yes. Most left, a couple stayed, thinking to speak during Public Comment, but gave up when they realized they’d have to wait out the executive session. The continuance is on Nov. 4th at 6:30 pm. To be continued…

By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent

 

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