“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood…” Robert Frost – as we know, Frost took the road less travelled, making all the difference. But what if there are more than two roads? What if each looks equally appealing – or unappealing – and equally worn? Add to that you are not alone, but have one group of onlookers advising you to take the right, one the center, one the left and a few insisting you take no road at all, but look elsewhere for a different set of roads altogether?
The “big” topic was the passage of the new flood plain ordinance. Both the commission and council had very similar hearings on this hot issue. Flood Plain Manager Lois DeBenedetti lead each hearing advising each group that adoption, though technically a choice, was no choice at all. If the new ordinance isn’t in place by May flood insurance will cease to be available to city residents. There will also be a cessation of grant monies, and loans for flood plain development and no federal aid in case of a disaster in that area. So: no choice at all really. It seems the message got out to citizens; though both hearings were well attended, there were very few questions from the audience.
The three men who did speak between the two hearings were non-locals with various vested interests in FEMA. John Ward of the Rogue Flyfishers wanted assurance the ordinance enforced laws regarding the protection of threatened/endangered species (Coho Salmon locally). It does. Steve Rouse of the Rogue Advocates advised the commission he thought the ordinance specifying all applications for properties in the flood plain are at least Level 2 applications was the best decision ever. Conversely former Josephine County Commissioner Harold Haugen advised council he felt the same wording/decision/decree was a big error in judgment and should be changed.
The commission recommended the council adopt the ordinance and the council had its first reading of the ordinance to that end. Both bodies noted they felt comfortable passing it as they knew amendments could be made down the road if necessary.
In the vein of aquatic options the council also reviewed a third option for a city wide water system during their study session. The third option is very similar to those already discussed – it too involves the purchase of Shady Cove Water Works, but includes buying other in place systems i.e. Northridge Water Co. and the other private systems now in place. There was considerable discussion regarding the pros and cons of phasing in a system or building the entire system.
Based on concerns from the council and audience, Mayor Holtheusen said he and councilor Kyle would meet with city staff to put together information on five areas. These include:
• Appraisals of various systems
• Obligations of current system
• Fair value to owner of a system
• Demographic status of Shady Cove based on current census. If the city qualifies for low income status according to the 2010 census, interest rates would be significantly lower.
• Cost of water to the resident.
This third option brought the city no closer to making a choice. Council and Public Works Director George Bostic were fairly evenly split, some preferring an SCWW option, some a “build from scratch” one. As with other options there is copious research yet to be done, and the point no one feels is an option with any of the three plans is: citizen input/opinion must be gathered before any option becomes “the” option. It was decided in the evening meeting not to send a letter of intent to buy SCWW at this time.
The final decision of the evening was approval of the Caselle Clarity Software computer system.
By Christy Pitto
Of The Independent