TMDL, SOREDI, FEMA-acronym night in Shady Cove

“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.” Johann Wolfgang von Gothe. As evidenced by the July 21 Shady Cove council meeting; the council will no doubt heartily agree with this quote.   
The study session featured several acronyms: presentations from Greg Stabach of RVCOG (Rogue Valley Council of Governments) on the TMDL (Total Mass Daily Load) and Ron Fox of SOREDI (Southern Oregon Regional Economic  Development Institute). Per Stabach the city is on track with their year one goals. However, that thinking became an issue when discussing year two goals. These goals were to be relatively simple; mostly follow ups to year one, but as council opted to move the riparian ordinance from year 4 to year 2 thinking now has 12 months to become action. With the ordinance contingent upon the Planning Commission council hopes they will need to make quick progress toward a draft ordinance.

The SOREDI presentation was informational only. They are a local non-profit aimed at helping small businesses/entrepreneurs get up and running. The city’s membership with the organization was due and Administrator Danise Brakeman had no information on them; thus requested a presentation so council could decide whether or not to renew their affiliation. Though SOREDI hasn’t helped any Shady Cove businesses they seem to provide a potentially valuable resource, the city will remain members one more year to see if SOREDI can be of real benefit. They also recommended the Upper Rogue Chamber of Commerce look into the organization as per Fox they have “lots of money” to lend to small businesses in the area.

Also on deck during the afternoon was the FEMA update given by planner Lois DeBenedetti. The first question was: how, if at all, will the city’s FEMA compliance quest change due to current controversy over the new FEMA maps. Per FEMA and DeBenedetti – not at all. The city will continue to follow the current law/maps until/unless new law/maps are enacted. The mapping issue basically affects folks who were not previously in a flood area and now are. As the city is still following a volunteer inspection protocol they don’t anticipate any issues even if the maps to once again change. Progress has been made on the two lingering issues heatedly discussed in the June 16 council meeting. Letters have been sent giving the respective property owners 30 days to comply; but council – especially Councilors Gary Hughes and Leith Hayes, were against even 30 more days of waiting. DeBenedetti and Brakeman advised legally 30 day letters are the protocol.

If the afternoon was peppered with delays of thought, the evening was overtaken by them. There were to be votes on two inter-governmental contracts (for roads and water treatment/sewage) but both were delayed as the contracts need more review before they can be signed.

A third issue – whether or not to charge a public safety fee to owners of undeveloped lots – nearly saw action, but then landed in thought limbo. Per the city’s ordinance undeveloped property owners should pay 1/2 of the normal monthly public safety fee, but to date they have not been charged. The ordinance as a whole is under attorney review for corrections. Brakeman wanted council to decide a) to proceed with enforcement, a city needs to enforce its own ordinances b) to cut that particular wording from the ordinance as part of the overall amendment process. Why cut it? No other area cities have such an ordinance for undeveloped land and property owners advised of the impending charge are not responding well. Why not cut it? Per council discussion vacant lots receive lots of sheriff calls (i.e. vandalism, trespassing, etc.) Councilor Hughes advised the sheriff had visited the lot next to his house approximately 20 times in the past year. In that light it seems fair those owners should pay their share of the fee. For now the wording will stay and council will discuss it a final time when all the proposed corrections/changes have been made.

So from Gothe to Jackson – though putting thoughts into action is difficult and thought is important: “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” Andrew Jackson.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent


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