Shady Cove council continues to evaluate speed limit issue

The April 5th Shady Cove City Council study session and meeting were so full of acronyms you needed a secret decoder ring to keep up! URCC discussed SDCs while ODOT discussed MPH. There was also talk of SCWW and URWA gave a presentation.

 

Let’s decode: the issue of the remaining SDC fees for the Upper Rogue Community Center’s addition returned to both meeting agendas. During the afternoon discussion URCC representative Gary Endicott advised he feels the fees were charged illegally per city ordinance, and also advised he was “intrigued” that the city was re-doing their fee schedule (SDCs included) the same day the URCC fee issue was on the agenda. City administrator advised 1) fees are re-done annually (last re-done May 6, 2011) and 2) the SDC fees for the addition were charged

according to city ordinance. Endicott may or may not have had the documents Brakeman cited; to move things forward council decided to proceed with an evening vote and Endicott can speak at a future meeting when paperwork issues are sorted out and/or he has further evidence of his allegations. For the vote council discussed several options for the remaining fee ($5600 and change); waive the fee, defer payments and change the interest rate (currently 9%). Brakeman advised council does not have the authority to waive the fee, so the decision became the time frame for deferral. They decided on a one year deferral with the option for a 1 year extension and interest lowered to 1% retroactively. They also discussed the matter of the $4823.00 URCC paid to relocate the city power line. Council decided to ‘pay’ half the fee via paying themselves $2300.00 toward the remaining $5600.00 SDC – whew! Lastly in a future meeting Endicott will give a presentation on the URCC’s new Youth Program and council may donate an additional $900.00 toward that. The motion for the SDC’s carried 4/1 with councilor Leith Hayes as the sole no vote. Hayes noted he feels the fee should not be charged as the addition is not bringing any more traffic into the center.

 

ODOT and MPH; in further response to citizen concerns over the recent ODOT speed study council invited Dan Durrell of ODOT to speak at the study session. Durrell, armed with handouts and maps, discussed the main area of speed concern, the north end of town where the 45 MPH zone runs by residential streets and around blind corners. Durrell again reviewed the 85th percentile rule, citing it as the reason the speed cannot be lowered in that area. Then he reviewed it several more times as it seems a confusing concept.

The gist of this nationwide rule of thumb: “This is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the vehicles are traveling. This is used as an indication of the speed most drivers feel is reasonable and safe.” Per ODOT’s study those 85 percent travel 44 MPH in that northern 45 zone. Why lowering it would be unsafe: if most folks feel safe at 45 and the limit is lowered, most folks will continue to go 45 while some few will obey the new 35. This causes speed differential problems and statistics show that causes accidents. The bottom line, outside of city limits the 85th percentile rules and the limit cannot be lowered 10 MPH below what folks drive. What can be done? Durrell had lots of thoughts and options he will look into; new signs showing a 35 MPH picture vs. the current “reduced speed ahead”, deer crossing signs and cleaning/shining up all other current signs. Additionally he will look into possible grant monies for fancy flashing “slow down” type signs; these run $5000 – $6000. Lastly there is a chance the 35 MPH can be moved to city limits, Durrell will have to research this as currently there is the requisite 1/4 mile of 45 between 55 and 35 zones. Upshot, there is no speedy solution to speed; but all options are being explored.

To the matter of SCWW (Shady Cove Water Works); Mayor Ron Holthusen has not yet met with Premier West to discuss the potential of purchasing SCWW assets. He now would like one member of council and one member of the water task force to go with him to such a meeting. Council felt Hayes would be the best representative as he is the only one opposed to the SCWW option. Hayes felt he is just too opposed and declined, noting he felt two task force members would be preferable as they are most familiar with all the SCWW details. The motion for task force members Patrick Keene and Don Blaser to accompany the Mayor to discussions carried 5/0.

Also discussed during five hours of meetings on the 5th; the city will sign a partnership agreement with the Upper Rogue Watershed Association as the URWA applies for a grant to do noxious weed removal and riparian planting in the vacant lot area of the county park. It’s hoped this project if approved will pretty up the park, help educate folks on the upcoming riparian ordinance and stand as a demonstration for citizens who would like to do riparian planting on their own property. Council decided it will be appointing a Radio Advisory Board; notice will be given when applications are available and “Shady” Kate Crowston applied for the city’s tourism grant for her first time as Tie Days is moving to August and will celebrate history and antiques. A new event banner will run just over $900.00 and Kate would use grant monies for that if she is awarded the grant in a future vote.

by Christy Pitto

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