Strawberry Hill - Florence Oregon

City Approves ADU’s; Oregon Rescinds Rules on Inspections; North Bend Principal Resigns; System Charges to be Reduced; Volunteer Honored as Hero

City Approves ADU’s

It was a full docket for the Florence City Council last night.  In what was described by members of the council as a record meeting length coming in at just over three hours the council systematically went through its agenda.  One of the most pressing issues was the adoption of new city codes to allow the construction of Accessory Dwelling  Units on property currently zoned for single family residences.  Senate Bill 1051, which becomes law on July 1st requires smaller rural cities to allow either interior spaces, connected spaces or separate housing units to be built on smaller pieces of property that currently have a single family dwelling on it.  The city has been proactive in this endeavor and has been working toward this end prior to being required by the state.  After a detailed description of the changes to the city code Megan Messmer read the ordinance.

“An ordinance approving a city initiated update to the zoning code title 10 chapters 1,2 ,3,4, and 10 to permit accessory dwelling units, permanent residences as places of worship, make necessary changes related to senate bill 1051 and make other changes to city code.”

The ordinance was unanimously approved by council.  There was also an allowance for places of worship to construct permanent residences on their properties.  That came with a 60 year covenant to provide at least 50% of its residences to be rent controlled and cover a certain criteria for families or individuals who have a lower income level.  Tiny homes that were constructed on trailer frames will be required to remove the axel and tongue and be placed in a permanent manner with blocking and skirting.

Oregon Rescinds Rules on Inspections

The state of Oregon has backed down from requiring rural cities to hire their own inspectors rather than contracting with individual agencies.  The rescinding of the initial letter came after several smaller cities banded together along with elected officials and went before the governor and explained that the new rules would essentially create a backlog of permits awaiting approval.  Cities like Florence do not have enough building permits to hire a full time inspector and it would have required them to partner with other rural communities and potentially share the load which city manager Erin Reynolds said would cause delays of up to 8 weeks causing a hardship on builders and on cities.  The letter rescinding the new rules came down late Friday afternoon.

North Bend Principal Resigns

The principal of North Bend high school will resign and its school district will commit to improving the climate for LGBTQ students as part of a settlement reached between the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and the district. The case involved two girls who were a couple and complained to the state education department that they suffered harassment at the school, not only from students but also from staff.

System Charges to be Reduced

Continuing with city council business associated with new construction and accessory dwelling units, the city also approved changes to the system development charges which would temporarily decrease the amount required for builders to pay to connect to services.  The scale would be a sliding one and depend mainly on the square footage of the home being built with larger homes between 1600 and 1800 square feet receiving a 20% discount on fees to accessory dwelling units receiving no cost to connect.  The savings to contractors or individuals who build a home could save up to 12 thousand dollars depending on the type and size of home.

Volunteer Honored as Hero

Police Auxiliary volunteer Duane Sampson was recognized for his life saving efforts when he came upon the scene of an accident where a truck had pinned a motorcycle at the intersection of quince and 126.  Sampson was the first upon the scene of the accident on April 23rd.  The motorcyclist had been broadsided by a pickup truck and the accident amputated his leg.  Sampson was credited with quick action by using his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and saving a life.

“Absolutely, according to the Fire Department, Duane saved his life, it stopped the bleeding.  Incredible act of heroism and truly deserving of the life-saving award.”

Chief Tom Turner presented Sampson with a medal for his uniform and an official ribbon.