Residential Code Approval; Man Pleads Guilty to 12 Charges; Food Share Pounding; ReVision Florence

Residential Code Approval

It has been several years in the planning and last night the Florence Planning commission and the Florence city Council came together in a public hearing to discuss the revisions and updates to the residential codes for the city.  The codes that regulate items from buildable lot sizes, density requirements and building height have not been updated in almost 40 years.  The planning commission has been working steadily over the past year to bring the code into alignment with standard practices in other communities, taking into consideration specific needs of the Florence community.  The community has had ample time to digest the changes with several public meetings and an information session earlier this month, but there were still some concerns voiced by members of the community.  And the concerns were not necessarily pointed towards the changes proposed, but rather the perception of equality in some of the language.  Brenda Gilmer addressed the planning commission regarding the term family.

“It is restrictive and does not respect alternative ways of looking at family and it discriminates on the basis of marital status and sex.”

During their deliberations the commission addressed the issue and made concessions for adopted children and guardianship status in a family, several attempts to clarify the language to include same sex partners and domestic partners were made but the commission, as a whole, decided to wait to address issue when a more succinct wording could be added.  Commission Chair John Murphey.

“Why don’t we leave it as is and then we will address is when we do transitional, manufactured home and we’ll all have a chance to really get it like we want it.”

One specific change that was made to the proposed document was building height in high density neighborhoods.  Nicholas Ramer represented LRS Architects which are currently involved in several building projects.  He requested a change to 40 feet from the proposed 35 foot maximum height in the resolution.

“Intent goal of the city of Florence of 3 stories for multiple family development is not achievable with the building height limitations of 35 feet.”

That change was made by unanimous decision of the commission.  The planning commission approved the residential housing code amendments unanimously.

The City Council of Florence deliberated over the residential code changes for a brief period with Councilman Greene asking for a clarification on the use of flat roofs in construction.  The city council opted not to allow flat roof construction in high density zones

“The recommendation for the 40 foot zone in high density is also to use a pitched roof.”

One other concern voiced during the public comment was for the allowances of churches to have up to 3  hook-up for rv’s   Christy Wolford inquired as to whether or not that meant people could park in their vehicles on these spaces.  Planning Director Wendy Farley-Campbell clarified that it would be only allowed for rv’s and other like structures.  The residential code was unanimously passed by the City Council with some minor adjustments.

Another issue that arose from the residential code hearing was affordable housing.  It was a topic that was moved to a future meeting.  Mayor Joe Henry said it was an important discussion to have, but was not part of the evening’s agenda.

Man Pleads Guilty to 12 Charges

A man that led Florence police on a chase through town and southward down 101 on October 12th of 2018 pleaded guilty to 12 counts in a Lane County Courtroom yesterday.  Mitchell Dante fled from the 7/11 parking lot in Florence after police attempted to approach his vehicle.  The chase ended near Honeyman State Park after the Ford f-150 pick-up carrying Dante and his 22 year old passenger Makenna Dante, crashed into a tree.  Dante was charged with driving under the influence and felon in possession of a firearm and 10 other charges.  Dante will spend 120 days in jail followed by three years of supervised probation.

Food Share Pounding

The 19th annual pounding for the Florence Food Share will be this Saturday from 10am until 2pm at the Grocery outlet.  Last year 14,572 pounds of food was donated to help needy families in the area with a matching cash donation by locally owned Top Hydraulics.  Top Hydraulics has again committed to matching donations this year.  KCST will be broadcasting live from the event from 10 until 1.

ReVision Florence

Work on the revision Florence project continues this week as crews finish up curbs and utility upgrades.  There will be lane closures associated with the work and motorists are asked to be patient and avoid the area when possible and use alternative streets to access Old Town.