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Smoking banned in Astoria parks

City Council also rejects rezoning for vacation rental
By Derrick DePledge

The Daily Astorian

Published on September 22, 2015 10:55AM

Smoking will soon be banned in Astoria parks.

The Astoria City Council voted 4-1 Monday night to ban smoking and other tobacco use in parks to help promote healthier living, decrease exposure to secondhand smoke and reduce litter.

The city’s ban will also apply to smoking marijuana, which is already prohibited in public under state law.

The ban, which takes effect in 30 days, was adopted with no significant public opposition. City Councilor Russ Warr voted against the prohibition, however. He explained in August that he has “a real, basic problem deep in my heart when people ban things that are legal to do just because they don’t like them.”

Clatsop County agreed to ban smoking and other tobacco use in county parks earlier this year.

In other business Monday night, the City Council:

• Rejected Clatsop Community College’s request to rezone the Josie Peper Building at 16th Street and Franklin Avenue from high-density residential to general commercial.

The college had reached an agreement to sell the property to a buyer who wanted to convert the building into a second home and vacation rental, but the sale was contingent on the rezoning.

Neighbors told the City Council earlier this month that a vacation rental is not appropriate for the neighborhood. The rezoning request would have also covered the college’s Performing Arts Center next door to the Josie Peper Building.

• Agreed to proceed with the cash purchase of a new ladder truck for Astoria Fire Department.

The fire truck, which was included in the city’s budget for this fiscal year, will cost about $950,000. The City Council has approved using money carried over from last fiscal year to pay for the new vehicle.

• Authorized spending more than $42,000 on social-service grants to nonprofit community organizations, including Clatsop Community Action, The Harbor and Helping Hands.

The Astoria Rescue Mission, a Christian ministry that helps the homeless, withdrew a request for a $4,000 grant. During the budget process, City Councilor Drew Herzig had questioned whether the group adheres to the city’s nondiscrimination policy as it relates to women and same-sex couples.

The Astoria Warming Center, which provides emergency shelter for the homeless on cold nights, might seek the grant money now available.

• Approved a $16,000 contract with Walker Macy, a Portland based landscape architecture and urban design firm, to study options for a mixed-use library and housing project at Heritage Square.


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