WARRENTON — A city task force will tackle the question of where new ministorage businesses can be located and what will be required of them.
At a meeting Tuesday night, the City Commission decided the task force will include members of the planning and city commissions. The group will be asked to discuss what kind of parameters to set around future ministorage development.
New businesses may be required to provide setbacks, sidewalks, landscaping, or even retail space along frontage roads like Harbor Drive. The two commissions will later meet jointly to hear the task force’s recommendations.
In October, the Planning Commission rejected a zoning amendment proposed by the City Commission and staff that would have banned ministorage businesses on the west side of U.S. Highway 101. The planning commissioners agreed with people who testified against the amendment, saying it was too broad and could harm existing businesses. They sent it back to city commissioners for review.
“I think our development codes, as far as our zoning, take care of this issue if it is a problem,” City Commissioner Mark Baldwin said during a discussion of the rejected amendment Tuesday. “For years we’ve preached at the city of Warrenton, ‘We are open for business.’ And this says, ‘We are closed for this business.’”
Mayor Henry Balensifer said he wasn’t against ministorage businesses, but, he added, “I think we need to look at the 20-year vision of what do we want our town to look like.”
It is an issue he has brought up multiple times, he said. He agreed with the Planning Commission, however, that the original proposal was not the right answer. He clarified that his concern had only ever been for the frontage roads, the first glimpse people get as they enter downtown, not an entire stretch of the highway.
Any proposal brought back by the task force and adopted by the City Commission would only apply to new ministorage businesses.
In other business, the City Commission:
• Rejected an appeal against the Fort Pointe housing development that will bring 150 homes to an area south of the KOA campground. Elizabeth Tagg, a neighboring property owner, argued that work by contractors for the housing development had caused excess stormwater to flow through her property.
“While we cannot say Mrs. Tagg’s concerns are not without merit, there is no solid evidence to link her observations of increased stormwater flow on her property to activities conducted by Fort Pointe,” a staff report concluded.
The Planning Commission had approved preliminary plans for the Fort Pointe project with 29 conditions of approval.
• Approved a request by City Manager Linda Engbretson to seek a homeland security grant to update Warrenton’s 2010 emergency operations plan.
Tiffany Brown, director of Clatsop County Emergency Management, while talking with Engbretson and Fire Chief Tim Demers about other emergency preparedness issues, noted that the city’s plan is out of date and out of compliance. The cost of updating the plan could range from $15,000 to $20,000.
Warrenton is also working to place six emergency sirens across the city.