New City Council members take their seats; wastewater treatment plant renovation bond unanimously approvedCANNON BEACH - City leaders said thanks to the old and welcomed the new Tuesday night, then worked through a varied City Council agenda that included handing out several grants to local organizations but nothing to world tsunami relief efforts.
George Vetter and Betsy Ayres, former city councilors in Cannon Beach, went "off into the sunset" Tuesday, as Ayres said. Vetter and Ayres received thanks from Mayor Dave Rouse and Councilor Tevis Dooley for their service. New city councilors John Williams and Jay Raskin took their seats, and the council reappointed Councilor Carmen Swigart, who was absent, as council president.
In a wide-ranging agenda, members approved the recommendations of the Parks and Community Service Committee for grants totaling $12,500 to local groups, except for Faith in Action, which City Attorney Bill Canessa is investigating as a possible conflict of church and state.
"One of the primary blocks of this organization is that there is no proselytizing allowed," Faith in Action's application stated.
Williams and Dooley questioned why the Wildlife Rehab Center received $1,500 while the Pioneer House got only $500, the Lighthouse for Kids got $1,200 while the Healing Circle got nothing and why the Fire Mountain School received $1,000. Rouse said the council could meet to change the criteria for awarding the grants, but should stand by the committee's recommendation.
The grants are:
$2,350 for Clatsop Community Action'
$1,500 each for Faith in Action and for the Wildlife Rehab Center;
$1,200 for the Lighthouse for Kids;
$1,000 each for the Cannon Beach Arts Association Concert Series and for the Fire Mountain School;
$800 each for the Fifth Grade Outdoor School and for the Clatsop Court Appointed Special Advocates;
$600 for the Clatsop County Women's Resource Center;
$500 each for the Cannon Beach Chorus, the Coaster Theatre and the Pioneer House;
$250 for the Seaside Youth Center/After School Programs.
Also applying were the Cannon Beach Arts Association, Cannon Beach Historical Society, Seaside Activities, Seaside High School ProStart Culinary Program, Tillicum Foundation and the Healing Circle/VOCA Camp. The Healing Circle was encouraged to apply again in July, which is when the group needs funding, committee chairwoman Melissa Cadwallader said.
Raskin asked the council to consider donating $10,000 to tsunami relief in Sumatra. He said Cannon Beach will need donations in case of a tsunami. Rouse said he would not count on donations, and does not feel right about donating city money.
"I can think of days when the city of Cannon Beach was flush and might have had an extra $10,000 lying around," Williams said. However, he said those days are gone.
In other action, the council voted 3-1 to deny Harold Van Winkle and Cathy Goekler's request to lift the restriction on their property that only those below a certain income could buy it. Dooley voted against. The city sold the property to Van Winkle and Goekler at a discount to give people with low income a chance to own a home.
"The people of Cannon Beach provided a monetary subsidy for this to happen," Rouse said. The council considered asking for the money the city lost on the property, but voted to promote affordable housing by leaving the restrictions in place until they expire in 2010.
Van Winkle and Goekler have alleged they cannot refinance for a lower interest rate with the current restrictions, but City Planner Rainmar Bartl said it is possible. The council directed staff to help Van Winkle and Goekler find a way to refinance. The city lifted the restrictions on an adjoining lot when it proved impossible to sell otherwise, a decision Rouse said he regrets.
In other business, the council agreed unanimously to allow the Breakers Point Homeowners Association to expand its dune grading operation 110 feet to the north of Fifth Street to restore views. Dune grading involves digging up clumps of dune grass, removing several feet of sand and replanting the grass.
The council unanimously approved the bond measure to renovate the wastewater treatment plant and nominated Raskin to the Weyerhaeuser-City of Cannon Beach liaison committee. Rouse, Dooley and Williams authorized Monica Wehby and Jim Grant to start collecting signatures for a petition to have their property annexed into the city. Raskin abstained because of a conflict of interest. The land is east of Ecola Park Road and north of Sixth Street.