CANNON BEACH — It’s one thing to offer support for a new school, but it’s something else to define exactly what that “support” means.

While some Cannon Beach city councilors consider that a resolution simply saying the council supports the efforts of a citizens task force to open a charter school is enough, others want the resolution to explain precisely what the council won’t do to help the task force, which wants to build a school on 55 acres south of town. The city has an option from the Campbell Group to buy the property.

City Councilor Nancy Giasson told the council during a work session Tuesday night that seeing a drawing of the proposed school made her start to worry that the task force was acting without talking to the City Council first.

The drawing was displayed during a “farewell” party in June when Cannon Beach Elementary School closed permanently.

“I saw their architectural drawing, and it looked like there was no room for essential services (on the 55 acres); it looked like there was only room for the school, Giasson said. “I think the architectural drawing should have come to the council before it was made public.”

She said the council needed to have an ongoing “dialogue” with the task force, which is trying to create a charter school now that Cannon Beach Elementary has been closed.

Giasson said she was “ready” to develop a vision for the property’s use.

Although the council has discussed placing “essential” city buildings on the property, such as a police department, public works building, emergency shelter/food pantry and even a City Hall, no work has begun on a master plan.

But having such a plan would help the task force as well as the City Council, noted Councilor Wendy Higgins. The task force needs to understand what else is planned for the property.

“In the absence of nothing, each organization is going on its own path, and they could end up with a misunderstanding,” she said.

But, she added, a plan is “not something we can knock out in a short time.”

City Planner Mark Barnes noted that the state Department of Land Conservation and Development would require a plan showing the property’s intended uses before it gave permission to extend the city’s urban growth boundary to include some or all of the property.

The line’s extension is needed before anything can be built on the land.

It would cost between $10,000 and $20,000 to develop a master plan, Barnes said. The earliest that work could begin on the plan is next spring, he added.

The council agreed to continue work on developing a resolution that both supported the task force’s efforts to start a charter school and also included the council’s concerns about the city becoming too engaged in the project.

In other business, the council reviewed a list of attributes that might be included in a recruitment profile for a new city manager. Although City Manager Rich Mays told the council earlier this year that he intended to leave the city, he has not resigned and hasn’t given a date for his departure. However, he has agreed to provide at least four months’ notice when he does resign.

Giasson said she, Higgins and Mays had met in June to begin developing a process for finding a new city manager. That included a review of the profile used when Mays was hired seven years ago, as well as the form the council uses to review the city manager’s job performance.

Included in a data base of attributes that Mays uses when recruiting other city employees are words and phrases, such as “engaging management style,” “involvement with the community,” “enthusiastic” and “passion for public service.”

The councilors said they would look at the information Giasson provided to determine what they wanted to include in a final job description that could be given to a professional recruiting agency.

The council also went over a list of 23 city and countywide organizations slated to receive community service grants from the city. Recommendations for the grants, totaling $73,850, were made by the city’s parks and community services committee. Recipients include the Cannon Beach Arts Association, Cannon Beach Chorus, the Cannon Beach Library, Clatsop Community Action and Helping Hands.


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