Council to revisit issue next fall after a year's examinationCANNON BEACH - Stop signs erected near Cannon Beach's north entrance during construction will stay there - at least until next fall.

After lengthy discussion, the council voted 4-1 to keep the stop signs at Fifth and Fir streets. The council will revisit the issue next fall, after the city has had a full year to examine traffic flow at the reconstructed north entrance.

The Oregon Department of Transportation plans to fully reopen the entrance by Oct. 31.

Councilors Betsy Ayres, Carmen Swigart, Tevis Dooley Jr. and Mayor David Rouse voted to keep the signs. Newly appointed Councilor George Vetter voted against the motion.

ODOT stop signs originally were erected because vehicles were making U-turns at the traffic barriers near Beech and Fir streets while the north entrance was closed for construction.

But Ayres said that the council had conversations about erecting stop signs long before construction began.

"I want people to slow down," she said. "I want people to see that this is our town, that there are little kids on trikes in the area."

Discussion included concerns that if the signs were retained, it may slow the traffic flow and traffic entering and exiting the city would back up. Information in a staff report indicated that during the summer, traffic entering the city often stalled and backed up onto the highway, forcing police to shut down the north entrance more than 50 times.

City staff have no hard data to prove that the stop signs were a major cause of the delays, however. And because the road was closed to traffic exiting the city, there is no data about city to highway entry.

Police Chief Gene Halliburton also commented that there has been no official documentation of accidents and no history of left-turn or pedestrian conflicts.

Public Works Director Joy Gannon suggested that an engineering study could be made of the intersection to determine if the signs are truly needed. But Rouse said that doing a study of traffic flow during the winter, when there is no traffic problem, would be "ridiculous."

Swigart, who had asked the city to review the stop sign issue, believes the signs will help the entry from the city to the highway.

In other business Tuesday, councilors:

• Approved an alarm ordinance that will encourage alarm users and alarm businesses to assume increased responsibility for the reliability and proper use of alarms. The ordinance will apply to all monitored and unmonitored silent or audible alarm systems, including burglary, robbery, heat, smoke and medical systems. Vehicle alarms are not included. All new businesses and residences with monitored alarms will be required to obtain an alarm permit and install key lock boxes to allow police and fire entry. Existing businesses are encouraged but not required to install a lock box. Access to the key lock boxes will be kept under exclusive control of the Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District. A permit fee schedule will be developed by staff and brought to the council for approval in November or December. The ordinance will go into effect after fees are approved., City Manager Peggy Coats said.

• Directed staff to redesign the city's recycling program, including contracting with Sunset Empire Refuse and Recycle Service, with no expected increase in rates.

• Adopted a capital asset management policy that will aid long-term planning for city facility and asset renewal.

• Approved updates to the city's job classification descriptions. The updates do not change employee's jobs or wages.

• Established a compensation policy that will provide consistent and proactive direction for salary and benefit administration.

• Appointed Swigart as council president. She will preside over council meetings in the mayor's absence.

• Established an annual budget review process. The council will meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 to review the Capital Improvement Plan and approve the budget review schedule.

• Authorized city staff to pursue the replacement of the rotten wooden whale at whale park with a bronze whale sculpture.

• Approved a letter that will be sent from the mayor to ODOT Project Manager Greg Gifford, regarding the council's unanimous concern about the lack of a concrete barrier in the curve at the end of the entrance ramp. ODOT had concluded that only a berm and reflectors were needed at the curve.

• Authorized a Memorandum of Understanding with the North Coast Land Conservancy to assist in securing funds to purchase a 120-acre parcel of land from Weyerhaeuser. The NCLC has identified an Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board grant program that may provide between $90,000 and $120,000 to help purchase the property.

• Set dates for executive and work sessions: 7 p.m. Monday to discuss historical building preservation; 6 p.m. Oct. 27 executive session; 9:30 a.m. Dec. 1 executive session: 7 p.m. Dec. 4 to discuss Parks and Community Services grant applications.


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