City Council delays action until new land owner emergesAn Alderbrook property dispute over access to the Columbia River was cut off at the pass Monday night.
Members of the Astoria City Council delayed action until June 7 until a nearby property sale is closed and the unnamed owner steps forward.
Council member Loran Mathews demanded the city hear from the buyer - in person - before ruling.
At issue is a request by Daren Doss and Lisa Chadbourne, who bought the old Alderbrook Station, to vacate a part of Ash Street east of 49th Street.
Neighbors Barry Sears and Ann Goldeen of 4998 Birch St. say the 250-foot by 35-foot portion that Doss wants to vacate would mean they could not turn their trailer around when they launch a boat off the adjacent shore.
They say have used the strip for more than 20 years and fear it would be fenced. "They have repeatedly intimidated me and my family to keep me off the property," Goldeen told the City Council.
The area is opposite a city ballfield in Alderbrook.
"It would limit the value of our property by limiting future development along our Columbia River frontage," Sears and Goldeen wrote in an earlier complaint letter. "We have plans to build a house on the river front and would continue to need access to the Ash Street right-of-way in the future."
Mayor Willis Van Dusen questioned the benefit to the city of vacating the land, while attorney Hal Snow cautioned that the City Council must consider the rights of the public to cross private property - if they have done so by "historic custom."
Chadbourne said there is no true public access to the river because it is all private property. "Visual access is what the public is used to, and that will be maintained," she said.
Doss said few people used the access path and most were lost tourists. He told the City Council that, like a prior owner, he would continue to allow access to the river if people respected his property.
The city estimated the assessment on Doss, if the portion was vacated, would be $23,625.
In delaying to June, city leaders asked Fire Chief Lenard Hansen to check whether firetruck access was threatened and City Engineer Dan Caccavano to review whether the right-of-way was on land or encroached on the water, which would affect its legal status.