City is looking for people to help with crosswalks, lighting, bike lanes, landscaping and aestheticsSEASIDE - The Seaside City Council took steps to form a citizens' working group to advise the Oregon Department of Transportation on the U.S. Highway 101 expansion.

Monday's action came just over a week before the Jan. 20 Clatsop County Circuit Court hearing to decide whether Seaside citizens should be allowed to vote on the controversial project.

Councilor Larry Haller told the City Council that a group of 12 or 13 citizens will work on bike lanes, crosswalks, lighting, landscaping and aesthetics.

He is looking for five or six people from the community, two from the Improvement Commission and one each from the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, Providence Seaside Hospital, Seaside Downtown Development Association, Seaside School District and Seaside Fire Department. Mayor Don Larson will select the chairman, he said.

"I think it's important that we get that out there," Haller said, adding that ODOT would like to have input as soon as possible. The plan, which is 30 percent completed, includes widening the highway to four lanes and adding a median down much of the center and two one-way roads at the south of town.

In other action, the council announced seven vacancies on the Parks Advisory Committee, which is necessary for the Parks Master Plan to be implemented. Two positions on the Library Board and two on the Budget Committee are also available.

Public Works Director Neal Wallace presented the plan to update the Water System Master Plan, which he said was last updated in 1996. That plan's projection of water use in 2016 is not as much as the city is already using, Wallace said. Updating the plan will cost $41,000, which is covered by the city's budget and a $20,000 grant.

"I think there are going to be a couple of things that are identified as being needed right now," Wallace said. He said the 2.5 million gallon reservoir at the north end of town is not big enough. "For most of the year, that's not even a day's supply," he said.

Wallace estimates another 2 million to 2.5 million gallon storage is necessary. Improvements to the water system are not currently budgeted and may be paid for with increased water rates, Mayor Don Larson said.

Wallace reported on upgrades to the Broadway Drive and Columbia Street intersection, which will start Jan. 18 and take about two weeks, costing $72,957. The intersection will be kept open as much as possible, but traffic will also be detoured onto Edgewood. The concrete replacing the brick in the middle of the intersection will last for much longer, Wallace said.

During a public comment period, Wahanna Road resident Dave Langlo asked the council for a speed reduction to 25 mph on Wahanna Road, a four-way stop at 12th Avenue and Wahanna and a ban on trucks on the road during school hours.

"I hope we don't have to have a body count before action is taken," Langlo said.

City Manager Mark Winstanley said the city has jurisdiction over Wahanna from the 12th Avenue intersection south, and the rest is Clatsop County's responsibility. Wallace said he is working on the stop sign. "At least it's in progress," Larson said.

Larson said he has given up on removing the last utility pole from Columbia by burying power lines underground.

"The individual that owns the property there doesn't want any power on his property," Larson said. "So that ugly creosoted pole will stay."

The council unanimously approved a liquor license for Guido and Vito's Italian Eatery at 604 Broadway.

The city ordinance regarding Measure 37 claims was also unanimously adopted. The ordinance establishes procedure to decide whether to pay compensation in case of an ordinance that restricts property value, or waive the ordinance. Public health or nuisance regulations are exempted. Residents who file claims must document their claim, state all regulations they want relief from and have a title report and appraisal. The council will also decide whether a filing fee is required.

Tim Tolan, the only re-elected city councilor present at the Seaside City Council meeting Monday, was sworn in. Councilors Stubby Lyons and Don Johnson, who were also re-elected, were both at home with health problems. All three were re-elected unopposed. Councilor Don McKay was also absent.

"It's always nice when a fellow council member is elected unopposed," Larson said. "I think it speaks well for the council."

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