OCTOBER 22, 2002
1. ROLL CALL: Chair Balen called the meeting to order at
6:30 p.m. Chair Balen and Commissioners Cutter, Uhl, Cvar, Milligan, Meatzie and
Hauser answered the roll. A quorum was present.
2. CITIZEN COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: Chair Balen noted most people were probably present to address the skatepark application. Those comments would be considered under the public hearing. There were no other comments.
3. COMMISSION COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: Commissioner Cutter commented that it was nice to see so many people at the meeting. He invited them back to see what was going on in the future as well. He expressed a concern regarding the development of the Port area and issues of code enforcement. Chair Balen indicated that this issue would be discussed under "New Business". There were no other Commission comments.
4. MINUTES: The Planning Commission considered the minutes from the September 24 Planning Commission meeting. Commissioner Meatzie moved to approve the minutes as presented. Commissioner Uhl seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
5. CORRESPONDENCE: Chair Balen noted the only correspondence received was associated with the Public Hearing.
6. PUBLIC HEARING: City of Waldport 6-C-02. Chair Balen opened the public hearing, and asked for abstentions, bias, ex parte contact, etc.. Commissioner Meatzie noted that he was on the Junior League board, but felt it would not impact his decisionmaking. Commissioner Cvar was asked about the letter from his brother, he responded that it would have only as much impact as any other letter submitted. There were no objections to either participating in the hearing.
Staff Report: Mr. Lewis reviewed his written report. He noted receipt of three letters, one from the Lincoln County School District, one from the Waldport Junior League, and one from Eugene Cvar.
Applicant's Presentation: Curt Abbott, representing the skateboard site committee, stated that the committee had been charged with looking at potential sites, specifically some downtown areas as well as the Crestline park area. The recommendation from the City's insurance carrier had been to put the park in a visible site both for usability and safety. He explained that a downtown location would also provide an opportunity to direct skateboarding activities more easily. The parks maintenance fund is small, and the City will probably not be able to institute a parks district for a couple more years. He explained the process of arriving at the present proposed site, which had been originally rejected because of the lack of space. However, with the reduction in size and overall costs, as well as the clarification of the riparian setback, this site became feasible. Mr. Abbott felt that the design could accommodate parking and viewing for the ballfield, and would probably be a single-bowl design with one high area and the rest of the park sloping down at various levels. It might also be possible to coordinate efforts and leverage some funding to improve the restroom facilities and make them more vandal-proof. They could then be used for the skateboarders, the ballfield users, and the public who may be utilizing the new parking area along Starr Street. Another alternative might be to put in portable restrooms. Mr. Abbott explained the general dimensions of the park would be approximately 3000 square feet, all cement, with one 6-8' bowl and then sloping down to ground level. They would be adding fill or steps to bring the edges up to the level of the bowl, and there was a possibility that bleachers could be established on the ballfield side of the facility. Commissioner Uhl asked about safety issues, and Commissioner Balen wondered whether this facility could be construed as an attractive nuisance, requiring a fence. Mr. Abbott responded that this was one of the issues they were looking at, and they may need a fence and locking gate. Commissioner Hauser asked about the lease with the school district and Mr. Abbott noted that there was ongoing discussion to ensure that everyone is being accommodated. There was no firm agreement with the school district at this point, but he expected that would be part of the conditions of approval for the application. The ballfields had been built by the school district, and are maintained by the baseball league. The City provides water/sewer service. Commissioner Cutter asked about the responsibility for locking and unlocking the gate, and Mr. Abbott responded that his assumption would be that Public Works would be in charge of that. Additionally the Sheriff's Department would be responsible for enforcing the hours of operation. Commissioner Cvar asked if this location was on the land currently leased to the ballpark, and Mr. Abbott confirmed, noting that the lease would have to be amended. Commissioner Meatzie expressed concerns regarding the emergency meeting with the Junior League Board, noting that he had not been apprised of that meeting. He stated that the Board had been under the impression that this was a "done deal", and that the provision of portable restrooms and bleachers had been implied. He worried that the bathrooms, which he had built with donated materials over the course of three years, would be "taken over" by the City. Currently, they are only open during baseball games, as vandalism has been a problem. Additionally, the parking for the ball games would be impeded by this structure. Mr. Abbott responded that the siting committee was sensitive to viewing and parking issues, and there was a possibility seating could be provided on the back side of the bowl. Commissioner Cvar asked about the riparian setback, and Mr. Abbott explained that the original plan had been very generous with the setback. Following the riparian study, it was found that the facility could be moved about 30' closer to the west end of the ballfield. Commissioner Cutter asked if the plan was to modify and enhance the restroom facility to be used during non-ball game use. Mr. Abbott responded that the project could be used as leverage to find dollars for a better facility, but there were no dollars allocated in the current plan for restrooms.
Proponents/Opponents Presentations: John Alfano addressed the Planning Commission, noting that he had been on the original skatepark committee which had asked for the location on Crestline. He explained that they had gotten the funding, but when they asked to start clearing the area, they were told they could not. He felt that the design was getting smaller because of the need to build walls and provide fill. He also stated there were monies available for park development, but the City did not own the ballfield area and would probably not be eligible to apply for monies for that location.
Micah Howe, student, indicated that he had been involved with the skatepark committee for three years, and was currently the Chair of the Parks Committee. He did not have a preference for location, as long as the facility was constructed. He felt that Crestline might be better because of noise issues and the fact that there would not need to be fill brought in. Additionally, there was the possibility that other family-oriented activities could be encouraged at that location. He noted that fencing was unnecessary, since the skateboarders are already aware that this activity is dangerous after dark.
Eugene Cvar read his letter into the record for the benefit of the audience. He noted that the use of this property for any purpose other than for the benefit of the School District would be challenged in court. He also asked where the authority came from to grant use of the property to anyone other than the property owner. Mr. Lewis noted the letter from the School District could be construed as authorization to proceed with the conditional use application, and Mr. Cvar responded that this would be decided in the courts as well.
Herman Welch, member of City Council, addressed the Commission as a private citizen. He indicated that he had supported the skatepark since the beginning and had donated money toward it. His main concern was the safety and wellbeing of the youth. He advocated the Kendall Field site as meeting the criteria for visibility, and noted that the medical facility at the firehall and sheriff's substation at city hall were additional advantages to the site.
Jan Power, resident, asked the Commission to consider the fact that once the facility is built, skateboarders will come. She stated that, in her experience with Eugene police department, the first park which they had built was in an isolated area and had experienced some problems with vandalism. Citing the lack of police presence in the City, she was concerned about the interaction of the youth with the public. She also felt that it was critical to provide restroom facilities to prevent public health problems.
Bill Bailey, manager of Sa-Da-Munn, asked the Commission to consider the needs of the "older kids" of Waldport. He felt that this would aggressively affect the quality of life of the tenants. Since the installation of the parking area on Starr Street, people were parking motorhomes within 20 feet of tenant's bedrooms. The noise from the ballfield was already noticeable, especially on the weekends, and the noise for this facility would be even greater.
Judy Vagenas, 18-month member of the skatepark committee, addressed the Commission. She noted that when the downtown location came up, many people were in favor of it. She asked that the Commission give that location every due consideration, and suggested granting the conditional use subject to the final outcome of the school district question if Mr. Cvar challenges it. She also suggested that they consider putting in portable restrooms as an alternative to the high water/sewer bills, and noted that no other skatepark facilities that she had visited had fences.
Lana Young, Sa-Da-Munn Board of Directors member and resident, indicated that they were already experiencing problems with skateboarders coming over the wall and into the flower beds, as well as the increase in traffic noise. Ms. Vagenas noted that there would be a town hall meeting on October 30 to address the youth problems.
Pat Tryon noted that at the last council meeting, a show of hands vote was taken for the skatepark location. One individual voted for a downtown location, everyone else in the audience voted for Crestline. She stated that the purpose of the park property on Crestline was to become a city park. Not just a skatepark, but also picnic facilities, basketball courts, tennis courts. She felt that what it would take to get this park developed was one group getting something going. Then the interest of the rest of the community will be piqued, groups of parents will get together and develop other areas for their kids. She felt that the impact to the residents of Sa-Da-Munn would be detrimental, and the ballfield activity was sporadic at best and took place mostly during the day and on weekends.
Charles Church reviewed the issue as well. He noted that originally, the skatepark committee had asked for a donation of land. The City had designated the Crestline Park property. The skatepark committee raised the funds, and was then informed that they could not put the facility where it had originally been intended to go. He expressed frustration with the process, and noted that the City does have the ability to ask the sheriff's department to patrol the area up on Crestline as part of the enhanced coverage.
Steve Lamica, chair of the skatepark committee, addressed the Commission. He noted that their goal is to put a park in for the children. He expressed concerns about the safety of the skateboarders during baseball games, and wondered who would be responsible for preventing the use of the facility during those games. He also stated that Toilet Express had given a verbal commitment to donate a portable restroom for the Crestline Park facility.
Applicant's Rebuttal: None.
Chair Balen then closed the Public Hearing and opened the Planning Commission meeting for deliberations.
Commissioner Cvar stated that he was upset with the fact that two months ago, when the City applied for a skatepark on John Street, he had at that time complained about the lack of information. The City sets the rules and standards for all applications, and what was required for a CUP was a plot plan drawn to scale, showing all property lines, buildings, water & sewer lines and other pertinent information. He indicated that he would expect that the City would provide the same amount of information it would require from any other citizen. Commissioner Cvar moved to deny the application for lack of information. Commissioner Milligan seconded, noting that she was also concerned with the lack of detail provided. Commissioner Hauser agreed, and indicated she had an additional concern about the agreement with the School District, as the letter was very vague and had been drafted back in July. With the current changes going on, she felt that a firm agreement was needed before any project could proceed. Commissioner Cutter noted that he thought they had made it explicit that they would not consider another application which did not contain detail. He was concerned that the issues of safety, parking, fences and restrooms had not appeared to be addressed by the skatepark committee, and felt that though the placement on Crestline was not optimal, it was certainly better than the Kendall Field location. Commissioner Uhl concurred with the rest of the Commission. Commissioner Meatzie abstained from expressing an opinion. Commissioner Balen noted that he was unhappy with the fact that they only had a sketchy diagram to review, and also felt that there were too many "unknowns" and lack of detail for the Commission to make a good decision. The motion to deny the application then carried unanimously on a voice vote.
7. OLD BUSINESS: None.
8. NEW BUSINESS:
A. Planner's Report: Mr. Lewis reviewed his written report. Commissioner Cutter asked if a checklist could be developed to assist an applicant in applying for a CUP. Mr. Lewis noted that the City's application was an odd situation, as there were limited dollars to develop a detailed site plan, which would probably only be done once the location is established. Commissioner Cutter noted that the standards should be the same for all applicants. Commissioner Cvar agreed that a final design would be expensive and difficult to obtain, however, there had been too many suppositions with no supporting documentation in the presentation. Mr. Lewis commented that it appeared the Crestline park application had been equally as vague.
B. November/December Meeting Dates: Following a brief discussion, consensus of the Commission was that the next meeting would be Thursday, November 21. Unless there is an emergency, there will be no meeting in December.
C. OTHER ISSUES: Chair Balen noted distribution of a draft letter regarding Planning Commission concerns about the most frequently violated development code requirements. He welcomed review of the document, and asked for additions or comments from the Commission. He will then publish the document in the local paper. Additionally, staff will develop a FAQ sheet and checklist of items which should accompany conditional use and other applications.
9. ADJOURNMENT: At 8:33 p.m., there being no further business to come before the Commission, Commissioner Hauser moved to adjourn. Commissioner Meatzie seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
Reda A. Quinlan, City Clerk
APPROVED by the Waldport Planning Commission this 21st day of November, 2002.
SIGNED by the Planning Commission Chair this 21st day of November, 2002.
Sam Balen, Planning Commission Chair