Friday, November 10, 2006

Back To Work

Now that the election is over I'd like to continue to share my reflections and opinions on city government. I will probably rename my blog and open it up to comments so it becomes more of a dialogue than a monologue.

While I don't take office until January, there are some pretty pressing issues facing the city. There is a City Council meeting Monday (November 13) with two big items on the agenda: Sewer rate increases, and a building height ordinance deliberation.

With several serious sewer failures in the past year the city is revisiting a 2001 CFP (Capital Facilities Plan) which recommended increasing monthly sewer charges from the current rate ($36 residential) to a new rate ($48 residential) over several years. The 2001 CFP recommended a series of projects to shore up the system, none of which have been funded because current rates just cover basic maintanence.

Discussion will continue on a proposal to limit building heights to 28 ft instead of 35 ft in R1, R2, and R3 zones. 35 ft may still be allowed as a conditional use, or for multifamily dwellings (in R3). I think the public hearing has been closed on this subject, so if you still have comments you might address them directly to the sitting city councilors before the meeting.

Finally, I'm pretty concerned about the effect of the Highway 35 closure on our city. Right now we just a have a flurry of speculations about when parts of the road may be accessible, but the economic effect could be anything from devastating (long closure, no ski traffic or seasonal jobs) to a real economic boon (all traffic through Hood River for a while). If you haven't seen pictures of the damage it's hard to imagine a speedy repair. But Dave Riley, COO of Meadows Ski Area has a more upbeat assessment. We'll have to hold tight and wait for news from ODOT over the next few weeks.


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