Charting the future

Beau Bennett and Matthew Landkamer of the Coraggio Group, a consulting firm assisting the city of Seaside with the annual goal-setting process, Friday, Jan. 11.

The Seaside City Council broadened its scope and looked into the near future. At the top of the annual two- and four-year goal-setting agenda attended by City Council members and staff, housing, the new school, vacation rentals and tsunami resiliency took the stage as the city’s upcoming concerns.

The aim of the all-day meeting, held Friday, Jan. 11, at the office of Ticor Title on North Roosevelt Drive and moderated by Beau Bennett and Matthew Landkamer of the Coraggio Group, was to develop a strategy to preserve or enhance “the desirable characteristics” of Seaside.

“We’re going to look at our imperatives, and then we’re going to really jump into it, the opportunities and challenges and what factors might influence these tasks,” Landkamer said.

The council agreed to review and update vacation rental ordinances, under fire from some residents and considered a factor in the shortage of affordable and workforce housing. “The sooner the better,” Councilor Tita Montero said.

“We’re all there,” echoed councilor Dana Phillips.

High priorities

With the relocation of Seaside High School, Gearhart Elementary School and Broadway Middle School out of the tsunami zone to a new site in the Southeast Hills, the council seeks to dovetail efforts for completion by the campus opening in the fall of 2020.

Recognizing the need to replace bridges liable to collapse in a Cascadia Subduction Zone event, councilors seek analysis and a plan in place within two years.

While the city has an emergency operations plan, a separate resiliency plan could identify “what things are going to survive and how you go about replacing them,” said City Manager Mark Winstanley.

The city could hire a consultant to create the plan.

Although a tsunami and its impact could destroy much of the city, Councilor Tom Horning said, “It would be wrong not to try.”

“In a disaster scenario, people are likely going to seek shelter in hills to the east of the city until help comes,” Mayor Jay Barber said. “That’s going to be one of the benefits of the campus.”

Pod-style buildings in use at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center construction site could be moved to the new school campus and provide a base for city government in the event of an earthquake and tsunami.

Department goals

City Planning Department goals for this year include finalizing the addition to the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, the development of a new four-story hotel, and working with the Seaside School District on the ongoing design and construction of the middle and high school. The department hopes to beef up emergency preparedness measures through planning and education.

Library Executive Director Esther Moberg shared a vision of increasing storage, small rooms and staff workspace, and expanded parking for patrons.

Fire Chief Joey Daniels provided two-year goals of a fifth paid staff to assist with coverage, response and administrative duties. The department also looks for additional training opportunities, rescue classes and some new equipment.

Police Chief Dave Ham asked council to consider discussions of affordable housing, homelessness, panhandling and “associated social concerns.”

“The current ordinance regarding unlawful lodging and direction to the police department “needs to be addressed, revised and decisions made by the council concerning enforcement expectations by our officers,” Ham said.

Public Works Director Dale McDowell said he seeks to “continue our momentum” with construction projects on Holladay Drive, Broadway Park and addition of a building maintenance department foreman position.

Increased citizen involvement in government is also a key goal, with a plan to be developed by the end of the year.

The council also plans to select six “high priority ordinances” for review and revision by year-end 2020.

Consultants Bennett and Landkamer will return to the city with a draft of proposals developed at the session.

“This is a process that is very difficult to do,” Barber said. “But because I know the people at this table, we can put our heads together and move in the same direction. It’s a good plan and I’m excited about the next two years, and the next four years as well.”

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