The Astoria City Council approved a zone change for Mark Carey, owner of Astoria Fultanos Pizza on two lots located behind the business off 7th street. Carey plans to make a paved off-street parking area there to augment the 21 parking spaces at that business. Neighbors had objected to the changes fearing that at some point the newly rezoned commercial property next to their homes might be built out some day.
The new zoning would have allowed a building to cover 90% of the property and would allow building to a height of 45 feet. Cary does not plan to build anything other than parking spaces so he volunteered to add a condition to the approval that the building height would be limited to 28 feet and no more than 50% of the property could be developed.
The council also gave approval for the City Manager to put out a request for qualifications to hire an environmental expert to use a EPA brownfield grant to investigate sources of old contamination on the Heritage Square property. Manager Paul Benoit said it's his understanding that the block had been used by an auto shop and a gas station and a dry cleaner at one point in it's history and that means it's likely there is lingering contamination that will have to be addressed before significant development could occur on that block.
The City Council also approved a contract amendment for IFA grant funding through Business Oregon for effluent treatment upgrades for the waste water treatment plant. The city council adopted a new ordinance regulating facilities in city rights of way. This ordinance standardizes the regulations which in the past was part of individual franchise agreements for utilities placing infrastructure in city right of way.
The city council approved a new contract with Ellis and Associates to provide training and oversight for life guards for the city aquatic center. Parks Director JP Moss told Mayor Van Dusen that the Aquatic Center is much safer under Ellis' watchful eye than it was before with standard Red Cross certification in use previously. Moss explained that Ellis and Associates provides training that leads to a licence rather than a certification. To hold the licence a life guard must hold to very strict rules or risk losing the licence. He said that is different from Red Cross training certificates which are considered good for three years without holding to standards and he said while Red Cross will come back and perform audits if requested that costs extra while Ellis provides quarterly audits and surprise inspections video taping staff performance making corrections where necessary up to revoking a life guard licence. Moss says Ellis is employed by top water parks and by the Portland Parks and Vancouver parks departments in the Northwest among others. The contract had been set for consent approval but incoming city councilor Drew Herzig had requested that the item be put on the regular agenda and discussed. Herzig suggested that it might be unfair to sign the new agreement when a new parks director is coming on board to replace Moss and he asked why the city wasn't using the cheaper Red Cross training. The council went on to approve the Ellis contract.