The following is a summary of actions taken at last night's meeting of the Astoria City Council
The city council and the city planning commission met jointly at 5:30 Tuesday night to see a presentation on pedestrian safety and discuss some of the data revealed at that meeting heading toward making Astoria streets safer to cross.
The research indicates no distinctive patterns that would show a trend in the number of accidents and when and where they occur but it was clear that most of the issues are in the downtown area. A traffic study consultant offered several possible options and ODOT's Larry McKinley stated that as far at ODOT is concern "Everything is on the table". McKinley did say that he would have some concerns about changing the timing for traffic lights to allow more time for pedestrians to cross as that may lead to traffic back-ups through the downtown area. Most of the solutions presented would take some time to engineer and construct. Wanting to find a quicker solution the council directed staff to study the possibility of starting a pedestrian crossing flag program. Manager Paul Benoit promised that he would return with a plan.
The joint meeting then tuned to planning issues surrounding residential and commercial solar installations. The planning commission is beginning the process of writing some new rules for solar and wind and will be starting with solar. A representative of the solar program with the State gave a lengthy presentation on solar installations and then answered questions from the council, the commission, and the general public at the meeting.
In his report to the council Mayor Willis Van Dusen talked about the strong ties between Astoria and the U.S. Coast Guard and that the relationship was recognized when the town was declared one of 14 "Coast Guard Cities" in the country. The city will recognize that relationship officially Wednesday morning with the dedication of a granite monument placed at the foot of the 17th street dock. The dedication begins at 11:15am. The Mayor then announced that the city council will meet to set out goals for 2013 and, he said, the public will have a month or two to look them over before they are officially adopted.
The council approved a non-exclusive franchise agreement with Light Speed Network to provide Internet services in Astoria. In response to a question from the public City Manager Paul Benoit said light speed would not be providing residential Internet service and instead will focus on providing services to large businesses in the area.
The council approved the establishment of a new capital reserve fund for the public works department.
The council also approved a tree harvest that will take place on city-owned land at the Astoria watershed. The council approved an off-premises liquor licence for Chris Holen doing business as Baked Alaska. Holen said it is his intention to offer bottled beer and wine for sale through his business. Counselor Herzig pointed out that this should not be for the purpose of buying liquor from the Baked Alaska to be consumed on the river walk. Holen agreed that was not the purpose. The council approved the extended licence but it still needs final approval from the Oregon liquor Control Commission. The OLCC treats the city decision as an advisory vote. The council also approved a new liquor licence for Mike Davies doing business as Beach Burritos. It was reported that Davies plans to add beer and wine service at the restaurant.
City Manager Paul Benoit asked for council approval of an agreement with the Best Western Hotel that would allow the hotel to pay delinquent room taxes in four equal payments with the understanding that they would not become delinquent again. The council approved the agreement and also agreed to allow Benoit to post a lien on the business until the amount is payed off.