The board approved an ordinance Wednesday extending a ban on tobacco use to more county properties. In August 2012 the board adopted the first phase of the tobacco-free campus ordinance, which banned smoking and tobacco use at the 800/820 Exchange St. block, Judge Guy Boyington Building and public works facilities in Astoria. According to Manager Scott Somers the ban includes electronic cigarettes as well
The second phase covers the Sheriff's Office/Jail facility, county courthouse and Marine Patrol boat house in Astoria and the Parole and Probation office and Animal Shelter in Warrenton. The ordinance includes a small exempted area located south of the courthouse for use by court jurors. The ordinance also expands the ban to all lit smoking devices. The ban takes effect May 24. The Clatsop County Fair Board is considering how a tobacco ban might be applied at the fairgrounds.
In other action:
The board directed Planning Division staff to begin work to develop a local wetland inventory overlay land-use designation for the Arch Cape/Cove Beach community. The overlay would apply uniform development standards covering wetlands identified in the Local Wetlands Inventory commissioned by the Arch Cape Sanitary District and Columbia River Estuary Task Force. The board voted 4-1 to pursue the overlay; Commissioner Dirk Rohne voted no. The inventory was approved by the Oregon Department of State Lands in 2011. Following its approval the Ecola Creek Watershed Council requested that the county adopt the inventory and related development standards. The county Planning Commission recommended the board of commissioners develop an overlay containing uniform regulations covering all of the wetlands identified in the inventory as "significant." The Community Development Department estimated that developing the overlay would cost up to $44,000 in staff and legal counsel time and related cost, and take nine to 12 months.
The board of commissioners approved an ordinance reorganizing some county services. The new administrative structure changes the Central Services Department to the Budget and Finance Department, and moves two current Central Service functions to two other departments – Building and Grounds to Public Works, and Information Systems to the County Manager's Office, which will be renamed the Administrative Services Department. The Assessment and Taxation Department, which since 2010 has been overseen by the Central Services Director, will again be a stand-alone department. The position of Assistant County Manager – which was vacated in December 2012 when Nicole Williams moved from that position to become County Clerk – will be eliminated. The changes are projected to result in $265,704 in savings in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The board held a public hearing on an ordinance amending county land-use rules to allow emergency storage shelters on forest-zoned lands. The amendment accommodates a project of the City of Cannon Beach, which plans to install metal storage containers for use by residents to store emergency supplies for use following a tsunami or other disaster. Current land-use rules do not allow the structures in forest-zoned land. The board is scheduled to vote on the amendments May 22.
The board granted refunds to 16 property owners in Arch Cape for penalties imposed by the county Assessment and Taxation Department for unpaid room tax payments. The board voted 4-1 for the refunds; Commissioner Debra Birkby voted no. The owners were clients of Arch Cape Property Services, which managed their properties as short-term rentals. The company collected transient room taxes from renters but failed to forward those taxes, covering a period from March to December 2012, to the county. The owners only learned of the delinquent tax payments when they received lien notices from the county tax office. The penalties ranged from $194 to $845. The refunds do not include interest or tax office costs to process the liens.