Owners of RV park get go-ahead to expand
by Randy Parks
On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Hines Common Council approved a business license for Left Coast Truck & Equipment Parts Inc., owned by Doug Murphy.
Murphy told the council the business will be located in the former mill saw shop at 207 Hotchkiss Lane, north of the smoke stack, and will be a truck dealership. The business will also sell new and used parts.
At the Hines Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 28, Murphy said his family purchased 11 acres surrounding the building, and they intended to remodel the building, as well as build another shop.
Murphy added that they wanted to clean up the area around the smoke stack, and asked permission to cover up the debris and make it into a pocket park. Because the land around the smoke stack belongs to the county, the commission encouraged Murphy to contact the county about the cleanup.
The council noted that the business would be located in an area zoned for industrial use, and supported the idea of cleaning up the area.
The council also approved a conditional use permit for Murphy, based on the recommendation of the planning commission.
The council also discussed a conditional use permit for the Hines RV & Mobile Home Park, which is also owned by Murphy. Plans called for adding 18 pull-through spaces at the park, and temporary holding pens for travelers that were hauling livestock.
The council approved the expansion and the permit.
During the Jan. 28 planning commission meeting, Tom Phelps, owner of Sands RV Park, requested an extension of the 30-day limit on RV park tenants. He explained that half of his income comes from the people who stay longer in the warmer weather, and then the park is closed for the winter. Phelps added that construction workers also use the park and don’t want to have to pack up and leave after 30 days.
The commission had concerns about guests who put up dog kennels or placed hay bales around the base of their RV, stating that those activities needed to be prohibited.
The commission recommended an amendment to the current conditional use permit to allow tenants to remain in the park for up to 120 days per year.
The council agreed that tenants should not be allowed to erect temporary foundations, dog kennels, etc., and voted to follow the commission’s recommendation to allow tenants to stay for up to 120 days per year.
City Administrator Joan Davies reported she had attended a city managers meeting in Baker City, where a total of seven cities were represented. She said all the cities seemed to be dealing with the same issues, including flood plain issues and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) new requirements for flood insurance.
With regards to the Hines council’s plans to have a water rate study done, Davies stated that John Day and Enterprise are doing water rate studies at a cost of about $10,000.
Davies said while the local area is dealing with the sage grouse issue, areas like Baker City are going through similar issues with salmon.
Regarding marijuana dispensaries, Davies stated the city has language in the municipal code already that prohibits a business that breaks federal law. The Oregon Senate already passed Senate Bill 1531, which would let cities and counties regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, but not ban them, so cities are being cautious to avoid lawsuits.
Davies said that other cities are now contracting services out, as positions open up. From city hall to maintenance to law enforcement, cities are contracting out, so they can save money by not having to pay benefits.
Davies and others had written letters to FEMA five months ago detailing the adverse effects of the new insurance requirements and just recently heard back from the agency. The letters had asked that FEMA go back to the flood plain mapping from 1978, and FEMA replied that was not an option.
Davies and other city and county officials attended a meeting with FEMA representatives on Feb. 24, and there was discussion on statistics from 1969 that showed a flow of 9,000 cubic feet per second in the Silvies River. No one could explain where that number came from, and it is so high that it skews the data.
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty pointed out that FEMA representatives were unwilling to accept the data from the 1978 mapping because of a lack of technical data, but were insisting on keeping an unsupported, extremely high water flow number, without any technical data.
Davies said she and the mayor had submitted letters to the Bureau of Land Management asking them to reconsider listing the sage grouse as endangered because of the adverse effects it would have on the people and economy of this area.
She also requested the council extend the time limit on accepting bids for the surplus police vehicles because one of them was still in the process of having the police equipment dismantled, and she wanted interested parties to have the chance to view the vehicle before making a bid. The council agreed to extend the deadline to March 18.
Police Chief Ryan DeLange reported that his department had conducted a 13-day safety belt blitz, and during that time, they made 55 traffic stops that resulted in 42 citations.
DeLange stated he will be attending a police chief conference in April, with the main focus being on the anticipated legalization of marijuana. He said marijuana is now a Schedule II drug, and the penalties for possession have changed. Possession of less than an ounce is a violation, up to four ounces is a misdemeanor, and more than four ounces is a felony.
The council asked DeLange about their request to establish a no parking zone on Highway 20 near the high school. DeLange stated the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) would not allow any more signs to be posted in that area, so “No Parking” would have to be painted on the asphalt. ODOT also requires a letter from the mayor making the request.
Councilor Dick Anderson suggested the no parking zone extend from the Hines Shell station to Pacific Pride, and include the left-turn lane.
In other business:
• Assistant Fire Chief Jonathan Manski reported that they had no emergency calls to speak of, but they were conducting weekly training sessions, and the maintenance on the Jaws of Life by a certified technician had been completed;
• Superintendent of Public Works Pedro Zabala reported the consumer confidence reports on water testing would be going out to residents in the mail. He said they had a water leak Feb. 6 near Harney Electric, and thanked the Burns Public Works for their assistance. He added that they also had a water leak near the corner of Bennett and North Saginaw, had replaced 11 water-meter heads, and spent time cleaning debris from ditches;
• the council approved donating $100 to Burns High School Project Graduation; $125 to Kids Club of Harney County Diamonds in a Glass; and $50 to Harney County Science Fair;
• the council accepted the application from Yturri-Rose of Ontario for a contract to act as the city’s attorney;
• the council agreed to move forward with a water rate study in the new fiscal year;
• Harney County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chelsea Harrison was present to ask for permission to use the Hines Park June 14 for a half-marathon. She said the run would coincide with Obsidian Days and the Country Music Jamboree to help draw more people to all the events. The council agreed to allow the use of the park;
• the council approved a livestock permit for Stacey Puckett for a 4-H steer, and a livestock permit for Jen and Forrest Keady for 4-H pigs.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at city hall.