LONG BEACH - At the Oct. 20 city council meeting, members decided that rules pertaining to the skatepark will be limited to inside Culbertson Park. The council also denied a petition to vacate a section of 5th St. NW and set dates for 2004 budget hearings in mid-November.

It was recently brought to the city council's attention that regulations passed at the Sept. 15 meeting pertaining to the skatepark were not clear. It was stated that swearing within 100 feet of the skatepark would not be tolerated. Ordinance 775 also stated that possession of a weapon and smoking would not be allowed within 300 feet.

After further examination of the rules, and a call from the concerned parent of a skater, the council determined that 300 feet was too large of an area to enforce. City administrator, Nabiel Shawa, said under the wording of the ordinance, a person found with a pocket knife on Washington St. could lose their privilege to use the skatepark.

"This was just an oversight," said Shawa. "We really wanted to limit those rules to inside the park itself."

The council also decided to deny a petition to set a public hearing on the proposed sale of part 5th Street NW. At the last Long Beach city council meeting held on Oct. 6, the council was petitioned by Baker to vacate or sell a portion of city-owned land to increase the size to accommodate plans to build a four-plex home. Baker said that his lot was too small to build anything larger than a duplex, and the land would not be profitable unless Baker could build a larger rental home.

Councilman Fred Cook explained the his concerns that mirrored those of the rest of the council by saying, "If we vacate that street, in effect to allow him to have a larger piece of property, it would appear that we are allowing him to use that street or easement as part of his property to allow him to build a four-plex. There is some question in my mind if that is appropriate."

This means that Baker would own the land just to show the lot was large enough to build a larger house. Shawa agreed with the council saying that although the vacation of the property was legal, Baker's claim that he would give the piece of land back to the city goes against the spirit of the zoning code. The petition was voted on and denied by the council by a vote of four votes to none. Councilman Ralph Moore was not present.

The dedication ceremony for Clark's Tree was set for 3 p.m. Nov. 9. at the location one mile north of the Bolstad beach approach on the Discovery Trail. Historian and artist Rex Ziak, and others, will be on hand to discuss the historical aspects of the sculpture. A time capsule will be placed at the monument to be opened in 2103 as part of the 300-year anniversary of the Corps of Discovery reaching the Pacific Coast.

The council set dates for 2004 budget hearings to take place at city hall. A public hearing is planned for Nov. 3 to give the public the opportunity to give comments regarding tax and fee increases. On Nov. 17, the council will hold a preliminary budget hearing which is also open to the public, and the final budget hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1. It is the hope of the city council that the budget will be adopted at that time.

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