LONG BEACH - After receiving correspondence from the city regarding the validity of their recently installed parking structure, Long Beach residents Robert and Eldora Merrill made their appeals to the Long Beach City Council in a public hearing held April 5.
According to information compiled by Long Beach Community Development Director Gayle Borchard, the city received a citizen complaint regarding a newly constructed carport at 1719 Ocean Beach Boulevard North. Upon completion of the city's design review, it was determined that the building had been constructed without a building permit and did not conform to city codes, thus the Merrills' application was denied. According to city records, the structure's violations included a roof pitch smaller than the required 5:12 pitch; lack of natural shake or wood siding required on at least 80 percent of the exterior; and it serving as an accessory structure and being located between their house and Boulevard.
Borchard stated that the owners would be required to acquire an after-the-fact building permit and perform abatement of the code violations. On March 9, the Long Beach Planning Commission made a recommendation that the council uphold the design review denial.
During the public hearing, the Merrills stated that they would be willing to bring the siding up to code but requested a variance for the roof pitch, which they stated was a difference of six inches.
After Mayor Bob Andrew closed the public hearing, city councilman Gordon Zuern said he would be willing to forgive the structure's roof pitch if there weren't so many other violations.
Councilor Ralph Moore described the situation as "frustrating." He explained that the city expects residents to follow and complete the proper procedures prior to building and when some of them don't do their homework first then the city council is viewed as "the bad guys" for denying the project.
The council unanimously denied the design review appeal.
A new farmer's market? In other business, councilors approved a resolution to allow Borchard to apply for USDA grant funds to support the establishment of a food-focused farmer's market in Long Beach. Borchard said the farmer's market would likely be open on Fridays as to not compete with the already existing Saturday Market at the Port of Ilwaco. She will hear back from USDA in October.
The council agreed to purchase 13 pieces of exercise equipment from the Boys and Girls Club of the Long Beach Peninsula for $5,000. The equipment will be used by city employees as they participate in the Association of Washington Cities' wellness program, which would result in health insurance rate discounts.
Councilors approved an ordinance to establish a process for the use of interfund loans, as well as a resolution to use an interfund loan (in the amount of up to $1 million) for a bridge loan during construction of the new water treatment plant.
Other business decisions included setting aside $5,000 for paving the parking area near the Breakers and Clark's Tree; approving an itinerant vendor license request for Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery; and authorizing staff to purchase a replacement vehicle for the city's sewer department. It was also announced that Manor, Texas has been established as Long Beach's sister city. Like Long Beach, Manor also features a QR Code tour throughout their town.
During council reports, Steven Linhart stated that sinkhole repairs were performed near 19th NW and Boulevard.
Getting set for Loyalty Days Councilman Don Maxson said that the flags have been hung in preparation for Loyalty Days and Fish Alley is currently torn up in preparation for new concrete work.
Councilor Jerry Phillips reported that the city of Long Beach's website is going to receive a makeover to make it more user-friendly and include QR Codes.
Among staff reports, Borchard stated that the Critical Areas Ordinance will be coming back to the council for their approval soon.
City Administrator Gene Miles was happy to report that the new water treatment plant project will be underway soon. He also said a census "bottleneck" has prevented some residents from receiving their census forms, likely due to the fact that census workers aren't provided with residents' P.O. box numbers.
In public comment, Ruth Ann Hocking gave a review of the Bluegrass Festival and said she already has a full lineup scheduled for next year. The mayor and council thanked Hocking for all her hard work and dedication in putting on another successful music event.
Diane Carter and Dodie McPherson gave a summary of the plans being made for the 65th annual Long Beach Rodeo July 24 and 25. New ideas this year include a parade in Long Beach on Friday night and gaining merchant participation through window display contests and donning Western wear.
New street sweeper At their April 19 meeting, councilors agreed to purchase a new street sweeper.
In his mayor's report, Andrew said there are 130 units signed up to participate in this year's Loyalty Days parade. He also reported that the city has started enforcing rules that prohibit the public from using bikes on city sidewalks.
During council reports, Linhart and Ralph Moore expressed disappointment in the news that the current Doggie Olympic Games chairman has resigned. The event is scheduled for June 26 in Long Beach and a chairperson is needed.