NPIA elects officers, discusses water tower, derelict property issues

OCEAN PARK - The North Peninsula Improvement Association elected a slate of officers at their monthly meeting June 24. The NPIA also continued discussion on water and derelict property issues.

Tom Morrow was re-elected president with Curt Stephens continuing on as vice-president. Tom Downer will serve as secretary, R.D. Williams will become treasurer, and George Orr will serve on the NPIA board.

Downer made a presentation on a proposed water tower that would directly benefit the commercial district in Ocean Park. Downer went on to say a water tower could lower fire insurance rates from Holman Road in Seaview to Leadbetter Point.

He noted the Ocean Beach School District needs a 130,000-gallon capacity water source for the Ocean Park school remodel. The NPIA is trying to work together with OBSD to put up a 400,000 to 500,000-gallon tank.

School district Superintendent Tom Lockyer is favorable to working with the NPIA to obtain a joint water source that would meet OBSD regulations and requirements and save tax dollars in the process.

"It is a better situation for all concerned if we have one working system," Lockyer said. "Our responsibility is to have the water system in place by September 2005."

OBSD and the NPIA will need to have plans for a water tower in place by January 2005 with completion guaranteed to be done by September of that year in order for the joint effort to work.

Stephens said the NPIA would best be served if it can become a federally recognized non-profit corporation so it can maintain and operate a water system. Celsa Johnson recommended a committee meet with attorney Jim Finlay to discuss the move.

Ugly messes Downer reported he met with Sheriff John Didion, along with Brian Harrison and Dale Little of the Department of Community Development, in order to "put some teeth" into the laws regarding cleaning up derelict property. The group is working to eliminate such hazards as abandoned vehicles within the next 30 to 60 days.

Darrel Miller of Ace Towing owns a car crusher and, according to Downer, "looks forward to eliminating the red tape that constricts the ability to solve this problem."

The Department of Ecology, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington State Patrol are also working to have a solution to the derelict property problem in Ocean Park.

In a related matter, Brad Weatherby of Fire District No. 1 said his staff can only recommend to property owners that they control high grass that constitutes a potential fire hazard. He stressed fire department personnel are consultative and cannot do any enforcement.

Other issues Tom Morrow reviewed a questionnaire that had 270 respondents. Most prefer quarterly meetings of the NPIA instead of monthly. Flood control was the number one issue mentioned.

A memorial to NPIA founder Jack Downer was highly favored and a plaque was suggested to be placed in his honor on the Bay to Beach Trail.

Williams said there are funds available to blacktop the Bay to Beach Trail from Sandridge to Ridge Street and that lighting and benches are amenities that can be added.

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