Florence supplements Benedict Holdings ordinance

Council meeting covers Rods ‘N’ Rhodies, Planning Commission vacancy and RAIN

August 23, 2022 — During the Aug. 15 meeting, the Florence City Council voted unanimously to adopt supplemental findings to Ordinance No. 2, Series 2021, regarding the Benedict Holdings Project. 

“These supplemental findings address the remand proceedings and applicable criterion, as remanded to the City Council by the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) in Oregon Coast Alliance v. City of Florence,” the ordinance stated. 

Ordinance No. 2, Series 2021, was adopted on April 5, 2021, and “did not adequately explain why the known assignment satisfies the public interest standard set forth in the Florence Code,” said City Recorder Lindsey White. “The council is now being asked to explain why assigning a low-density zoning district is not contrary to the public interest.” 

Florence Planning Director Wendy FarleyCampbell included the following as public interest and benefits of the ordinance in her presentation: 

  1. Documented public need for residential development. 
  2. Public access to Three Mile Prairie Parkland. 
  3. Sewer extension is financed by the developer and is available to serve existing Idylewood Subdivision on septic systems. 
  4. Stormwater Master Plan becomes applicable and the city has the ability to address needs for infrastructure. 
  5. South Heceta Junction Lakes protected by the city’s Prime Wildlife Zone with a 100-foot setback. 

The public hearing regarding the ordinance opened on Feb. 1, 2021. The hearing was reconvened and closed on Feb. 22, 2021. 

“Despite the record closing, the city council continues to receive unsolicited testimony and evidence,” White said. “Submissions that were submitted after 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2021, are not a part of the record for this quasi-judicial matter and will not be considered by the council and its deliberations tonight.” 

The ordinance stated that “based upon the state of the existing record, the arguments already made throughout the course of this matter, and the specific scope of the remand issue, there 

is little reason to re-open the record or hear new argument as to the remand issue.” As such, Florence City Council did not hold a public hearing on the ordinance. 

When prompted by the city recorder, none of the councilors declared personal biases or conflicts of interest that could impact the decision making process. 

Also in the meeting, as proposed by Gary Cargill of Rods ‘N’ Rhodies Inc., roads throughout Historic Old Town Florence will be closed on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the Rods ‘N’ Rhodies Invitational Car Show. 

“We are a nonprofit organization that provides car shows,” Cargill said. “We also have a special project called ‘Transportation Solutions,’ where we fund and help families within the community with the vehicle maintenance.” 

The street closures include Bay Street from the Siuslaw River Bridge to the intersection of First and Nopal streets, Laurel Street from Old Town Way to Bay Street and Maple Street from First to Bay streets.  

The council approved the request unanimously. 

Rods ‘N’ Rhodies will be responsible for providing necessary signage; access to the street closure area for residents, visitors, deliveries and event participants; sanitation such as trash cans, public restrooms and hand wash stations; and security and emergency service access. The city will provide parking enforcement.  

According to Florence Police Chief John Pitcher, the enforcement includes trying to contact the owners of any cars parked within the closure zone with the ability to tow if contact is unsuccessful. 

A public hearing was open to discuss the road closures before the vote, but no comments were given. 

The Florence Planning Commission currently has one vacancy for a member within city limits, as is needed to reach the state law that requires seven members. The term expires in May 2024. 

The commission “reviews and makes recommendations on the comprehensive plan, subdivision and zoning ordinances, and other planning rules and regulations.” 

Applications are due on Aug. 29, and more information can be found at www.ci.florence.or.us/boardsandcommissions/planning-commission-recruitment-2. 

Additionally, RAIN (Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network) presented annual updates, as well as invited local business owners to speak on their experiences with the network. Matthew Donnelly of Game Thyme Food Truck and Jennifer Brandenberger of U.S. Bead Warehouse shared stories of support. 

“I was introduced to RAIN by a fellow business owner and I feel like I stumbled on that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” Bradenberger said. “The benefit of being able to participate in each workshop has exponentially expanded my horizons in marketing management and financial wellbeing.” 

RAIN also gave her the opportunity to network with entrepreneurs throughout the state. 

Jo Beaudreau, the owner of BeauxArts Fine Art Materials, submitted a testimony regarding how RAIN motivated her to start a 10-week workshop for local “ARTrepreneurs,” which covered tools for businesses in creative industries, mentorship, networking and self-reliance. 

According to RAIN’s report, the organization has served 23 entrepreneurs and hosted 31 entrepreneurial activities in Florence. 

For more information, visit oregonrain.org. 

The Aug. 15 Florence City Council meeting and materials can be accessed from www.ci.florence.or.us.