April 18, 2018 — On Monday, Florence City Council approved Ordinances No. 2 and 3, 2018, approving the annexation of Harbor Vista Campground, 87658 Harbor Vista Drive, and establishing its new zoning assignments. This was done following a public hearing and the approval of Florence Planning Commission.
City of Florence Planning Director Wendy FarleyCampbell presented information on the two hearings. The petition for annexation was submitted by Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky on behalf of the Lane County Board of Commissioners.
“The applicant applied for the petition for annexation for Harbor Vista Campground in order to connect to sewer services, and those are in the process of being extended,” FarleyCampbell said.
Work on the Harbor Vista Campground Sewer Collection System Project began in February, with plans to be complete by Memorial Day in May.
On March 27, Florence Planning Commission held the first evidentiary hearing on the ordinances, with written and oral public comment. The April 16 city council meeting was the final evidentiary hearing.
According to the staff report, annexations require consent in writing from more than half of the owners of the land on or before the date of the hearing.
“One hundred percent of the property owners owning all of the land and all of the assessed value consented to annexation prior to the council hearing date,” the report stated.
“The other criteria applicable to annexation is, basically, can the property be served? We don’t want to bring things in that we can’t serve,” FarleyCampbell said. “The big one for the county is sewer. The campground needs sewer services — badly. Sewer will be provided through the existing pressure that’s in Rhododendron Drive, and they will be connecting via a gravity system within their own development, from there connecting to a regional pump station and into Rhododendron Drive.”
Florence Public Works Director Mike Miller submitted referral comments on the services aspect of the annexation.
“The city currently has excess capacity to accommodate the sewer needs of this area,” Miller wrote. “Without going into great detail, it is the policy of the city of Florence to provide sanitary sewer service to any property within the city’s wastewater service area. … Staff believes that the proposed project will provide opportunities for other surrounding homeowners who desire sanitary sewer service from the city.”
Miller also stated that the the property owners are to pay for sewer main extension, manholes, construction, connection fees, engineering fees, street opening permits and any other fees necessary for the connection to the public sewer system for the project.
Water service to the campground will continue to be provided by Heceta Water People’s Utility District, and Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue will continue to provide fire services.
FarleyCampbell said, “The county is maintaining the maintenance jurisdiction of those roads, while jurisdictionally they are transferring within city boundaries. The city will not be maintaining North Jetty Road, South Harbor Vista Drive or Harbor Vista Road.”
The staff report added, “The transfer of the maintenance jurisdiction of the roadways will not be sought due to the rural construction standard of the roadways and exclusive campground use in the case of Harbor Vista Road.”
Councilor Joshua Greene clarified, “In reference to the county being responsible for maintenance for North Jetty Road and the park itself — they own the property; they’re just annexing in to get services.”
In addition, Florence Police Department will take over public safety for the property.
“We provide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year full police coverage for the community of Florence,” wrote Florence Police Chief Tom Turner in his testimony. “Incorporating this new area would not be extending our services or capacity as we already respond to many of the surrounding properties, both in and out of the City of Florence, as a normal course of our business.”
Turner added that his department has a mutual aid agreement with Lane County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police already in place to respond to the surrounding areas that are outside the city’s jurisdiction.
The second ordinance approved by the city council had to do with new zoning assignments for the campground and roads.
“When you come into the city, we need to assign some zoning to the lands to change them from their current county zoning to city zoning,” FarleyCampbell said.
She said the Florence 2025 Comprehensive Plan Map indicated that the campground and portions of the rights of way would be changed from the county designation of “public” to “open space.” The other zone used is for North Jetty Road, east of the park, to be single family residential. Some of the land will also have a Natural Resource Conservation Management Unit Overlay.
“The campground is right up along the estuary on the meander line of the Pacific Ocean and the north boundary of the Siuslaw River,” FarleyCampbell said. “All the different properties along the estuary and the river within a certain number of feet of that water body are assigned a shoreland management unit.”
During the public comment period, the city received comments from annexation proponent Michael Allen and opponent Leah Patten. Both had previously offered testimony to the Planning Commission.
Allen, self-proclaimed “friend of Harbor Vista,” said he lives near the park and has been able to watch the development. He previously requested that ADA-accessible campsites also be included in the first phase of the sewer services project, with which city staff and Lane County Public Works Interim Director Dan Hurley agreed.
“I periodically get out to the park and document the work. It’s really proceeding very well,” he added.
Patten said she felt that the various documents she had seen depicted different boundary lines for the annexation and were unclear. She also said she worried about “the overall annexation plan of the city.”
“When I first bought my property on (North Jetty Road), I was more than two miles outside the city limits. Now, in order to go to my mailbox, the city wants me to walk on city property. It really is part of a plan for annexation,” Patten said.
Florence Mayor Joe Henry replied to Patten’s concerns.
“I’ve been involved in city government for six years, and the policy at that time was ‘no forced annexation.’ To the best of my knowledge, that still is the policy,” he said. “We have not annexed one property that did not request it, and those requests are becoming greater all the time — especially from the north end of the town. There will continue to be more of those requests, and we will not deny them unless it’s not practical.”
Before the council voted, Hurley got a chance to speak.
“I just want to thank the council for considering this proposal. The connection to the sewer is definitely needed. It will protect the aquifer and provide better service to the users (of the grounds),” he said.
Once the public hearing closed, four out of five city councilors voted to approve the ordinances. Councilor Woody Woodbury was absent.
Henry then thanked the city and county staff for their work on the annexation process.
“That was a lot of work, and I think it’s a great thing for the park and for the community,” he said.
This was the city’s first public meeting requiring the new “speaker’s card” before community members could make public comment. The cards are available at ci.florence.or.us/council/request-address-city-council-speakers-card and will be available at future meetings.