Cottage Grove city councilors convened on Monday (March 23) for a council meeting, though few were present.
Following health authority and state official directives amid the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the city’s public meetings are now being held virtually with minimal human presence in the council chambers at City Hall.
Monday evening, Mayor Jeff Gowing and Councilor Kenneth Roberts physically attended the meeting while remaining councilors and some staff joined through the visual- and audio-conferencing service GoToMeeting.
While the council chambers were absent any members of the public, at least three people virtually joined the session to witness the public meeting.
With few technical difficulties, councilors unanimously passed ordinances which included: re-designating a parcel along the Coast Fork Willamette River to parks and recreation space in anticipation of a proposed dog park; re-designating land along Village Drive across from the Middlefield Golf Course to relocate the city’s golf cart storage facility; and re-designating 10 parcels under city ownership between South River Road and Coast Fork Willamette River as parks and recreation zones to reflect the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
Councilors also voted to approve a land transfer between the city and King Estate Winery, allowing the company to develop additional facilities on an adjoining lot.
Some items which were previously on the agenda, such as a discussion of parklets, have been postponed for an unannounced later date to encourage greater public participation and understanding of the upcoming issues.
The public has been encouraged to attend meetings online or by phone and those without such access are allowed to attend meetings in person in the council chambers, though social distancing guidelines require a 6-foot space between individuals and attendance is limited to 10 people in the chambers at a time.
To participate in virtual public meetings, members of the public may access them online by computer, tablet or smartphone at the city’s website at cottagegrove.org.
Instructions for joining each meeting online or by phone are located at the top of the relevant meeting’s agenda page.