Cottage Grove city councilors voted on June 8 to designate four parking spaces for two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the city and established a fee for their use.
A grant awarded from Pacific Power to the city aided the installation of two charging stations, one on the east side of the Cottage Grove Community Center and another in the city’s parking lot opposite City Hall.
As the stations will offer about 25 miles per hour of charging, the resolution waives the three-hour parking limit for the four spaces and reserves them for vehicles using the stations.
The installed chargers, manufactured and operated by EV infrastructure
company SemaConnect, are linked to the internet and can be accessed for payment via smartphone.
A related resolution amending the city’s Comprehensive Fee Schedule to accommodate the new EV stations was also passed, setting the charging fee at $1.25 per hour.
This resolution also removes a $50 per dwelling unit fee from subdivision and master plan development Type III applications.
“The hope is that during this period of difficult times of development that we’re removing, where we can, the cost of these developments to help the developers in our community move forward with their developments,” said Public Works and Development Director Faye Stewart at the meeting.
City councilors voted unanimously to update the city’s discrimination policy from its 2016 version and adopt a new Title VI Plan, which would amend the plan to include Spanish language versions of the “Notification of Compliance with Title VI,” “How to File a Title VI Complaint” and complaint form sections.
The city’s website will also be updated to include the amended sections in Spanish.
Title VI of the the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance and the scope was broadened in 1987 to include all programs and activities whether federally assisted or not.
As a condition of federal grant funding, the city must have a Title VI Plan to implement federal Title VI non-discrimination and environmental justice requirements.
The city has also developed a Limited English Proficiency Plan in accordance with one of the Title VI provisions.
The plan improves access to services for people with limited English skills in the Cottage Grove Police Department and South Lane Wheels, the latter of which is a subrecipient of federal funds through the city.
In other City Council news:
Councilors voted to approve an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the cities of Cottage Grove and Coburg which will allow Cottage Grove Building Program staff to provide building permit services to the City of Coburg.
The IGA will include Coburg in a program Cottage Grove has already established with the cities of Creswell and Veneta.
Under the plan, Coburg will pay 15 percent of the building services costs with Cottage Grove paying 50 percent, Creswell 15 percent and Veneta 20 percent.
“This will help to strengthen the program financially and the workloads we have to manage,” said Stewart.
The City Council voted to approve commencement of a two-year parklet pilot study program, with a single dissenting vote from Councilor Mike Fleck.
Civil Engineer Ryan Sisson delivered a short presentation to the council regarding plans to begin the program along E. Main Street in downtown Cottage Grove.
Parklets are sidewalk extensions into street parking spaces which provide space for people to rest or dine, often with seating and tables.
The structures are promoted as a cost-effective way to add public gathering space and attract more businesses and consumer activity to an area.
The pilot study will accept applications from June 23, 2020, through Nov. 15, 2021 and issue a total of three parklet permits for the study period, limiting installment to one parklet on each block frontage.
The city began receiving applications June 9.
Councilor Fleck voiced reservations about the project.
“Initially when this came to us, I had concerns about people sitting immediately adjacent to the right-of-way there, but at the time I was willing to be open to studying this,” he said, adding he was disappointed in a lack of data. “We were told there was going to be a parking study before this came to us.
“This parking study has not been done and has not been given to us.”
A parking study has been delayed due to various reasons including the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Sisson and Stewart.
“On the parking study, I understand that will recommence here in a couple weeks,” said Sisson. “The intent on the postponement of that parking study was that gathering traffic data or parking data of any sort during the COVID shutdown wouldn’t have represented a good data set.”
The parking study will provide data on vacancy rates, frequency of space usage and usage rates of surrounding parking lots.
There was general agreement that specificity of terms and more data gathering would be essential to the success of the program.
The city is scheduled to evaluate the pilot program in November, 2021.
Safe Routes to School lot purchase
The city has approved purchase of the final easement needed to complete its Safe Routes to School project.
Owner of the lot Taylor Living Trust was offered $856 for the 171.1 square-foot lot at the fair market value set by Lane County, according to city documents. Following negotiations, the final counter offer from an agent representing Taylor Living Trust came back at $4,000.
Construction of the project is scheduled to begin on S. Fourth Street later this month with a proposed completion of Sept. 8.
To complete the project before school begins Sept. 9, councilors opted to approve purchase at the counter offer price, which will be funded by the city’s street fund.
“I’m not happy about it, but it is what it is,” said Mayor Jeff Gowing.
Council Position Vacancy
Councilors addressed the vacancy of the Ward 2 City Council position left by the death of Councilor Bob Ehler on May 10, voting to keep the position vacant until this year’s Nov. 2 election.
According to the Cottage Grove Charter, the City Council is not required to fill the vacancy, but can only be filled before the election by a City Council recruitment process.
Due to restrictions as a result of COVID-19, it was determined that the recruitment process would see the position filled sometime in September at the earliest, but the person appointed would only serve until after the November election.
Application packets for candidates are currently available on the city’s website.
Separately, councilors voted to honor Ehler by naming a bike fix-it station and adjacent bench located next to the entrance to the city shop after the late councilor.