Cottage Grove approves parcel rezoning and storm drain expansion project  


City Manager speaks about Cottage Grove Police resignations 

October 20 - The Oct. 10 meeting of the Cottage Grove City Council included information on parcel rezoning, awarding the contract for storm drain expansion, looking at recent accomplishments and addressing the resignations at Cottage Grove Police Department.   

During the meeting, City Manager Richard Meyers addressed the city council and gave a timeline of events that brought the eventual resignation of former Cottage Grove Chief of Police Scott Shepard and Captain Conrad Gagner. Both were on leave after leadership complaints were lodged on July 29. Both were placed on non-disciplinary leave this summer. 

“Chief Scott Shepherd and Captain Conrad Gagner have resigned from the City of Cottage Grove effective Oct. 5,” Meyers reported. “As a result of their resignations, they are no longer the focus of any city-initiated investigation. The Cottage Grove Police Department remains under the leadership of Interim Police Chief Jeff Groth and the focus remains on providing a high level of public safety for the community.” 

Meyers noted that their resignations don't display any guilt or wrongdoing and it relieves the city of fiscal impacts due to the investigation. And any details regarding the resignation will remain with the City Manager, due to the personal matter surrounding the complaints.  

The council’s Oct. 10 meeting began with discussion regarding three parcels of land located west of Hayes and Grant avenues. City staff was recently made aware that the parcels did not have city zoning applied to them. The parcels are remnants of the former O, P, & E railroad right of way that used to run along the east bank of the Coast Fork Willamette River. 
Public Works & Development staff believe that at the time they were vacated as a right of way. However, the city’s zoning was not applied and the parcels were defaulted to Lane Code Chapter 10 designation of agriculture, grazing and timber, even though the parcels are within the incorporated city limits of Cottage Grove.  

The application to designate the parcels per the Cottage Grove Comprehensive Plan was discussed. The City of Cottage Grove’s designation for the three parcels would be Low Density Residential. This request amended the Citywide Zoning Map to show them as Single Family Residential (SFR).  

The Planning Commission had previously held a Public Hearing for ZC 2-22 on Sept. 21, voting 6-0 in favor of applying the Comprehensive Plan designation of SFR to the subject properties. Cottage Grove City Council was asked to ratify the Planning Commission's decision to approve ZC 2-22 by adopting a prepared ordinance. 

Councilor Mike Fleck motioned to adopt the ordinance with a second by Councilor Kenneth Michael Roberts.  

During discussion, Councilor Chalice Savage asked Public Works & Development Director Faye Stewart when the city was made aware of the parcels.  

Stewart spoke about the past city decision to purchase the property for a future trail, and an application to zone then was overlooked. 
Stewart also stated that although property owners questioned an increase in property tax values, they were generally in favor of the Planning Commission's request.  

Roberts asked if the parcels will affect the bike path and Stewart assured the council that it would not.  

After calling the roll, the Ordinance passed unanimously. 
The next big item concerned the 10th Street Storm Drainage Expansion Project. 
On Sept. 27, the city received four sealed bid submissions to an Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the project, which consists of construction of new storm sewer lines within South 10th Street between Tyler Avenue and E. Quincy Avenue. Its purpose is to increase capacity in the South 10th Street storm system. 
The work involves saw cutting, excavations, trenching, removal, concrete flatwork, storm pipe, storm manholes and striping.  

Branch Engineering prepared the ITB documents and reviewed the bid packages and awarded the project contract to Wildish Construction in the amount of $530,662. 
Harrison Village Apartments will be paying nearly $61,000 for the additional storm line capacity required. It was their proposal to use the public storm system for their stormwater runoff and in doing so, made an agreement with the city to help pay for the increase that would be required due to their additional water runoff. 

Fleck moved to award the Planning Commission's recommendation. Roberts seconded the motion, and after two questions that were directed at the project's length of time and its previous repair, all councilors in attendance voted unanimously in favor for the award. 
Other items in the meeting involved the scheduling of the city manager’s annual performance evaluation. 
Meyers was hired in 1997, and per his contract with the city, he is subject to an annual performance evaluation.  

Fleck moved to use a method the council had decided on previously to evaluate him, with Roberts seconding using the same form.  

Meyers also asked if the Council would prefer to meet in executive session before or after their next meeting. Councilor Greg Ervin preferred afterward, so after a Council roll call, all voted in favor of the set date, next Monday, Oct. 24. 
At the end of the meeting, during Concerns of Council, Roberts acknowledged a productive and educational experience at the League of Oregon Cities Conference in Bend on Oct. 5 and 6. Cities across Oregon are all facing similar problems and conferences such as these allow and encourage city leaders to engage and build relationships with other city leaders. 

For more information, including how to watch the meeting video online, visit www.cottagegroveor.gov. 

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