The Hermiston City Council will accept the resignation of councilor Clara Beas Fitzgerald, vote on an updated noise ordinance and discuss staff recommendations on food trucks during a busy council meeting Monday.
Beas Fitzgerald told the East Oregonian she is resigning because her other duties — which include a variety of committees, a seat on the Oregon Commission for Women, a full-time job and caring for her ailing mother — had become overwhelming and she felt she was not giving the council position the time it deserved.
“I want to do something well and not just here or there,” she said.
Beas Fitzgerald, who has been a councilor since 2015, had already chosen not to run for re-election and Roy Barron was elected to fill the seat starting Jan. 1.
Usually the city would solicit applications to fill the remainder of Beas Fitzgerald’s term, but staff are recommending that the council vote to suspend the council rules in this case and appoint Barron without going through the application process, due to the shortness of the time left in the term and the fact that Barron has already been elected by the citizens of Hermiston.
Barron did not immediately return a request for comment.
On Monday the council will discuss the final results of the mobile food vending survey sent out to determine if the council should change its rules for mobile vendors, including a current cap on only three food truck licenses for the city.
Staff recommendations to be discussed Monday include changing that cap to six licenses and give the council the ability to make a motion to add more, should they determine there is a need. Additionally, the city would also have the ability to issue 90-day licenses to food trucks and smaller push carts without it counting toward the number of long-term licenses.
During Monday’s meeting the council will also be asked to consider adoption of a new noise ordinance. According to memo by city manager Byron Smith, problems with the old noise ordinance have come to light since the construction of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. The center is inside city limits but has drawn complaints from neighbors outside city limits, causing confusion about jurisdiction.
The proposed ordinance clarifies that it includes noises created within the city that cause “unreasonable discomfort to any individuals within the residential area from which said noises are heard.” It also throws out current language measuring the nuisance in decibel levels and instead prohibits noise that “unreasonably disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of reasonable individuals of ordinary sensitivity.”
The city council meets at 7 p.m. at city hall, 180 N.E. Second St. Other items on Monday’s agenda include:
• A public hearing and council vote on an ordinance regulating accessory dwellings such as guest houses and apartments over garages or in basements. Regulations include requiring a permit, off-street parking and a separate entrance from the main dwelling.
• Council will consider authorizing the mayor and city manager to sign a financing contract with the Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority for a $4.5 million loan to construct a water tower and other water infrastructure improvements on the northeast side of town. The project is expected to lower the cost of developing housing in that area and the loan will be paid back using Enterprise Zone payments from Lamb Weston on its expansion outside of Hermiston.
• The city’s finance director will share preliminary results of the city’s financial performance during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
• The council will meet as the Urban Renewal Agency to approve facade grants for 435 W. Hermiston Avenue and 201 E. Main Street.
• The council will meet in closed-door executive session to discuss negotiations for real property transactions.