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Council votes to approve ordinance finalizing street vacaction request made by Mayor Rick Scholl and Ron Schlumpberger (Stay connected to your local news! Get digital access today - https://bit.ly/2HiTKCs)

The St. Helens City Council will finalize a street vacation request for the city's mayor this month.

On Wednesday, Feb 6, the council held a first reading on an ordinance that allows Mayor Rick Scholl and property co-owner, Ron Schlumpberger, a local insurance agent, to vacate a portion of a street right-of-way that runs along their properties on Wyeth, 8th and 9th streets.

As a result of the vacation, a 20-foot-wide alleyway with a hammerhead feature could be constructed between the properties to allow emergency vehicle access. That portion of property remains a city right-of-way that would provide for public access.

While the council voted unanimously in December to approve the request after several months of discussion and public hearings, the proposed ordinance did not come before the council until this week.

St. Helens City Planner Jacob Graichen requested the completion of outstanding issues before the ordinance was placed before the council for approval, including receiving legal descriptions of the lots. City staff also requested a portion of the 20-foot-alleyway access be moved north two feet to accommodate a slope on the property.

During the City Council work session Wednesday, Graichen discussed those topographical challenges and indicated that a retaining wall would need to be constructed under the roadway and to the south where the proposed road would be near the slope. The wall would be the same level as the street.

Scholl and Sclumpberger co-own three property parcels along Wyeth Street, which they purchased in January 2018, while Scholl owns a property near the top of the bluff on Wyeth Street that he purchased in March 2017. Scholl has repeatedly expressed his desire to build a home for his family on the property.

Street vacation requests typically go to the City Council, but Scholl asked in August last year that his request go before the planning commission to receive approval before it was presented to the council, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Wednesday's meeting marked the first reading of the ordinance. A final reading will take place Feb. 20.

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