At long last, West Linn City Council adopts parks plan-sort of
After more than a year of discussion, the West Linn City Council finally adopted the 20 Year Master Plan for West Linn Parks, Recreation and Open Space—with the caveat that the plan will be amended at the council's next business meeting in November.
The council decided during a business meeting Monday, Oct. 14 that it wants the amendment to explain the sequence of meetings and public hearings, including planning commission and parks and rec advisory board meetings, where the plan was discussed. City staff will present the amendment to the council for possible adoption Nov. 12.
The master plan, which was last updated in 2017, lays out the goals for the Parks and Recreation department over the next 20 years. Earlier this year, the mention of a possible aquatic center in the plan led to disagreements between the planning commission and parks and rec advisory board, which have both contributed significantly to the plan.
Though the council had "tentatively" approved the parks master plan at a business meeting Sept. 9, the meeting was not without drama—and not just because the councilors got into two tense exchanges about whose turn it was to talk and how councilors indicate to the mayor they wished to speak..
Citizen Karie Oakes brought forth Monday night nearly the same concerns she brought to the Sept. 9 meeting. Her concerns — improper notice of the public hearing for the plan and details in the ordinance's "where as" statements — led the council to hold off on officially adopting the plan in September, and Monday prompted them to adopt it only with the qualification that it will be amended as soon as legally possible. Oakes said the "where as" statements should list the dates of public hearings with each body that reviewed the plan, the council, the planning commission and the parks and rec advisory board.
Previously, Oakessaid that the notice of the plan's public hearing sent to West Linn's neighborhood associations stated that the Sept. 9 meeting was with the planning commission, not the city council and warned that if the council adopted the plan despite the improper notice, the plan would be vulnerable in a Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) appeal.
The notice sent to NAs for Monday's meeting was little better than the September one, Oakes thought, because though the notice was for a City Council meeting, there was still a mistaken mention of "the Commission."
The heading of the notice reads "City of West Linn City Council Public Hearing," in large bold letters and the notice mentions the council's continuation of the public hearing several times.
"It still is confusing. It represents sloppy work and I also received two copies of it, which I have been now starting to receive two copies of all the notices from the City as president of Marylhurst Neighborhood Association, so that's kind of sloppy too," Oakes said during Monday's public hearing.
City Attorney Tim Ramis called the notice of the public hearing "barely adequate" but said it was sufficient to give NAs inquiry notice to find out more about the plan and the meeting—meaning the notice was probably enough to not leave the City defenseless in a possible LUBA appeal over the plan's adoption.
In addition to the amendment that is still to come, the council had a few more last minute changes to make to the plan before adopting it. One of these changes was to include pickleball in mentions of tennis courts to make clear that the City's courts accommodate both sports.
The council also debated the use of the word "may" versus "shall" in a section of the plan concerning a future advisory vote for a possible aquatic center. Eventually the council decided the plan should make clear that a more extensive planning process of this aquatic facility shall include an advisory vote.
Funding for public art projects was also on Monday's meeting agenda, though the council elected to hold off on deciding how these projects will be funded until more information is known about how they will impact other areas of the City's budget. At a pre-meeting work session Finance Director Lauren Breithaupt laid out a few scenarios for arts funding, including how much money could be drawn from street or parks projects and how a monthly public art fee might look to citizens.
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