BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
February 4, 2004
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr. presided with Bill Dwyer, Don Hampton and Peter Sorenson present.† Anna Morrison was excused.† County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Assistant County Counsel Marc Kardell and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
17.† PUBLIC HEARINGS
a.† PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 04-2-4-8/In the Matter of Certification of Final Assessments for Improvements to River Road (County Road Number 200) Between Mile Post 7.747 and Mile Post 7.366 and Setting Lien Values Against Properties. (NBA & PM 1/7/04)
Frank Simas, Public Works, explained this project was different than what they had done in the past.† He noted that River Road is a county road that is a principal arterial.† He said a portion of the properties abutting† River Road is within the city limits of the City of Eugene.† He said they need to have concurrence with the Eugene City Council and the Board of Commissioners to assess the properties under the County assessment policies as is set forth in Chapter 15 of the Lane Code.
Simas reported that on October 10, 2002, the Board ordered that the properties be assessed under Lane County procedures and on March 19, 2003, the Board approved the Directorís Report with the estimated amounts for the benefiting properties.† He added following this action there was a remonstrance period of 20 days in which there were 12 remonstrances received.† He noted that five of them involved properties that were within the subdivisions in the City of Eugene.† He said those properties were encumbered with irrevocable petitions stating that the owners of those properties could not protest the formation of a local improvement district.†
Simas stated that on April 16, 2003 the Board approved the estimated assessment costs for the project and notice of intent to levy was recorded thereby encumbering each of the abutting properties to be assessed with an estimated assessment.† He said the project was constructed during the summer of 1993 and on December 2 the County Engineer approved the project solely for the purpose of levying the final assessment amounts.† He noted the total cost for the project was $792,900 of which $82,200 consists of items assessable to the benefiting properties (curbs, gutters and sidewalks).† He added on the west side there are properties that have sidewalks that are set back with the addition of a planter strip, but for those areas the assessment was figured as if it was a curbside sidewalk and the property owners were not assessed for the extra length of the driveways.
Simas explained of the $82,200 in assessable improvements, approximately $43,605 is eligible for deferral because the properties do not take access directly to River Road.† He said that represents approximately half of the linear footage that abuts River Road.† He said the estimated assessment for the project is $133,900 and the actual amount when all the costs were known was 39% below the estimate.† He said that was due to receiving a favorable bid from the contractor for constructing the project.† He recommended approval of the order.
Dwyer stated he didnít want to force anyone out of their home.† He asked if they could to the same thing with assessments that they did on Ayres Road.
Simas responded the assessments were based on direction by staff.† He said the provisions for the large lot frontages were part of the draft amendments to the Lane Code that will be brought to the Board in a few months.† He stated they hadnít been adopted yet.
Dwyer said the residents didnít want to be so encumbered by the responsibility that it creates a hardship.† He said some were willing to have it deferred at the time they want to subdivide their property.†† He asked if that could take place.
Simas said they could delay certifying the final assessments until the new policy was in place.
Dwyer indicated Morrison was excused.† He added that she represents the district.† He suggested taking public testimony and rolling their decision until either the new policy takes effect or until Morrison views the tape.
Green suggested taking a public hearing and keeping the record open until Morrison comes back.† He didnít want to roll this until the new assessment policy.
Simas recommended reviewing how many parcels would fit into the guidelines that are proposed to be in the new policy.
Green opened up the Public Hearing.
Howard Malcolm, 4700 River Road, Eugene, objected to his assessment, based on different reasons. He said from the first meeting when they discussed the road improvements, the western side residents questioned the necessity of a sidewalk.† He notified all commissioners (except Hampton) that the sidewalks were unwanted.† He indicated that no resident on the western side had expressed a need for them.† He said it was forced upon them by the County.† He said the assessments are grossly unfair as many properties have long frontages and the assessments based on linear footage are expensive.† He said his assessment is $4,500.† He thought the sidewalks were put in for the benefit of those in the new housing subdivision on the eastern side, all who pay a smaller fee in the price of their lot.† He noted the January 7 letter from Public Works states that some properties are to be deferred.† He wanted his assessment to be waived.† He said it was not fair that he was being forced to pay for something that he did not want while the true beneficiaries pay considerably less.† He noted the administration fee had been an issue. He found it dishonest to have to pay a 25% administration fee.† He said in the registered letter he received that fee had gone up to 28%.† He noted the explanation of the administration fee was the cost of the engineering, design and the construction of the road.† He stated in several meetings with Sonny Chickering, County Engineer, Chickering repeatedly said that the construction of the road was the responsibility of Wildish and the County could not be held responsible for errors that could result in serious flooding.† Malcolm stated Chickering said that Wildish had signed a release of responsibility contract with the County.† He added that Chickering noted that part of the fee was for staff time to attend meetings and for environmental permitting.† He said the County allowed the filling of a wetland without permit.† He brought photographs that show the extent of the law breaking.† He noted that Wildish pumped silt into a designated wetland but they had not been asked to remove it.† He asked if that was the environmental permit that they were being asked to pay for.† He said he had written to Morrison numerous times asking for the assessments or administration fee to be waived.† He said she wrote in reply that she brought the request to the Board in an open meeting session and there was not support to change their previous decision.† He asked another commissioner if that was true and was told that was not true.† He didnít think he was being told the entire truth.† He asked for the case to be reviewed and all assessments waived.† He said he has been treated unfairly and with disrespect.† He said if he has to pay something, he doesnít want to have to pay the administration fee.
Dale Miller, 4750 River Road, Eugene, said the concern he has as a property owner is the flow of water.† He didnít think it had been addressed properly.† He wanted to know what would happen if their property would flood.† He noted his assessment is $4,231.41 and it is a burden to him. He wanted to defer this amount.
Luci Boyer, 15 Carthage Avenue, Eugene, stated her house faces Carthage Avenue and had been there for 30 years.† She said she had never taken access from River Road.† She indicated her assessment was eligible for deferral but she wanted it waived, as it didnít pertain to her.† She suggested that any meetings in the future on this matter be held in the evening when most working people could attend.
Robert Vaughn, 30590 W. Beacon, noted in the letter he received it noted that benefiting property owners needed to pay an assessment.† He commented he wasnít benefiting from it anymore than any other person in Lane County.† He said people drive and walk through the area.† He said from the beginning they didnít think sidewalks should be on the west side of River Road.† He said it has caused problems and the sidewalks are not used.† He thought the right thing to do would be to waive the entire assessments.
Commissioner Green closed the Public Hearing.
Dwyer wanted to have Morrison involved as that is in her district.† He thought the sidewalk on the west side was precipitated by the agreement with the City of Eugene that when they develop, Lane County builds to their standards.† He said they have different requirements for major arterials than they did for minor collectors. He said the benefit accrues to everyone because it facilitates traffic through and beyond.† He thought there were ways they could have a better understanding of the impact they are causing.† He thought they could adjust administrative fees if they could collectively work together.† He said they had to roll this matter so they could hear from Morrison.
Green commented they had all gone out to the site.† With regard to the sidewalks, he favored them because sidewalks provide safety for people walking on the roads and were a necessity.† He said the residents were concerned about the level of the assessments.†† He thought Boyer had more of a compelling argument because she doesnít take access off of River Road.† He thought she should be eligible for a deferment.†
There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Green closed the Public Hearing.† The record is kept open until February 11, 2004.
Kardell noted that Simas would find out the information about how the adjustments might affect the property owners.
Green also wanted Simas to find out which properties would be eligible under the new policy.
18.† COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
19.† CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
20.† OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 2:30 p.m.