From Oceanside True Friends, PAC ID#22336
We reflected on many deficiencies of the proposed city of Oceanside in our other articles – roads, STR management and enforcement, policing, liability in making land use decisions, loss of tranquility, etc .
But we have not discussed petitioners’ idea for an Oceanside City Hall. Until now.
Per the petitioners’ proposal, the following is all you need to know about proposed City Hall:
“Subject to further negotiations and approvals, Petitioners have secured provisional agreement to locate a job trailer/office, serviced by existing utility hook-ups, on the Netarts-Oceanside Sanitary District waste treatment compound for a nominal charge”.
One sentence in the incorporation proposal. That’s all.
An unbiased reader skimming through such a statement will get an impression that the question of City office/Hall was pretty much resolved – there was an agreement in place between the NOSD and the petitioners, and just some details were left to be worked out.
However, we are not unbiased readers. Having run over the last 10 months into many unsubstantiated claims contained within the incorporation proposal, we decided to request and review the aforementioned “provisional agreement” secured by the petitioners.
A review of the NOSD Board minutes for the previous 10 months was conducted. Minutes didn’t disclose any such agreement or a discussion on the topic.
A request was made to a NOSD secretary to obtain a copy of the “provisional agreement”. The secretary could not locate the document and sent the request up the chain, to the NOSD Superintendent.
The NOSD Superintendent forwarded the request to the chief petitioner for incorporation, and received a reply that the request was in reference to information the chief petitioner relayed to the County Commissioners in the incorporation materials. “It referred to an informal conversation in which I approached you as part of my efforts to identify potential locations for the new city’s administrative office, assuming incorporation is approved by the voters. You and I discussed the terms under which NOSD is currently allowing a federal agency to temporarily operate a job trailer on the NOSD in connection with the Cape Meares Loop Road project. You also indicated that you saw no immediate practical obstacles as Superintendent to accommodating a city office at the site under comparable terms after the federal agency leaves the site, subject negotiation of an agreeable contract that is appropriately brought to the Board for approval….”
After receiving this response, a phone interview was conducted with the NOSD Superintendent on September 1, 2022.
Following information was disclosed about the “agreement”:
- There was no formal request brought up before the NOSD Board for review.
- What the petitioners call a “provisional agreement” was a single 5-minute private conversation between the chief petitioner and the Superintendent.
- The chief petitioner first asked if the NOSD offices could be shared with the city personnel/council and the answer was “No”.
- A request was then made to consider placing a temporary trailer, like the FEMA’s one currently on site overlooking the Cape Meares Loop Road project.
- The Superintendent then stated in that conversation that he had no objections to the concept.
Further questioning revealed the following relevant information and a number of issues:
- The Superintendent was not aware that the 5 minutes private conversation was presented to the BOCC and to our community as a “provisional agreement”.
- NOSD, being a secure facility, can only be open to public access on weekdays 8:00am-4:30pm, and goes into a “hard lockdown” outside of those hours. The chief petitioner inquired if the Superintendent would be willing to share security codes, and the answer was “No”.
- NOSD would need to figure out parking and visitor flow separation at the compound – so that visitors don’t trip security sensors, and don’t jeopardize the facility and our community safety. $$$.
- Liability issues would need to be looked into and approved by the Legal Counsel.
- The NOSD Board and the Superintendent’s approval was not enough to proceed. County Planning and other agencies would need to review and provide the approvals, and the process would take many months, especially given NOSD compound “secure facility” designation.
- NOSD won’t be able to accommodate any public meetings, there is no room for that.
- No second trailer can be set up at the compound. Until FEMA leaves and their trailer is removed, there is no room for another trailer on Currently the trailer was planned to be removed sometime between August-October of 2023, if the Cape Meares Loop Road project has no delays. There are no hookups for a second trailer.
- The Superintendent stated he would only consider looking into this, if this was truly a temporary arrangement as confirmed by documentation – as in, for example, City would need to show him a signed building contract with a completion date for a City Hall, which would give him a hard date to remove the trailer.
- Since Oceanside, Netarts and the Capes share the NOSD, it was not clear why other communities would be Ok with Oceanside placing its “city hall/offices” in a shared secure facility. Netarts and the Capes were not approached and asked.
The phone call on September 1, 2022 with the Superintendent lasted only about 30 minutes. Other areas of concerns might exist, but were not discussed on that call. Yet a dozen bullet points might be plenty to give Oceansiders an idea on what petitioners mean when they state they “secured provisional agreement”.
The NOSD Superintendent is just one of many stakeholders who have a say in placing the trailer on the compound, and he identified a number of hurdles that were never disclosed to the community by the petitioners.
2 questions on “city offices” remain:
- How assuring does the “provisional agreement” look to you?
- Would you vote for a City Council Candidate who tried to sell you on the idea that such an agreement should be relied upon?
Have the petitioners fully explored and accurately presented the critical details involved in launching a city? If the city is incorporated there is no turning back. . . it will be too late then and we will need to make the best of our bad situation. And you will have given them your authority to do whatever these City Council Members think is needed to solve the problems.