The Hermiston City Council on Aug. 13 will look at changes to its noise ordinance, consider allowing accessory dwelling units within the city, as well as hear a proposal to develop 20 acres of sports fields at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center, and consider declaring a necessity need for land to locate a new water tower.
Noise Ordinance Changes: The changes to the noise ordinance are in response to issues which have arisen since completion of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. The city’s current ordinance only applies to areas within the city, while the Umatilla County ordinance doesn’t apply to noise created within the city limits. These changes are intended as a comprehensive solution to the issue.
The largest change to the noise ordinance is a shift from a code which establishes specific decibel levels for a violation, to one which simply determines if a noise is unreasonably loud. Factors used in this standard include the land use and zoning of the surrounding area, time of day, duration of the sound, and others. This approach is based off of the League of Oregon Cities’ model noise ordinance, and additional research. The decibel-specific type of ordinance is currently only used by five of the 20 other Oregon cities which are closest in population to Hermiston.
Accessory Dwelling Units: The change to permit “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ADU’s) comes from SB1051 which requires all cities over 2,500 population to allow additional dwellings in all zones which allow detached single-family dwellings. However, the law allows for reasonable local regulations. The ordinance considered on Aug. 13 was reviewed and recommended by the Hermiston Planning Commission, and legal counsel. The reasonable local regulations included in the proposed ordinance include:
- A maximum of one ADU per lot with an existing dwelling
- All ADU’s must provide paved off-street parking according to existing residential standards.
- ADU’s will be subject to existing setback, lot coverage, and building height requirements of the zoning code.
Water Tower Land Resolution of Necessity: The council will consider a resolution to declare a public necessity to acquire a 1.5 acre site near the corner of NE 10th and Punkin Center Road to place a new 1 million gallon water tank.
The 2018 update to the city’s Water System Master Plan identifies additional water storage as a top priority in order to ensure the continued health and welfare of the system’s customers. This need is due to a current storage capacity of only 36 hours of water in the city’s system as a result of continued population growth. The system has not added storage capacity since the year 2000, while the city’s population has grown by 4,800 residents, or approximately 27 percent during that time.
The Water System Master Plan also identifies that the Northeast quadrant of Hermiston’s Urban Growth Boundary lacks any existing stored water capacity. Due to topography, this leaves current residents of northeast Hermiston at the highest risk of losing water during an extended power outage. Therefore, locating additional water storage capacity in the northeast quadrant of the community is necessary for the current and future health and welfare of the community.
Anderson-Perry & Associates engineering examined four alternative ways to address these needs, and determined that a site at the corner of NE 10th and Punkin Center Road was the only location with sufficient elevation, in close enough proximity to existing infrastructure, to viably address the issues.
Approval of a resolution of necessity will begin a process for the city to purchase the 1.5 acre site, and compensate the current owner fairly. The method for determining the amount of compensation is controlled by Oregon law.
EOTEC Sports Fields: The council will consider directing staff to allow sports fields to be developed on 20 acres of land currently used as the entrance to the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center (EOTEC). A proposal made by the Hermiston Youth Lacrosse (HYL) organization would leverage nearly $95,000 in donated and in-kind resources to establish irrigation and lighting for grass sports fields which could be painted to accommodate multiple sports, including soccer, with preference given to Lacrosse.
If the council approves moving forward with the proposal, a detailed usage agreement will be negotiated with HYL outlining the terms of usage. The 20 acres in question are currently used for over-flow parking during the Umatilla County Fair. The intention would be to design the grass fields in a way to allow that temporary use to take place each August and return them to playing condition for the remainder of the year.
The sport of lacrosse has been growing rapidly in the Hermiston area, but the growth causes field availability shortages when other sports seasons overlap. Field development with a preference given to lacrosse will take pressure off of other fields to allow them to be used more frequently for other sports such as soccer.
The city of Hermiston made approximately $180,000 in investments in 2012 to develop two additional soccer fields. Those investments included a $100,000 donation to the Hermiston School District in exchange for a 33-year right to establish and maintain soccer facilities on property near Rocky Heights Elementary School.
Monday’s meeting is at 7 p.m. at Hermiston City Hall.