News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City snapshot — new planner hired

• The City of Sisters has announced the hiring of Scott Woodford as the new community development director. Woodford comes to Sisters after seven years in Redmond as their senior planner. He has more than 20 years of land-use planning work and management of complex projects, including experience working in Colorado resort communities tackling unique issues they contend with, such as retention of community character, affordable housing, traffic, lodging and managing growth — issues familiar to Sisters.

Woodford’s first major project as director is an update to the Comprehensive Plan that will begin this fall. His first day on the job was Monday, September 21. He can be reached at [email protected]

• The City Hall ballot collection box next to the door will be open to accept ballots from October 14 through election day, November 3. Each day, the ballots deposited in the box are transferred to the County Clerk’s office in Bend for counting. No stamp necessary.

• Work on the City’s Comprehensive Plan update is officially underway.

Recruitment and application for the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is now open.

The CAC will represent a wide variety of community interests and will work with staff and consultants to craft policies to be considered by the Stakeholder Committee, Planning Commission, and ultimately City Council.

The members of the CAC will represent the on-the-ground community interests.

A maximum of three members may reside outside the city limits.

If interested, please contact Kerry Prosser, city recorder, 541-323-5213 or [email protected]

• At the September 9 City Council workshop, City Manager Cory Misley reviewed the policy and guidelines for public art as directed by the Council in 2019. Staff has reviewed policies of several cities that have successful art in public places programs to develop these guidelines and has been working with legal counsel to establish this policy.

Installing public art around the Sisters downtown commercial zone is part of the Prosperous Focus in the Sisters Country Vision. To move the program outlined in the Vision forward, the City needs a foundational policy to build upon. The guidelines presented allow the City flexibility in either developing an art in public places program in-house or working with outside entities as staff time and funding allows.

Council provided direction to staff to move forward with adoption of policy and guidelines.

• Council directed staff to move forward with a code amendment to provide additional grounds for a hardship exemption for short-term rental (STR) owners who have not operated their STR for any period of 365, which normally would be deemed abandonment of the use and grounds for denial, suspension, and/or revocation of the STR license.

The City can issue a temporary hardship exemption for a medical condition, death, or structural integrity issue. The proposed additional language covers situations such as the current pandemic and other instances such as natural disaster that may impact an STR operator from meeting the criteria to rent within 365 days.


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