News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City snapshot — public hearing for development

•?The Sisters Woodlands development will be the subject of a public hearing before the Sisters Planning Commission on Wednesday, November 10, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held over Zoom and will include a public hearing on the Sisters Woodlands project, proposed for the middle section of the former U.S. Forest Service property. The development is slated to contain 370 residential units, 100 of which will be cottages and the remainder either townhomes or apartments above commercial or light industrial establishments. The meeting is at a different date than the usual third Thursday of the month.

•?Creekside Campground is now closed for the winter. No camping is available and the restrooms will be locked and unavailable.

•?The Sisters substation of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has a new deputy on duty. Josh Westfall is replacing Allie DeMaris, who resigned her position. Westfall was introduced to the City Council at last week’s meeting. He is a native of Central Oregon and very happy to be working in Sisters.

•?Sisters Principal Planner Nicole Mardell has left her position with the City to take a job with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, reading and reviewing reports to be sure they meet all requirements. For the first year of her employment, she will be able to work from home and not commute to Salem. The job announcement for her replacement has been posted.

•?All city residents should have received the City’s Public Safety Survey, which was mailed out separately from utility bills. If you have not received one, a survey can be picked up at City Hall. Fill it out and return to the City in the postage-paid envelope provided.

The City will be working to align the Transportation Safety Plan with the recently completed Comprehensive Plan update and would appreciate citizen input.

•?During the visitors’ comments at last week’s Council meeting, representatives of Sisters Cold Weather Shelter informed the councilors the shelter still plans to request one million dollars in American Relief Plan Funds (ARPA) from the Deschutes County commissioners. The City is including a $50,000 ask in their application to the County for ARPA funds to go to the shelter. That money would assist in securing space to lease and operations during the harshest weather. The shelter also indicated they need help with doing their payroll and wondered if the City could do that for them. They still need a facility for the months of November, February, and March.

•?The City Council approved a resolution extending the temporary program allowing the use of City right-of-way parklets by Sisters businesses. The practice began in response to COVID-19 regulations and proved to be very beneficial to the businesses and their patrons. The current parklet program expired on November 1, 2021. This new resolution extends the program until November 30, 2021 to allow businesses that currently have a parklet time to adjust to the changes made to the program in Ordinance 518, which governs the temporary obstruction and use of City rights-of-way for parklets.

•?Ordinance 518 was adopted by Council to amend Chapter 12.30 of the municipal code to provide appropriate policies, procedures, and regulations to govern construction work, temporary use, and temporary closures of the City rights-of-way. The temporary parklet program is now codified within Chapter 12.30. The operating months will be April 1 through October 31.

•?City staff is working on cleaning up and streamlining the City Charter, prioritized by City legal counsel. The Charter was last updated in 2003. The City had applied for a grant to conduct an in-depth public engagement process through a charter commission and complete charter review. The grant was not awarded and, as a result, any proposed revisions that are policy decisions will not be made at this time.

•?The City is currently working on a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) to replace the current contract which expires June 30, 2022. Due to the departure of Caprielle Lewis, full-time EDCO manager in Sisters, the City decided to instruct EDCO to not fill the vacancy with an interim while they instead evaluate the contract and the City’s needs.

•?The only City Council meeting in November will be Wednesday, November 17, beginning with a workshop at 5:30 p.m. Check the City website for the agenda.


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