The Cave Junction City Council gathered Aug. 22 for its second meeting of the month at City Hall. Although Councilors Jean Ann Miles and Jesse Dugas were unable to attend, the remaining members- Mayor Meadow Martell and Councilors Ethan Lane and Tina Casey Jones- were still able to form a quorum and get things started.
Mayor Martell said Mainstreet Cave Junction had recently received a Reeser Family Foundation grant that will allow for new art around town.
In the absence of Councilor Miles, Laura Mancuso gave a brief update regarding the nonprofit I.V. Living Solutions and the pending I.V. Hope Village, a facility to assist unhoused residents, which she serves as project manager of. Mancuso explained that the group is in the process of purchasing a suitable property to build a transitional housing facility in the city of Cave Junction. The funding for this endeavor comes from Rep. Lily Morgan and House Bill 5006 and is being managed by AllCare Community Foundation.
Teresa Stover from Josephine County Libraries also gave a brief update regarding the ongoing library expansion in the I.V., explaining to the council that the project had gone to bid, and that two architectural firms have expressed interest in it.
The council also unanimously agreed to modify the terms of the ongoing downtown lighting and camera package that has been offered to many local businesses. Previously, business owners were expected to match the cost of the package over time, but with the approval of this modification, this burden no longer falls upon the shoulders of local business owners. The council recognized that the last few years have been filled with economic uncertainty for many residents and were more than willing to relieve a bit of that stress.
The second public hearing regarding the proposed RV Park at 25401 Redwood Highway began. Ryan Nolan, the contract planner for the Rogue Valley Council of Governments, outlined the many new things that had been brought before the council on behalf of the petitioners, including photographs of existing vegetation that will aid in creating a natural fence around the property and a letter from the IVFD meant to assuage the council’s previous concerns about fire risks and public safety. He added that the applicant, Brian Westerhaut, was requesting a second continuation of the hearing so that they could perform some due diligence and include a few more things in their plans.
A brief discussion took place, with Councilor Lane bringing up the need for a detailed timeline for the development of the land. He also strongly suggested that the applicant reconsider their idea to create a barrier out of vegetation and opt for an actual fence for security reasons, something that the other council members seemed to agree upon. Mayor Martell was also concerned about how long it would take for this naturally-made barrier to obscure the sight of neighboring properties and meet the city code. Westerhaut was unable to provide a specific timeline for this but made many assurances that if he found a fence to be necessary, one would be installed.
Paving the RV park was also discussed, with the applicant wanting to defer paving the property due to the rise in the cost of materials. If necessary, he explained, graded gravel and a special treatment to minimize dust could be implemented. Council members seemed unconvinced, with the Mayor explaining that the city didn’t want to take on the burden down the line of paving the RV park. Westerhaut seemed confident that this would not be an issue.
With that, the council agreed to the idea of a second continuation, scheduling the next hearing for their Sept. 12 meeting. This will hopefully allow the applicant enough time to get all of the necessary documentation together for the council, and for the concept to eventually be approved.