Yachats city officials are trying to get ahead of the curve this primary election. They’re asking voters to pre-approve spending up to $400,000 to secure additional parking in the town core.
On a sunny summer weekend, the coastal town of Yachats is a busy place – hotel rooms are sold out and traffic through town is non-stop.
Brean: “I’ve heard as many as 10,000 people are in town on the 4th of July weekend.”
Yachats Mayor Ron Brean says the city just doesn’t have the parking capacity to meet the need.
Brean: “People will look here and there and perhaps just drive on through, rather than stopping in front of a store or parking and taking a walk around as they might if parking were easily identifiable and readily available.”
Thus “commerce is limited,” as Measure 21-155 puts it. The Yachats City charter requires that the City Council get voter approval before purchasing any property.
The city plans to break ground on a project to improve sidewalks in the town center later this year. Those improvements are expected to add about 50 parking spaces. But if that’s not enough to meet the need, Brean says the city wants the flexibility to buy property and add additional spaces.
Brean: “We’re going to do the assessment of what’s available, who’s willing sellers, and what the need is before we pull the trigger on any kind of purchase. But there are some properties, some infill opportunities that are available without having to tear buildings down.”
If approved, any property purchased would be paid for with the city’s Visitor Amenities Fund, which is derived from room rental taxes and can only be used for tourism improvements.