County to overhaul zone rules

Commissioners continue to look at changes, postpone action to August

The conversation on whether or not to revise Hood River County’s zoning ordinance will continue for at least another month.

Substantial changes to the proposed ordinance change were presented at the Monday, July 16, Commission meeting, but Commission Chair Ron Rivers declined to take any further action, due to the absence of commissioners Les Perkins and Maui Meyer.

Revisions to the proposed changes were presented to the commission by County Planner Eric Walker, following meetings by county planning staff with Perkins and commissioner Bob Benton over some of the concerns both had with the document.

Among the changes to the proposed ordinance are allowing all houses, regardless of size, to have an accessory building of up to 1,500 square feet. On parcels larger than 2.5 acres, both commissioners proposed allowing buildings to be larger, as long as they did not exceed the size of the residence, while also supporting language that allows exceptions through conditional use permits.

Eliminated from the ordinance entirely were limits on proposed maximum building size, standards concerning hallways, standards concerning wet bars, restrictions on laundry facilities within accessory buildings, restrictions on metal cargo containers and proposed standards on refrigerators and counter height electrical outlets as part of a decommissioned former dwelling.

The mention of the removal of the wet bar restrictions drew a smattering of applause from the audience.

In his meeting with county planning staff, Perkins expressed support for maintaining a limit of a half-bath in guest facilities. However, at Monday’s meeting Commissioner Karen Joplin said she would be in favor of allowing a full bath in guest quarters.

“It makes sense for a remote guest location or guest quarters to have a full bath,” she said.

However, Benton said he may be in favor of removing the guest quarters provision entirely.

“I don’t know if it is the appropriate time to draw the line or if that is where the line should be drawn,” he said.

Rivers continued the public hearing on the changes and said the commission will continue to look at the issue at its Aug. 20 meeting.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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