Council approves Library expansion agreement

An agreement that paves the way for the Ocean Shores Library’s planned expansion was approved 6-0 by the City Council on Monday night.

The council also adopted the six-year transportation plan for 2019-2024 that adds an item about restoring ferry service to Westport. On two other topics — the decision to ban feeding of wildlife or the need for a bicycle helmet law in the city — the council was split, and both items failed to go forward.

The Library agreement is with the Ocean Shores Friends of the Library, which will “have the sole responsibility for all costs, expenses, permits, design and construction of the expansion to the facility and for meeting such local, state and federal laws as may apply,” according to a summary presented to the council. The agreement originally suggested the city would waive all permit fees within its jurisdiction for the construction, but City Attorney Brent Dille said that it was best for the city to strike that section to allow the building to built under the current plans proposed by the Library group.

Funding is being provided by the estate of June Kaba, a member of the Friends of the Library who bequeathed the funds with the stipulation they be used for expansion of the current Library building on Pt. Brown Avenue.

The council previously approved the conceptual design, and the new agreement calls for final design review to be approved by a structural engineer. Also, a formal sealed bid process will be used to select a contractor with at least three bids requested. Dille said the decision to remove the city from the process allows the Library expansion to save on labor costs. The information presented to the council said the “city believes that its lack of involvement in the bidding, selection of design and construction companies, and lack of oversight of the project, or monetary contribution, ensures that the Friends may contract without recourse to paying prevailing wage” requirements.

After the expansion project is complete and the city has inspected it, the agreement then calls for the Friends of the Library to transfer all ownership to the city.

The issue of bike helmets is complex, acknowledged City Council member Lisa Griebel, who led the discussion on the item. She noted there were several businesess in the city that rented out peddle and motorized bikes. Griebel said she researched other beach communities to see how they deal with the issue. In Long Beach, helmets are optional, as is Seaside, OR, she said. Cannon Beach requires helmets for those 16 and under.

“When I bike, I wear a bike helmet. I like to protect what brain I have,” Griebel said.

Electric Beach Bike Rentals owner Scott Anderson said he believes “everybody should wear a helmet pretty much all the time,” but it comes down to how much do you regulate. “I kind of like the free choice myself,” he said, noting he has parents sign a waiver if those under 18 choose not to wear a helmet. “We try to encourage everyone to wear a helmet,” he said.

Later, Council member Jon Martin said he was concerned that adding more and more regulation could make it seem that “this is not a desirable city” any longer for tourists.