Council gives greenlight to sale of property

Written by Kelly Ducote / The Observer August 16, 2013 10:28 am
The La Grande City Council approved the sale of a parcel of surplus land to Stephen McLean Wednesday night.

The city accepted bids on the property at the corner of Second Street and Adams Avenue until Aug. 5 but received only one bid in the amount of $70,137. The minimum bid was $69,900.

McLean, a local dentist, recently was awarded $75,000 in funding from the Urban Renewal discretionary projects fund. He has plans to construct a new dental office on the land.

Also at the meeting, the Council addressed a problem caught by the La Grande Police Department regarding the Law Enforcement Data System guidelines.

“Staff recently learned that our existing ordinances do not meet all LEDS required guidelines in order for us to access the LEDS for purposes of criminal history and driving history checks for certain city licenses and permits,” Police Chief Brian Harvey told councilors.

When the city realized there was a problem, it was then unable to issue those licenses and permits, which include transient merchant licenses and liquor licenses, among others.

The city declared the issue an emergency so a new ordinance could be passed Wednesday night.

Harvey said the new ordinance is a “catch-all ordinance to correct it across the board.”

The police chief also said that background checks for those issues may seem “intrusive” but they have helped the police department prevent crime in the past. Harvey said at one point a door-to-door sales group came into town claiming they were selling burglar alarms. Background checks showed many in the group had a history of burglaries, Harvey said.

At the end of the meeting, City Manager Robert Strope addressed the parking issue raised at Tuesday’s Main Street meeting. He said the process would be a long one and would include addressing the city’s parking commission for a recommendation to go to the Council. Strope noted that Adams Avenue is technically a state highway, which could cause some roadblocks, and that the city has certain standards a new parking plan would have to meet. His hope is that the Main Street committee would do much of that research to make it easier on the city.