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With sparse attendance in City Hall chambers, the Salida City Council rolled quickly through the first part of a lengthy July 19 regular meeting agenda, approving two city ballot questions to be on the Nov. 8 Coordinated General Election.

In public comment, Cassie Strid, a short-term rental (STR) owner at the Palace Hotel requested an exemption from rental taxes and fees for her STR and easy transferability of her license.

BETCH co-founder, Cory “Salty Riggs” responded to the ongoing controversy surrounding STRs and the impact on the workforce saying “a quarter of the people who appeared here in January begging for rental subsidies don’t even live here anymore, because there’s no housing.”

She continued “I want City Council to overtax them (STRs); the worst thing that happens [to the owner] is they have to sell an extra house and get their money back…it’s not nearly as inconvenient as not having a home is…it’s like these people get seconds before everyone gets firsts.”

After approving the Consent Agenda, three ordinances passed unanimously, approving two ballot questions, with council members making a plea for more ongoing resident participation in the workings of their government.

Approved Ordinances

Ordinance 2022-10 Transferring the Salida Community Center Moves to November Ballot

Salida Community Center, 305 F Street. Photo by Merrell Bergin

After a second reading and public hearing (with no public comment), this item now moves to the November 8 Coordinated General Election.

Voters will be asked to approve transferring ownership of the Salida Community Center at 305 F Street to the existing Salida Senior Citizens, Inc. Board.

In public comment, resident Jim Miller suggested that it might further strengthen the city’s protections already in the ballot language to add a “retention clause”.

Attorney Nina Williams agreed to consider adding this to the deed restrictions, reverting the property to the city if the operators fail to meet the conditions of the transfer in the future.

Ordinance 2022-06 Salida Bottling Company Project Affirmed, Ordinance 2022-11 Drives Ballot Referendum

With no new evidence of facts and no in-person or online input from petitioners opposing the Planned Development for the Salida Bottling Company project at 323 West First Street, council members, in short order, “upon reconsideration, affirmed and did not repeal” the previous Ordinance 2022-06.

The process regarding this development project has been extensive, including a first reading, and a second reading with public hearing. Another public hearing is set for August 2, 2022 for related Ordinance 2022-11. Per state statute, this refers the Salida Bottling Company development proposal to be placed on the November 8 ballot for a vote by the people.

Expressing frustration that no opponents of the Salida Bottling company development took the time to appear and present their case, Council Member Harald Kasper said he was “appalled that the petitioners were not part of the year-long process”.

He expressed concerns that the referendum process “is connected to big costs for the developer and the city. It is unreasonable to go through the (planned development) process with the risk of everything falling apart [after officials elected by the people made their final decision].”

Mayor Shore added “we’re never going to agree on everything”, but then citing a pattern of what appears to be obstruction, said “It happened with Salida Crossing (later affirmed by voters); it’s happening now. In each case the opposition chose not to participate in a public process they were welcome to be involved in and only came in after the fact.  I am also troubled that one of the people who brought the petition forward was a former city elected official who knows full well how the public process works.”

Featured image: Conceptual drawing of Salida Bottling Company project at 323 West First Street in Salida. Image courtesy of the applicant