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PLANS FOR RESORT HOTEL AT PORT REMAIN IFFY

By JEFF ST. PETER

The future of a proposed resort hotel/convention center near Sporthaven Beach remains up in the air after nearly two years of effort by the developers and waiting by the Port of Brookings Harbor.

Ray Claveran Sr., a partner with Everett Foster on the development, requested another extension on an option for the proposed site from the port board of commissioners Tuesday. The present option expires on June 1.

Claveran told the board that things were coming together on the project, but more time was needed to finalize the financial package.

"We are requesting an extension of the June deadline," he said, "at least until August.

"I'm looking for an extension until the first of the year."

Claveran and Everett received their first six-month lease option on the port property, located behind the Beachfront RV Park, on June 1, 1999, according to Russ Crabtree, port manager.

Since then, the developers have received extensions of six months on Dec. 1, 1999 and monthly extensions since June 1, 2000, according to Crabtree.

He said the extension until June 1 of this year was to be the last.

Commissioner Ken Byrtus was leery of another extension.

"Originally, it was a year," he said. "Now it's been two years.

"It's been one extension, then another, then another, now another. We need to know. We have other interested builders.

"The bottom line is we need to get the talks part done, we need to get moving. The time has come."

Claveran responded that the developers understand their responsibility to bring the project to fruition.

"The ball's in my court now," he said. "I will get you the complete commitments within the next month or so."

Byrtus again emphasized the urgency of moving forward on the issue. "The time has come," he said. "You're controlling the property and we need to get going.

"Either put these guys (investors) feet to the fire or put your tennis shoes on and go home."

Commissioner Lloyd Whaley then proposed an extension of the lease option through Aug. 1.

Byrtus said this extension must be final.

"We need a commitment by then," he said. "If nothing happens, you leave Dodge and we go away buddies."

During the regular board meeting on Tuesday, Crabtree reported he had been informed that legislation, which would allow the transferral of Sporthaven Beach management from the port to the Oregon State Parks Department, had passed the state house and senate and was now awaiting Gov. John Kitzhaber's signature.

Crabtree said the transfer is contained in a state parks budget note, which is included as a part of the department's overall budget legislation.

He said the control transfer of the beach would include the state assuming the Port's debt obligation from the December 1995 erosion control project.

"State Parks would assume management of the beach," he said.

"It is our intent to work out an agreement with them for the Port to continue beach maintenance.

"I believe transferring the property would be a good thing as it would insure keeping the beach a public possession."

Crabtree also reported that a grant application to partially fund the construction of a new marine fueling station on the east end of the transit dock was moving ahead.

A presentation to the Oregon State Marine Board is scheduled for the first week of June, and the Port of Brookings/Harbor should have a decision within 30 days.

"This project is a priority for us so that we can ensure the public a local source of marine fuel in the future," he said.

The total cost of the project would be $391,000. Storage capacity for the station would be a combined 20,000 gallons of diesel and unleaded fuels.

Money for the Marine Board grants is supplied through the boating fuel tax, according to Crabtree.

A project to improve Beachfront RV Park is progressing, Crabtree reported.

He said sewer connections to the beachfront row of sites would be completed by Memorial Day Weekend. Additionally, the installation of 50 amp service to the back row of sites should be finished by the end of June.

Crabtree said an agreement had been reached for the Port to pay $36,000 in sewer connection fees. The City of Brookings has agreed to finance that amount.

In response to a question raised about the application of an April 1 rate increase at the RV park, Crabtree said no one would be grandfathered under the former rates even if they had occupied a site prior to the date the increase was implemented.

"All leases are on a four-week basis," he said, "so everyone will be paying at the new rate."

Four-week rates were raised by $50 - $300 for back row sites and $350 for beachfront sites. Daily rates were increased by $2 per day.

Crabtree also said that he hoped to move forward soon on an improvement project to the access road and parking at Sporthaven Beach.

Sidewalks, curbing, a paved parking area and adjusting the street to maintain traffic flow would improve access to the beach and help alleviate potential traffic problems, he said. "And it would improve the community's image."

The port is in the process of applying for grants to fund the estimated $287,576 improvement project.

The Port of Brookings-Harbor board of commissioners will next meet on Tuesday, June 19 at 7 p.m., in the commissioners' meeting room. Public participation is welcome.

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