Council finalizes design details for new SH City Hall

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home City Council selected a floor plan for the new City Hall last week, asking for a couple of minor changes.

In a work session on April 10. Scott-Edwards Architecture presented council members with a handful of revisions. The new City Hall is located at 3225 Main St., the former US. Forest Service Sweet Home Ranger District office.

“You won’t see a lot of new stuff today,” said architect Andy Kraus. The latest variations advance the plan, incorporating ideas from previous conversations.

The new plan establishes the final locations for public and staff restrooms, and moves the community and economic development director’s office to the rear of the building to allow a proposed small conference room to be located in the front corner – the northwest corner of the structure. A second conference room in front was enlarged in the new plan.

The conference rooms are areas where city staff can meet with members of the public. The conference rooms will contain technology allowing staff and the public to go over plans and other information, accessing staff computers elsewhere in the building.

With a few more adjustments, the newest plan makes the most extensive use of existing walls, Kraus said.

Following discussion, the council and architect had marked a couple of small changes on the plans, including an adjustment for storage space in the council chamber and a secure entrance to the staff area on the west side of the building.

The councilors and architects agreed that an unused space on the east side of the building would need to have drywall and climate controls for use later when the space is developed, likely for Public Works.

Mayor Greg Mahler suggested that the plans use side-mounted heating and air conditioning units instead of roof-mounted units.

Mahler, who manages the family business Hoy’s Hardware, explained that his building has a flat roof with roof-mounted units, which “always” cause leaking. On the expansion building at Hoy’s, he went with side-mounted units to avoid the problem.

Kraus suggested talking to local contractors who might be interested in handling a small project like that.

Councilors also worked through a variety of finishing materials for floors, counters and walls, with plans to include photographic images depicting historic Sweet Home and local landscapes. The finishes will likely include wood cladding.

Councilors present at the meeting were Mahler, Lisa Gourley, Susan Coleman, Dave Trask and Diane Gerson. Bob Briana and James Goble were absent.

The council purchased the building as its new City Hall in July 2016 for $750,000.

The building was constructed in 1989 for the ranger district, which moved to its work center at 4431 Main St. in May 2006. With shrinking staffing and budget levels, ranger district officials sought to save more than $100,000 per year. The Forest Service had paid $240,000 per year in lease payments for the 12,000-square-foot building.

The council decided to purchase the building due to a number of problems with the current City Hall building.

The council convened its regular meeting following the work session and adopted an ordinance annexing .52 acres at 845 Alder St. into the city with a rezone from Linn County’s urban growth area rural residential one-acre minimum zone to Sweet Home’s medium-density residential zone, which is the designation for the property in the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The property owners are Alan and Peggy Stutz.

The owners requested annexation due to a failed septic system, Alan Stutz told the council during a public hearing held March 13. Because it was within 300 feet of the city’s wastewater system, Linn County would not approve a new septic system.

The city last annexed two properties in the area in 2010 for the same reason.

The Planning Commission recommended adoption of the ordinance following a public hearing on March 12. Following three readings of the ordinance in three different meetings, the council voted 6-0 to adopt the ordinance.

Briana arrived following the work session and voted to adopt the ordinance along with the other councilors who were present.