Day: December 13, 2010

Referendum try targets cell phone fee

Opponents of a local cell phone fee passed last week by the Keizer City Council quickly went to work, with a goal to give voters the final say. The group even has a name – Citizens Against New Telecom Taxes – and if history is any indication, voters can expect a deluge of phone calls and other methods to persuade them to oppose the new 3 percent fee on wireless providers’ gross revenue, a cost that could be passed on to customers. If the Keizer referendum proposal gets enough signatures, voters will be asked to decide in a May 2011 special election. The treasurer of the new political action committee (PAC), Nathan Rietmann, served the same role in a group called Corvallis Citizens Against Telephone Sales Tax, a group formed to fight the Corvallis City Council’s 2006 attempt to impose a cell phone tax there. According to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, the group spent nearly $100,000 fighting it with telecom companies supplying tens of thousands of dollars. It worked – Corvallis voters soundly rejected the tax by a 69-31 margin. The chief petitioners indicated they would be using paid petitioners to reach 1,843 qualified signatures – 10 percent of registered Keizer voters – by Jan. 5, 2011. Petitioners were already out last week, collecting signatures in front of the U.S. Post Office and other locations. Rietmann, an attorney residing in...

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Avamere eyes Keizer for memory care site

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes A company specializing in senior care facilities may be eyeing a new memory care facility in Keizer. The possible site? About 11 acres behind St. Edward Catholic Church. However, church officials say plans for the land are “in flux,” and the real estate agent who requested a text amendment from the city noted any changes to medium-density residential zoning would likely apply city-wide. The Keizer City Council voted to initiate a text amendment at its Monday meeting allowing assisted living facilities in medium density residential zones. The initiation passed 7-0, which directs staff to prepare a resolution initiating the text amendment process. A text amendment is a tool used to change language within a zoning designation to allow or disallow certain types of development. The St. Edward site was mentioned twice during the city council meeting, once by Community Development Director Nate Brown and City Councilor Richard Walsh. The councilor, who formerly chaired a visioning task force at the church, disclosed his connection. In addition, three well-placed sources confirmed some 11 acres behind the church – land that’s currently farmed – is most likely the site in question. The request came from James Hauge, who represents Avamere Corporation, according to a Dec. 6 memorandum from Community Development Director Nate Brown. In addition, Hauge’s letter to Walsh includes a request for an amendment allowing...

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