Manzanita City Hall.tif

Manzanita City Hall.

The City of Manzanita officials are gearing up for major projects in 2022 while putting together a comprehensive plan to guide the city over the next five years.

According to City Manager Leila Amen, she and the city council are working on three major projects, in the new year including what she calls, Level Up, Budget Forward and Comprehensive Outreach. Level Up includes the daunting task of designing and building a new city facility that will house the City Hall, a command center for emergencies and the police station among other city offices.

“The facility will include the City’s Administration, Building and Planning, and Public Safety,” she said. “Public Works will remain at their facility on Oak Street. The City’s Administration, Public Safety and Building and Planning departments are currently operating out of three different buildings at the moment.”

Amen said the city is currently spread out and this move will elevate the current model while locating the city offices outside a tsunami inundation zone.

Voters turned down a bond issue in 2020 earmarked for a new city facility, but the council and manager are moving forward with the plan, they just have to find other funding sources.

“The City council will be having ongoing public discussions about how the city will pay for the City Hall building,” Amen said “Sources of funding will include proceeds from timber sales already in the city hall fund, proceeds from the sale of old city hall and other funding sources as identified by council which could include some form of debt.”

According to Amen, the current City Hall structure on Laneda Ave is listed at $875,000.

Citizens have shown support of remodeling the old elementary school building the city bought in 2017, but according to Amen, it’s not a feasible or cost effective.

“The existing structure is severely compromised and would require a complete reconstruction, not rehabilitation, not restoration but complete reconstruction, to be habitable for any use,” she said. “The City Hall building does need to meet seismic standards to function as an Emergency Operations Center and ideally has a long life. The configuration of the existing building is questionable in terms of meeting the city’s needs for a safe, functional, efficient, seismically resilient office building. The City Council determined that it is not a viable option for a new city hall.”

Budget Forward

Amen said she is wanting more input from citizens on how the city budgets, where to find revenue sources and to keep the city fiscally responsible with the goals the council has for the future. She said to accomplish this she would like to put together a committee to give the council input as to what the priorities should be moving forward.

“It’s no secret that Manzanitas chief source of revenue is from the Transient Lodging Tax (or Short Term Rental) tax,” she said. “Manzanita taxpayers also enjoy one of the lowest property tax rates in the state of Oregon. With an extremely low property tax rate, and a dependency on a variable income source (the TLT) it is prudent for the city to explore other funding sources.”

Moving forward, Amen said she plans to hire a consultant to work with the committee to maximize revenue resources.

“I intend to convene a ‘revenue diversification committee’ and hire an economic consultant to work with the committee to conduct a comprehensive look at our current revenue streams including enterprise funds and other fees,” she said. “The consultant will also work with us to develop a strategy to diversify our revenue streams and ensure cost recovery and resiliency if our TLT revenues decline for any reason in the future.”

Comprehensive Outreach

As a former Community Development Director holding a master of Regional Planning degree from Cornell University who also spent nearly four years in the private sector creating comprehensive plans, Amen plans to use that experience developing a comprehensive plan for Manzanita.

“I am calling this Envision Manzanita!” she said. “It is a multi year process that includes the development of a community wide vision, update of the Comprehensive Plan and updated enabling regulations such as the zoning code, sub division code, etc….”

According to Amen, there are so many livability issues facing the city right now and the current comprehensive plan is dated and in many way no longer reflects Manzanita’s needs or identity.

“Issues related to growth and development, tree protection, beaches and dune management, housing affordability, all of these issues are symptoms of a greater cause,” she said. “The cause being growth and how we manage growth as a community should be addressed in the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan should be based on a robust and meaningful community engagement process.”   

Due to Manzanita being one of the many destination cities on the Oregon Coast, the comprehensive plan has to take in consideration of those factors.

“Manzanita is a pluralistic community made up of full time residents, part time residents, visitors and business owners,each of these groups intersect with each other, and there are clear dependencies between them,” Amen said. “By developing a community vision we can begin to have these conversations with each other, and begin to articulate our communities vision for growth. That vision will serve as the starting point for the Comprehensive Plan update.”


Technology will be an ongoing goal of Amen and the council. Amen believes it’s important to keep the city up to speed, digitize public records while making the city’s website more comprehensive for users.

“This will be a multi year process, my three main goals are to digitize and organize all records into a searchable on line database,” Amen said. “This would include at a minimum, all city council and planning commission related files, such as meeting agendas, packets and minutes.”

But Amen wants to also include development information as well.

“To create a Geographic Information System for the City which includes linking permit data to specific tax lots,” she said. “And finally to develop a municipal code. These goals are essential to the city’s success but will take years to implement. We are starting now by moving as much of our transactions on-line like, water billing, building permit, planning fees and short term rental fees.”


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