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Kights structure still under scrutiny

The Troutdale City Council on Tuesday night, Sept. 27, approved a proposal to hire an independent party to look into a controversial building on Mayor Jim Kight's property.

The building, constructed in 2008 next to Kight's home on Jackson Park Road, has caused controversy over its size and intended use as either an 'accessory structure' or residential building.

Kight initially submitted plans for a 768-square-foot single-room structure, which then grew to a 1,016-square-foot multi-room building by the time construction started, which is 16 feet over the limit for accessory structures.

Kight described the building as an 'accessory structure,' intended to provide additional office space for himself and his wife. The building contains a carpeted living room and two offices, kitchen space with a microwave and cabinets, a bay window, French doors from the living room that lead onto a deck and an enclosed basement.

Residential structures with basements are not allowed on the Sandy River floodplain; non-residential structures, however, can have waterproofed basements.

Ken Prickett, a former Troutdale building official, told the City Council during its meeting Sept. 13 that he had reviewed the structure's plans and its building permits at the request of former Mayor Paul Thalhofer and Councilor Rich Allen. He said there were several problems, so he compiled his findings and passed them out to the City Council for review, which prompted the council to investigate the issue further.

During its regular meeting earlier on Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved changes to the municipal code regarding which expenses the city will reimburse the mayor and city councilors.

The mayor and city councilors will now only be reimbursed for expenses related to attending the League of Oregon Cities and the Oregon Mayors Association's annual conferences. All other expense requests must be pre-approved by the City Council or come from the mayor and city councilors' personal stipends.

The City Council has criticized Kight for requesting reimbursement for travel-related expenses not covered by the code, including short trips to Gresham, Fairview and Wood Village.