Cannon Beach continues its hearings on whether or not dune-grading shall be allowed in the city, as it has been only since the 1990s, and if so, under what rules. Pressure from
Point Homeowners Association to grade as much as possible and as often as possible, is driving some of the discussion. For example, Cannon Beach never even considered the alternative of no dune-grading at all when it paid the Columbia River Estuary Task Force (CREST) to write a foredune management plan. Nor was the public asked for input about what the draft plan should include before it commenced.
Breakers Point asked for the new ordinances to allow them to grade the dunes essentially limitlessly, on a 10-year permit. Significantly, the revised CREST plan
allowing a five year permit with up to 8,000 cubic yards of sand removal per application. The earlier draft recommended only 2,500 yards of sand removal per application, and did not recommend the option of five-year permits.
The new proposals also allow up to 32,000 cubic yards of maintenance grading, far more than the 2,500 cy currently allowed. There are other insidious changes that widen dune-grading opportunities.
Yes, the dunes in front of Breakers Point have grown in the last two decades; but in the early 1990s, the storm cycles washed the dunes away, and the north end of Cannon Beach was left almost without dune protection in storms. The King Tide of January 2018 showed graphically how important the dune protection is.
The new proposals are so dramatically different from the initial ones that Cannon Beach should hold at least one hearing dedicated solely to sand management.
For those concerned about Cannon Beach's dunal ecosystem, and vulnerability to storms, rising wave heights and king tides, now is the time to make your voice known. These revisions will set dune-grading policy in the city for the next decade at least.