Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter
Spotlight on Clatsop County
New Dollar General Store Proposed for Knappa: Hearing September 11th 
 
Dollar General Store in Clarksville, TN. Courtesy Mike Kalasnik/Wikimedia
 
Dollar General is proposing a new store for Knappa, a small community on the Columbia River.  Dollar General, a swiftly expanding nationwide corporation with more than 15,000 stores, prides itself on providing very low-cost food and other necessities The company  frequently targets rural communities, arguing that they are underserved, often portraying them as so-called "food deserts," where long drives are  required just  to buy necessities. The first hearing on the Knappa application, before the Clatsop County planning commission,  will be held:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
10:00 A.M.
Guy Boyington Building
Astoria, OR 

Please send comments to: comdev@co.clatsop.or.us.   For further information, please call the Clatsop County Community Development Department at (503) 325-8611.

The property, a one acre parcel along Highway 30, is zoned "Rural Community Commercial and Light Industrial," and already has a 4,200 square foot building. But Dollar General  wants to tear it down and  build a store more than twice as large. The purpose of this zone is, generally, to provide support for small concentrations of  retail  and commercial services, contribute to community identity and provide necessary retail services. Building sizes are limited to 4,000 square feet, but Clatsop County has a loophole allowing larger buildings if they are intended to serve the community, surrounding rural area or travelers. 

Dollar General strongly advertises itself as providing "much-needed miscellaneous items and necessities" including "daily household goods for nearby residents and items that would greatly benefit tourist or recreation destinations." Their application does not mention that the apparently low-cost items are actually more expensive if the entire unit price is taken into account. Nor do they mention that Dollar General contributes nothing to the need for local stores; on the contrary, Dollar competes with local stores, if there are any. In this case there are none except  a convenience  store. ORCA opposes this Dollar General for Knappa. Like thousands of other small towns, Knappa needs to regain and strengthen its own community infrastructure, gutted or overlooked by national retailers like Dollar General.



Cannon Beach: Sign the Petition to End Dune-Grading for Views 
 
Dunes in Front of Breakers Point in 2015. Courtesy ORCA
 
The long anticipated revisions to the Cannon Beach ordinances regulating foredune grading  for views  have  stretched  into a series of  public  meetings  and hearings  featuring lengthy discussions over technical issues. Perhaps this is inevitable. City Council will enter the arena, probably in the fall, with hearings that will  eventually  lead to a final decision. But despite many public meetings, it is clear the tension between the Breakers Point Homeowners Association (mainly) and Cannon Beach residents has not diminished. On the contrary, the Breakers Point attorney has been pushing for yet more dune-grading, along with standards for permit length, follow-up grading and remedial grading so lax as to provide essentially no oversight. 

Friends of the Dunes and ORCA realize there is no longer any room for compromise, since Breakers Point keeps advocating for more and more grading of  dunes, which  belong to the public and provide essential storm and wave protection, as well as wildlife habitat. In addition, Cannon Beach's economy is based on its beauty, not on the sight of scarified, flattened dunes. Dune-grading sacrifices the viewshed of the many, with all its benefits, for the views of the few.

Are you concerned about the effects of dune-grading on Cannon Beach's beauty, wildlife habitat, economy and storm protection? Please sign the Friends of the Dunes petition here.



Arch Cape Vigilant for Its Ordinances 
 
Arch Cape in Winter. Courtesy ORCA
 
Since Clatsop County eliminated the Arch Cape Design Review Committee, the residents of this small unincorporated community have had to become doubly vigilant in watching over the small-scale decisions Clatsop County makes that have an outsize effect on community livability. Local residents, partnering with ORCA, have been monitoring these administrative decisions, which under county ordinance require no public notice at all, even to neighbors. Several times, we noticed decisions that would adversely affect livability, most recently a county decision allowing more people for a vacation rental dwelling than is allowed for Arch Cape, where the standards differ. Much to the county's credit, the Planning Director corrected the license and notified the applicant of the county's mistake.

But Clatsop County has shown a persistent desire over the last several years to streamline and unify the ordinances, so the same standards apply to all its unincorporated communities as much as possible. While this may appear to be a move towards efficiency, it forces communities very unlike one another to meet the same standards, and thus reduces livability. Arch Cape and ORCA continue to work with the county to limit this short-sighted standardization. Though largely invisible, it has big effects on the ground for the people who live there, and shows a lack of commitment to citizens' desire to shape their own community future.



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Contact Executive Director Cameron La Follette by  email
or phone: 503-391-0210
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