Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter
How Shall We Live With the Coast in the Future?
Private Campground Proposal Near Netarts Draws Controversy   
Aerial Photo of Netarts and Proposed Campground Property (outlined in black). Courtesy Tillamook County
A couple with 48 acres of forestland just outside the community of Netarts wants to develop a private campground of six geodesic dome sites, twelve tent sites, a central bath house and a caretaker dwelling. They proposed to concentrate the development in a nine-acre clearcut area. A dwelling was already approved last year. The applicants are calling the proposed campground "Woods to Waves."

Originally slated for a low-key administrative decision by the County Community Development Department, the proposal drew so much controversy that the County wisely decided to hold a Planning Commission hearing. Concerns range from how wastewater will be disposed of (there is no sewer) to increased traffic, noise, garbage dumping, fire hazard, road maintenance, trespass and  vandalism.  Many residents mentioned how the proposal does not fit the needs of the Netarts community, especially as the property is not especially scenic, and there are other campgrounds nearby which provide many amenities, including sewer hookups. ORCA pointed out that the proposed campground does not  meet requirements  that a campground be contiguous with a park or other outdoor natural amenity accessible for recreation use. The property is surrounded by Stimson Lumber Company's commercial timberland and rural residential housing -- not outdoor natural  amenities. 

Further,  Netarts is a small unincorporated community, and a campground literally on its border will affect the community greatly. The many residents expressing concerns at a community meeting and the Planning Commission hearing made that clear. Equally important, the application was  quite skimpy on information and details to satisfy planning standards and requirements. Nevertheless, Tillamook County planning staff recommended approval with conditions.

The Planning Commission will decide whether to approve, deny or request further information of the applicants at its June 15th meeting.

Cannon Beach Sand Study Done
Elk in the Cannon Beach Dunes. Courtesy ORCA 
Cannon Beach paid the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) geologists to prepare a badly needed updated report on sand movement in the Cannon Beach littoral cell. This became essential as the controversy escalated over dune-grading, especially at Breakers Point condominiums. The earlier sand study was completed in the 1990s, and covered principally the area of Breakers Point, rather than the entire littoral cell.

DOGAMI geologist Jonathan Allan and his colleagues have completed the new study, which looks at sand transport in the whole littoral cell. Over the decades, sand movement has fluctuated greatly, from sweeping the dunes almost entirely away to shaping the iconic dunes we currently see, especially on the north side of town. European beach grass, planted beginning in the 1950s, has also changed the nature of the dunes, making them steeper and taller. The Planning Commission held an initial workshop to discuss the report's recommendations on May 22nd. City staff hope to have the DOGAMI powerpoint presentation available on the City's website soon. The process of rewriting and updating Cannon Beach's code on sand management will begin later this year.  

Read the draft report here

The Fate of Special Interest Coastal Legislation  
Oregon State Capitol. Courtesy M.O. Stevens      
As we have reported before, there are two bills that especially affect the future of the coast. Both are special interest bills seeking to grant privileges to individual developers who want loopholes around the land use laws.

HB 2730A  would amend the laws relating to nonfarm uses on exclusive farm use lands to allow the proposed Knapp Ranch golf course north of Port Orford in Curry County to expand or reconfigure. Golf courses are allowed on exclusive farm use (EFU) lands if certain criteria are met, but they are not allowed on high value farmland, which is more restrictively protected. The as-yet unbuilt golf course is sited on EFU land. Originally  Elk River Property Development  wanted to build on high value farmland, but were barred. The bill passed the House, and has been assigned to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  There was an initial hearing on May 24th, and a work session is scheduled for May 31st.

HB 2031A allows the developer of a resort originally slated for the Metolius basin to extend his deadline for siting it elsewhere.  Clatsop County is one of the named counties where the resort may be sited. Ominously,  HB 2031A removes the prohibition for siting a resort on lands protected as Coastal Shorelands. Worse yet, it also removes a prohibition on siting the resort in natural hazard areas identified in the  Comprehensive Plan. This is very bad policy, which would set a dangerous precedent for the entire coast: allowing a developer to ignore natural hazards protections that protect life and property. The coast is universally recognized as the most hazardous area in the  state. 

The bill, also assigned to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, is scheduled for a work session on May 31st as well. This is in part because there are many proposed amendments unrelated to the bill but which would make major changes in other parts of the land use laws.

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