Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter
North Coast in the News
Tillamook County Approves RVs as Permanent Dwellings and ORCA Appeals   
Currently Unoccupied RV on Rural Land in Tillamook County, July 2017
On the last day of August, Tillamook County planning commission voted to uphold the County's earlier administrative decision allowing Cris and Evan Orlando to live in their RV as a permanent dwelling on a steep, forested parcel off East Beaver Creek Road. As we have mentioned before, the parcel has no water (except a small spring), no wastewater disposal facility, and no emergency services. It is so remote that the Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District refused to provide fire protection services, noting there was insufficient water for fire suppression. Nestucca RFD recommended not even a temporary permit be issued.

Nevertheless, the planning commission approved the conditional use permit. ORCA appealed the decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), and the case will be argued later this fall. In ORCA's opinion, Tillamook County ordinances do not allow RV's to be used as permanent dwellings.  On top of that, Tillamook County has no code enforcement, and could never enforce violations of wastewater disposal requirements, a most common hazard of allowing RVs as permanent dwellings outside RV parks.

TPUD Files Application with Tillamook County for Oceanside Transmission Line
TPUD Proposed Oceanside Transmission Line Route. Courtesy TPUD
Tillamook PUD has been trying since 2013 to get permits for its proposed Oceanside Transmission Line (OTL), but the applications have bogged down at every step for five years. Now the utility has once again filed an application for the line, this time for the portion that is proposed to run through County-zoned land.

Landowners in the City of Tillamook opposed the proposed line when TPUD first unveiled it, and appeals followed. Eventually, TPUD lost its case at the Land Use Board of Appeals. Following that defeat, the utility tried to get more community buy-in by creating a local citizens' group and shepherding them towards choosing a new route that everybody could accept. The group, though it seemed unenthusiastic, did eventually propose a new route, and TPUD unveiled its final choice earlier in 2017.

Landowners on the new route, both the city and county portions, signed a petition unanimously opposing the OTL, and delivered the petition to City Council and the Board of Commissioners. Undaunted by the opposition, TPUD is forging ahead with the application. Since they will be unable to get landowner consent to purchase easements and right-of-way for the line if it is granted permits, TPUD will be faced with using eminent domain. Having their local people's utility district resort to condemnation of neighbors' farmland and commercial property in town is likely to be extremely unpopular in sparsely populated Tillamook County.

The County is currently reviewing the application for completeness. If it is found to contain all necessary information, the hearing might be scheduled in late October or November.

Arcadia RV Park Proposal Has A Public Meeting: Thursday, Sept. 28th
Clatsop County Waves and Trees. Courtesy ORCA 
James Smejkal has said publicly that he envisions an RV park on his 17-acre forested parcel directly across Highway 101 from the Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site. This parcel used to belong to the Parks Department, but they traded it to Smejkal in 2002. Smejkal has caused much concern in nearby Arch Cape by beginning to remove brush, especially when he continued doing so after a warning letter to cease activity from Clatsop County.

As required by County ordinance, Smejkal is now holding an "applicant-neighbor" meeting about the proposal prior to filing an application with the County. The meeting will be held at the Cannon Beach Fire Hall, 188 E. Sunset Boulevard, at 11:00 AM. This is an opportunity for neighbors and concerned residents to voice their opinions about having an "upscale" (according to Smejkal's statement in a news article) RV park in the area. There are many concerns and questions, especially concerning water availability and marbled murrelet nesting sites. The murrelet is a federally-designated Threatened species.

Sand Management in Cannon Beach Moving Ahead: Meeting Sept. 28th   
Breakers Point Location Aerial Google photo 2016
During a two-year tussle over a spate of dune-grading applications for Breakers Point Homeowners Association, ORCA and residents proposed that Cannon Beach do a sand study to determine how and where sand moves in the Cannon Beach littoral cell. Since the city's current sand management plan expired in 1997 and principally focused on the Breakers Point area, this seemed a good idea. Cannon Beach hired the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) to do a sand study, and a draft is available here.

Now Cannon Beach has hired the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST) to write a new Foredune Management Plan based on the DOGAMI sand study, draft implementing ordinances and Comprehensive Plan policy amendments, as well as staff reports for upcoming hearings. The current schedule is to hold most of the public outreach during the worst time of year for public involvement: November, December and January. ORCA strongly suggests that schedule be relaxed, and rescheduled for January and February.

So far there has been no public involvement in the upcoming CREST process. The Cannon Beach planning commission is holding a work session on Thursday, September 28th at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall, at which no public testimony will be taken. Please attend if you live in the area - sand management affects all of Cannon Beach. So when will the the public be invited to give its opinion? In ORCA's view, this should begin before CREST delivers a draft Foredune Management Plan to the city. There are some crucial initial considerations. The proposed plan needs to start at the very beginning, with the question of whether dune-grading should be allowed or not. It is important to remember that until the early 1990s, Cannon Beach did not allow dune-grading. It is essential to review all options at this new point of departure, when the city for the first time considers a sand plan based on knowledge of the whole littoral cell.

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