Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter
Dollar Store in Otis and Other News
A Dollar General Store in Otis?

Otis Junction. Courtesy Wikimedia/Visitor 7

Recently, Cross Development submitted an application to build a more than 9,000 square foot Dollar General store in tiny Otis, in Lincoln County. Otis Junction is barely even a hamlet, and is described as a "rural service center" in the Lincoln County Comprehensive Plan. It is two miles from the Urban Growth Boundary for Lincoln City. In other words, it is in a rural area, and as such, Oregon administrative rules limiting commercial building size to 4,000 square feet apply.  The company would have to get a "reasons exception" to Goal 14 to build such a large store.

A "reasons exception" is so named because it requires providing the reasons the proposal and no other alternative fits the situation best. In this instance, Lincoln City is only two miles away, and has shopping centers where a 9,000 square foot store would be welcome. Such an alternative meshes with Oregon legal requirements much better than the company proposal. Oregon law is explicit about the thrust to discourage urban-level development in rural areas such as Otis. 

The company submitted an application that was so sketchy that both the Lincoln County Planning and Development Department and  the state Department of Land Conservation and Development recommended it be rejected. The County planning commission, in a hearing earlier this week, unanimously recommended the application be denied. Cross Development may appeal the decision to the Board of Commissioners.  ORCA is keeping close watch to see if this Dollar store proposed for Otis moves ahead or not.

Pacific City's Future Still Hangs in the Balance: Hearings May 1st and May 9th 

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area Near Pacific City. Courtesy Matvyei (Wikimedia)
The struggle over Pacific City's future continues. The planning commission at its recent hearing recommended the package of Community Plan and ordinance changes be submitted to the Board of Commissioners for their May 1st hearing. But they also recommended changes to the Pacific City high density residential zone. This is an area of great concern to many community residents. The Department of Community Development  is holding a meeting with the local Citizens' Advisory Committee on May 5th to propose an alternative that might assuage the concerns - or perhaps not.

ORCA, and many residents as well, are troubled by this turn of events. For the BOC to hear some of the proposed revisions while others are still being tinkered with is a recipe for confusion. More importantly, Pacific City is a small place; different zones are literally check by jowl, block by block. It is unwise to propose big changes to the high density residential zone without reworking the entire package to create a unified set of revisions. Given that the CAC's membership voted against the current package 93-30 in February, it behooves the Department, and the BOC, to tread carefully  and listen  to the  residents. Decision-makers must  ensure that the changes form a consistent whole and reflect  the community vision  for Pacific City as laid out in the Community Plan.  This is  required legally.

Cannon Beach Considers Foredunes and Sand Management Again
Breakers Point and Protecting Dunes in January 2018 King Tide. Courtesy ORCA

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  Breakers  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  now   recommends  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.

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