Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter
Land Use Policies on the Coast and at the Legislature
Bandon Beach Hotel Appeal Denied by City Council
Revised Bandon Beach Hotel, View from the Southwest. Courtesy City of Bandon
Oregon Coast Alliance and Bob and Carol Fischer appealed the Planning Commission approval of the proposed Bandon Beach Hotel up to  Bandon  City Council. At a highly restricted hearing - at which no public comment or testimony was allowed at all - Council affirmed the approval. There was little discussion. Only one Council member, Claudine Hunthausen, voted against the approval, over concerns  for  the geohazards that have been discussed at hearings, but never resolved. She was right to  be cautious . There are serious  geological hazard  questions that need better investigation and discussion. Likewise, the extent of Bandon's responsibility to protect the adjacent Coquille Point Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge has not been addressed, except in the briefest and most dismissive ways. 

Both of these issues highlight the problems of trying to protect the environment while encouraging development. The existing motel was not planned during the fight in the 1990s to protect Coquille Point. It was the result of a landowner who refused to sell, and decided to quickly build a hotel to prevent the property from  becoming  part of the Refuge. The ploy worked, but has now left Bandon with a commercial establishment that is out of place, directly contiguous with the Refuge next door. Building a newer, bigger hotel on the site is the worst of outcomes for this property, and for the Refuge. However, Bandon City Council sees only the equation of how best to smooth the path for Keiser's proposal, which will certainly be problematic for the Refuge in several subtle, but highly important, ways.

Land Use Round-up at the Legislature
Oregon State Capitol. Courtesy M.O. Stevens
The Legislature has passed the halfway point in the 2019 session, so the initial culling of  bills has  taken place. There is no guarantee that the  remaining bills  will pass, or pass in their current form, but  they  have survived the first major hurdle. There are several land-use related bills that are of major concern  for land use advocates, and that would impact the coast. 

Senate Bill 88  would allow counties to authorize construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on lands zoned for rural residential use, but the bill does not address important concerns about  adding  dwellings in wildfire-prone areas and  limiting  vacation rentals. Vacation rentals and their impact on communities and neighborhoods is a very serious, and growing, problem on the coast. 

Senate Bill 961  is a potentially dangerous coastal bill that increases the amount of shoreland that could be lined with riprap. This bill was introduced by Sen. Roblan for Searidge Condos in Lincoln Beach, home to a long-simmering riprap controversy. This bill has not yet had a hearing. Then there is  House Bill 2377 , the perplexing bill that (as amended) would appropriate $452,390 from the General Fund to the Department of Administrative Services to accept bids for the first phase of a sediment study on the lower Rogue River. There is no need for such a study; the dire state of the lower Rogue is well known from previous studies. Interestingly, the original bill as introduced provided for the study to be done by Douglas Timber Operators, of all unlikely  organizations to conduct a science-based study of river ecology.

Finally, there is House Bill 2469, which allows counties to approve a second dwelling on forestland near an existing dwelling, for the owner or relatives. The owner can only get the new  housing for  the purpose of having relatives assist in the harvesting, processing or replanting of forest products or operation of forest lots. The new parcel has to be managed as a working forest, and the county may not allow the new dwelling to be used as a vacation rental dwelling. The problem here  is, of course,  enforcement; such a bill would be essentially impossible to enforce. It also further fragments forestlands.

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