Bandon City Council, with essentially no discussion or debate, approved the Plan Review for Bandon Beach Hotel — the final approval needed for the Keiser hotel slated to replace the aging Bandon Beach Motel on Coquille Point. This was despite the opportunity Council had to revisit the geological hazard problems for the site that have never been resolved, and authorize a new geological study.
The Bandon bluff area, including Coquille Point where the hotel is proposed, is the city’s main aquifer. There are no basements in Bandon because groundwater flows year round. Yet Northworks, the applicant’s own consultant, measured the water table at seventeen feet below the surface — just four feet below the proposed hotel foundation’s elevator shaft. During the wet season, the groundwater level would be higher. There are numerous seeps and springs on the Coquille Point hillside, especially at slope breaks and the base of the slope. Additionally, there are slope movements on the bluff that result from significant groundwater pressures. The building of a deeply excavated hotel will throw off the balance of pressures on the bluff, and undoubtedly destabilize it further.
Coquille Point is a National Wildlife Refuge owned and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. USFWS is very concerned about the groundwater and the potential effects the hotel would have on their adjacent stairway to the beach. The agency hired a drill rig to take samples of the soil to test groundwater levels in order to have a baseline of the existing situation. It is to be hoped that objective geological and groundwater information will affect the ultimate plans for the hotel, despite City Council’s cavalier dismissal of concerns about these longstanding problems.