Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter
Tillamook Hearing and Curry County Spotlight
Tillamook Planning Commission Edge Cable Hearing: September 5th  
Aerial photo of Tierra del Mar. Photo Courtesy of Ed Ruttledge
Edge Cable, part of Facebook, is proposing to land its most recent submarine cable on a lot in the quiet rural community of Tierra del Mar in Tillamook County. Rural residents, and ORCA, have been fighting this project for months. The company submitted its application to Tillamook County for a conditional use permit, and the hearing has been scheduled. It will be:

Thursday, September 5, 2019
7:00 PM
Tillamook County Courthouse
Board of Commissioners Meeting Rooms A & B
201 Laurel Avenue

This is the centrally important hearing  for  this project. There are many issues.  First, the  area is zoned Rural Residential, and that is the core of the controversy. The zone does not mention  submarine cable landings  as a conditional use, but Facebook argues it is a "similar" use, and should be allowed. The neighbors and ORCA disagree.  Second, a  conditional use must, among other things, be able to prove it will not "alter the character of the surrounding area in a manner which substantially limits  [or]  impairs...the use of surrounding properties," and also must prove the parcel is "suitable" for the proposed use. On either one of these grounds, this cable project fails, located as it would be in a quiet residential area. 

Please attend the hearing if you are available, and send comments to Sarah Absher. The application materials are here.

Curry County Turns Down the Pistol River Gravel Mining Application  
Mouth of the Pistol River, Oregon. Courtesy of Michelle Kinsey Bruns/Wikimedia
Ron Adams, a local landowner, sought to mine gravel from a gravel bar on the lower Pistol River near the bridge. He proposed using the "scraping" method of gravel extraction. But his application was vague, rambling and completely uninformative. Adams provided no studies of the Pistol's flow,  history of changes to the watershed,   gravel deposit patterns, or  salmon habitats. Several organizations, including ORCA, wrote extensive comments pointing out the almost complete lack of necessary information by which to evaluate the proposal. To say it legally, the applicant had not met his burden of proof.

Curry County planning commission agreed! At their August meeting, the planning commission, on recommendation from staff and legal counsel, unanimously denied the Adams application. ORCA thanks the planning commissioners for making a responsible decision concerning the future of the Pistol, already a highly degraded river in its lower stretches that needs extensive collaborative restoration work. Perhaps that work can now begin, with all the concerned neighbors and landowners working together for the health of the river on which they all depend.

Kiewit Loses the Contract for Its Mega Quarry Proposal!  
Kiewit Edson Creek Quarry Proposal. Courtesy Curry County
Kiewit's gamble to grab a permit for an enormous, 60-acre jetty stone quarry in the upper reaches of the Sixes watershed has just been seriously undermined. The purpose of the proposed Edson Creek quarry, as Kiewit stated in its application materials, was for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Jetty Restoration Project, due to begin in the Spring of 2020. Kiewit planned to mine a minimum of 400,000 tons of stone from the site, of which only 20% would be the necessary high-quality jetty stone. 

But time ran out for the company. At the end of August, the Corps awarded the contract to rival J.E. McAmis of California, which already has procurement  sources in hand.  It is a $139 million contract, so one certainly understands why Kiewit would have sought to win it. But without a source of stone, they were at a serious disadvantage. Now that the purpose of this permit no longer exists, ORCA hopes that Kiewit will drop this application, which would cause extensive damage to the Sixes watershed, local rural roads and communities. They may decide to withdraw from the process before the September 19th planning commission meeting takes up the question of approving or denying the application.

Nesika RV Park is Back Again: Curry Planning Commission Hearing Sept. 19th  
Nesika Beach, Oregon. Courtesy Wikimedia
The proposed Silver Cypress RV Park in Curry County has reared its head again. This proposed RV park in the rural community of Nesika Beach would provide 11 vintage Airstream Trailers for guests. An existing dwelling would become Manager's quarters, and a former restaurant be converted into a small community gathering hall for guests. ORCA opposed this vigorously the last time, based on an extremely sketchy 2-page application, and a proposal to site the trailers within 10 (!) feet of a 100-foot, erosion-prone cliff.

This time the county is providing better oversight of the revised proposal, requiring a geohazard report, duly completed as required. The new proposal avoids the area identified as a flood hazard. The geologist recommended no building closer than 125 feet  from the cliff edge.  That recommendation, if followed, would certainly improve the project from one that would directly endanger the public health and safety. There are many other issues, ranging from community impact to water supply and septic, but at least the proposal as now conceived does not threaten the lives of visitors.

The hearing will be:
Thursday, September 19
5:30 PM
Curry County Annex
94235 Moore St.
Gold Beach

Please send testimony to Becky Crockett. The application materials and staff report are here.

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