Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter

  A Campground for Tierra del Mar and Other News

Treehouse Partners Proposes Campground by Tierra del Mar

When Highway 101 Needs to be Stabilized
Treehouse Partners Proposes Campground by Tierra del Mar
Treehouse Partners LLC Property and Tierra del Mar. Courtesy Tillamook County.
Oregon Treehouse Partners LLC submitted an application to Tillamook County for a 19-site campground on eighteen acres of a 58-acre parcel. The parcel is on the east side of Sandlake Road opposite the rural community of Tierra del Mar. The part which the campground will be located is zoned for rural residential uses. The proposal is for fifteen tent sites (six tent camping areas and nine camping tents on decks provided by Treehouse) and four small cabins, as well as a 3,600 foot recreational support building with bathrooms, showers, convenience shop and kitchen. There will also be a “viewing deck” for ocean views, and a multi-use picnic area.

There is much neighborhood concern about this proposal in Tierra del Mar. One major question concerns Short Term Rentals. Tillamook County has very little regulation on STRs, apart from requiring a license. Already more than 30% of homes in TDM are short term rentals. What is going to happen with the the Treehouse proposal? The tents on foundations will be spacious enough to sleep several, and the cabins, each at about 400 square feet, large enough to sleep several people as well. The entire project could easily become a massive short term rental. Neither the application, nor the staff report, discuss the question of maximum length of stay, whether short-term or longterm. Maximum occupancy is another problem, so far unaddressed in the application. Further questions concern fire safety — of major concern in forested areas in the increasingly fire-prone summers — and campground security.

TDM is a small, very rural, unincorporated community with no commercial development. Adding this much new traffic to the equally rural Sandlake Road, along with the minimal infrastructure available for water and wastewater, is placing serious stress on a small community. The initial hearing on the project before Tillamook County Planning Commission was this week. ORCA is watching the future of this proposal vigilantly.
When Highway 101 Needs to be Stabilized
U.S. Route 101, North of Florence. Courtesy JT Perreault.
Highway 101 in some stretches is quite vulnerable to coastal erosion processes. Goal 18, which protects beaches and dunes, limits the opportunities for beachfront protective structures, in order to maintain a state policy of not exacerbating beachfront erosion by riprap and similar armoring. There is no exception option tailored for Highway 101 when the Department of Transportation needs to protect the road. So the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) has convened a rule-making group to study how best to provide an exceptions process that would allow Highway 101, and other oceanfront roads, to apply for a beachfront protective structure permit. ORCA is serving on the committee, along with a County Commissioner, a county Public Works director and other parties.

The concern is how to provide a narrow opportunity for local or state government to apply for an exception allowing riprap or similar stabilizing measures on oceanfront roads, without compromising the Goal 18 restrictions. This takes careful crafting of language, and much conversation about the best ways to avoid creating unintended loopholes. The committee’s work to date can be found here.