Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter
Communities and Public Involvement
Arch Cape and Community Involvement 
Arch Cape at Sunset. Courtesy ORCA
Since the Board of Commissioners dissolved the 40-year old south County citizens' advisory committee last year, it is now completely up to residents in the south County area to monitor land use applications. They must respond vigorously when the County approves projects that are inappropriate for the design standards the Arch Cape area residents want to see upheld. Oregon Coast Alliance and Arch Cape-area residents have teamed up to monitor local "Type I" land use applications and decisions, which ordinarily under County rules require no public notice or input at all. 

As a result, more people in the community are aware of land use applications that affect the Arch Cape area. Type I decisions are the small projects that can often have an outsize impact on livability, such as size and location of house additions, placement of garages, maintenance of trees on properties being developed. Without the now-dissolved Committee, and without citizen monitoring, these important bu semi-ministerial decisions would be made by the County of sight of the public eye. Additionally, some decisions that do include public review have garnered much more community participation. For example, many residents participated in the public hearing about the proposed Binkley/Holser variance, which would have allowed the applicants to build a house addition in violation of the setback requirements of the Rual Community Residential zone for oceanfront properties. Clatsop County denied the applicants' setback request. 

Arch Cape area residents provide a fine example of how communities can, and are, stepping up to protect themselves when the local government does not meet its own obligations or begins to discourage public involvement.

Cannon Beach and the Sand Dunes 
Breakers Point and Protecting Dunes in January 2018 King Tide. Courtesy ORCA
For at least two years now, Cannon Beach has been embroiled in a fairly constant stream of permit applications for dune-grading, followed by hearings, work sessions, appeals and more hearings. The initial focus was on Breakers Point Homeowners' Association's persistent efforts to grade the public foredunes in front of the condominiums, leading to controversy as their demands for grading amounts continued to climb. Cannon Beach, realizing they were making decisions on an outdated foredune management plan, boldly embarked on funding a new sand study, to be followed by a new plan. This is where the situation currently is. Unfortunately, there has been more conflict than ever, as Breakers Point continues to escalate their demands for more dune-grading, leading to disenchantment among Cannon Beach residents that any reasonable agreement for the community good is even possible.

The Cannon Beach planning commission is trying very hard to base its recommendation on the sound science of the new sand study completed by the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and responsibility to the community as a whole - not just Breakers Point. They will hear a presentation from Dr. Allan on July 5th, followed by a final decision at their July 26th meeting at 6:00 pm. Then the issue goes to City Council.
Bandon Beach Hotel Decisio n 
Bandon Beach Hotel (top); Keiser Proposed Bandon Beach Hotel (bottom). Courtesy City of Bandon.
By a vote of 6 to 1, the Bandon planning commission on Thursday recommended to City Council that it reject the application by the Keiser family for a zoning amendment to the CD-1 zone for the proposed new hotel to replace the old Bandon Beach Hotel. Steere Bandon Associates LLC, the applicant, requested a zone change to allow a maximum height of 45 feet, with side yards of only five feet, and also allow up to 55% lot coverage with up to 75% impervious surface. All these changes would apply to this one lot, owned by Michael Keiser and the only privately-owned parcel on Coquille Point headland. The rest of the headland is part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.  
Now this zone change request goes to Bandon City Council for their consideration. Hopefully Council will recognize the wisdom of following its planning commission's recommendation to turn down the Keiser request for a zone change. Public interest and involvement and interest in this issue has been very high; of the written comments, 54 writers opposed the change, and only 19 supported it. Even though no public testimony was taken at the planning commission's Thursday work session, the room was packed.  
Though the zone change request does not require Steere Bandon to provide detailed plans for the proposed hotel, the conceptual drawing (reproduced above) makes it clear that the 3-story, 48-room hotel would be much too large for the site, outsize in relation to the neighborhood, and completely inappropriate for protection of the adjacent National Wildlife Refuge. Bandon's CD-1 zone focuses on recognizing the unique and scenic properties of Bandon's oceanfront and nearby areas by controlling the nature and scale of allowable development. This project clearly does not fit the zoning criteria.  
Quick Links...

Here's where you can make a difference for the Oregon coast.

Go to the ORCA website to make a donation or become a sustaining member. 

Contact Information
Contact Executive Director Cameron La Follette by  email
or phone: 503-391-0210
Join Our Mailing List