Dune Grading Application Denied
As the Planning Commission Meeting began on Tuesday afternoon I saw an email message pop up on my phone. In the subject line: 2998 Permit Decision from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for the view grading application between Horizon and Spindrift. I opened it up and checked the link.
PERMIT DENIED! The best news I’ve had all week!
I went by the library and printed the pdf so I could read for myself how OPRD came to its decision and why the City issued the permit to begin with. Here is part of the text:
“The City of Manzanita adopted a foredune management plan as a component of the Comprehensive Plan in 1996. The city issued a permit on October 28, 2021. Through written testimony, the City has indicated that it has not supported foredune grading activities since 2014. The City submitted a statement for the record, confirming it issued a permit for the project while also explaining the plan does not appropriately balance the City’s current priorities or address public concerns about offsite impacts.”
I was so pleased to see that the City went on the record in opposition but confused about how we got here since we haven’t allowed grading since 2014.
The City failed to update the Comprehensive Plan as required between 2003 and 2006. The Comp Plan includes the foredune management plan. As the Zoning Ordinances have been amended over time adding a little here and deleting a little there, the Comp Plan and the Ordinances have drifted apart like a couple on the verge of a nasty divorce. While the Plan is our primary land use document with the force of law, the City has ignored the work necessary to give it the bones and teeth it needs to protect our town from what we’re experiencing now–rampant, cancerous growth, which has decreased livability and pissed a bunch of people off.
It seems quite a few things on the City’s Honey Do list just fell by the wayside between 1996 and this past year. The Comp Plan update and Dune Management plan, the digitizing of City records, an Ordinance update from the ground up, the failure to increase development and building fees to align them with our neighbors on the coast, not raising STR fees like other communities on the coast have. So now we’re faced with the cost, time and effort of doing all of these vital things at once…. and oh yeah, we’re building a new City Hall.
But enough of that. Back to the dunes.
OPRD’s report cited the public’s opposition as the main reason they’ve denied the application.
“The applicants are proposing to undertake a significant alteration of the dune, and the area of disturbance would affect 4.4 acres of land presumably dedicated to public right-of-way to improve views for 7 single-family dwellings on 9 lots.
After OPRD’s review of the request, including extensive public participation at a public hearing, it is evident that the public is overwhelmingly opposed to the project. The only identified proponents of the project are the applicant and co-applicants, who would benefit from improved ocean views as a result of the project.
Justification for this project to occur on land assumed to be dedicated to public right-of-way, against overwhelming public opposition, is difficult to establish.
“Because the land proposed for alteration is likely dedicated public right of way, the strong public opinion in opposition to the project displayed during the review process carries significant weight in OPRD’s permit decision…OPRD finds that justification for the project has not been demonstrated by the applicant, particularly considering the interests of benefitting private property owners weighed against overwhelming public opposition to the project.”
When we come together united with a purpose to change something, we can do it. We did it this time. Let’s do it some more.
To read the decision: