Thank you to all who could make it in the nasty weather to the Tillamook Planning Commission hearing last Thursday. We had a great turn-out with the 70 or 80 seats available and all full with Bayocean Spit supporters. Unfortunately, as many of you will have heard by now, the developer was not there and asked for the hearing to be postponed until Jan 8th – put this date into your calendar for the next round!!
The good news is that the Planning Commission staff is recommending the application be denied. One of the main reasons is the proposed “eco-resort” is a commercial development in an area that is not allowed under the Tillamook County Comprehensive Plan. We can expect at the Jan 8th meeting the developer will try to show that the “eco-resort” is not a development because of the removable tents and technical arguments against other findings in the Staff report. On the other hand, we now know the key issues that we need to support and know the process – we have had a dress rehearsal!
The County must make a decision, complete with all appeals, within 150 days, unless the developer asks for the clock to be stopped (as he did in this case). By asking for the delay, the developer gives the County more time, which is especially important because many holidays this year fall on a Thursday (Commissions meet on Thursdays). Also, this will give us more time for rebuttal if the developer changes his plan, as may be expected, trying to avoid the Planning Commission staff objections.
On Thursday, several Cape Meares residents made great presentations to the Planning Commission, including Charles Ansorge who spoke to the results of the opinion survey, Deborah Neal spoke to the tsunami risks for guests and Marg Tweelinckx spoke to the need to protect the spit for birding. These presentations were well received by the Commission. The HH report has more details but does not really do justice to the mood of the meeting and the exasperation of the commission at the developers no-show.
Planning Commission Chair, Kurt Heckeroth, reminded attendees that the Commission must make its decision based on the 6 criteria (printed at the end of this report), and the most effective testimony clearly shows how the points raised address these issues. There are lots of arguments to be made to the commission on Jan 8th, please let me know if you would like suggestions or would like to discuss how to fit into the Planning Commission criteria.
We should all thank the Save-Our-Spit Committee in Cape Meares who have put in hundreds of hours researching the issues and preparing written testimony opposing the development – Charles Ansorge, John Harland, Anita Johanson, Deborah Neal, and Merilee Sommers and the many other residents who have contributed. We should also thank Cameron La Follette from the non-profit Oregon Coast Alliance who has given us important guidance and advice.
Thank you for your continued support in this important issue
Planning Commission Decision Criteria from the Land Use Ordinance
SECTION 6.040: REVIEW CRITERIA
Any CONDITIONAL USE authorized according to this Article shall be subject to the following criteria, where applicable:
(1) The use is listed as a CONDITIONAL USE in the underlying zone, or in an applicable overlying zone.
(2) The use is consistent with the applicable goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.
(3) The parcel is suitable for the proposed use considering its size, shape, location, topography, existence of improvements and natural features.
(4) The proposed use will not alter the character of the surrounding area in a manner which substantially limits, impairs or prevents the use of surrounding properties for the permitted uses listed in the underlying zone.
(5) The proposed use will not have detrimental effect on existing solar energy systems, wind energy conversion systems or wind mills.
(6) The proposed use is timely, considering the adequacy of public facilities and services existing or planned for the area affected by the use.
Posted by John Harland