Second Hearing Update
December 9, 2021
The “BIG” hearing took place on Tuesday, and we delivered the entirety (150+ pages) of our opposition document to the Planning Commission. It is a big file, so instead of including it on this e-mail, we have posted it on the website here:
It is also, now, on the city’s website here:
High resolution versions of all of the maps are contained in the appendixes of the documents online.
It is not enough to say that the developer has a lot of new challenges. We have previously written, generally, about the poor quality of the report, the unsuitability of the site, the substandard building recommendations, and the negative impacts to the community. Now, we back up every one of those statements (and many more) with facts, graphics, maps, and ordinances.
There are too many details to include in this summary newsletter, but here are the highlights:
1. Our attorney provided a 9-page legal brief describing why this development cannot be approved by the Planning Commission or the City Council.
2. Our geotechnical consultant provided a 12-page critique of the developer’s geotechnical and geohazard report. He said it was one of the worst documents that he’s ever seen.
Most importantly, the report from the developer included statements that they had dug test pits and conducted soil analysis on the property. At the hearing, after being called out, they then said that they didn’t do that work and that they didn’t feel it necessary to do so.
A bold-faced lie, and entirely unprofessional conduct.
The Planning Commission then took the extraordinary step of requiring an independent report.
3. Our civil engineer provided a detailed map which highlights the attempt by the applicant to obscure the terrain. We then dug into the details on that map and identified deep flaws in their mapping and lot configurations. This will impact every lot they have proposed.
4. The building recommendations were either substandard, omitted, or in conflict with previous reports submitted. Many of them are required by ordinances. The applicant knows better.
5. The CCRs and architectural checklist that were submitted were a relic from a bygone era and are completely unenforceable. They were provided to the Planning Commission in an attempt to meet the standards of the ordinances. They do not.
6. Although a permit has been issued by the Oregon Department of Forestry, we are currently challenging it. There will be three more required. None of these were even mentioned in the original application. The developer was trying to get a quick approval while spending the fewest dollars possible. We won’t let that happen.
7. The brief narrative included in their application about grading and erosion control were entirely inadequate to govern a 17-lot development. Oh yeah, they aren’t building a single house.
8. They didn’t include any storm water plans in their original report and their recent submission doesn’t pass muster. This development represents a potential risk to the Suzanne Elise retirement community at the bottom of the property.
9. The application didn’t bother to mention any impacts to the city public works despite known impacts that already exist. The discussion about transportation was limited to the phrase “we will install stop signs.” There are 50,000 new trucks anticipated in the community, along Wahanna in front of the hospital and schools, but no plans provided.
10. There is no discussion about the impact to disaster preparedness. This should be mandatory for every new project of significance.
11. This development would destroy the ecosystem. Any argument that they wouldn’t clearcut the land is ridiculous. They will clearcut 4 of the 6 acres and the only areas they won’t cut (now or in the future) are the areas that they can’t build on or are prohibited by state law from doing so (near the streams).
12. Although Clatsop County has details set out in their comprehensive plan, Seaside has no protections for salmon and doesn’t incorporate any into the planning process. This despite the fact that there just a few Coho salmon left, and they are declining every year.
13. There was no consideration given to, nor any discussion of, the potential risks this development represents to the adjacent neighbors, the community, the city, and the potential future homeowners of these properties.
All told, we highlighted over 200 challenges, omissions, and suggestions regarding the original and updated application. These developers didn’t give this application much thought, and they definitely don’t care about the community.
After three months and the new submissions by the applicant, the city’s planning department still didn’t make a recommendation for approval because they still don’t have enough information from the applicant. The lack of preparation is incredible – and completely inexcusable.
The verbal comments provided by the applicant did not fully answer the questions posed by the Planning Commission and certainly didn’t provide any reason that the public should trust their application. We will provide written rebuttal to those in the few days.
As a result of the deficiencies that were discussed at the hearing and the new and lengthy set of comments that were hand-delivered delivered at the hearing, the Planning Commission has continued the matter until Tuesday, January 3rd, 2022. Because of the holidays, and likely because of the time the developer will need to prepare responses, we believe it that the hearing will be postponed until February as well.
Every single month is another month the forest remains in place and people’s lives aren’t disrupted.
As always, we are grateful to serve this community and present a unified front against this proposed development and we will continue to pursue this effort aggressively.
The Don’t Clearcut Seaside Team!
On a personal note, and in addition to all of the support we have received from the community, I’d like to offer my deepest appreciations to Kathy Kleczek, Mike Brackenbrough, Kathy Samsel, Jo Ellingson, Kristen Hura, and my amazing wife, Sani. Without these folks, this response could not have been possible, and the proposed development would have slipped through the cracks.