Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current, December 11, 2015, Page 6A, Image 6

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    6A • December 11, 2015 • Seaside Signal • seasidesignal.com
Seaside ready to take a fresh look at grading dunes
City partners with CREST to create new guidelines
By Katherine Lacaze
Seaside Signal
Seaside is receiving some
help from a local task force
to keep its dunes healthy
and safe.
The City Council ap-
proved an agreement with
the Columbia River Estuary
Study Taskforce to update
the city’s foredune manage-
ment plan last month. The
Astoria-based task force is
a community organization
that specializes in environ-
mental and coastal planning.
The update could lead
to more trees, plantings and
dune-grading
activities.
Many of these are prohibited
on Seaside beaches because
of state guidelines.
To conform with state
rules, the city needs to up-
date its plan and seek an ex-
ception to the statewide plan-
ning goal dealing with dunes
and beaches, known as Goal
18. The exception — which
allowed property owners
in different areas along the
beach to grade their sections
below goal limits — expired
several years ago, according
to Planning Director Kevin
Cupples.
The task force will pro-
vide its services for approx-
imately $12,100, or a rate
of $60 per hour. Additional-
ly, the city plans to contract
with an expert in coastal
geology to provide techni-
cal oversight.
The need for
updates
The city is considering
amendments to provide for
dune grading in selected ar-
eas to depths between the
base Àood elevation and
four feet above base Àood
elevation. Currently, any
dune grading below four
feet above the base Àood el-
evation requires the city to
obtain an exception to Goal
18, according to Cupples.
In the past, the city had an
exception to Goal 18 to grade
the dunes from Broadway
to north of 12th Avenue. At
that time, a group of property
owners along the Prom from
about Third to 10th avenues
received approval to grade
the dunes near their homes
and businesses. They contin-
ued to do maintenance grad-
ing after the initial project.
“Now we’re to a point
where trying to continue
maintenance grading is vio-
lating the goal, so we’ve got
to reauthorize the exception
or you can’t grade down to
the levels that you were al-
lowed to before,” Cupples
explained.
The Land Conservation
and Development Commis-
sion will have to approve
the exception. The statewide
planning goal set the level
at four feet above the base
Àood elevation as “a safety
measure,” Cupples said. “It’s
a matter of protecting the
inland areas from potential
Àooding.”
In order to get an excep-
tion approved, the city needs
to justify allowing grading
below that level and demon-
strate that it won’t have a
negative affect on safety in
those areas.
What Cupples believes
will help is that portions of
the Seaside beach are under-
laid by cobblestone, which is
added protection.
create an urban forest down
there,” Cupples said. “It’s
supposed to have kind of a
semi-open look.”
With so many trees grow-
ing in the area, the dense
vegetation offers an oppor-
tunity for people to camp
overnight, which is against
city ordinance and creates a
potential ¿re risk.
Right now, the city al-
lows certain actions.
“When there is an un-
healthy spacing of trees,
we’ve allowed it to be tak-
en out, but it’s not well ex-
plained in the plan that you
should be doing that,” Cup-
ples said. “That’s what we
want to be clari¿ed.”
CREST to provide
scope, goal-setting
R.J. MARX/THE DAILY ASTORIAN
A foredune grading plan is being developed in Seaside. Here, the dunes just north of 12th
Avenue.
“Even if you eroded part
of your sand away, you still
have cobble beach protec-
tion, which tends to break up
waves pretty well,” Cupples
said.
Changes in
the future
The city wants the man-
agement plan amendments
to make grading elevations
“dynamic,” so they respond
to future changes in the
base Àood elevation. )or
instance, if the base Àood
elevation is lowered in the
future, the city’s allowed
grading elevation would
lower automatically to al-
low for enhanced grading
activities, Cupples said.
Likewise, if the base Àood
elevation is heightened, the
allowed grading elevations
also would heighten, en-
suring “the allowed grad-
ing elevations would not
compromise Àood hazard
protection,” according to a
memorandum presented at
the City Council meeting.
Rather than including spe-
ci¿c grading depths in the
plan and exception based on
the current levels, Cupples
Commission mulls growth boundary options
Growth from Page 1A
satisfy the city’s projected
population in 20 years, an
analysis showed about 208
acres.
“We can back our 20-year
demand down to where it
would be a 14-year demand
and go with that,” City Plan-
ner Kevin Cupples said.
This would show the
state that the city is consid-
ering public input and tes-
timony, he said. “And then
we can re-evaluate that sev-
en years down the line, or
10 years down the line.”
Dispersing
the impact
Since the commission
started considering the ex-
pansion, members focused
on the Southeast Hills site,
to the south and east of
Spruce Drive and Wahanna
Road. They determined that
area alone could provide
enough developable land to
meet the city’s 20-year land
supply needs.
Landowners in that area,
which currently is part of
unincorporated
Clatsop
County, have questioned
the expansion and how it
would impact property tax
evaluations, traf¿c patterns,
infrastructure and lifestyles.
Two other sites, earlier
deemed less desirable than
the Southeast Hills site, are
back on the table and could
help disperse the impact of
an Urban Growth Bound-
ary expansion. The ¿rst op-
tion is the Lewis and Clark
Hills site, north of Lewis and
Clark Road, which could
provide about 23 acres of
developable land. Second is
the North Hills site, east of
North Wahanna Road with
potential access from Shore
Terrace and Ocean Avenue,
which could provide about
34 acres of developable land.
Hanson suggested the city
take a two-step approach,
¿rst submitting a primary
application to satisfy the 14-
year land-needs analysis, and
keeping the other options
“on the books” to make an-
other expansion request at a
later date, if necessary.
Commissioners support-
ed the more conservative
approach but suggested,
rather than taking the ini-
tial 141 acres entirely from
the Southeast Hills site,
combining the Lewis and
Clark Hills site, the North
Hills site and a portion of
the Southeast Hills site, to
more evenly distribute the
impact.
“I want to bring in those
other two sites and cut back
on the amount we bring in
from the Southeast site, be-
cause that’s where all the
opposition is,” Commis-
sioner Richard Ridout said.
“Whether we develop low-
land or highland, that is the
next thing to be decided.”
Meeting state
planning goals
The city started looking
at a potential Urban Growth
Boundary expansion in or-
der to address state guide-
lines regarding long-term
planning for population
growth and urbanization.
Those guidelines current-
ly ask municipalities to
demonstrate a 20-year sup-
ply of developable land.
The state is revamping
and updating those guide-
lines to suggest a 14-year
time frame instead to help
streamline the process and
make it simpler for small-
er municipalities, Hanson
said. Taking a conservative
approach to the potential
expansion would actual-
ly align Seaside with the
changes the state is consid-
ering, and also address the
concern of citizens in the
proposed boundary expan-
sion area who suggested
the city “overshot what our
need is,” Cupples added.
The Portland State Uni-
versity’s Population Re-
search Center is scheduled
to issue a new population
forecast for Seaside in June
2017.
The commission has re-
ceived differing opinions
on how much developable
land is needed to meet the
city’s projected population
growth, with statistics sup-
porting both sides, Com-
The Portland State
University’s Population
Research Center is
scheduled to issue a new
population forecast for
Seaside in June 2017.
missioner Chris Hoth said.
With the future uncertain,
he favors planning for a
shorter time frame.
“Having maybe just a
triÀe less uncertainty makes
more sense to me,” he said.
“If we’re going way out,
we could be way over, we
could be way under. We can
always revisit it. We always
have an option to do that.”
Commissioner
Tom
Horning agreed, adding,
“the 14-year look is a much
more tangible situation.”
Cleaning up the
boundaries
At the request of Seaside
resident John Dunzer, the
city and consultants ana-
lyzed another site, near the
Cove in southwest Seaside,
to see what it could offer in
terms of developable land.
Because the area is func-
tionally “a long dead-end
road,” with very limited ac-
cess, Hanson said he does
not believe the site is opti-
mal for inclusion into the
Urban Growth Boundary
expansion request. It would
only provide about 4 acres
suitable for development.
However, in looking at
the area, the city realized
its current zoning maps do
not match Clatsop Coun-
ty’s maps in terms of where
Seaside’s existing bound-
ary sits. The county’s map
recognizing Seaside’s Ur-
ban Growth Boundary
includes a few areas not
shown on the city’s map,
and vice versa. If nothing
else, Cupples said, the city
should use this opportunity
to clarify the actual south-
west boundary.
“When this is all said
and done, even if you don’t
change anything down in
that area, what I would like
to do is match what the
county has,” he said. “Then,
if there are lands the county
is saying are not in, I want
to make sure those lands do
get in, because they have
historically been in the Ur-
ban Growth Boundary the
city recognized.”
said, “You want to be able
to say, ‘No, if that level goes
down, then the grading level
will go down along with it.’”
Managing
vegetation
The city plans to clarify
what vegetation manage-
ment options are allowed in
different beach areas. Some
vegetation management oc-
curs in the southern region
of the beach, but the plan did
not anticipate the amount
of tree growth in that area.
The plan needs to specify
that the city is “not trying to
Kevin Cupples said the
city’s Planning Department
does not have the staff and
resources needed to focus
on the process of updating
the foredune management
plan, at this time. CREST
is a council of local govern-
ments, of which Seaside is a
part, that helps communities
with land-use planning, Di-
rector Denise Lofman said.
She said it is important to
work with the state during
the process “to make sure
whatever we are creating for
Seaside can be approved at
the state level, she said. “The
state is really interested in
making sure properties are
protected in addition to dunes
being able to be managed.”
Public hearings on the
amendments will be June
to August. Seaside City
Council must approve the
amendments before the
updated plans and justi¿-
cations are sent to the Land
Conservation and Develop-
ment Commission.
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