The Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) issued an opinion upholding the City of Cannon Beach’s controversial decision to end all grading of sand dunes for view protection and/or enhancement. This government decision is a victory in that it favors the coastal environment and will result in a positive conservation outcome and improved public safety and access.
“We often hear ‘it takes a village.’ Today we celebrate the village that is Cannon Beach. This decision will not, however, be limited to our little village. It will reverberate up and down the coast giving strength to other communities who want to protect their dunes and beaches,” said Dianna Turner, co-chair of Friends of the Dunes at Cannon Beach.
"In our new world of warming oceans and ever-increasingly strong storms and tidal waves, grassroots activism is critical. We must continue to push for policies to maintain coastal dunes both for their natural beauty, wildlife habitat and as a front line of defense from environmental threats," Turner said.
Cannon Beach, like six other Oregon coastal communities, allowed dune grading for views for more than 20 years, and found that it led to interminable hearings, requests for ever-increasingly large amounts of grading, and damage to the dunes needed for flood control and wildlife habitat.
The Oregon Coast Alliance (ORCA) and The Surfrider Foundation provided their expertise and added their voice in support of this cause.
Additionally, the planning commission and city council labored over different aspects of this issue for over five years, culminating in a drawn-out, contentious review process. Ultimately the city refused to capitulate to the demands of some aggrieved oceanfront property owners who sought to continue sand dune grading for views and brought their appeal to LUBA.
The Friends of the Dunes at Cannon Beach is a grassroots group working to protect coastal scenic beauty, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.