The residents of Breakers Point have submitted an application for a foredune grading conditional-use permit to the Cannon Beach Planning Commission that’s scheduled to be heard Jan. 23, according to city officials.
Breakers Point Condominiums are oceanfront properties located at the north end of Cannon Beach.
Several weeks ago, the Cannon Beach City Council decided to no longer allow grading sand dunes for views, as part of an update of its foredune management plan. The council has yet to formally vote on this prohibition.
The council will review the draft of that revised plan during a Jan. 14 meeting, said Jeff Adams, the city’s community development director.
Caleb Whitmore, president of the board of the Breakers Point Homeowners Association, said in an email Tuesday that the conditional-use permit would be “subject to the current ordinances,” since the council has not yet passed a new plan.
Therefore, he said, the homeowners association is not requesting to be exempted from the grading-for-views decision, which has not gone into effect.
“We are seeking to take action under current ordinances to mitigate the ecological and community disaster that is slowly unfolding due to the lack of action by the City Council to protect property owners, residents and the community at large from unimpeded sand accretions by restoring a small portion of the sand captured in the northern dunes to the beach and sand circulation system where it naturally would reside,” Whitmore said in his email.
“Per the Allen report, Cannon Beach has been accumulating hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand blown off the beach into the unnatural sand dunes north of Ecola Creek created by the human introduction of the invasive European beach grass.
“For decades Breakers Point, at our own cost, and with the City’s oversight and approval through due process, helped maintain healthy sand volumes in these dunes while managing the beach grass growth and sand capture through periodic grading.
“Without grading, the beach grass will cause unimpeded trapping of sand from the beach, with no end in sight, creating a situation that communities all along the Oregon and California coasts have already recognized as a problem, in which the beach gets starved of sand while unnatural sand mountains grow that are unfriendly to both native wildlife and people - residents and visitors alike.
“Anyone who lives in Cannon Beach or visits regularly will notice the changes caused by this: taller and taller dunes that are harder to climb up and down, a flatter, shorter beach as waves run up unstopped all the way to the foredunes and seawalls of the city due to the absence of a natural, wider and broader dune that would reduce wave run-up, and rocky beaches due to so much sand being trapped in the north end of our beach and unable to recirculate to naturally replenish the beach.”
A statement by Friends of the Dunes says, in part: “Friends of the Dunes contend Breakers Point is ineligible to submit grading requests at this time because of the restrictions imposed on their last request, approved in 2016.
“The most important of these restrictions stated that no more dune grading permits will be approved until a revised and updated Sand Management Plan is adopted by the City. This has not yet occurred.
“Mr. Whitmore again brings up European Beach Grass, but fails to acknowledge that the experts agree (that) when infrastructure is built up so close to the ocean, this is the necessary grass to protect homes. It was planted here purposefully and Breakers Point was denied grading by the state Parks Dept. (OPRD) in 2016 until they agreed to use it.
“This application is just a swapping of language, a whack-a-mole attempt to once again dune grade our state-owned lands only for these condo owners’ views from inside their units.
“Let’s remember (that) Mr. Whitmore’s argument, along with all the beachfront homeowners’, was presented to the City Council, and the Council responded with a unanimous vote to end dune grading for views.”