County steadfast in shutdown goal

The Arch Cape Design Review Committee will get a second chance after it was dissolved by the county earlier this year.

Clatsop County still wants to dissolve the Arch Cape Design Review Committee.

The Board of Commissioners discontinued the citizen advisory committee in February, calling the group an unnecessary, time-consuming land use authority with an expensive application process and potential legal liability.

Former interim County Manager Rich Mays accused the committee of harassing a county employee about her disability and refusing to hold meetings in a federal Americans with Disabilities Act-approved facility.

However, Arch Cape resident Jim Jensvold challenged the county’s decision with the state Land Use Board of Appeals, which has sent the issue back to the county for review.

The county plans to discontinue the committee again, but this time through a land use process that would include public hearings before the committee, the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners.

“We agreed we will go through the land use process instead of the appeal,” Community Development Director Heather Hansen said.

Supporters of the Arch Cape Design Review Committee see the opportunity for public comment at the upcoming hearings as a second chance. The committee is the last active citizens advisory committee in the county and is 39 years old.

For now, the committee is alive and will discuss its future at a meeting July 12. The committee’s recommendation will be heard by the Planning Commission later in July. The land use process to dissolve the committee is expected to reach the Board of Commissioners in August.

“Now there is more time for them to try to convince the board to keep them around,” Hansen said.

The committee screens all major construction design applications for the unincorporated community of Arch Cape submitted to the county planning office.

County commissioners have heard complaints about the committee from people who wanted to build or sell homes in Arch Cape.

Former committee members and others in the community have argued, however, that the committee is valuable for maintaining the community’s livability.

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