‘David and Goliath’ on the beach

A view of the Wayfarer Restaurant and Lounge's new patio from neighboring property owner Nick Sears' duplex.

CANNON BEACH — Wayfarer Restaurant’s new outdoor patio is crowded with diners despite a Cannon Beach order to stop serving outside.

Cannon Beach City Planner Mark Barnes sent a letter revoking the Wayfarer Restaurant and Lounge’s outdoor dining approval on July 2, informing the restaurant that it “should not seat diners on the lower porch area.”

In subsequent letters, officials levied a $400 per day fine on the restaurant, yet to be collected.

Neighboring property owner Nick Sears said the restaurant continues to operate despite the city’s order, failed to go through the Design Review Board process and is violating the city’s noise ordinance.

The Cannon Beach Municipal Code classifies family dwellings as “noise sensitive” areas and Sears said he was able to demonstrate to city officials with a sound-level meter that the Wayfarer exceeds those limits.

Martin Hospitality President Ryan Snyder said the Wayfarer did receive approval through the proper channels — city code allowing minor modifications without Design Review Board approval — and will not stop using the new patio.

Snyder said they’re moving forward with initial approval — even with the threat of fines — because the company has invested tens of thousands in outdoor patio upgrades.

Sears said he understands the restaurant owners’ frustration after investing the money on patio improvements. Nevertheless, he said the Wayfarer is violating municipal code and “completely disregarding my property rights.”

The city’s letter to Martin Hospitality cited two factors for revocation of the outdoor patio license: the city’s failure to review the proposal against screening requirements and Martin Hospitality’s failure to implement the plans as approved.

A privacy screen was not installed and removal of shrubbery along the south property line was not approved, the letter stated.

Sears added that a concrete patio less than two feet from the shared property line replaced what was once hedge and grass, providing visual and sound buffers between the two properties.

The patio, adjacent to the main living area and ocean front yard, has ruined his view, he said. When he purchased the property in 2008, the restaurant had a small wood patio on the side of his property and seated 20. The wood patio and seating remains, with an additional patio area with a 50-diner capacity.

“The negative impact of the new patio on my property is substantial,” he said. “I lost the landscape buffer that previously existed, I lost all visual privacy. Imagine being 1 1/2 feet away from a 50-person outdoor restaurant where everybody is looking through your yard to see Haystack Rock. The noise generated by the new patio when it is in use can be heard inside my house even with the windows closed.”

He called Martin Hospitality’s response “arrogant” and said the new patio is preventing his duplex from being sold at full-market value.

“I understand when people disagree with a decision,” Sears added. “I disagreed with the decision to approve the new patio, but as a law-abiding citizen, I had to live with its existence until the city had time to review my complaint and take action. They are intentionally taking the value of my property for the profit of their business.”

In a second letter sent July 24, the city followed up on its July 2 correspondence, asking the Wayfarer not to seat anyone on the new patio until proper approval was given.

City Manager Brant Kucera warned Martin Hospitality the restaurant would be in violation of municipal code and fined $400 per day beginning July 27 if it didn’t stop using the outdoor patio.

Snyder said the company received the city’s letter in early July and did not receive a date to appear on the Design Review Board agenda until September, despite a request to be heard at the board’s August meeting.

The company is willing to go through the Design Review Board process, he noted, but has no plans to curtail use of the new outdoor patio in the meantime. Every day the patio would be closed, Snyder said, would result in lost revenue, particularly during busy summer months.

Martin Hospitality will “not allow that to happen,” he said.

He added that the restaurant has been in the same location since 1977, with a patio since 1997, so Sears knew what he was getting into when he bought a property next door.

“I think the complaint is self-serving,” Snyder said.

Sears called the dispute between himself and Cannon Beach’s largest employer a “David and Goliath” one.

Even if police enforce the city’s fine, Sears said, a court may ultimately decide whether Martin Hospitality pays or not.

The Design Review Board will examine the Wayfarer’s patio plans later this month.

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