Corridor planning

View of Gearhart along U.S. Highway 101.

Should Gearhart take greater control of the city’s commercial development?

Cannon Beach Community Development Director Jeff Adams came to Gearhart’s Planning Commission on Feb. 14 at the invitation of commission member David Smith.

Adams was asked to lead a discussion of design review, a topic he has studied throughout the country. “I came from coastal Georgia, worked in Illinois, Kansas, resort areas, dealing with a lot of these same issues everywhere I go,” Adams said.

Adams, who arrived in Cannon Beach late last year, described the planning process as one of “making better decisions.”

Design review may consider corridor planning, signage, size and scale, historic districts and landscaping, he said. Cities may regulate parking, or types of stores to prohibit arcades, food carts or other drive-in facilities.

General development policies in the Cannon Beach code discourage “commercial uses which detract from the unique character of downtown, or are detrimental to the small town atmosphere of Cannon Beach shall be prohibited.”

That includes no “formula food” — restaurants defined as businesses required by contractual or other arrangements to offer standardized menus, ingredients, food preparation, interior or exterior design, or uniforms.

In Cannon Beach, modifications to commercial or multifamily structures are subject to design review, a process currently not in place in Gearhart.

Gearhart’s plan features three levels of commercial zones, with the goal of achieving a compact town center in the vicinity of Pacific Way and Cottage Avenue. The city will establish zoning ordinance standards to protect residential areas from adjacent commercial development.

Adams stressed a regional approach to many of the concerns here, starting with each city’s comprehensive plan.

“We need to work not just within our jurisdictions,” he said, particularly with transportation, housing and corridor planning.

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