Something is amiss

To the editor,

We are writing this letter on behalf of a number of Cannon Beach citizens who live or own property in the north end and are very upset about the events and results of the March 3 City Council meeting. We came to the meeting to voice our concerns about how the city and council had handled a proposal to create a planned development on 0.57 acres of steeply sloped primary dune.

There are plenty of reasons to be upset.

Mayor Steidel instituted a plan to allow public discourse at the beginning of each council meeting. On Tuesday afternoon, he told the neighbors that he would permit our presentation, as long as it fit into an appropriate time frame. Unfortunately, the city’s land use attorney unexpectedly forced the mayor to deny us the opportunity to speak.

In the months leading up to this meeting, the city’s process and notifications were defective and confusing. The notifications were not posted within the required time frame and contained misinformation. The result was a low public turnout and input.

We were shocked that the council ignored the planning commission’s 6-1 recommendation that the Nicholson proposal be denied. The planning commission has strongly opposed this proposal four times; the council has also gone on record as being opposed to certain parts of the proposal. Still, they approved the proposal on a 4-1 vote.

We strongly feel that the findings of fact are inconsistent with city codes and are not aligned with the comprehensive plan or the values of the community.

The final proposal is littered with misleading information, which contradicts the original plan.

Something is amiss. The incredible beauty, unique topography and vibrant community that is Cannon Beach is under attack. As citizens, we do not have a team of lawyers, geologists, engineers and architects to stand up for us. We expect the commissioners, the councilors and city staff to do that. In this case, our belief that the council and staff would act in the best interests of the citizens was crushed.

We fear that this decision will set a precedent for even more misguided, high-density development. It is not that we abhor development, but we expect that it be orderly, sensitive to the community’s values and in compliance with codes and regulations applied as common sense would dictate.

Elizabeth and Fred Lorish

Cannon Beach

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