To the editor,
Erick Bengel’s article in The Daily Astorian on March 4, 2015, (“Cannon Beach OKs development, denies dune grading bid“) indicates how the Cannon Beach City Council gobsmacked many citizens of Cannon Beach by its March 3 4 to 1 decision to grant Jeff Nicholson, a poor rich man who pumped $1 million into a risky project, his request to build four houses on property zoned for one.
After citizens had been promised they could have five minutes at the beginning of the meeting to deliver their objection to the project, they were insulted by the city’s land use attorney when he advised the councilors not to allow any testimony before their final vote. With this decision, the City Council will allow four houses and a so-called “living wall,” which will destroy one of the city’s nicest natural slopes. The “living wall,” which should have been “dead on arrival,” will extend 120 feet and be 10 feet or higher in some places.
The planning commission, following the intention of the city code, voted 6 to 1 against Mr. Nicholson’s profit-making project. But the land use attorney hired by the City Council seemed more interested in Mr. Nicholson’s investment, which needed more seed money through the sale of three of the houses, than he was in the city code.
This leaves only one conclusion: In order to help a man so poor that all he owns is money, the City Council has chosen to help him make more by granting his request to change the code and set a precedent for further development. Every person has a right to develop land, but in Mr. Nicholson’s case, development has eclipsed the land.
Such blatant disregard for the rules has left the City Council’s decision echoing the old saw, “The world ain’t round, it’s crooked.”