Driving across the bridge this afternoon, I glanced over at the Breakers
Point condos, and was amazed at the recent changes in the dune on which they
are built. The homeowners association has applied to move some 70,000 yards
(close to 6,000 dump truck loads) of sand to preserve views and mitigate the
erosion that threatens some of the buildings. I remember the protests in the
late 1970s that tried to get the city fathers to see the insanity of
building those condos on an active sand dune (there were even people quoting
Ask a current owner of a Breakers Point condo why they should be allowed to
perform a major rearrangement of an active sand dune to protect buildings
that never should have been built in the first place, and they will tell you
that it, in fact, has been built, and that is what we need to deal with.
Sadly, I have to concur that it is too late. You can’t “unbuild” something.
The City Council has voted to allow a smaller, yet similarly crazy
subdivision on an adjacent dune. Fortunately their decision has been
appealed to LUBA, and it is likely that Council will be asked to revisit
their decision. It is easy to understand why the developer would appeal a
Council decision to LUBA, but for the life of me I am dumbfounded that
Council made a decision that now requires constituents to fight their
representatives with a LUBA appeal to get them to do what they should have
done in the first place.
If this development is allowed, I can guarantee the consequential
destabilization of that dune will bring those homeowners to apply for
extreme measures to protect their investment, just like the Breakers Point
homeowners. And if this development is allowed, those homes won’t be able to
be “unbuilt.” Now is the time to address the problem.
How, you may ask, do I know so much about that particular dune? I built a
house adjacent to the Nicholson property on that same dune. Pilings had to
be driven close to 70 feet before anything that could support a foundation
was reached. 70 feet. That means that all of the Nicholson development is
dune sand. It is presently stabilized by vegetation, but the excavation that
would be required to create four home sites, and the access and parking for
each would pretty much denude the whole property. Again, if this development
is allowed to proceed, it can never be “unbuilt.” If you know someone on
City Council, who hopefully will be asked by LUBA to review their decision,
let them know what you think.
Michael R. Capper