Changes to the former Gearhart Elementary School have spruced up the exterior of the old building, along with paving and landscaping. “Everything was everything to make it look better,” owner Robert Morey of Scofi Gearhart LLC said.
“It was purely a matter of the whole thing where we started off with the first thing is, I want you to come into town, you look at something clean,” he said. “And I’m really happy I did that.”
Providing a scenic entrance to the city with their reminted Gearhart Recreation Center has been a constant goal of Morey and his wife Timi.
But future uses are still uncertain, and will largely depend on results from 13 test wells in the property.
Prior to the August Planning Commission meeting, Scofi Gearhart LLC withdrew its conditional use permit application after owners disputed comments presented in a staff report prior to this month’s Planning Commission meeting, including the need for a property zone change to add the proposed caretaker apartments in the building, now known as the Gearhart Recreation Center.
The original school building was constructed in 1948 and added on to in 1968. The Moreys purchased the 8.5-acre property in 2020. The school is zoned public/semi-public, with outright uses as government facility, public meeting space or school.
If owners elect to include housing in their final plan, they envision it being single-story, one- and two-bedroom long-term rental cottages that will be designed to be in keeping with the character of Gearhart.
Water test sites will be monitored from November through April. Feedback from the DEQ could come possibly as early as the end of June, Morey said. “Until we have that feedback from the DEQ. We really can’t do anything else in terms of any planning on what we can do on the site.
At last week’s City Council meeting, Gearhart City Councilor Brent Warren said the school looks “a whole lot better now than it did when he bought it. It’s a huge improvement for the community.”
Morey doesn’t expect any projects on the property before December 2023. “That would be my time,” he said. “You’ve to get the background before you do anything.”