Vista Ridge 2

Developers and neighbors will both have an opportunity to regroup before consideration of plans for Vista Ridge II, a 17-home development on 6.5 wooded acres in Seaside’s eastern hills.

Robin Montero, chair of the Planning Commission, said at last Tuesday’s meeting that the development “was a great opportunity to create an inviting community up there while being able to enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings. The current plan is very aggressive, but I think with adjustments, we can make a beautiful addition into our Seaside hills.”

At the same time, Montero had a list of questions for project engineer Mark Mead, including what type of development is planned, housing selection and style.

“We’ve been told it’s one or two stories, but there aren’t any specific style selections,” Montero said. “What type of housing? Luxury, medium, affordable or mixed?”

Representing Sunset Ridge LLC at a Planning Commission meeting in September, Mead sought approval for the subdivision east of Wahanna Road, to be accessed by Hemlock and Aldercrest streets and separated from the original Vista Ridge subdivision by a creek.

Plans show the parcel could be developed into 17 residential building lots from 7,000 to 15,000 square feet, with a single one- or two-story home on each lot. About 2 acres would be preserved for open space.

Residents at that meeting described flood and landslide hazards they already face without the new development.

Montero and other commissioners expressed concerns to Mead last Tuesday.

Montero asked whether the developer would clear land all at once or in stages, and how this would affect nearby streams and wildlife. “I don’t recall having seen anything addressed in the plans for the fish and wildlife protection plan encouraging natural habitats,” she said.

Commission members sought soil and erosion stability plans, wetlands protections and a logistics plan for construction trucks up Broadway.

Neighbor Lief Morin, who launched a web page, dontclearcutseaside.com, said developers are proposing to clear-cut 6 acres of a coastal riparian canyon with a salmon-bearing stream, hundreds of old growth trees, abundant wildlife and steep terrain. “They will subdivide it into 17 plots, build basic infrastructure, then sell the empty lots without building a single house,” he said. “This is a cut-and-run proposal that will destroy the stream, wetlands, and forest. It will increase the risk of flooding and landslides, and provide no benefits to Seaside.”

He hopes to require substantive changes to the development and to minimize the impact on the environment, the immediate neighbors, and the broader North Coast community, and to ensure that the undeveloped land is preserved in a land trust.

Since the city has a limited time to make a decision once an application is in motion, developers indicated they would waive the 120-day time limit, and start the decision clock over at the Nov. 2 meeting. This would allow the public to provide additional written or verbal testimony.

“Although the continuance was requested by the applicant, we believe it serves the best interests of the community and are grateful to the commissioners for their approval,” Morin said.

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