Developers of a 15-lot subdivision north in Seaside’s east hills returned to the Planning Commission last Tuesday night. But after months of continuance, its reception was no warmer than when introduced last fall.
Resident Lief Morin said the application “is still just as deceptive as it was six months ago,” failing to meet standards and ordinances. “The whole proposal is still rotten to the core.”
The proposal, by Sunset Ridge LLC, seeks to divide the 6.62-acre subject property into 15 residential development lots, ranging in size from 10,000 square feet to a little more than 47,000 square feet.
According to the city’s staff report, the current zone allows for five dwelling units per acre, so the 6.62-acre property has a development potential that would allow 33 dwelling units. A total of 15 are proposed.
Each development lot will have frontage on a newly developed extension of Hemlock Street, engineer Mark Mead said on behalf of the developer.
Lots would range from 70 to 74 feet wide. The back of these lots would have a steep slope down to the creek that separates this parcel from the original Vista Ridge subdivision. The walking path that was part of the previous project was removed from the current submittal.
Each lot would have a separate evaluation completed based upon the final home site design, Mead said, with an engineering review for each lot and on-site inspection of the completed home excavation.
One of the owners of this property is a local builder that has built many houses in the Seaside area, Mead said.
“He will probably be the builder of most of the houses or at least part of the houses up there,” Mead said. “So he’s very familiar with building and Seaside and up on the hillside area.”
Neighbors and residents at the commission’s public hearing cited drainage and erosion control problems, tree-cutting, potential impacts to fish and wildlife, tsunami evacuation concerns, a sloppy presentation by the developers and the impacts of heavy equipment on the neighborhood streets.
Developing the property with log trucks and heavy equipment would cause “considerable damage,” Aldercrest resident Mike Brackenbrough said at the meeting.
“Without a serious and long-term erosion control plan all the streams and all the life in them will be damaged beyond recognition,” Brackenbrough said. “This is not a hypothetical statement, or wild speculation. This is real.”
Greg Jacob, a neighbor, said that the developer’s plans do not meet the requirements of the Seaside zoning ordinance.
“I’m more convinced that the project must be scrapped for the good of Seaside,” Jacob said. “It has been many months since the first hearing and the developers still can’t submit documentation that addresses geotechnical issues, continues to use language that is beset with spelling and grammatical errors and laced with porous jargon.”
Jacob said the developer has never engaged in a meaningful dialogue with neighborhood residents, fails to offer a place for children to play, and that plans downplay the effects of noise and potential drought during construction.
Su Coddington, chairman of the city’s community’s emergency response team, said the home plan presented additional risks in the event of a tsunami evacuation as residents head up the hill.
“We’re looking at an already precarious situation,” she said. “Take a look at the cracks that are in the road right now. And then you’re going to add more construction and destabilize the hill. That’s concerning to me.”
There is at least one planned driveway that would cross two stream channels, according to a letter from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The applicant needs to consult with ODFW to review fish passage requirements (and design approval if needed) prior to construction,” fish biologist Robert W. Bradley wrote.
As residents of the Sunset Ridge community, planning commissioners Kath Kleczek, a planning commissioner and Seth Morrisey recused themselves from deliberations.
The project lacks a timeline and specifics, Kleczek said, speaking in opposition to the proposal.
If this project was approved as it stands, it would violate development and subdivision requirements to minimize impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, Kleczek said.
Other speakers said that the revised submission showed few changes, and that maps in use came from almost two decades ago.
In the city’s staff report, planner Jeff Flory said he did not have a formal recommendation at this time. He asked planning commissioners to review the overall development plan, hear any relevant public testimony, review and consider the proposed conditions, and prepare a list of any additional information that may need to be provided to the commission before they make a formal decision.
Robin Montero, chair of the commission, said the revised plans, with the exception of a reduction in the number of lots, were “virtually identical,” to the initial application.
She asked Mead for additional traffic, emergency impact and environmental details.
Mead requested a continuance for an opportunity to review materials, which was unanimously approved by Montero, and commissioners Brandon Kraft and Don Johnson.
The next hearing for Vista Ridge II takes place July 5 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.