To Gearhart Mayor and City Councilors:
I would like to address the proposed urban growth boundary land swap.
My opinion is based on a career in real estate investment and development. I have personally developed and consented more than 1,500 single-family residential lots, worked out several thousand residential lots of failed residential subdivisions as a commercial banker, and managed residential subdivision construction lending in San Diego for a major national bank.
I am not opposed to a UGB land swap in principle; the transaction can create significant value for the property owner, developers and, most importantly, the community. My concern with the proposed swap, as it is currently structured, is based on my long career in real estate development. In my opinion, this transaction is structured to lose millions of dollars of potential value to the taxpayers of Gearhart.
The fundamental flaw is that the transaction is tied to a bond issue that may not pass. If you approve the land swap now and the bond fails in November, the developer will gain millions of dollars in increased land value from being in the UGB but the taxpayers will not realize any greater community benefit. Simply put, Gearhart should realize a benefit proportionate to the developers benefit.
I recommend that you slow down this land swap process and that you make sure that each of you understands how much money the developer/landowner is making by annexing to the city of Gearhart and then get at least 75% of that value for the benefit of Gearhart property owners.
Gearhart is fortunate to have a wealth of elder statespersons who, by relying on their years of professional experience, can help you structure a land swap that is less speculative and that benefits the community not just the developer.
For the long-term financial health of the community, please slow down the land swap and look deeply at how you can provide the most benefit to the community.
Bob and Timi Morey
E2 Land Use Planning LLC