Nesika Beach Victory

Nesika Beach, Oregon. Courtesy Wikimedia

Garth Evey and Jeven Showers purchased about three acres in Nesika Beach, a small rural community just north of Gold Beach. They wanted to build an 11-space RV park for visitors, using pre-parked vintage campers. It was to be called the Silver Cypress R.V. Resort. Alerted by local residents, ORCA requested the application and proposed decision document and found it consisted of a single partially hand-drawn diagram. Curry County’s “Findings” were based on unbelievably vague statements from the applicants, such as “Because we intend to provide relatively light utility services to our guests, we do not anticipate needing more water, electricity or other services than currently serve the property.”

The applicants made no attempt whatsoever to comply with the requirements of the Rural Commercial zone. There was no discussion of water or wastewater requirements. There was no plan for dealing with erosion and sedimentation. The County’s own Findings did not even mention the Coastal Shoreland Overlay zone, which clearly applied to the property. The overlay zone calls for an analysis of whether the proposed use can be met in another upland location — but there was no such analysis.

Most incredibly of all, the property sits very near to a hazardous, crumbly 100-foot high cliff. This should have definitely triggered the County requirements for geological hazard areas, including an analysis by a geologist hired by the applicant. But there was no geological analysis.

Furthermore, the County proposed to allow 10-foot setbacks for the development, an extremely unwise idea for a visitor-focused RV park perched on the edge of a cliff. Nor did the county address the fact that the existing septic system is near the bluff, but had been long disused; any new use of it would further destabilize the cliff. ORCA provided comments on the County’s proposed approval and threatened to appeal if needed, to ensure there was a public hearing.

Two groups of local residents appealed the County’s administrative approval. Even in its staff report for the upcoming planning commission hearing, the County refused to acknowledge that the Coastal Shoreland Overlay Zone applied, or that a geological report was necessary in this highly hazardous area. ORCA prepared to participate further in the hearings process. But in January 2019 Evey and Showers withdrew their application. This was the best possible outcome. The proposal violated every tenet of common sense about the public health and safety: crumbling, 100-foot cliffs are no place for RV parks. In addition, the County completely failed in its oversight functions in a manner both egregious and embarrassing.

 

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