BANDON – After hearing the public at an open house in late July on the proposed Bandon Beach Hotel on property owned by Bandon Dunes owner Mike Keiser and associates, significant changes have been made to the design.
Now, the Bandon Planning Commission and the public has a chance to see those changes at a work session set for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, in the council chambers of City Hall.
The work session is designed to allow the applicant to explain why they are asking to modify the CD-1 zoning text to allow for a building height of up to 45 feet, side and rear yards of 5 feet, as well as 55 percent lot coverage with up to 75-percent impervious surface for the proposed three-story, 44-foot tall hotel.
The changes are proposed to only apply to the property currently occupied by the Bandon Beach Motel at 1090 Portland Ave. on Coquille Point, which will be torn down so the new hotel can be sited on the same lot.
A conditional use request for the hotel project is not part of the work session, but the applicant has been encouraged to present the specific project so the commission and the community can get a full picture of how all the pieces could ultimately fit together.
The process will involve requests for a zoning code amendment, a conditional use permit for the hotel, a plan review for the design and ultimately, approval of the project before construction can begin.
No oral testimony will be allowed at the work session on March 7, but written public comments will be allowed.
Local attorney Robert Miller, who represents Chris Keiser, agent and attorney for Steere Bandon Associates, LLC., owner of the current Bandon Beach Motel properties, said the proposed amendments to the CD-1 zone will allow “attractive revitalization of the deteriorating Gorman Motel at the end of 11th Street.”
The new Bandon Beach Hotel will include appealing accommodations with 48 rooms and a public lobby area, a contact station to support the Coquille Point Unit of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge owned and operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, public restrooms and a new café called “The Tasting Room,” featuring high-quality food, coffee, tea, wine and beer, Miller explained in his request to the City of Bandon Planning Department.
“The new Bandon Beach Hotel will be motorist-, pedestrian-, and cyclist-friendly and especially inviting and accommodating to our local residents and visitors who are mobility challenged,” Miller wrote.
“The new Bandon Beach Hotel will be a great credit to Bandon, advance the purposes of our comprehensive plan, fulfill the planning vision for our local resident and visitor experience at the Coquille Point Unit of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and serve as an information gateway to Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway, Coos County Mountain Bike Trail System, Fat Biking the Southern Oregon Coast Trail System, Wild Rivers Coast Farm Trail and the Oregon Coast Trail.”
Benefits to community
Ryan Danielson, enterprise analyst with MLK Consulting/Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, is the local representative for Bandon Dunes on the project. He, Jim Seeley, executive director for Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, and Marie Simonds, program manager for WRCA, discussed the project recently with the Bandon Western World newspaper.
“The work session is to get an understanding of specifically what we’re asking,” Seeley said. “Then the public hearing in April will be the time for people to clock in on it.”
Danielson said it’s important for the public to be aware how the proposed hotel will benefit the community.
“It addition to the hotel, we will outline the public benefits this would have on the community,” Danielson said.
Danielson said the public restrooms at Coquille Point, which are part of the project, will encourage visitors. The restrooms will be handicapped accessible and will have exterior access on the south side of the hotel.
In addition, there will be public areas at the new hotel for residents and visitors alike to get out of the elements while still enjoying some of the best views in Bandon.
The on-site restaurant will offer “small plates” with indoor and outdoor seating.
"The Tasting Room will provide a casual atmosphere to enjoy locally inspired menu items using local ingredients and bringing attention to the many great vendors and restaurants that currently operate in Bandon,” Seeley said.
A visitor center in the main lobby of the hotel will also provide a public benefit, according to the applicants. While they don’t yet know exactly how it will look, the purpose will be to promote Bandon, Coos County and the entire South Coast region.
“One of the other components is being able to provide visitors and friends of the community information on what else there is to do in the region and encourage people to stay a few days longer,” Simonds said.
Following the public comments submitted during an open house in July, some aspects of the hotel design have changed. The roof is now pitched. The updated design uses less glass for bird safety on the outside and so there won’t be a negative impact or glare for those on the beach looking up at the hotel. The plan has also been changed so there is no upper floor dining area – something people had concerns about with late-night events that might disturb the neighborhood and wildlife.
“It’s less boxy with less glass,” Danielson said. “Dining is on the main floor and on a patio. The exterior view and materials are very different. We used a lot more weathered materials with natural wood and white trim because we wanted it to fit in with the surrounding houses. It has an ocean-style look that we tried to incorporate into the design.”
The proposal for the new hotel is that the roof will peak at 44 feet, but Danielson said that extra height won’t impact the ocean views more than the motel already does.
Another change from the original conceptual drawings is the parking and landscaped areas. The parking lot was previously sited on a lot across the street where the former motel and a restaurant once stood, that is now also owned by Steere Bandon Associates.
“There were some objections to a parking lot at the site of the old motel,” Seeley said. “That will now be landscaping and trees so people won’t see a parking lot as they drive along Beach Loop. It will be a much more finished look than is currently out there.”
“One of our goals is to beautify this area and give the whole area an improved aesethtic,” Danielson said.
Some people at the July meeting expressed dismay that the applicants intended to ask for a zone change and height variance. One couple, who owns property across the street and plan to develop it, said they felt the motel would seem out of place with the current “coastal village” look and would negatively impact traffic in the area and that the restaurant would take business away from others. Their main issue, however, was with the height.
The applicants have been working with many agencies, including following the process set out by the city, performing geological surveys that include addressing the stability of the structure in the event on an earthquake, working with USFWS to make sure there are no adverse impacts on wildlife, the Coquille Indian Tribe to make sure they are not disturbing any archaeologically significant lands, and even commissioning Washed Ashore, which will provide a public sculpture for the area, to be unveiled sometime this spring.
“We believe the whole effect will be positive,” Seeley said. “We have many more expressions of support than lack of support, but we need to see what those people think.”
A website has been set up for the project and people are encouraged to look at specific details of the renderings and site plans and leave comments online, as well as sign up to receive updates via email. The website is located at www.bandonbeachhotel.com.
“We’d love to hear feedback and if there are questions, those get redirected through the website,” Danielson said.
All of the applicant’s materials are available online at www.cityofbandon.org under the Planning Department tab. A public hearing in front of the Planning Commission on the project has been tentatively set for Thursday, April 26.