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Letter to the Editor

Political favoritism violates the spirit of the law and undermines the trust that citizens place in their elected leaders.

Here is the spirit of a law called the Controlled Development-1 Zone. It’s in the Bandon Municipal Code.

“The purpose of the CD-1 Zone is to recognize the scenic and unique qualities of Bandon’s ocean front and nearby areas and to maintain these qualities as much as possible by carefully controlling the nature and scale of future development in this zone.”

Bandon is a small town with two renowned natural wonders. One of those is the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. It is the largest remaining tidal saltmarsh in Oregon, and it is invaluable habitat for thousands of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. The Bandon Marsh is known to ornithologists and bird-lovers around the world.

The other natural wonder is the Coquille Point Headland, the mainland unit of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, a designated National Wilderness Area that contains more than 1,400 sea rocks, reefs and islands, and two headland parcels, along the entire Oregon coastline. Thirteen species of seabirds nest on the ocean rocks around Coquille Point. Seabirds spend their entire lives at sea except when they are nesting, and the Coquille Point Headland is the best place in world to see them.

Both of these national treasures are owned and protected by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Mike Keiser, the developer and owner of the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, is requesting that changes be made in the text of the CD-1 Zone, solely for his property on the Coquille Point Headland.

He wants the limit on building height to be raised from 24 feet to 45 feet plus 5-foot tall chimneys (seven of them on the highest points of the roof) and he wants the standard city setbacks to be reduced to just 5 feet from his property lines, so that his proposed three-story, 48 room, luxury hotel can fill the entire lot, a lot that is on the west side, the wrong side, of the Portland Avenue boundary of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s protected area on the Coquille Point Headland.

A hotel too tall for the seascape, too large for the lot, and too close to the rookeries, along with the increase in traffic, lights and noise that such a hotel would bring, would put this precious, sensitive wildlife area in great peril.

A decision must be made, and we have every right to expect that our elected leaders will resist the seductive power of political influence and favoritism, and uphold the spirit of the law expressed in the Bandon Municipal Code.

Bob Fischer

Bandon

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