Bandon Government and Politics STOCK

BANDON - The conditional use permit approved by the Bandon Planning Commission for the proposed Bandon Beach Hotel has been appealed.

The Bandon City Council will hold a special hearing to address the appeal at 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, in City Council chambers. No public comment will be allowed.

By unanimous vote at its Feb. 7 meeting, the Planning Commission approved a CUP to allow construction of the new Bandon Beach Hotel to replace the current Bandon Beach Motel adjacent to the Coquille Point National Wildlife Refuge, located at the west end of 11th Street SW.

Saying the applicant, Steere Bandon Associates LLC, had met the requirements of a CUP in the controlled development zone, the Commission set 21 conditions to be met prior to, during and after construction of the hotel.

Robert Miller, local attorney and agent-in-fact for Steere Bandon Associates LLC, submitted an application in October on behalf of Chris Keiser for a 32-unit hotel to replace the aging 22-unit hotel at the site. The new hotel would include a small, ground-floor cafe and a 60-space off-site parking facility.

The current motel on site has a legal CUP, as is required in the CD-1 zone, according to City Planning Director Dennis Lewis. A CUP permit is required because the proposed new hotel is larger than the motel it is intended to replace.

Following approval by the Planning Commission on Feb. 7, findings of fact justifying the decision were adopted on Feb. 28.

An appeal of the Commission's decision was filed on March 11. The appellants are Bandon residents Bob and Carol Fischer and Oregon Coast Alliance.

Cameron La Follette with the Oregon Coast Alliance said via email that many concerns led to the appeal. 

"Among the central concerns are the geohazards inherent in the site, which have been well documented and will negatively affect the adjacent Coquille Point Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge," La Follette wrote. "Impacting the function of the Refuge is specifically prohibited under Bandon ordinances. We contend the Planning Commission did not adequately address the geohazards, which are definite, testable, easily seen and which would also impact the proposed (larger) hotel’s lifespan.

"We also have multiple concerns about the proposed hotel’s compliance with the Bandon Comprehensive Plan, which frequently addresses environmental and scenic protections in the area."

The Fischers said in the appeal statement they are concerned Coquille Point, as a key coastal segment of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, be protected and preserved, and its ecological integrity maintained, "especially in the face of increasing development in Bandon."

"The proposed hotel would have drastic consequences for all these concerns," the Fischers stated.

On behalf of the City of Bandon, Lewis said in a staff report prepared for Tuesday's meeting that the appellants allege multiple errors were made in the process of the Planning Commission reaching a decision to approve the CUP. Lewis said the planning department will not address each of the alleged errors, but rather will respond to questions from city councilors at the appeal hearing and comment on several of the key issues to give the council a preview of all the material that comes with the appeal.

In regard to groundwater concerns, Lewis said the engineering geologist and civil engineer from Cascadia presented rebuttal testimony at one of the hearings to the challenges in the GeoSciences report submitted by Bob Fischer.

"The Cascadia representative stated that there will be no disruption of groundwater flow as the the foundation will not be at the depth of the groundwater level," Lewis wrote in his staff report. "The Commission was given assurances by these engineering professionals that it is safe to build the proposed hotel and that doing so will cause no significant bluff erosion or instability."

Lewis also addressed concerns raised by the appellants regarding native grade and whether or not the proposed hotel would adversely impact the function of the Refuge. 

"The Planning Commission fully and fairly considered all information presented in this case and utilized the applicable decision standards and criteria in reaching a unanimous conclusion that the application for a Conditional Use Permit should be approved," Lewis wrote.

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