NORTH BEND — The North Bend City Council dismissed Simpson Heights residents’ concerns over the proposed Jordan Cove workforce camp.
Residents of North Bend’s Simpson Heights neighborhood turned out in protest at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
They say the Jordan Cove Energy Project workforce camp proposed to sit on the Al Peirce property under the McCullough Bridge will have a negative impact on their neighborhood just a mile away, affecting access to U.S. Highway 101 and the nearby wooded areas and trails. They also say the city didn’t give them notice of recent planning commission hearings regarding the camp’s permits.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday to dismiss Simpson Heights resident Jan Dilley’s appeal of the planning commission’s approval of the workforce camp permits.
The commission first met regarding these permits on March 17, but the commissioners tabled their decision after Jody McCaffree asked for the record to be left open, and for North Bend residents to be notified and given time to respond.
The city was required to notify property owners within 100 feet of the proposed site, and did notify nine owners on Feb. 25. The city was also required to provide legal notice of the March 17 meeting beforehand, which it did at oregontoday.net.
“They kind of copped out on it being legal, using the minimum 100-foot rule,” Dilley said. “They noticed only the people 100 feet from that property ... knowing full well all of Simpson Heights is going to be affected.”
Legally, the commission had to leave the record open for seven days following McCaffree’s request, which it did.
During the “open record” window, the city received letters from McCaffree, North Bend resident Susanna Noordhoff and SHN Consulting’s attorney, City Attorney Mike Stebbins said at the April 21 meeting.
The commission went on to approve the workforce camp’s permits.
While Dilley spoke out against the workforce camp at this meeting, her testimony was not put “on the record” since it was not filed within the open window.
According to city code, a citizen can file an appeal of a planning commission decision to the city council within 10 days of the mailing of the commission’s decision. Dilley did so on May 2.
The appeal must meet four standards: The individual has to identify the decision, prove his or her “standing to appeal,” provide reasons why the commission “erred in its decision,” and provide documentation for his or her complaint.
According to “standing to appeal,” the individual has to have appeared before the commission orally or in writing, and he or she has to have been “entitled to receive mailed notice of the hearing prior to the decision, and was a person whose interests are adversely affected by the decision.”
Because Dilley did not attend or write a statement for the March planning commission meeting, “she doesn’t have standing,” said North Bend city planner David Voss.
While the city legally doesn’t have to notify anyone outside that 100-foot surrounding area of these meetings, McCaffree said at the April meeting that it’s “ethically and morally wrong” not to.
Dilley gathered 61 signatures from her Simpson Heights neighbors opposing the workforce camp and supporting her appeal.
“Jordan Cove does this, they try to keep the people who are affected out of the question by using the minimum ruling, but the responsibility of the city planners ... is to protect the citizen,” Dilley said. “They should have well-noted this to make sure we were all there. Since I didn’t get there until April 21, they said the record was closed and they said I had no standing. They made sure I was excluded from that information.”
Voss said the planning commission’s April vote stands. Outside of Jordan Cove getting the rest of its federal and state permits and approvals, the workforce camp itself needs a removal-fill permit from Oregon Department of State Lands and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in order to build a bridge across the site’s lagoon. The camp also still needs a building permit from the city of North Bend.
“It’s unfortunate for Ms. Dilley that she didn’t participate earlier in the process,” Voss said. “The council really had no choice but to follow the rules.”
Dilley said the next step is to appeal this decision to Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals.