Oregon Shores submitted comments opposing approval by the city of Rockaway Beach of Nedonna Beach Development LLC’s proposed second phase of a planned unit development (PUD) first permitted in 2008. The hearing took place on June 27; the Rockaway Beach Planning Commission’s decision is due July 18.

We supported members and other local residents fighting “Nedonna Wave Phase 2” in contending that approval of the PUD scheme would be a clear violation of statewide planning laws and Rockaway Beach’s own land use regulations.

The original approval for the full 28-lot Nedonna Wave Development in 2008 was conditioned on the basis that “the developer shall complete the improvements within one year of tentative plan approval unless an extension is granted by the City to complete improvements.” Because Rockaway Beach granted no extension, the approval for the second phase of this same development has lapsed.

And we argue that this development, as proposed, would not be allowed under Rockaway Beach’s current regulations. Much of the proposed development is now in the city’s Special Area Wetlands Zone (SA), the purpose of which is to “conserve significant freshwater wetlands and the shoreland and aquatic environment of Rockaway Beach’s lakes.” Residential development is not allowed in the SA zone in the city’s current plan. At risk are wetlands and the health of McMillan Creek, which flows past the area to be developed and provides habitat for a range of wildlife.

Neighbors are angered by the actions of the would-be developer, who caused swaths of the wetlands to be cleared, supposedly for the purpose of assessing them.

There are also risks to the community. There is only one evacuation route from Nedonna Beach, already too limited for the existing population—adding more people (especially since some of the houses might turn out to be vacation rentals with large numbers of people visiting) would be highly unsafe. Plus, the area is already at risk of flooding, and adding more impervious surface would make this worse. Finally, the entire area is also in a groundwater protection zone, and development could lead to pollution of wells needed for the city’s water system.

Next steps will depend on what happens on July 18.


Photo: Aerial view of Rockaway Beach shoreline, courtesy of DLCD.