Wednesday, April 18, 2012
In a four-hour marathon meeting Monday evening, the City of Hood River Planning Commission was unable to reach a decision on a site plan application submitted by Portland-based Naito Development LLC. The meeting was a combination extension of a prior public hearing and introduction of a Conditional Use Permit application, which the applicant was required to file for the proposed hotel, commercial building and parking lot development.
Although the waterfront project would be one of the largest developments in the city in recent years, a separate element of the proposal has attracted the majority of public interest and debate. A proposed cable park within the Nichols Boat Basin is key element to the commercial building, which is designed to overlook the basin and its activities at the south end, on property owned by Naito.
Until Monday’s meeting, the planning commission was operating under the assumption that the city doesn’t have jurisdiction to apply site plan and conditional use permit criteria to the cable park, because it will exist and operate in water. In short, counsel reasoned that since the boat basin is not zoned, the commission does not have specific zoning criteria to apply to the project. Furthermore, the in-water parts of the project will have to undergo a rigorous permitting process through the Division of State Lands and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Citing a variety of the city’s codes and legal documents, opponents of the cable park urged the commission to reconsider its stance on the in-water project. After an evaluation by legal counsel, and the acknowledgement that the situation is ambiguous, City Attorney Dan Kearns recommended the commission take the stance that purely water uses of the basin are not subject to the city’s land use regulations.
The commission acknowledged the dilemma and put the issue to a vote: either to maintain the stance that it has no jurisdiction to apply criteria to in-water developments within the city limits or assert authority over the entire project and apply on-land site plan and CUP criteria to the water-based cable park development.
In a 3-2 vote the council decided to broaden the scope of its evaluation and include the cable park in its review process.
With that decision, the commission was then obligated to hear public testimony relating specifically to the cable park, which was formerly off-limits as it was considered outside its jurisdiction.
In considering the cable park, the commission must limit its analysis of the proposal to the same specific site plan review criteria it is using for the hotel and commercial building development. Pro and con issues like general public interest, economic benefits, and “it would totally be a cool new thing for Hood River,” are not part of the review criteria.
After testimony both for and against the cable park, but little discussion about the land-based elements of the application, the commission was obligated by procedure to continue the hearing until a later date. Following a public request, the written record will be left open for seven more days (until 5 p.m. April 23), after which the commission will review all material and will attempt to make a decision at a May 7 public meeting (5:30 p.m., 211 Second St.).
By law, the commission must make a decision on the application within 120 days that it was deemed complete. That date is April 23.
What is a cable park?
In a variety of outlets, including letters to the editor in the Hood River News, the public has questioned, and in some cases misrepresented, what a cable park actually is, what one looks like and the possible impact one would have on Nichols Boat Basin.
To see for yourself, browse the multitude of youtube videos at this link: www.bit.ly/HQqcnf.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge