For public, cable park trumps hotel

March 21, 2012

A City of Hood River Planning Commission public hearing on a proposed waterfront hotel and commercial building development has been continued to April 2. In a four-hour meeting Monday night, the commission discussed the site plan proposal with applicants Will and Bob Naito of Naito Development LLC, and their chief architect.

In what was supposed to be a hearing focused on land use laws and criteria relevant to the development, the hearing spiraled into more than two hours of public testimony in favor of or against a proposed cable park within the boat basin.

Prior to the hearing, City Attorney Dan Kearns and Planning Commission Chair Laurie Stephens addressed the large crowd in attendance, reminding people of the role of the planning commission, and the strict criteria it must follow when evaluating an application.

Despite the initial and subsequent repeated requests to limit testimony to the land-use issues associated with the project, the majority of testimony fell either in favor of or against a proposed recreational development within the Nichols Boat Basin; an area where the commission has no jurisdiction.

To give the commission adequate time to review significant written comments, the hearing was continued until the next meeting, scheduled for April 2, 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. The written record will be closed at 5 p.m. April 29 to allow staff time to review all submissions before the next meeting.

Depending on how the next hearing proceeds, the commission is likely to end by directing staff to create a report with final language that would hint at which way the commission is leaning on a decision. The commission would then vote on the report at a later meeting. By law, the commission must make a decision on the application by May 22, 120 days after the application was deemed complete submitted.

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