What’s Happening with the Tower? An Update

The historical Forty House, SW corner of Highway 101 and 8th Street.

Almost 200 signatures were gathered on the petition opposing the tower planned for 8th Street and Highway 101. Signers have by now received a thank-you and a link to the signed petition with its many great comments. The petition was submitted to the Port Orford City Council before their last meeting, on January 20. Unfortunately, the issue was again not on the agenda for discussion. The official process for dealing with the tower continues to be opaque rather than open and public.

Nevertheless, a citizen filed a records request and received the city planner’s “Completeness Check” for the tower project. This nine-page document lays out a number of conditions that need to be satisfied before the application is deemed complete and can be “cleared” to move to the building permit stage.

Not surprisingly, there were numerous issues.

The report states that “there is no organized plan depicting all the features to be included, the locations of the features on structures or on the lot itself . . .” and without such a site plan, actually “there is no organized application to be reviewed.”

Plus, the claim that the tower would be used for tsunami evacuation was not supported by evidence that it complies with state law for such structures.

“Where the applicant does not demonstrate compliance with any standard,” the planner states, “the applicant will be required to apply for a variance.” Such a variance must be submitted to the planning commission for review.

Can the applicant revise his proposal to satisfy the criteria? If not, and if he persists, we citizens may get the public process we’ve requested and be allowed to have a say on whether we want the tower to be built or not. For now, the application is in limbo.

The bigger question is, does this outsized colossus meet the intent of the Battle Rock mixed-use zone, which is to “maintain small coastal town ambiance and small town neighborhood character”?

To that, 200 people have firmly responded NO.