The owner of a beachfront house who has been denied a request to build riprap protection against beach erosion will appeal the denial Jan. 12 at the Rockaway Beach Planning Commission meeting.
The owner of the property at 211 South Sixth Street, Tai Dang of Hillsboro, has requested an appeal for the decision made by the Rockaway Beach city planner to deny placement of a shoreline protective structure commonly called rip rap.
By Brad Mosher
The planning commission meeting will be held in the council chambers on the second floor of City Hall, starting at 6 p.m.
According to City Planner Jay Sennewald, the appeal had deemed incomplete in June because the city required more information than had been submitted.
Tang reportedly had 180 days to complete the submission for an appeal from April 20, the date it was sent to the city.
The city decided to rescind an earlier position on using the protective structure to prevent further erosion, which prompted the appeal by the owner.
Approximately seven years ago, the property owner received a developmental permit from the city claiming it was conforming to the required Ocean Setback Line.
In January 2015, the city passed along the riprap request as being consistent with the comprehensive plan in the area and passed it on to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for approval.
Riprap revetments are used to minimize coastal erosion by absorbing most of the energy in incoming waves. Riprap is when rock or concrete rubble is used to form the protective barrier.
Later in the spring, the city changed its position, claiming the home was not located in a way to comply with the original Ocean Setback Line. That line is set by comparing the area north and south of the building site, according to the city planner.
According to a letter sent by the city planner April 2, a later review showed the property was ineligible for shorefront protection.
The owner has appealed the city’s decision, setting up the second hearing on the riprap proposal.
According to the city planner, after more research the city determined that the house was not eligible for riprap because there was not an exception for where the house was built.
The controversy focused on a proposal to lay down a riprap wall approximately 14 feet tall and more than 80 feet long in order to halt or slow beach erosion that is closing in on the 3,300-square foot house used as a vacation rental.
More than 30 people showed up for an informational hearing in May held by state officials over the controversial proposal.
According to Tony Stein, the hearing was scheduled because there was more than 10 responses to a notice about the permit application by the homeowner. “It is a comment period in the process,” the coordinator for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department explained.
“We usually have a pretty good turnout in Rockaway Beach,” he said after the meeting concluded. “In our permit process, an application goes out and is posted on the beach. Then we send it out to people who have expressed an interest in information about a permit application.”
There were 16 requests for scheduling a hearing about the permit request, Stein said.
The public comments at the May hearing focused on the impact construction of a proposed rubble revetment would have on the other homes nearby and what they thought were questionable actions by the homeowner in the construction of the house.
The house was built in 2008 and does not meet the OSL requirement because of the placement of the structure, according to a letter from the city. The city has said it is investigating why the project and placement was originally approved.
The vacation rental is advertised that it can be used for overnight parties of 25 people.
On the beach in front of the house there are still remnants of when large trees and driftwood were used to prevent erosion.
According to Sennewald, Goal 18 is a state-wide planning rule which states that people can not put buildings on active beaches and dunes.
“You can not put new development on active dunes or on unstable dunes and the oceanfront,” Sennewald said at the time. “The city did take a recent exception back in 2008 prior to the construction of the home and prior to its permit being issued.
“The Goal 18 exception area is everything east of the Ocean Setback Line. That is determined by taking the average of the ocean setback for existing structures for 200 feet north and south of the property. You take that average setback and any new development on the lot has to meet the average of all the other setbacks,” Sennewald said.
“After the city made the recommendation that the proposed rap was compatible, we got some phone calls questioning that determination,” he said. “So we went back to the original building permits signed by the city planner at the time. It seemed to me that the averaging was not correctly applied.”