Newport Session on Geologic Hazards

November 4, 2019 - 4:00 PM
Newport City Hall
169 SW Coast Hwy
Newport, OR
Free—public meeting

Public access on Newport's Spring St., where Oregon Shores has worked to prevent development in a geologic hazard area.\Photo by Cindy Cutler.

At their last full meeting, the Newport City Council considered a change to the city’s planning process that would remove a barrier to citizens concerned about proposed development in geologic hazard areas.  The change, called for by Oregon Shores and our local members, was endorsed by the city’s planning commission.  No decision was made at the city council meeting, and now the council has scheduled a work session to continue to discuss the planning reform.  This meeting takes place at 4 p.m. on  in Newport City Hall (169 S.W. Coast Hwy) in the council chambers.

Up till now, Newport required that citizens hire an engineering geologist to critique a geologic hazard report presented by a would-be developer, done by an engineering geologist hired by the developer.  This can be highly expensive, creating a barrier to lower-income citizens who want to participate in the land use planning process.  Local citizens often have detailed knowledge of conditions on the ground that a professional visiting one time to conduct a report might not see. Oregon Shores believes that putting up a barrier to citizens wishing to share their knowledge as part of a land use process violates the spirit of Statewide Land Use Goal #1, which makes citizens involvement the linchpin of our land use planning system. 

Member Mona Linstromberg and other local citizens, along with Oregon Shores, persuaded the Newport Planning Commission to approve a change to the city’s code, whereby in future geologic hazard reports for proposed developments in landslide and other hazard areas receive a peer review through the city.  This change will allow for a much fairer process in determining the potential risks and impacts of development in hazard areas. 

There was been a delay while the city sought out an engineering geologist willing to do this, but one has now been located.  We believe that the city should be ready to proceed.  The voices of citizens might be needed to push the council to stop hesitating and take action.

If you are planning to attend and speak, or to send a message to city council in advance of the meeting supporting this change, reference Newport Municipal Code 14.21 Geologic Hazards Overlay.