PANEL EXPLORES COUNTY’S OCEAN PLANNING PROPOSAL
A panel discussion Monday in Seaside hosted by the Clatsop County Planning Division explored the county’s proposal to extend its land-use planning authority beyond the ocean shoreline.
Local and state land-use experts and others discussed and took audience questions about the project, in which the county is developing a review code under Statewide Planning Goal 19-Ocean Resources to cover the stretch of ocean 3.45 miles out from shore.
The Goal 19 plan element will allow the county review applications for new ocean uses not envisioned when its land-use code was first adopted in 1980, including wave energy installations, and help ensure those new developments are compatible with fishing, recreation and other uses.
“In coming years new uses will compete for space in the ocean,” County Commissioner and panel moderator Peter Huhtala said. “One emerging ocean industry will create electricity from waves, wind and tidal forces. As we nurture this renewable ocean energy industry we must respect and protect existing ocean users.”
The county planning commission is tentatively scheduled to hold a public hearing on the draft plan in December. The plan will go to the county board of commissioners for its review in early 2012.
Panelist Mark Barnes, a planning consultant who is assisting the county with the Goal 19 project, said the plan element would put in place the same type of land-use review process used in the rest of the county. Only structures would be subject to review, not uses like fishing, navigation and recreation, he said. Barnes compared the ocean code to the county’s jurisdiction in forest lands, where its review authority is limited to structures, and state and federal rules govern uses such as logging, road-building and hunting.
The county’s project is taking place at the same time that the State of Oregon is updating its Territorial Sea Plan, which covers the same 3.45-mile band of ocean. The Ocean Policy Advisory Committee (OPAC) has been tasked with the project, which is aimed at providing opportunities for wave-energy developers while protecting fishing, viewsheds and other resources.
The updated plan is due to go to the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) in summer 2012.
Studies found that the Oregon Coast has some of the best wave-energy potential in the United States, but when developers began proposing projects in 2004, concerns were raised that the state had no system in place to ensure the new projects are compatible with existing uses. In 2008 then Governor Ted Kulongoski signed an executive order directing state agencies to create a plan for identifying renewable energy sites.
Tim Josi, Tillamook County Commissioner and LCDC member, noted that Clatsop County and the state disagree whether counties have any land-use jurisdiction offshore, and said the issue will need to be resolved.
Panelist Paul Klarin, Marine Program Coordinator for the state Department of Land Conservation and Development, said Clatsop County’s work on the Goal 19 issue “could lead to something very positive, regardless of where the jurisdictional issue ends up.”
For information on the county’s Goal 19 project, go to “Ocean Planning” under “Land Use Planning” at www.co.clatsop.or.us.
For information on the State of Oregon’s Territorial Sea Plan update, go to www.oregonocean.info.
Community Relations Coordinator