An open letter to Mike DeSimone, Director of the Pacific County Department of Community Development:
I am one of a large group of citizens who fought long and hard, and helped procure the property known as the Christensen Land Holding for the State Parks. This, of course, was part of a larger vision. That vision was to protect the Seaview Dunes from Beard's Hollow to the Seaview approach, and that itself was a compromise. Great effort went into that dream, including thousands of hours of work and millions of dollars in procurement fees.
Just when all this vision seems attainable, you guys issue a "non-significant" declaration to Mr. Matt Doney to build four housing units right in the middle of this stunning landscape that hugs the westerly edge of the Seaview Dunes. I'm sorry to disapprove, but I believe this must be an error in your judgment.
It is my impression that Mr. Doney has made less than a desirable impact on the neighborhood. Two units are already jammed together at the intersection of Holman and "K" Street. Those houses sit right next to Tarlet Slough and must be in violation of setback regulations. Other condominiums have crowded up the hill on the west side of the butte, and caused specific controversy with the pre-existing condos that border the south side of the hill. Trees and fill material were moved with significant impact to the environment. Mr. Doney apparently pushed a road and equipment through the neighbor's property to the north. In effect he has soured the entire neighborhood, but the county seems oblivious to the feelings of those citizens.
Now he has the go-ahead to destroy the dreams and aspiration of the State Parks and the vast majority of Seaview citizens.
Next year is the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Another Peninsula group (the Friends of Lewis and Clark) has worked with the city of Long Beach in concept and spirit to extend a paved trail from Ilwaco to north Long Beach that commemorates the path of these great explorers. Already the city has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to commemorate Lewis and Clark with statues, monuments (many along that trail) and historical events and reenactments that will touch the lives of tens of thousands. National artist and treasure, Maya Lin, will complete a major sculpture on the headlands that overlook the historical trail and that pristine strip of beachfront.
National designation was created just this month for additional Lewis and Clark sites. Those sites will bring millions of tourists to our area. To preserve an area of beachfront that remains pristine and accessible (just as it might have looked 200 years ago) is a goal of countless organizations and citizens. The Seaview Dunes is one of the only areas where such a goal is attainable. And I'm talking about thousands of miles of that trail that extend all the way from St. Louis to the Pacific. Pristine is indeed rare.
The fact that you would allow one man to jeopardize all that for four housing units is beyond the pale of my imagination.
I talked with Bud Cuffel last week about the project, and he insisted that he didn't understand that units would be built west of the Butte hillside. Obviously, he either wasn't paying attention, or wasn't shooting square with me. Bud is only too aware of the efforts of the citizens of Seaview to protect the Dunes. He is also aware (as is Jon Kaino) of the huge effort that transpired between State Parks and Christensen. They sat at many of those same meetings with me.
Brian Baird, Maria Cantwell and other dignitaries have worked diligently to procure National Park status for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, and to acquire properties and development dollars to extend the reach of Fort Clatsop and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Brian, specifically, is supportive of the trail. Further, I believe he would see the development of Doney's properties as "significant."
Has anyone at the county level bothered to contact Bill Koss at State Parks? Has anyone bothered to weigh the sentiments of the community before passing a non-significance declaration on Mr. Doney's development?
I feel bamboozled, and that puts it mildly. This project should not happen, and the County Commissioners (and you, Mr. DeSimone) should stand accountable. Please reconsider.