SEASIDE — School’s out, but not for city officials.
They’ll be hitting the books with the delivery of a 66-page comprehensive plan, zoning map and text amendment request to the Seaside Planning Department. With appendices, the submitted material runs into the hundreds of pages.
The Seaside School District proposal aims to amend the city’s comprehensive plan, necessary to expand the urban growth boundary by about 49 acres for the new district campus approved by voters in November.
The request, which also includes zoning amendment changes, property annexation and rezoning, is an anticipated step in the multipart process to build a new campus out of the tsunami zone.
Prompted by hazard
The school district is one of only four public K-12 schools in Oregon within the tsunami inundation zone.
In 1999, the state published earthquake hazard maps showing Cannon Beach and Gearhart elementary schools, Broadway Middle School and Seaside High School would all be severely damaged in the event of a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami. These schools were also identified as having a high potential for collapse.
Cannon Beach Elementary School closed due to financial and safety concerns in 2013. That same year, a $128.8 million bond for new schools failed at the polls.
In November, a scaled-back $99.7 million bond plan was approved by more than 70 percent of the electorate.
Analysis by Winterbrook Planning, with relevant background information provided by the Seaside School District, confirmed what the district had determined in 2009 — the only suitable school campus site located outside of the tsunami inundation zone is located on higher elevation land that is zoned for forest use.
A separate but similar process to expand Seaside’s boundary started two years ago, in order to comply with statewide goals and guidelines for land use planning.
The city forecast the rate of growth in Seaside over the next two decades and estimated how much land needs to come into the urban growth boundary to accommodate the population, with two models, one through 2035 and the other through 2067.
The school district’s urban growth boundary expansion is distinct from those discussions, which were tabled last summer.
Unlike the city’s earlier urban growth boundary discussions, population, housing and growth are not the primary factors, Seaside Planning Director Kevin Cupples said.
The zone designation “institutional-campus” will be applied to the entire school campus site. The district meets the seven criteria necessary for expansion of Seaside’s urban growth boundary for schools, according to the report: location adjacent to city limits; size; topography; access; soils; safe from the tsunami inundation zone; and capable of being served by utilities.
About 31 acres of an 80-acre land gift will remain zoned as county forest.
The Planning Commission will be the first to review the request, most likely in August at the earliest, Cupples said.
The commission’s action would be then reviewed by the City Council, the county Planning Commission and the county Board of Commissioners.
If the application is approved, the school district will apply for a conditional use plan approval. More detailed plans showing buildings, athletic fields, parking and circulation will be provided at that time.
“None of those processes is rapid,” Cupples said.
A decision by the new year, as anticipated by the district’s timetable, could be possible, Cupples said.
• Traffic generated from the proposed school campus will have no significant impact on U.S. Highway 101.
• The cities of Seaside, Gearhart and Cannon Beach are expected to grow at an average annual rate of about 1 percent.
• The capacity of the new school campus is 1,690 students, an increase of 0.97 percent over the next 13 years.
• The school district will encroach on nearly 40 acres of big game habitat.
• Plans call for bypass of a wetland and two fish-bearing streams.
• Access to the campus will come on the existing Spruce Street. Additional street improvements may be necessary.
• There is no land within the cities of Cannon Beach, Gearhart or Seaside which could meet the specifications for relocating schools.