Before shovels can break ground for a new high school campus, Seaside needed to rezone two parcels — one 40 acres and the second 49 acres.
With the third reading of two ordinances Monday night, the City Council opened the door for development of the campus, designed to replace old and vulnerable buildings in the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
“It’s one more step in the process of moving forward,” Seaside School District Superintendent Sheila Roley said after the council meeting. “The meeting tonight was really about clarification of wording and setting up clearly stated ordinances that reflect the urban growth boundary change.”
The property, located at 2000 Spruce Drive, includes the residential portion of the existing Seaside Heights Elementary School site outside the wetlands zone.
The new campus, approved by a $99.7 million bond vote in November, will be built on 89 acres, 49 of that designated as county forest and the other 40 zoned residential. Both these designations will be changed to institutional campus as a result of Monday’s approval, clearing the way for the campus, with a total project budget of almost $113 million.
In making their decision, city councilors relied on testimony and input from the school district, the comprehensive plan, and Planning Commission decisions.
Late changes and updates to the ordinance contained revised tax lot numbers and other minor changes, consultant Greg Winterowd of Winterbrook Planning said.
“What the new ordinance does is make sure we are talking about the right properties,” Winterowd said.
Planning Director Kevin Cupples delivered revised findings, along with a response sheet directed to public concerns.
Findings determine the two ordinances comply with state planning goals as well as city and county review standards.
During a public comment period, John Dunzer, a resident, presented a summary of an appeal he planned to submit to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.
In previous meetings, Dunzer said the city could find alternate sites within the urban growth boundary that did not require building a new campus.
Mayor Jay Barber and councilors Tita Montero, Dana Phillips and Steve Wright voted for the rezoning and comprehensive plan change. Randy Frank, Tom Horning and Seth Morrisey were absent.
Architects Dull Olson Weekes anticipate the design phase to reach next June, when construction could begin. The campus is slated for opening in the fall of 2020.
“We’re still in the design-development phase and that’s a long, complex process,” Roley said. “The City Council has been very helpful in guiding us through this process properly.”
Approval is subject to the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners and takes effect upon the board’s approval.