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Blue Heron Pointe housing project back with changes in Seaside

Owners back with revised plans for affordable housing
By R.J. Marx

The Daily Astorian

Published on January 11, 2018 7:40AM

Last changed on January 17, 2018 1:45PM

South entrance to Blue Heron Pointe on Avenue S. Residents fear traffic may create safety issues heading to the new school campus and U.S. Highway 101.

R.J. Marx/EO MEDIA GROUP

South entrance to Blue Heron Pointe on Avenue S. Residents fear traffic may create safety issues heading to the new school campus and U.S. Highway 101.

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Proposed 59-home Blue Heron plan.

Seaside Planning Department

Proposed 59-home Blue Heron plan.


Ten months ago, developers of the 15-acre plot of land on the corner of South Wahanna Road and Avenue S called Blue Heron Pointe walked away after the city issued a requirement for sidewalks for a proposed affordable housing project.

At the time, the owners decided the city’s call to have a section of sidewalk built along Avenue S in the first phase of their 46-lot project would not be feasible.

A revised 59-lot plan seeks to address past concerns with the number of housing units and a design for pedestrian and bike lanes within the subdivision.

But mapping, drainage and traffic ­remain at the top of the list of questions.

Seaside resident Ken Thysell said he feared accidents and delays, particularly driving west from Avenue S to U.S. Highway 101.

“You’re going to have some accidents you don’t have right now, or you’re going to have huge backups on Broadway,” Thysell said at a Planning Commission meeting Tuesday.


More lots, fewer units


The Planning Commission originally required a bike path and pedestrian sidewalk along Wahanna Road, City Planner Kevin Cupples said.

“In lieu of doing that, they’re looking at putting a bike lane through the development rather than coming around the outside,” Cupples said. “It would be in their development rather than on the outside of it.”

Developers Bruce Ritchie and Max Ritchie of Nordoff Pacific Capital LLC returned to the Planning Commission in December with revised plans reducing the number of lots and including a cross-section that would allow for a 5-foot wide bike path running from the intersection of Avenue S and Cooper all the way up to the intersection of Cooper and Wahanna.

The redesign is intended to provide an alternative route for pedestrians and bikes along the corner of Avenue S and Wahanna, according to a city staff report.

The prior 46-lot plan would have accommodated a duplex on every lot with the exception of one, Cupples said. The revised plan presents 59 lots. Only three of these would be large enough to permit the development of duplexes, reducing the maximum number of potential units.


Safety concerns


Neighbors said they anticipate a potential boost in cars and buses headed to the new Seaside School District campus, scheduled for a fall 2020 opening.

The development could create a “huge” traffic problem, Thysell said.

“I live over there, and on school days, it’s tough to get onto (Highway) 101,” he said. “In the summers, it’s almost impossible — and we’re adding 40 to 50 new houses plus what’s happening at the high school.”

Resident Maria Pincetich said she wants to make sure the plan is well-thought out and safe.

“I’m concerned that the kids in the neighborhood can arrive to school in one piece,” Pincetich said after the meeting. “You’re going to have a lot more cars on Avenue S and Wahanna. The concentration of kids and cars is not a good mix, without any mitigating factors, like a stop sign or speed bumps.”

The public hearing will be continued at the Planning Commission’s Feb. 6 meeting.



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