ARCH CAPE - The developer who proposed to build eight houses on the former Arcadia State Park property has withdrawn his application from the Clatsop County Planning Commission.

James Smejkel decided against pursuing his development proposal because of the threat of litigation by the state Department of Land Conservation and Development and other opponents, opposition from the Clatsop County planning staff and "a desire to spare the county and himself the high cost of an appeal," according to a letter written by Mark R. Barnes, a private planning consultant hired by Smejkel to represent him.

Barnes addressed the letter to Cary Johnson, chairman of the Clatsop County Planning Commission, May 3.

Smejkel had proposed to develop 17.6 acres east of U.S. Highway 101 that he received as part of a land trade with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in 2002. The land was part of the former 25-acre Arcadia State Park. The remaining acreage on the west side of the highway is now Arcadia Beach Wayside.

To build the eight houses he proposed, Smejkel needed to change the property's zoning from agricultural forestry and recreation management to residential agricultural 2. He also needed exceptions to several state land-use goals.

Opposition to the proposal came from area residents, who filled the commission's hearing room during several hearings, and from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, Oregon Department of Forestry and the Ecola Watershed Council, among others.

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