A nearly two-year long process intended to guide and clarify land-use policies at and around Camp Rilea Training Center is coming to an end.

The consulting firm hired to conduct the Oregon National Guard’s joint land-use study for Camp Rilea has completed the final draft of its document, the stated goal of which is to develop solutions to conflicts that have arisen between the military base and its neighbors.

The study is also intended to encourage “cooperative planning,” according to Rick Rust, a principal with the Matrix Design Group, the consulting firm hired to conduct the study.

At a Wednesday Clatsop County Board of Commissioners meeting, Rust said the point of the document is to clarify what the acceptable land uses are for the surrounding stakeholders, including Clatsop County, the city of Warrenton and neighbors. The study was funded through a $150,000 grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment, along with contributions from Clatsop County.

During the study’s public engagement process, neighbors of Camp Rilea complained about noise from the base, including machine gun fire, as well as night-time helicopter training exercises. Light pollution was another topic of contention, among other concerns.

Rust said the public process helped form the final study.

“One of the great successes of the joint land-use study is that it gets people to sit down and talk,” Rust said.

The Matrix Design Group concluded there needed to be better communication between the base and the community. The group also suggested that there be real estate disclosures to alert potential new residents of the noise levels in surrounding areas.

The end result of the study may not be immediately felt, however. The study is not intended to make changes to the county’s planning procedures.

“This is not an amendment to (the county’s) comprehensive plan,” said Hiller West, the county’s planning director.

The study does not recommend rezoning property surrounding Camp Rilea, but it does suggest that no changes be made that would allow for increased development density. Aside from reducing potential conflicts between Camp Rilea and the surrounding areas, the study is also intended to accommodate new growth and economic development while maintaining the 85-year-old operational mission of the Oregon National Guard.

The announcement of the completion of the land-use study came as the county board approved a $60,720 contract with Valmont Industries Inc. for construction of a microwave communications tower at the facility. The tower is a component of the new county emergency operations center wing slated for construction at Camp Rilea’s Warrior Hall and will link to a multi-county microwave communications network. The tower project is funded by a federal Homeland Security grant.

More information about the Camp Rilea Joint Land Use Study can be found at http://www.camprileajlus.com/

In other business:

• The county approved a letter to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality supporting the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s deferral of action to list the Astoria Marine Construction Company on the federal Superfund environmental clean-up program. The county is recommending that DEQ be designated the lead agency for the proposed clean-up of the site.

• The board approved a rezone, partition and “density credit” transfer application from Gloria Edler for two 10-acre parcels east of Gearhart.

The application rezones approximately 10 total acres on the two lots from a zone dedicated to residential and agriculture purposes to one dedicated to open spaces and parks and recreation. Under the county’s land-use regulations, the rezone creates five density credits that can be transferred to other Clatsop Plains properties. Two of the credits are to be transferred to the West Dunes/Clatsop Estates subdivision, an application for which will be considered by the board in June. The other three credits will be set aside for future use.

• County commissioners voted to expand the membership of the Clatsop County Fair Board from five to seven members to accommodate the re-appointment of Jack Edwards to one of the new seats. A long-serving board member, Edwards had been passed over for re-appointment in March though he had re-applied for the position. Commissioners called it an oversight.

• The county also passed an agreement with the Oregon State Marine Board for renovation of the John Day Park boat ramp. The project will be funded with a $23,000 state grant and $11,000 in county funds.

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