GEARHART - The Gearhart City Council postponed action on several proposed amendments to the city's zoning ordinance Wednesday night until it takes a closer look at them during a future work session.

Amendments requiring open space in housing developments, landscaping along U.S. Highway 101, permits for tree removal and new standards in outdoor lighting will be examined at a work session beginning at 4 p.m. March 11 in City Hall. Although the work session is public, no public comment will be heard.

The city planning commission has worked on the amendments for nearly three years and submitted them once before to the council. However, the council rejected the amendments and sent them back to the planning commission for more work.

On Wednesday night, Councilors Ed Tice, Dorothy Well and Albert Carder said they wanted a work session to look at each amendment and discuss it thoroughly, rather than rushing to approval.

Carder said he was "uncomfortable" with some of the provisions.

Well also agreed. "It's very far-reaching, and it's very complicated. After having three years of work from the planning commission, it deserves a lot of time on our end."

The proposed amendment on open space would allow a property owner a reduction in property tax assessments if the space meets certain requirements, including protection or conservation of streams, wetlands, beaches or tidal marshes; conservation of landscaped areas, such as public or private golf courses; preservation of historic sites; or enhancement of recreation opportunities.

Subdivisions and planned developments with four or more lots would be required to have dedicated common open space equal to 10 percent of the total area. For subdivisions of 11 or more lots, the common open space would have to equal 10 percent of the net buildable area.

Landscaping along Highway 101 would be required for all properties, according to the amendment. The landscape plan must contain native, noninvasive plants, and they could not be obscured by a fence or other structure.

Under the proposed tree removal ordinance, a permit would be required for each tree to be removed, rather than one permit for up to five trees, which is currently permitted. For the removal of five or more trees, a plan for replacement of the trees would be required by a professional arborist.

The proposed lighting amendment would require recessed lighting that would not cast a glare onto adjacent property or into the night sky. Business and sign lighting, other than security lighting, would have to be switched off at 10 p.m.


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