Cannon Beach Planning Commission rejects permit for housing project

Nov. 23—CANNON BEACH — The Planning Commission on Tuesday denied a conditional use permit that would have advanced an affordable and workforce housing development.

The application from David Pietka, of Davidspruce LLC, sought to create a cluster development at E. First and S. Spruce streets with four single-family homes and a sixplex apartment complex in the city's limited commercial zone.

Jeff Adams, the city's community development director, recommended approval, adding that the development would be the city's first attempt at providing affordable and workforce housing in years.

"I do think Mr. Pietka has shown that he wants to move in that direction," Adams told the Planning Commission. "Everything would be conditioned upon approval of that."

Not convinced the units would be and remain affordable long term, the Planning Commission denied the permit.

The commission said it would want an agreement that at least six units would be priced at 80% of area median income for 60 years, and that the development would never be used for vacation rentals.

"At this point, they are not willing to commit to a long enough term for a deed restriction to retain affordable housing," Commissioner Anna "Mickey" Moritz said.

The Planning Commission expects to review the draft findings and sign orders next Thursday, after which the applicant will have 14 days to appeal the decision to the City Council.

The most recent site plan for the development included a two-story sixplex with two studio apartments and four one-bedroom apartments. The four single-family homes were proposed to be less that 2,000 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. One home would include an accessory dwelling unit.

Adams noted at the meeting on Tuesday that while the Planning Commission can make a recommendation, it is more common for the City Council to work out the agreements with the applicant regarding affordability.

The last affordable housing development in the city was the Sea Lark Apartments, an eight-unit apartment complex on Larch Street.

In 2018, the city reimbursed permit fees and systems development charges in exchange for a 10-year deed restriction that ensures the units cannot be rented at a price that exceeds 100% of area median income.