Building new homes, motels or hotels in flood prone areas, or fixing up old ones, especially along Lincoln City’s beachfront property has gotten to be a political hot potato in front of the Lincoln City City Council. Motel owner Gary Ellingson, a city councilor speaking purely as a business owner, told the council, that the height of his property in Nelscott would pose a problem if he ever he had to repair or replace a building. He complained to his fellow city councilors that under a proposed city law, he wouldn’t get to build up as high as the original structure in the Nelscott area. And for that his property values will most certainly fall.
City Attorney Joan Kelsey told the council that there is always the chance of getting a variance in the event of a repair or re-build, but admitted variances would be few and far between.
There are over two hundred such flood prone lots along Lincoln City’s coastline. All but 8 of them are already built on. The recently released new flood zone maps will force new construction to have first floors above the flood level, thereby forcing higher structures. The council acknowledged Ellingsworth’s comments and told staff to see what they can develop between now and the next city council meeting to comply a four foot cap on how much higher buildings can be erected without running afoul of city law. They said they don’t want a law on the city’s books that creates perpetual disagreement among neighbors who don’t want even a slight amount of their ocean view taken out by new or repaired reconstruction.
The council will take the issue up again next month.