How to build along Lincoln City’s coastal bluffs realizing that anything built along them will eventually fall down onto the beach was talked about by the city council Monday evening. Geologists say it may take ten years or it may take a hundred, but they say the bluffs are constantly being eroded by the wind and the tides.
Adopting rules about how to safely (for the time being) build near bluff faces in Lincoln City has occupied the council for the past few months. Mayor Dick Anderson summed it up by saying “We need to put the right kind of restrictions in place, while not being a nanny for anyone. People have to take responsibility for their investment.” However, City Attorney Joan Kelsey reminded the council that when a house goes over the side, it falls down onto the beach and there may be people down there when it does.
In the end the council tentatively adopted the idea that building setbacks from the bluff face should be at a distance equal to 60 times the average annual erosion rate plus five feet. That the city won’t issue a building permit unless an engineering geologist does a comprehensive analysis on the site and that if he or she feels it’s appropriate, call in a “coastal” engineer who may offer other expertise as required in order to certify or deny the suitability of the site for new construction. Same for major additions to existing homes. The council also said they want a one page notification attached to the title of any home or business where a geologic hazard investigation has been done on a lot, this in an effort to let any buyer beware that cliff bluffs are always changing.
The council asked Martzhan to report back with the proposed changes in the new ordinance at its next meeting, November 28th.