Lincoln City Councilors Monday gave final approval to slightly tighter restrictions on those who would build new homes atop Lincoln City’s coastal bluffs, or substantially add onto whatever is already there. The new development code usually requires a geological hazard analysis be done when something substantial is added to an existing house or building, or a new building altogether. A holdover from the old set of rules includes setbacks from cliff faces of 60 times the annual erosion rate plus five feet.
The city ordinance requires that an engineering geologist do the hazard investigation work on the lot and that he or she be empowered to bring in other related expertise should it be necessary to produce a valid analysis. Costs associated with such inspections are the responsibility of the property owner.
However, one line in the new set of rules indicates that all investigative work is the responsibility of the property owner. That caught the eye of Mayor Anderson and Councilor Roger Sprague who thought that such a sweeping statement might open the door for unreasonable city investigative requirements that may be of dubious value. So, in order to put a cap on property owner exposure to such costs, they will change the rules so that the words “all costs” are removed. As it turned out, the “all costs” language is included in the city’s overall master land use plan. To change it would require completely opening it up just to change one sentence. City Community Development Director Richard Townsend said they will be doing that later in the year and that’s when the council should tackle it.