The Tillamook County Planning Commission held a hearing on Oct. 24 to deliberate the request by property owner Edge Cable Holdings for conditional use approval and similar use determination to approve the installation of the Jupiter Submarine Cable System, a fiber-optic cable system and landing site on a rural residential zoned property, located within the Tierra Del Mar area north of the Pacific City/Woods Unincorporated Community.

Mark Roberts said Goal 11 says “necessary for public health” and doesn’t think the application has proven that. Goal 11 of the Comprehensive Plan reads “Public facilities and services are defined by the goals as ‘projects activities and facilities which the planning agency determines to be necessary for public health, safety and welfare.’ This does not mean that the service or facilities are publicly owned but that they are necessary for public health, safety and welfare.”

Commission member Gale Ousele asked if the impacts of the cable were being determined. Commission member Jerry said the impact issue is a separate issue and dangerous for the commission to look at the impact of land and beyond.

A chairman said the cable is similar enough to any other cable. He said many other buried cables (like powerlines) are less benign that the fiber optic cable would be. He said the cable should be considered similar use. The commissioners voted but it was a tie – 3 to 3. Sarah Absher, director of the planning staff, asked if there is anything in the bylaws that talks about a tie.

Commission member Gale Ousele asked if the planning commission has to decide. Absher said yes. Kurt Heckeroth, commission chair, said there is no language in the bylaws that addresses a tie.

Jerry said the commission could continue the discussion and make another motion or declare it done. Mark Roberts, a member of the Tillamook County Planning Commission, said he doesn’t know what the ordinance actually says. Absher read the ordinance. Jerry said similar use can be applied as a transmission line.

Absher spoke with Michael Kittell, attorney at Albright Kittel, and Phil Grillo, land use attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine, and Chad Allen, who was absent at the Oct. 24 hearing, and agreed to reconvene at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Board of Commissioners conference rooms at the Tillamook County Courthouse.

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