Ocean Shores has had to re-establish and restore its Ocean Dunes Protection Act after it was taken out of the city’s recently adopted Shoreline Master Plan update, temporarily leaving the dunes with virtually no regulations on overnight camping, vehicles, commercial business or other previously prevented activities.
Mayor Crystal Dingler called the removal of the Dunes Protection Act a misunderstanding. “We took the Ocean Dune Protection out entirely, and that was not the intent of the Planning Commission. So this is our attempt to put it back in.”
In doing so, the Council also began considering a proposal to amend the Ocean Dunes Protection Act with language that makes “it clear that the city may groom the dunes as needed for protection against wild fires and to increase the general attractiveness of the dunes as well as increase ocean views.”
Another factor, is that the “city wishes to ensure that the proposed High Dune Trail over five-feet wide will accommodate bicycles.”
City Attorney Brent Dille said the decision will not have to go through another environmental review, with the Shoreline Master Plan update already accepted and approved by the state Department of Ecology.
“We are just replacing the language that was inadvertently removed when we did a wholesale wipeout” of the previous dune act, Dille told the Council. “This just reinstates the dunes act.”
The Council voted 5-1 on Monday for an emergency ordinance reinstating the act. “First and foremost, before we have somebody plowing through the dunes, we have to get them back under our purview and protection,” Dille said.
Jon Martin was the only no vote, suggesting the Council needed to take more time to consider some of the specific definitions and regulations.
Dingler had planned to outline changes that would allow so-called dune grooming, brush clearing for fire prevention, and use of bicycles on the planned new outer dunes trail. But the proposed changes were not included in the Council materials at the regular meeting Monday, so the mayor suggested bringing those back for amendments later in the year.