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Port, city offer help in Naito proposal ‘maze’

The proposal by Naito Development LLC to build a hotel, commercial building and cable park down by the Nichols Boat Basin has generated much public interest. This is a complicated project, involving both land and water use. It will require approval by several public entities which make decisions in public meetings based on the testimony they receive.

If you want your input to be considered, it’s important you direct your comments to the right people at the right time.

The City of Hood River will address the proposed project through a site plan review and building permits for the hotel, commercial building and parking lot. It will also consider the upland impacts of the proposed cable park, such as traffic, parking and pathways.

Depending on the city’s action, the Port of Hood River may then consider leasing a portion of the Nichols Basin to Naito Development for activities associated with the cable park. The Army Corps of Engineers will decide whether permits will be granted for in-water construction in the Nichols Basin.

The City Planning Commission will consider this project at its meeting on March 19 (5:30 p.m., City Hall). Written comments should be sent to City Recorder Jennifer Gray (jennifer@ci.hood-river.or.us) with a request to share them with the planning director and the planning commission.

The port commission meetings have not yet been scheduled. Notice will be posted in the Hood River News and on the port website at least two weeks prior. Comments can be sent at any time to the Port of Hood River, 1000 E. Port Marina Drive, Hood River, OR 97031, or by email to PortHR@gorge.net.

The maze of public meetings by different organizations to consider different parts of the proposed project can be very confusing. City Planning Director Cindy Walbridge (Cindy@ci.hood-river.or.us) and Port Executive Director Michael McElwee (mmcelwee@portofhoodriver.com) can help you navigate this process to get the right comment to the right entity at the right time. They can also put you on a notification list so you’ll get a personal invitation to the public meetings and hearings.

Your input is an important part of this public process. Hopefully this roadmap will help you know where to start.

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Arthur Babitz is the mayor of the City of Hood River; Jon Davies is president of the Port of Hood River.

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