Angel sculpture once again approved for Flintstone Park

Oak Harbor’s hearing examiner approved the amended height for the Angel de la Creatividad sculpture.

After a second hearing, Oak Harbor’s hearing examiner approved the amended height for the Angel de la Creatividad sculpture.

The 40-foot sculpture was created by Mexican sculptor Sebastián and gifted to Oak Harbor in 2021. While it was approved and slated for Flintstone Park last year, because of a less-than-precise measurement before the final one, the hearing had to be repeated to make the shoreline exception permit accurate.

Phil Olbrechts, the city’s hearing examiner, approved the sculpture under the conditions that the measurements remained consistent, any lighting for the art piece is not directed toward neighboring properties and that the construction conforms with the city’s plans.

The decision did not go without some emotion from the Oak Harbor community.

The sculpture has caused controversy since its introduction, when the city put out an at-will survey and 70% of participants voted that they did not want the sculpture. While many comments came in at both the hearing examination and a recent city council meeting, Olbrechts reminded those in attendance that he is only examining how the sculpture meets the criteria set forth by the permit.

“The council apparently has already made the decisions on they want to spend the money on this, and they’ve committed funds to it, and it appears to be in their rearview mirror at this point,” he said, “but you can always change your council members’ minds and give that a try.”

Some residents argued that their concerns are relevant because, though the second public comment period is related to the sculpture’s height, every aspect is intertwined.

“This permit process has been placed on this whole project because it’s within this shoreline management authority,” said Oak Harbor resident Michael Thelen. “If the structure was inland, they would have no authority on that, which means there’s a lot of extra expense, part of which this meeting is attesting to.”

Flintstone is an area of high winds, said resident Denise Hedrick. The closer to the water, the higher the risk of rust and corrosion.

“The size, the height of it, the stability of it, the safety, is it going to rust?” she asked. “Is it going to have to be painted? Is it going to be an albatross financially for the city?”

According to Senior Planner Ray Lindenburg, the city chose not to conduct a public survey for this step.

“In the past the city has looked for public commentary on some projects like this and have found that it becomes kind of messy with regards to people think they are voting yes or no on something,” he said. “In that situation, we gather the comments and we get the information, but it’s not a thumbs up, thumbs down situation.”