Is the end in sight? Or is the county just beginning its fight for property rights?
These are two questions Cory Startup, of Carlsborg, is asking himself after discussing with Clallam County commissioners their plan to become compliant with a state growth management law.
"I fully understand that there is a disagreement of what proper growth should be in Clallam County and that these guys are trying to please everyone," he said after a Jan. 6 commissioner hearing, "but it's difficult when you're the one with plans for your empty land and no ability to pursue them."
Startup owns two empty parcels in Carlsborg, one in the industrial park and another near Big 5 Sporting Goods off U.S. Highway 101.
The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board deemed the Carlsborg urban growth area invalid, meaning development stops until the county can make it compliant with state law.
Commissioners did pass some interim rules that allowed limited development, such as vested single-family homes and building additions that do not result in increased sewage output.
They met Jan. 6 to extend those temporary rules while the county and the Clallam County Public Utility District create a plan for a Carlsborg sewer, the main change needed to reach compliance in the growth area.
County Commissioner Steve Tharinger, D-Dungeness, asked Startup to look at the commission's short- and long-term plans. For now, some development is allowed and to allow anymore would open the county to legal liabilities, he said.
But once a sewer is available, the Carlsborg land will not have development restrictions and will be available for more urban-type development.
"It's the short term that's pretty brutal," Startup said, indicating taxes have not gone down on the once valuable land that he cannot touch.
"But I can be patient for now."
The commissioners also extended temporary zoning on noncompliant rural lands and Blyn while they research better ways to reach compliance. The interim zones match those approved by commissioners in October.
The county simultaneously hopes to reach compliance with some permanent changes made in the Sequim urban growth area and limited areas of more intense rural development.
A decision from the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board is due on the permanent changes by early to mid-February.
Reach Evan McLean at
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