The public had input and Clallam County changed its plans accordingly.
Public input thus far has had a significant impact in proposed zoning changes and area residents only have a few more opportunities to weigh in on the changes.
While the county's Planning Commission was unable to accommodate everyone's requests while creating a final recommendation to reach compliance under the state's Growth Management Act, they were able to include quite a few into the fold.
"There have been several changes to the recommended course for compliance due to public input," said Steve Gray, Clallam County planning manager. "We weren't able to put things back the way they were, but we accommodated as many requests as we could while promising to continue researching rural lands."
Clallam County was forced into a position of rezoning some of its land and resizing some of its designated limited areas of more intense rural development because the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board found the areas out of compliance with the state's growth law.
Initially, the county put in interim zones that better reflected what the growth board was looking for. Now, after months of research and several dialogues with the public, the county's planning division has a plan for permanent compliance in most areas.
The result will be a change in how many homes can be built on land, generally fewer, and the elimination and creation of a few limited areas of more intense rural development.
The Planning Commission recommended the plan during its Sept. 24 meeting. The Clallam County board of commissioners is expected to take action on the recommendation after a series of public meetings this month.
Changes on the east side were broken out into separate issue areas with separate solutions.
Blyn previously was zoned as a rural center. The growth board found Blyn's urban development should not have been allowed unless it was in a limited area of more intense rural development or an urban growth area, which are two bordered areas that allow urban-style development.
The Planning Commission is recommending some of the area be zoned residential, allowing one unit per five acres, while other areas, especially lands north of the highway, should be designated a limited area of more intense rural development.
Bruce Seton and Greg Mottis had expectations for commercial uses on their properties, rather than one dwelling unit per five acres, and proved they qualified for inclusion into the zone.
"We ended up including the Seton property off Zaccardo Road after we received testimony in one of the early hearings on Blyn and added the Mottis property more recently, when Mr. Mottis brought us additional evidence of earlier development on his site," Gray said.
Tribal trust lands are unaffected by the ruling.
The city of Sequim also is unaffected. However, lands outside its limits and within its urban growth area were deemed too rural for being in an urban setting. The Planning Commission is recommending a higher density for those areas.
A majority of residents from the Palo Verde subdivisions off Priest Road were included in the up-zone and requested to be left out of the urban growth area entirely.
"We've respected that request by suggesting the possible removal of all or some of the property from the (urban growth area) happen as a separate item," Gray said.
"A moratorium on building in that area is also recommended because the compliance issue is separate from the neighborhood's request for removal."
As for zoning outside of the Sequim urban growth area and for rural unincorporated lands on the West End, the growth board found that the county was allowing too much development, instead requiring the zones to be more rural.
The commission's recommendation on the rural lands is not a permanent change. Instead, they will request more time from the board to reach compliance on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis.
"The sub-area-style research, which we have two consultants helping with, will also be done on the lands we couldn't include into the limited areas of more intense rural development," Gray said, indicating many landowners wished to be included in the areas but the county was unable to accommodate them because of restrictions identified in the law.
Many of the challenged limited areas of more intense rural development either were resized or done away with entirely.
The commission recommended the county request a time extension for Carlsborg's urban growth area as well. Planners hope the sewer plan will be finalized in time to use as a tool to reach compliance in that area.
A complete list of challenged lands, recommended changes and maps are available at www.clallam.net.
The Clallam County board of
commissioners will hold public hearings in:
• Port Angeles at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 14 in the county courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St.
• Sequim at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 in the Guy Cole Convention Center, 202 N. Blake Ave.
• Sekiu at 1 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Community Center, 42 Rice St.
• Forks at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 in the DNR Conference Room, 411 Tillicum Lane.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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