Comp Plan Update Continues

Comp Plan update Chapter 5 – Utilities
2nd look at Chapter 2 – Land Use

Today’s Planning Commission meeting will involve a work session on Chapter 5 of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, titled “Utilities.”  This work session will be held Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northwest Annex Conference Room, 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham. We will re-visit this chapter on May 28th to consider edits and try to “put it to bed.” See the calendar, below.

We will also take our second look at Chapter 2 Land Use (except for the specific UGA sections) to consider proposed edits. We have the edits from staff (red-line version starts on page 115), originally presented last month, and some I have proposed. This chapter has been the subject of litigation and amendments over the years, so there are not really any earth-shattering amendments proposed now. My goal in amendments was to reduce redundant language and clarify some reasons why we have the goals and policies we do. My “why we care about property rights” paragraph might spark some discussion (page 11).

Public Participation Plan

The Public Participation Plan was adopted at our last meeting without amendment.

EIS for Comp Plan draws usual suspects

The hearing for the draft EIS for the Comp Plan, held by the Department of Planning and Development Services (not the Planning Commission) on April 13, drew a small number of folks. Most of the comments were things I had heard before, which is not to say they are unimportant. You can read the comments HERE. The comment period has been extended to May 15. Send your comments to pds@co.whatcom.wa.us

Vacancy, again, for District 3 Planning Commission

I’ve just been informed by Sam Taylor, who represents District 3 on the commission, that he is resigning because he will be moving out of the area for a new job. Bummer for us, but I trust this is a great opportunity for Sam and his family.

Capital Facilities, Public Participation, EIS

Comp Plan update Chapter 4 – Capital Facilities

Today’s Planning Commission meeting will involve a work session on Chapter 4 of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, titled “Capital Facilities.”  This work session will be held Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northwest Annex Conference Room, 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham. We will re-visit this chapter on May 14th to consider edits and try to “put it to bed.” See the calendar, below.

We took a long look at Chapter 2 (Land Use) at our our last meeting, We will re-visit it on April 23rd to consider proposed edits. Commission members are encouraged to provide their proposed edits in writing by April 13. If members of the public would like to propose specific edits, they can submit them directly to the commission at PDS_Planning_Commission@co.whatcom.wa.us.

Public Participation Plan

The meeting will actually start with a Public Hearing on the annual Public Participation Plan. This plan lists the topics and issues that have been “docketed” by the County Council to be considered this year, and describes the public process we will use to consider them. Because zoning and long-term planning is supposed to be predicable and “long-term,” the process is set up so people can’t just quickly get their pet code changes considered under the radar of the community. This Public Participation Plan is designed to give the community notice of anticipated issues to be considered.

EIS for Comp Plan this Monday, April 13

Because the Comp Plan probably will have significant environmental impacts, such as the growth in population, we are also required to do an Environmental Impact Statement. The draft EIS is complete and ready for public comment. A public hearing will be held by the Department of Planning and Development Services (not the Planning Commission) on April 13, 7 pm in Council Chambers.

The Draft EIS describes the existing conditions and identifies probable significant environmental impacts, mitigation measures to mitigate these impacts, and any significant unavoidable adverse impacts from the proposal. Four alternatives are studied in the Draft EIS addressing a range of population and employment growth levels and patterns.

The project website has the complete draft document, HERE. You can send comments now until April 24th to pds@co.whatcom.wa.us

Handy calendar to keep track of the Comp Plan schedule

I’ve created a google calendar so I can keep track of topics and deadlines for submitting edits for various chapters. You can view it, too HERE. As I have said before, the adopted schedule is subject to change, because we don’t really know how long things will take. I will try to update this calendar as soon as I know of changes.

Sign up for email notification of county government activities

There’s a bushel of lists you can get on, if you feel you don’t get enough email, HERE.

Next County Council meeting April 14
FULL County Council AGENDA
Planning Commission AGENDA
Planning Commission Meeting Schedule