First work session on Comp Plan update March 12th

This week’s Planning Commission meeting will involve a work session on Chapter 1 of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, entitled “Introduction and Growth Projections.” We will also discuss and decide on how we as a Commission want to work through all the chapters. We have to do about one chapter a week to get through it all by the end of the year, and give the County Council time to do their thing before final adoption. We will hold extra meetings if necessary, because we are on a deadline for final adoption by the Council in June of 2016.

We, the staff and I, as Chair, will be proposing that we introduce each chapter, take public comments, and discuss and get questions answered from staff, but hold off on considering any substantive amendments until they can be considered in writing two meetings hence. This way both the commission and the public will know in advance what amendments will be considered and have the language in writing. Officially, we only have to have one public hearing for the entire document, but that would be crazy. We will be taking comments on each chapter as we go along, but it won’t be a “public hearing” in the legal sense. As soon as the PC agrees to a process, we can share the entire schedule, so you’ll know when your favorite topic is coming up for consideration. Here are the Chapter 1 documents

This work session will be held Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northwest Annex Conference Room, 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham. The public is invited to submit written comments and/or attend the work session to provide oral comments. Written comments may be submitted PDS_Planning_Commission@co.whatcom.wa.us

New County website breaks all your old links

Whatcom County switched to a new website last week, and all the links in all my previous posts are probably broken. Sorry about that, but I’m not going to go back and fix them.

EIS for Comp Plan open for comment

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

Sign up for email notification of county government activities

Ever since I was appointed to the Planning Commission, I have wondered, and asked, how to get on any list to be notified about hearings,etc. Obviously, as a commissioner, I got those notices, but I wanted to see what the general public was getting. Various staffers told me I could sign up on the website, but I could never find where. NOW, you can do it! There’s a bushel of lists you can get on, if you feel you don’t get enough email, HERE.

Next County Council meeting March 17
FULL County Council AGENDA
Planning Commission AGENDA
Planning Commission Meeting Schedule