Public Hearing on Interim Marijuana Zoning April 22

The action this week is at the Council and not the Planning Commission. The Council’s interim ordinance on Marijuana Zoning will be up for public hearing. Check out the council agenda highlights, below.

The PC is holding three public hearings to repeal old Subarea Plans that are out of date and inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. These plans cover Lake Whatcom, South Fork Valley, and Eliza Island. They were adopted before the Growth Management Act became law, and served a purpose then. In the event of an inconsistency between a Subarea Plan and the Comp Plan, the Comp Plan prevails, so it seems to make sense to just remove them from the planning documents. If you’ve got another view of this, come to the hearing Thursday, April 24, starting at 6:30 pm at the County Annex, NW and Smith Roads. Here’s the staff reports on the three plans for repeal.

The non-controversial amendments to corner and through lot setbacks, and the Comp Plan Public Participation Plan will be considered by the Council at its April 22 meeting.

 Water Planning

The Rome Grange held a forum last Saturday on water issues, following in the footsteps of the League of Women Voters. There is so much to learn and so many people who need to get educated on water issues, that as long as these events are well represented by the various stakeholders, they can only be good for future decision-making.   Here are two summaries of the forum, which was generally well received: Bellingham Herald  and Terry Wechsler.

Here’s a tentative list of future forums:

  • May 17: Diverse Perspectives on Water and Land Use, with reps of dairy ag, land developers, Business Alliance, Rural Water Systems, fishing, PDS, and Futurewise
  • June 7: Water Resource Planning: Past, Present, and Future, with Small Cities Caucus, Water Districts Coalition, County Public Works, Private Well Owners, Citizen’s Alliance for Prop. Rights, and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Ass’n & RE Sources
  • June 21 or 28: Wrap Up, with Mayor Linville, Water Districts, Non-gov’t water systems, tribes, business, environmental community, and ECOL, with Exec. Louws closing the series.

There’s Carl Weimer’s new Facebook page to share information on the Action Plan process and progress. And in case you didn’t get around to completing his survey, here’s the link to share your ideas regarding what the priorities should be on water quality and quantity issues, and ideas you might have to help address the priorities.

Items on the April 22 County Council Agenda

County Council Natural Resources Committee, April 22, 9:30 am, Council Chambers:
Presentation by Dan McShane regarding potential geological hazards within Whatcom County.

Council Council Finance Cmte, April 22, 11 am, Council Chambers:
WRIA 1 funding  (AB2014-149). This item is about continued funding of a facilitator for the Watershed Management Project for the Nooksack River that takes in most of the inhabited Whatcom County. Carl Weimer says some are now questioning the expense and need for that facilitation since the group seems to accomplish little, and other groups such as the Planning Commission have always operated without such expensive facilitation.

County Council Planning and Development Cmte, April 22, 3 pm, Council Chambers

  1. Presentation of the 2014 County-wide Population Growth Monitoring Report (AB2014-097A). This is the one the Planning Commission looked at earlier in the month.
  2. Discussion of a proposed ordinance amending the Whatcom County Code to allow packinghouses and slaughterhouses in the Agriculture Zoning District as administrative approval uses (AB2014-060B) (ordinance scheduled for introduction this evening, with public hearing tentatively scheduled for May 6)

Public Hearing, 7 pm (following Ex. Louws’ State of the County Address), Council chambers:
Interim ordinance on Marijuana zoning (AB2014-074C). This interim ordinance will only last six months or less. A third version, the final, permanent ordinance, will go before the Planning Commission after the interim version is adopted by the Council.

FULL County Council AGENDA
Planning Commission AGENDA
Planning Commission Meeting Schedule