Planning Commish almost done with Comp Plan Update

One last meeting on the Comp Plan before sending it off to the County Council, Thursday, January 14

We held the official public hearing on the entire Comprehensive Plan last month, but decided to give ourselves, and others, a little more time to consider it before putting it to bed. At our meeting tomorrow we will consider any other amendments anywhere in the document, and hopefully recommend the update to the County Council. The Council will have until June to review, amend, adopt the plan. We are actually on schedule!
Work session and Final Recommendation on the Comprehensive Plan update
Thursday January 14, 6:30 pm
County Council Chambers, 311 Grand Ave, Bellingham

Here are the final amended versions of each chapter.  Also, the Final EIS for the Comp Plan update is now available, HERE.

One reason we delayed a final vote was that staff requested changes to the Environment Chapter regarding lahars (those big volcanic slushies that will wipe out everything in it’s path when Baker blows). Turns out the language we adopted would “effectively prohibit the County from applying most rules — including those of the Critical Areas Ordinance — aimed at protecting the public’s health, safety, and welfare from this type of potential natural disaster.” Oops. We’ll be considering how to fix that.

Also of interest to a lot of people is some language proposed by the Lummi Nation Planning Department to amend the Cherry Point UGA to exclude development for coal and oil export facilities. Here are their submitted comments. With the repeal of the federal oil export ban last fall, interest in crude oil export from Cherry Point will certainly increase. Someone might put these on the table for a vote, but in any case, there is community action planned to get the County Council to consider them, once it’s on their agenda.

My readers should know that we have not had a progressive majority on Planning Commission during this year of updating the Comp Plan. The County Council has chosen to create a broad-based and balanced PC, rather than a lop-sided echo chamber like we had under the previous majority before 2013. While the Comp Plan is not awful, it could be much more progressive in outlook. But the climate-deniers who came regularly to tell us the new Climate Change section should be deleted, did not prevail. So that’s something.

Three District 2 appointments made

The Council appointed Andy Rowlson to fill the District 2 vacancy last month. He’s a former Everson City Council member and employed by the WTA. Check him out HERE, page 3.

Another District 2 commissioner, Mary Beth Teigrob, has resigned effective the end of the month, and Commissioner Gary Honcoop was up for renewal. The County Council, on January 12th, reappointed Honcoop and appointed Atul Deshmane. Check out Atul HERE, page 8.  He’s an engineer specializing in alternative fuels.