County sets timeline for wetland protection rules
Port Townsend Leader
Jefferson County, WA - A timeline for development of new county development rules aimed at protecting the environment has been released by Jefferson County.
Under the new schedule, amendments to regulations protecting critical areas such as wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat are expected to be adopted by the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners by Jan. 18, 2007.
The process will involve revising the current proposal, which was released on May 17 and was the subject of Jefferson County Planning Commission public hearings in June.
A Planning Commission committee will work with a group of stakeholders over a series of meetings over the coming months to review scientific information, draft revisions to the proposal, and describe and defend those revisions in the context of the requirement in state law to consider “best available science.”
Representatives from the farming, building, realty, property owner, and environmental communities will be invited to participate in the committee process.
All committee meetings will be open to the public.
The committee is expected to deliver a report by the end of September.
To initiate the process, a workshop is set for Wednesday, Aug. 2, during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission at the Washington State University Learning Center at Shold Business Park, 201 W. Patison St., Port Hadlock. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the first two items on the agenda are a public hearing on four site-specific comprehensive plan amendment proposals and a presentation on the joint Port Townsend/Jefferson County housing needs assessment. The critical areas workshop will begin around 7:30 p.m.
The Aug. 2 workshop will be an opportunity for people to learn about the new timetable and the process for developing a revised critical areas proposal and to ask questions of the planning commissioners and county planning staff.
The workshop will help county staff prepare a fact sheet with answers to frequently asked questions about Jefferson County’s current and proposed regulatory protection of critical areas as required by the Washington Growth Management Act.
A revised critical areas proposal is expected to go to the full Planning Commission in mid-November. After the Planning Commission holds a public hearing in December to gather input, it will forward its recommendations to the Board of Commissioners.
The board likely will hold a second public hearing on the proposal in January before taking legislative action.
Information on the critical areas proposal is available online at www.co.jefferson.wa.us/commdevelopment/CriticalAreas.htm.
County planning staff also has developed a brief fact sheet designed to address concerns posed by residents of west Jefferson County.