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Jefferson will take hard look at critical areas

By Evan Cael
Peninsula Daily News

August 4, 2006

PORT HADLOCK, WA — A committee has been formed by the Jefferson County Planning Commission to take a hard, close look at the county's proposed critical areas ordinance that has been met with contention since the public found out about it in June.

With about 70 people attending a Planning Commission meeting Wednesday in Port Hadlock, interested parties who represent several "stakeholders" to the proposed ordinance were asked to volunteer for the committee.

As has been the case in the past, the main concern is the portion of the proposed law that would expand wetland buffers by 100 percent — from the current 25-100 feet to 50-300 feet.

Four planning members

The special committee will include four planning commissioners and members of the audience who volunteered.

They are: Kathy Dickson and John Richmond, representing county's west end; Bill Wheeler, forester; Roger Short, Farm Bureau; Dianne Holman, real estate agent; Dianne Johnson, conservationist; Jill Silver, environmentalist; Norm MacLeod, Olympic Water Users Association; Jim Tracy, lawyer; Robert Crittenden, scientist; Amy Hiatt, architect; and George Yount of the Audubon Society.

Planning Commission Chairman Jim Hagen said study committees are usually only comprised of planning commissioners.

"This is frankly a new idea, having a Planning Commission subcommittee that includes members of the public," Hagen said.

The committee members will meet about nine times before they are expected to deliver their findings and recommendations to county commissioners in October.

They will pick apart the proposed ordinance that was drafted by staff of the Department of Community Development on May 17.

The committee will meet every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Department of Public Health offices, 615 Sheridan St., Port Townsend.

The committee meetings are open to the public.

"There are a lot of 'what if' questions that need to be answered in this whole project," said Planning Commissioner Dennis Schultz.

"Let's see if we can come up with something we can all live with."

Reporter Evan Cael can be reached at 360-385-2335 or evan.cael@peninsuladailynews .com.



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