Commissioners to hold public hearing to change the meaning of "rural" - Change in definition would create inability of landowner to utilize their property

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December 14, 2004

Clallam County, WA - On Tuesday, December 21 at 10:30am, the Clallam County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on some proposed changes to the Clallam County Code. Changes include a new definition of rural areas, rural character, rural development and rural services and urban growth. Following is the proposed language. Underlining indicates new language:

(30) "Rural areas or rural land" means land located outside of designated urban growth areas and outside of designated agricultural, forest, and mineral resource lands of long-term significance under this comprehensive plan.

(31) "Rural character" means the existing and preferred patterns of land use and development established for lands designated as rural areas or lands under this comprehensive plan. Rural characteristics include but are not limited to:

(a) Open fields and woodlots interspersed with homesteads and serviced by small rural commercial clusters; and

(b) Low residential densities, small-scale agriculture, woodlot forestry, wildlife habitat, clean water, clean air, outdoor recreation, and low traffic volumes; and

(c) Areas in which open space, the natural landscape, and vegetation predominate over the built environment; and

(d) Lifestyles and economies common to areas designated as rural areas and lands under this Plan; and

(e) Visual landscapes that are traditionally found in areas designated rural areas and lands under this Plan; and

(f) Areas that are compatible with the use of the land by wildlife and for fish and wildlife habitat; and

(g) Areas that reduce the inappropriate conversion of undeveloped land into sprawling, low-density development; and

(h) Areas that generally do not require the extension of urban governmental services; and

(i) Areas that are consistent with the protection of natural surface water flows and ground water and surface water recharge and discharge areas.

(32) "Rural development" means development outside the urban growth area and outside agricultural, forest, and mineral resource lands designated pursuant to RCW 36.70A.170. Rural development can consist of a variety of uses and residential densities, including clustered residential development, at levels that are consistent with the preservation of rural character and the requirements of the rural element. Rural development does not refer to agriculture or forestry activities that may be conducted in rural areas

(33) Rural governmental services" or "rural services" means those public services and public facilities historically and typically delivered at an intensity usually found in rural areas and may include domestic water systems, fire and police protection services, transportation and public transit services, and other public utilities associated with rural development and normally not associated with urban areas. Rural services do not include storm or sanitary sewers except as otherwise authorized by RCW 36.70A.110(4)

(38) "Urban growth" means to growth that makes intensive use of land for the location of buildings, structures, and impermeable surfaces to such a degree as to be incompatible with the primary use of such land for the production of food, other agricultural products, or fiber, or the extraction of mineral resources, rural uses, rural development, and natural resource lands designated pursuant to RCW 36.70A.170. A pattern of more intensive rural development as provided in RCW 36.70A.070(g)(d) is not urban growth. When allowed to spread over wide areas, urban growth typically requires urban governmental services.

Also proposed are changes to grading regulations for minor new development. The new rules will read as follows:

27.12.900 Definitions

(39) "Minor new development" means the following activities are considered minor new development:

(a) Construction or placement of a single-family dwelling and associated appurtenances, including a garage, deck, driveway, utilities, fence, and an associated home enterprise as defined and approved under CCC Title 33, Clallam County Zoning Code, provided that all of the following criteria are met:.

(i) Grading shall not exceed 250 cubic yards; and

(ii) Land disturbing activities shall not exceed 20,000 square feet, except that on parcels less than 5 acres, land disturbing activities must not exceed 15 percent of the gross parcel size; and

(iii) The total cumulative footprint of all structures on a parcel must be less than 4,000 square feet; and

(iv) The total cumulative impervious surface area on the parcel must be less than 10 percent of the gross parcel size; and

(v) All land disturbing activities must be located on slopes less than 15 percent; and

(vi) All land distrubing activities must comply with any critical area buffer and other protection standards established for parcels created by land division.

(b) Construction and practices normal or necessary for agriculture, including agriculture service roads and utilities, construction of an agriculture building less than 4,000 square feet in size used exclusively for agriculture; provided, that a feedlot of any size, all processing plants, other activities of a commercial nature, alteration of the contour of wetlands or streams by leveling or filling other than that which results from normal cultivation, shall not be considered normal or necessary agriculture;

(c) Clearing, grading or filling less than one acre not associated with residential development or agriculture; provided, that mineral extraction is not involved; provided further, that no such activity shall occur within critical areas or their associated buffers inconsistent with this chapter.



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