Belfair, WA: County asks committee to plan
only part of the Belfair UGA; scraps committee's own "Scope
of Work" for an abbreviated version.
Some committee members don't appreciate the
Subarea Planning Committee Meeting
The Belfair Subarea Planning Committee was established by the
Mason County Commissioners one year ago. During that year, a
Scope of Work document was prepared and approved by the entire
committee. Brent Bahrenburg (Office of Trade and Economic
Development) included that Scope of Work in a grant, which was
subsequently approved. At a hastily called and unpublicized
meeting on July 9, the chairman introduced a newly written,
scaled-down Scope of Work that virtually eliminated all planning
outside of the core downtown area. This caused some members of
the committee to feel that the hard work and effort they had put
into the original Scope of Work was being arbitrarily replaced
by the one written by the chairman and county personnel.
Overton distributed copies of the report by the League of Women
Voters titled, “Costs and Impacts of the 101 Connector/Belfair
Petersen said he and Ron Henrickson talked to Brent Bahrenburg
(Office of Trade and Economic Development, www.oted.wa.gov)
prior to this meeting about funding and ways to move forward as
letter from the
Henrickson gave a general overview of funding and local
participation. He thanked the committee members for "giving
your time and effort. We hate the see that momentum lost. We
hate to see your efforts delayed any longer, so we looked for a
context that would allow the group to move forward. What we
concluded, or discussed, is the idea of phasing the projects. By
phasing we mean basically dividing the project into essentially
two phases. The first phase would focus on a future land demand
study to get the statistics for future land demand, and also
focus on the core downtown commercial area, which has to be
addressed irregardless of what is done in the rest of the UGA.
The second phase would kick in after the land demand study was
available and would look at land uses within the greater Urban
Growth Area (UGA) beyond the commercial core."
Ron Henrickson said, "We discussed this, as Brian
mentioned, with Brent, who thought that was a very feasible
approach; it's been used in other communities and makes sense.
The commissioners are also supportive of that approach as well.
The next step is to get your opinion as a committee.” The
county says this is "logical" and expects the
committee will "undoubtedly want to have the results of the
future land demand study prior to considering land uses within
the greater UGA." The county expects the committee to
comply with its position for "the planning effort to
continue forward at this time."
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Swoboda asked, "How can we plan half of the UGA with no
idea how the other half will look like?"
Henrickson: "I don't believe the issue is going to be
primarily land use within the area that is primarily commercial
now. So the question really becomes what provisions for the
community and for the downtown center do you want to deal with?
How do you handle pedestrian traffic? What kind of standards are
you going to impose on buildings? What kind of signage are you
going to impose? All those questions relate to downtown
irregardless of what land use is done outside of it."
committee members were concerned that use in the downtown core
seemed to be restricted to commercial only. What about
residential use? Condos?
Lohman said, "You need people living in the commercial
Petersen said, "Call it the downtown plan then."
Fink said the committee will be very constrained about what you
do downtown. It wasn't seen to be a monoculture. It will be
mixed use. Development is happening in the downtown core right
now. Establishing regulations seems like a reasonable place to
use this committee's efforts. The county does not want to move
forward on the other part of the UGA until the transportation
issue is resolved.
Overton asked, "What CAN'T we do over the entire UGA?
Henrickson: I’d rather discuss what we can do in phase 1.
VanBuskirk said it is unrealistic to only plan part of the UGA.
We're to be a subarea planning committee for the entire area. We
can identify areas that can be developed, identify wetlands. The
stakeholders are residents, business owners, land owners and
Petersen: We still would do these things, just later.
Lohman: I don't agree we should stop until the transportation
issue is resolved. We know what kind of land use will go along
the bypass. It is best to continue on. If we can make decisions
on 80-90% of the UGA, we should do that.
McLeod: Explain to me in simple terms why we can either go ahead
with Phase 1 or do nothing.
Henrickson: The agreement between the county and the Overtons
does not allow the county to zone land in roughly 80% of the
buildable land outside of the core area. The county doesn't have
the ability to zone that land because it is designated as mixed
use. If the committee zones and plans for up on the hill it
could end up a waste of your time.
Overton: Mixed use zoning isn't that bad.
Petersen read aloud an email he received from Brent Bahrenburg
supporting the concept of a phased approach. This email was not
copied or shared with the rest of the members of the committee.
Clayton said it's good for developers to know what's coming down
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Johnson: Lots of people own property outside those boundaries.
Not everything happens at the same time. You have to work in a
certain order. There are always problems that occur on projects.
A lot of these problems a good consultant will deal with. A lot
of people who develop property may not be the current owners of
Lohman: The property on the hill is already zoned as mixed use.
Sounds like it's zoned to me.
Overton: The reason why the Overtons have a development
agreement is we made an exchange; we gave up something. It was
an exchange of zoning for an option to do something with the
property in the future. Handing out a copy of the committee’s
original Scope of Work plan that was approved by the Office of
Trade and Economic Development, Dave Overton said the committee
should divide the work into phases based on the original plan.
Henrickson: I'm trying to find a way to move the process
forward. If the whole committee chooses not to move forward,
then we won't.
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Petersen pleaded with the group, “Please don't perceive that
we're not going to address the whole UGA just because we're
starting with downtown.”
Henrickson: Theoretically we can plan, but it does no good to
plan if you can't implement it. This is work. If we expect
committee members to work and then the county doesn't implement
it, it's not fair to you.
Abbott: We're getting stuck on semantics. You're [the county]
telling us what we can and can't do. It makes our hackles go up.
Dave [Overton] has been put in a bad light.
Teeters: I don't want to wait another 14-15 years to have an
agreement. Let's continue on. Let’s look at the phasing.
Johnson: Plan for the town without a bypass.
Lohman: We should determine the core village and spiral out.
We're getting hung up on the second phase.
Clayton: We should paint the broad-brush strokes first. Why
can't we use our original Scope of Work as an RFP (Request For
Petersen: Because the county is unwilling to do it this way and
it would be a waste of our time.
McLeod: I think the bypass will go through, but it won't solve
the problem. We need a middle lane downtown.
Henrickson: I don't say I know what's coming out the end. I know
how much work this is.
McLeod: Will the county really pay attention to what we say and
do what we'd like done?
Henrickson: The commissioners’ intent is to adopt the majority
view that comes out of this process, which means to involve the
community and build consensus. I do not have any preconceived
ideas of the outcome. This is a serious commitment from the
county. I'm committed, the county is committed. This will change
the face of Belfair over the next couple decades.
to a map of the Belfair UGA, Ken VanBuskirk asked who drew the
yellow lines on the map.
Henrickson: We worked with Gary Yando. That area within those
yellow lines can be sewered. Sewers make a big difference in
revitalization and redevelopment.
VanBuskirk: Maybe we should do this concurrently. See if we get
a sewer grant in place. What we do in this committee drastically
affects land use.
Overton: Why is Iron Horse Crossing outside the yellow line?
Henrickson: Those lines aren't drawn in concrete; it was just
for this committee to see.
Overton: Can you clarify?
Petersen: Everything on here will be covered.
Henrickson: It doesn't serve any useful purpose. I am more
interested in whether this committee will proceed as outlined in
the letter from the commissioners.
Johnson: If we agree to go with the Phase 1/Phase 2 approach,
would we have input on the scope of it?
Henrickson: The County is a partner here. This is a valuable
piece of work that will have an impact. You've got to start
Swoboda: The original Scope of Work this committee developed and
approved should be divided into two phases: the stuff we can do
without an Overton/County resolution and stuff that needs to
wait. Included should be a trigger for phase 2, which would be
the resolution of the Overton/County dispute.
Lohman: Either resolution or nonresolution should be the trigger
for phase 2.
Clayton: There is no obligation by the county to build the road.
Henrickson proposed that Brian Peterson and county personnel
revise the Scope of Work.
it was recommended that they work from the original Scope of
Work, it is not clear if the new Scope of Work (which was
developed outside the purview of the committee) will be the one
that is revised.
Henrickson: You have a regular meeting in a month. Three or four
of you could volunteer to act as a little subcommittee so that
when we get a draft we can at least float it by the subcommittee
to get some initial feedback.
McLeod: I don't agree with that. The whole committee needs to
Petersen: How about if we send the draft out on email?
members found this acceptable.
members talked about when the next meeting would be and it was
brought to their attention that this meeting and the last
meeting had not been publicly announced in advance of the
Petersen said he would talk to the Belfair Herald and get this
Swoboda asked Ron Henrickson, "If this committee balks at
what the county wants them to do, will the county do to this
committee what it appears they did to the planning commission
and the shorelines advisory board? Committee members had a
different view than the county on the GMA issue and right after
that the county abolished the two committees. It may not be the
case, but by all appearances, that's the way it looks to a lot
Henrickson: I can't speak for the commissioners. I can tell you
that the committees were merged because the shorelines were
merged into the comprehensive plan and therefore it became far
more efficient to deal with one committee than deal with two
committees and go through simultaneous reviews. I think one of
the commitments the commissioners had was to try to make
government more streamlined, simpler and easier. That's not an
easy task given the GMA basically complicates it. Where we can
find ways to make things work better, we're trying to make those
decisions to make it better.
then asked why there are only seven people on this planning
commission rather than nine--three from each commissioner
Henrickson: That I can't speak to. They can choose five, seven
or nine. I think they chose seven because ... I don't know why.
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Overton made a motion that the chairmanship be a one-year term.
Swoboda seconded the motion.
was no discussion. The chairman adjourned the meeting with no
action taken on the motion and no date set for the next meeting.
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