County commissioners roll back Tri-Area to rural development standards2005-06-07
by JEFF CHEW
Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND -- Responding to a Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board order last week, Jefferson County commissioners Monday approved returning the Irondale-Port Hadlock area to rural development standards.
The commissioners also directed planning staff to continue to work on a general sewer plan and engineering report.
The actions will allow the county to start over in the process of implementing an urban growth area in and around the Tri-Area.
The commissioners' unanimous action came after a closed executive session with county Civil Deputy Prosecutor David Alvarez and Al Scalf, county director of community development.
Development regulations for the urban growth area were adopted in August 2004.
An appeal was filed in October 2004 to the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, with a final decision and order issued on last week, determining that the county's capital facilities plan fails to show firm funding for sewer service within the next six years.
The hearings board also concluded that the county's plan does not provide sanitary sewer through the new urban growth area over the 20-year planning period.
In returning the Irondale-Port Hadlock area to rural density standards, the commercial zoning of the Hadlock core becomes a ``rural village center'' once again.
Board rebukes Jefferson County on Tri-Area urban growth area2005-06-06
by JEFF CHEW
In a final decision that throws Jefferson County's Tri-Area planning back eight years, a state growth management panel has concluded the county's designated Port Hadlock-Irondale urban growth boundaries are inadequate.
The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board -- in a final decision handed down last week to county leaders, Irondale Community Action Neighbors and Port Townsend environmental activist Nancy Dorgan -- concluded that despite planning efforts ``most of the area cannot reasonably be served with sanitary sewer in the next 20 years.''
County commissioners now face a new set of ``unique political decisions,'' county Director of Community Development Al Scalf said Friday.
Those decisions include expanding the Irondale-Port Hadlock sewer service area planning to include the entire urban growth area and its residential pockets, more specific sewer infrastructure and suspending the urban growth area to return to less dense rural development standards in the Hadlock area.
Strategy session today
Commissioners scheduled a closed executive session today at Jefferson County Courthouse with county Civil Deputy Prosecutor David Alvarez to discuss their next legal move in the ongoing growth management saga.
The state hearings board's 52-page final decision and order invalidates parts of the county's comprehensive plan that designate ``unsewered'' and ``optional sewer'' within the Irondale-Port Hadlock urban growth area.
After ``thorough review'' and hearing legal arguments from lawyers for both sides, the hearings board stated that the county's plan for the new urban growth area fails to comply with the state Growth Management Act.
``The county's capital facilities plan for this area does not provide sanitary sewer through the new UGA over the 20-year planning period,'' the hearings panel concluded.
``Also, the capital facilities plan for areas where commercial and industrial development is allowed at urban densities fails to show firm funding for sewer service within the next six years.''
County leaders must specifically define how they will fund or finance sewer services to high-density growth areas, ``a key urban governmental service with important public health and environmental consequences,'' the hearings board stated.
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