Comprehensive plan headed for state agencies



SHELTON, WA-- No one showed up for a public hearing to discuss proposed amendments to the city's comprehensive plan.
Monday's Shelton City Commission meeting opened with the brief public hearing, as required by the Growth Management Act. For the past six months, city staff have been working with consultants from Jones and Stokes, Associates, to complete major revisions to the city's comprehensive plan, originally adopted in 1995.

The revised plan is expected to help planners meet traffic and housing needs.

"This is the first major update of the plan since its adoption, and the revised plan is simpler and easier to understand -- and is consistent with other city planning documents," Community and Economic Development Director Barbara Robinson said in her introduction to the commissioners.

There have been several public meetings in the past on elements of the comprehensive plan, and suggestions from these meetings have been incorporated into the document, she added.

"I have had to submit to several Byzantine processes with governmental entities, and I appreciate the clarity of this document," Commissioner of Accounting and Finance Dick Taylor said.

"It's not often that a government document gets shorter and simpler as time passes," Commissioner of Public Works Dawn Pannell said.

The commission directed staff to submit the plan to the appropriate state agencies for their review. The state agencies have 60 days to respond with their comments, Robinson said. Suggestions will be incorporated into the document, and it will be presented to the commission for final approval.

After the meeting, Robinson talked about how the proposed comprehensive plan could lead to improvements in the quality of city life for residents. "The plan gives us tools to be able to look closely at the likely traffic patterns in new subdivisions, so that the traffic doesn't impact on existing neighborhood road grids," she said. "We've also been looking at actual traffic accident reports since 1995 to see what roads might need mitigation work in terms of signals and lane turnings to improve their service levels."

"The housing element has been greatly improved, based on a housing needs assessment study recently completed by Mason Matters," Robinson said. "We have a much better idea as to what kind of housing is needed and can orient the plan to encourage that kind of development."

In other business, the commission proclaimed June 23 through June 29 as Amateur Radio Week to honor the 150 amateur radio operators in Shelton who volunteer their time to provide emergency radio communications during search and rescue operations and other general emergencies. Shelton resident Lloyd Tuffs accepted a certificate of appreciation from Mayor John Tarrant and invited the public to attend an emergency radio communications exercise and open house which will be held in the open area between Wal-Mart and the Shelton Middle School on Saturday.

The commission also approved the Six Year Transportation Improvement Program plan. The Turner Avenue Improvement Project was briefly mentioned by Director of Public Works Mike Golat. He recommended to the commission that the project not be given a higher priority ranking, since it was already the highest ranked unfunded pedestrian safety project.


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