County invites comment on growth

Sunday, June 22, 2003
By ERIN MIDDLEWOOD, Columbian staff writer

Clark County, WA - Builders and real-estate agents have bought advertisements. Businesses have commissioned studies. School officials and environmental groups have sent letters.

Monday is a chance for Average Jane and Joe to have their shot at influencing Clark County commissioners' plans for the next 20 years of growth.

Commissioners will listen to what people have to say about proposed alternatives for the county's growth plan, which will guide where and how many homes, shopping centers and industrial plants will be built over the next 20 years.

Commissioners are looking at five alternatives, ranging from holding urban growth boundaries where they are and squeezing 115,000-plus new residents within them, to blowing out the boundaries by 45 square miles and taking in 160,499 more people.

One alternative, dubbed Discovery Corridor, would expand the urban areas by about 19 square miles and designate land for industrial development along Interstate 5 between Salmon Creek and La Center.

"This is your chance to make that pitch," Commissioner Craig Pridemore said.

After the commissioners make their pick, "everything else falls off the table," he said.

Here are the five options:

. Alternative 1 would simply extend the 1994 growth plan into the future. Current patterns of development would continue. The urban-growth boundaries would be expanded to include an additional 45 square miles and take in 160,499 more people. It would add 54,882 new jobs.

. Alternative 2 would expand the urban growth boundaries by 15 square miles and accommodate 115,762 new residents. The county's housing mix would be 75 percent houses and 25 percent apartments. It would add 44,615 new jobs.

. Alternative 3 would accommodate the projected population increase and new businesses by filling in existing growth boundaries. It would also add 44,615 new jobs.

. Alternative 4 would let cities expand their urban growth boundaries as they see fit, adding 19 square miles of urban area overall and 115,762 new residents. It would open up land for business development between Battle Ground and Vancouver, and between Northeast 50th and 172nd avenues. It would seek 70,000 new jobs.

. Alternative 5 also would add 70,000 new jobs and expand the urban areas by about 19 square miles. It would create the "Discovery Corridor" between Salmon Creek and La Center along Interstate 5 for industrial development and job creation.

Commissioners say they are more likely to blend elements of the five scenarios than to pick one.

They also say they go into Monday's hearing with an open mind.

"We've never had a conversation amongst ourselves," Commissioner Betty Sue Morris said.

"These are the most significant decisions we're going to make."

Erin Middlewood covers Clark County government. Reach her at 360-759-8031, or by e-mail at

For more information, visit

To go:

* The Clark County commissioners' hearing on the 20-year growth plan begins at 10 a.m. Monday in the sixth-floor hearing room at 1300 Franklin St.

The hearing will continue at 7 p.m. June 30 at the Hazel Dell Sewer District, 8000 N.E. 52nd Court.


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