|Shelton County will make decision about zoning to
comply with GMA
By MARY DUNCAN
Shelton-Mason County Journal - 2/28/02 - The Mason County commissioners
will make a decision on yet another piece of the growth-management
puzzle next Tuesday.
In this case they are considering three types of zoning districts in
areas to replace a problematical matrix of permitted uses in the
comprehensive plan and development regulations.
The announcement came following a public hearing on the new zoning
and other plan revisions held at the Mason County Commission meeting
This will be the county's third attempt to write land-use regulations
comply with the Growth Management Act. Twice the Western Washington
Management Hearings Board ruled the plan and regulations invalid, in an
order issued December 15, 2000 and again on March 1, 2001.
The hearings board order identified five issues the county must resolve,
Allan Borden, long-range planner, told the commissioners in his staff
Besides the matrix of permitted uses, the order directed the county to
assess the effects of the 13 previously undesignated "limited areas
intense rural development," known as LAMIRDs; to bring the plan's
and recreation-area map into compliance; to write regulations for the
urban growth area (UGA); and to delineate residential densities on a
Turning to the matrix, Borden told the board the table of permitted uses
includes only resource lands, agricultural resource lands and urban
areas. The regulations for rural lands are now included in a new section
development regulations which establishes rural development districts
Borden called "the equivalent of zoning."
The zoning districts include five types of rural residential districts
three types of rural commercial districts as well as industrial,
natural resource and planned resort districts.
Residential densities in rural lands include one dwelling unit per 2.5
acres, one per 5, one per 10 and one per 20. Those densities, previously
designated in the plan, "were found no longer invalid in a December
order," he reported.
"The proposed (nonresidential) designations are generally based
existing nature of the land use and the appropriate district category is
noted at the parcel location," Borden explained.
Included in the limited areas of more intense rural development are
rural activity centers (Union, Taylor Towne and Hoodsport), nine hamlets
(Lilliwaup, Potlatch, Matlock, Dayton, Bayshore, Deer Creek, Spencer
Grapeview and Tahuya), and 14 isolated commercial and industrial areas,
"Mason County has carefully designated the logical outer boundaries
LAMIRD, as of July 1990, to limit expansion or sprawling of these land
into each of the local areas," Borden continued.
To bring its open space and recreation map into compliance, Borden said
county is proposing three new comprehensive plan policies "which
address the use of railroad right-of-ways for trail corridors, an
corridor between Belfair and Allyn for potential trail systems and the
development of two properties in Mason County ownership as community
or open space."
He added, "What we're trying to do is indicate to the hearings
trying to move on from general open space to more specific trails and
in the county."
Borden said both Allyn and Belfair are "stand-alone UGAs" and
as such would
have the same general development regulations. There is now a specific
statement that binding site plans are required in both Allyn and
The county has prepared a set of five maps showing 1) future land use
illustrating rural area development densities, 2) the rural activity
centers, 3) the hamlets, 4) western isolated commercial-industrial areas
5) eastern isolated commercial-industrial areas, Borden said.
Bob Fink, planning manager, reported on changes based on recommendations
from the Mason County Planning Commission and public testimony at a
"Among the comments were that more specific standards should be
consistent with existing local, state and federal regulations" to
impacts of new industry in rural areas, Fink said. "It should be
some impacts which can be public nuisances do not have measurable
even with modern science."
Fink continued, "The draft regulations have been modified to
adopted standards when available and to create measurable standards when
Language was also changed to clarify that buildings for resource based
industries can be larger than 10,000 square feet, if approved by a
use permit, he added.
Fink said other changes made to clarify the regulations include setting
4,500-square-foot building size limit in rural tourist districts,
the limit on the time recreational vehicles to be left in RV parks,
employee housing in rural tourist and master planned resort zones only
accessory use, changing the setback requirements for rural industrial
natural resource activities to allow unobstructed access to railroad
or airports and adopting criteria for rezoning.
Because the department and the planning commission have made a number of
suggestions for changes to the proposal, Fink requested a week's delay
said a complete text of the comprehensive plan and regulations with all
changes would be available to the public by 5 p.m. Wednesday
The commissioners will continue to accept written comment on the
changes until 5 p.m. March 4 with action scheduled for 9:45 a.m. March