Olympic Peninsula: More studies for Dungeness River set; changes in Planning Department

KONP Radio


(Sequim, WA) -- County Commissioners have signed an agreement with the Federal Bureau of Reclamation to document existing and future channel changes in the Kinkade Island area. As reported by the Sequim Gazette, the study will help to determine areas at risk for future erosion to help the county update its flood hazard management plan. The government's study will cost 15-thousand dollars. It will be paid for by existing grant money to look at flooding around Kinkade Island, in the middle of the Dungeness River near Sequim. Flooding in January 2002 washed out one of the two bridges across the side channel of the river, known as Kinkade Creek, on the east side of the island. Severe bank erosion caused one house to be washed away by the flooding. Recent studies by the Bureau of Reclamation determined the side channel may become the new main route for the river if another flood occurs and washes away the log jam that currently blocks the channel's entrance. The county is engaged in talks with landowners at Kinkade Island to purchase land to reduce the risk to property owners.
(Sequim) -- County officials are finalizing an agreement to assess properties at the mouth of the Dungeness River for possible purchase. Commissioners are reviewing a contract with Ken Morgan to conduct environmental assessments of properties along Rivers End Road that include a file review, on-site inspection and interviews with property owners. According to the county, 12 landowners representing 18 parcels -- out of around two dozen -- agreed to participate in the appraisal process. The appraisals are slated to begin on Monday. The County has one and a half million dollars from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to appraise and purchase the Rivers End properties at fair market value. Whether all or some of the property owners sell, the county will still be able to proceed with some of its environmental improvement plans that will help restore the natural salmon habitat near the mouth of the Dungeness.

(Port Angeles) -- Clallam County officials are still working how a department of community development will look with an elected director. Last fall, voters agreed to change the county charter to make the position elected. The measure also lined out some duties for the director. County administrator Dan Engelbertsen says the requirements mean moving some of the health duties now under community development to a different department. But there are some gray areas. And at least one county commissioner thinks there could be political issues could complicate certain planning operations. Mike Chapman says the state requires the commissioners to name the Planning Commission. The DCD has traditionally provided the staff for the group. Chapman says an elected DCD head could choose to do otherwise. Officials are also still trying to decide what the director will make. Elected officials usually make less than appointed department heads. The county hopes to have all the change in place by July. The position will be on the ballot this fall.


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