Rural zoning petition signature count gaining against Growth Management Hearing Board's decision to downsize properties

By Chris Cook - Forks Forum editor

October 2008

Forks, WA - The West End is a unique, rural section of Clallam County, a region with a significantly different makeup from the more urban cities and towns of east Clallam County.

That’s what over 300 petitioners are telling Clallam County Commissioners.

The commissioners are working on a response to a Western Washington Growth Management Hearing Board’s decision to significantly downzone a number of rural properties located in the West End.

The petition was circulated at a public hearing on the issue held by the Clallam County Planning Commission on Sept. 18 in Forks.

The hearing board is responding to a lawsuit filed by the Seattle-based Futurewise environmental-land use activist group. Futurewise, along with a group of residents who live in a community outside of Port Angeles complain in the suit that potential developments on the West End lands, along with lands in Blyn and other sections of Clallam County, would change the rural character of the areas.

The judgement is tied to the Growth Management Act of 1990, that put controls on land use in Washington state, and allowed for periodical updates of the law.

The commissioners are coming out to Forks and Sekiu on Wednesday, Oct. 15 for a public hearing following a public hearing held by the Clallam County Planning Commission on Thursday, Sept. 18 in Forks. The Sekiu meeting is at the Seiku Community Center, at 1:00 p.m., and the Forks meeting is at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conference Room, at 6:00 p.m.

Diane  Gaydeski and her husband Ken Gaydeski own a 5 acre land parcel located north of Forks that is being downzoned from two homes allowed to one, initiated the petition drive.

“? the petition is a unified voice to be heard from the West End to our Clallam County Commissioners, that the West End needs to be considered differently than the East End in their rural land zoning designations,” she said in an e-mail to the Forks Forum. “There is such a small percentage of land here in the West End that is owned by private property owners.  It is essentially one percent that was RW2, and is now zoned RW5. ”

She said Clallam County adopted a rural lands report of 2007 which gives all the numbers of parcels affected.

“We hope to provide evidence, in high numbers of signatures of affected and concerned taxpayers and voting constituents of the commissioners, that most folks in the West End are against their property rights being taken away,” Gaydeski said.
She said the petitioners are requesting that the zoning of the lands be “returned to their full value and use by their owners.” 
She said that “in the county’s original response to passage in 1990 of the Growth Management Act the county had carefully and purposely chosen to uphold the individuality of the various characters of rural lands when they supported various densities present back in 1990. ”

Close to 175 signatures have been collected, she said, with more expected. The petition is posted near the check-out counter at some businesses in Forks. Gaydeski said a number of the business owners are affected by the rural land downzoing.



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