Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Critical Areas Ordinance Public Workshop with Planning Commission and Department of Ecology

Following our comment is a press release from the Jefferson County Department of Community Development.

The reports referenced in the press release were actually submitted on May 2, 2007, not last week. The press release also implies equal weighting between the majority reports (which were adopted by substantial majority vote) and the minority reports.

The Department of Ecology will present their information, and take questions from the Planning Commission. While Ecology's representatives do not intend to engage with the public, anyone may submit questions through the Department of Community Development. Those questions will be then provided to the Planning Commission chairman, who will ask these questions on the public's behalf.

As of this morning, Tuesday May 30, DCD will also make these questions available to the Department of Ecology's representatives prior to the workshop.

The "questions that have arisen from the subcommittee meetings" refers to the work of Dr. Kenneth Brooks, whose review of Ecology's best available science (BAS) found that the science in Ecology's recommendations for wetlands buffers is incomplete as it pertains to conditions in Jefferson County. After their comments on his findings, Dr. Brooks' further review found additional concerns with Ecology's work. Although repeated requests have been made for this workshop to be centered around a discussion between the Department of Ecology's scientists and Dr. Brooks, so that the Planning Commission can have the benefit of an open and frank discussion between contrasting scientists, that opportunity has not materialized.

For Immediate Release — May 24, 2007

Contact: Al Scalf
Director, Department of Community Development
Jefferson County
(360) 379-4450 or ascalf@co.jefferson.wa.us

Critical Areas Ordinance Public Workshop with Planning Commission and Department of Ecology

Port Townsend, WA
—The Jefferson County Planning Commission will hold a special public meeting on Wednesday, May 30, 2007, at 6:30 p.m. at the WSU Learning Center, Shold Business Park, located at 201 West Patison, Port Hadlock. A workshop will be held with representatives from the Department of Ecology who will present information regarding wetlands and best available science (BAS) related to the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO).

“This workshop is an opportunity for the Planning Commission to ask questions of Ecology so they can better understand the complex issues of the CAO,” said Al Scalf, Director of the Department of Community Development. “A discussion about wetland Best Available Science will help clarify questions that have arisen from the subcommittee meetings held weekly over the past nine months.”

Anyone having a question on wetlands and BAS may submit their question to DCD prior to the Planning Commission meeting. These questions will be forwarded to the Planning Commission Chair, who will be facilitating the meeting on May 30.

Twenty reports were submitted to the Planning Commission from the CAO subcommittee last week. The Planning Commission will utilize the reports for policy direction in the drafting of a new CAO code.

It’s anticipated that the CAO draft will be completed in the first few weeks of July, with a public hearing to be scheduled with the Planning Commission later that month. The Planning Commission will then make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners in late August. A decision of the BOCC on a CAO is expected by October 18, 2007.

The CAO reports that are currently being reviewed by the Planning Commission are available to the public at either the Jefferson County Library, the Port Townsend Public Library or at the office of the Department of Community Development.

For further information or submitting possible questions, contact Long-Range Planning at the Department of Community Development, 621 Sheridan St, Port Townsend, WA 98368, (360) 379-4450, or planning@co.jefferson.wa.us.


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