That doesn’t mean that Whatcom County will be taking a break, though, at least when it comes to de-planning. There’s a lot going on to hold your attention.
Take the Planning Commission (please!). It will be busy, busy, busy on Thursday, September 8 (agenda and links available here).
This meeting will be a classic.
First, Council Chair Sam Crawford added an item to the agenda, proposing to amend the Comprehensive Plan to provide less protection to the 100-year floodplain. This will allow more development on County floodplains – including the “more development” that Council Chair Sam Crawford proposed through an upzone that included floodplain and wetlands in the Birch Bay area.
As David Stalheim explained in an earlier blog, the Growth Management Hearings Board found that part of Chair Crawford’s previous upzone, from one unit per 10 acres to 1 unit per 5 acres, was inconsistent with Comprehensive Plan. Specifically, the Board found that it contradicted Goal 2K-1, which states “Discourage development in areas prone to flooding,” and Policy 2K-1, which states “limit land in one-hundred year floodplains to low-intensity uses such as open space corridors or agriculture.” The Board noted that “a doubling of the density encourages development in the floodplain.”
In response to the Board's order, Staff proposed to return the zoning of the property to 1 unit per 10 acres. Chair Crawford proposes, instead, to change the Comp Plan, so the policy limiting floodplain development would only apply to Nooksack River "flood areas." See here and here.
So, since the upzoning didn't meet the planning policy, change the policy. Whatcom County de-planning in action.
I'm just pleased to know that flooding no longer occurs anywhere in Whatcom County except in the Nooksack floodplain.
If this doesn't make sense to you, write or attend the meeting.
But that's not all. The big item on the agenda is Caitac.
Ah, Caitac. North of Bellingham, plans are afoot for a "tourist commercial" development and a residential upzone. After years of unsuccessful attempts to include the Caitac property in Bellingham's Urban Growth Area, the plan now is to build in the County, outside the UGA.
Read all about it, here.
Will that really happen? Does it make sense?
It's in your capable hands.