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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Contact:
Allison Osterberg, Senior Planner at (360) 754-3355 x 7011 or osterba@co.thurston.wa.us

Thurston Commissioners Consider Low-Impact Development Standards to Protect Water Quality
Public urged to comment on stormwater management changes prompted by state-required review

OLYMPIA - The Thurston County Board of Commissioners will host a public hearing for residents to weigh in on proposed updates to the county's development code that support low impact development practices. The Board will also hear comments on proposed changes to the county's Drainage Design and Erosion Control Manual. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 280 of Building One of the County Courthouse.

The changes under consideration would affect all new construction in the county. Code changes include revisions to standards for parking, landscaping, impervious surfaces, setbacks, open space, clearing and grading. The Drainage Manual provides technical guidance and criteria for the design of stormwater management and is being updated to be equivalent to the 2012 Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington. This code review and manual update are required by the state Department of Ecology under the county's stormwater permit. The cities of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater are undergoing a similar review process, and their revised codes will be the basis for proposed changes to those Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) that will be reviewed later this fall at a separate hearing.

Low impact development practices include preserving trees and other vegetation already on a site, minimizing new impervious surfaces like concrete and asphalt, and using permeable pavements and rain gardens to allow rain to infiltrate into the ground on site. This approach to development slows soil erosion and reduces the amount of pollution that flows off of a developed site after it rains.

Without such measures, stormwater runoff carries debris and toxins into local waters faster than the ground can absorb them. This rapid runoff degrades water quality and causes impacts to aquatic life, including salmon and other species. The goal of this code update is to minimize the impact of new construction on water resources and improve water quality in local streams, lakes, and Puget Sound.

To read a draft of the proposed code revisions and learn more about LID, visit theWater Resources Page.

Public Hearing

The Thurston County Courthouse is located at 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia, WA 98502.

You may provide comments in person during the meeting, or submit them in writing through email to osterba@co.thurston.wa.us, or by regular mail to Allison Osterberg, Resource Stewardship Department, Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1 2nd Floor, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, Washington, 98502. All emailed or mailed comments must be received by September 27, 2016, at 4:00 P.M. to the staff contact listed above, or provided at the public hearing.

If you need special accommodations to participate in this meeting, please contact the county commissioners' office at 360-786-5440. Citizens with hearing impairments may call the TDD line at (360) 754-2933.

If you have questions about this proposed changes, you may contact Allison Osterberg, Senior Planner in Thurston County's Resource Stewardship Department at (360) 754-3355 x7011 or osterba@co.thurston.wa.us.



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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3