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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, August 27, 2009
Cynthia Wilson, Senior Planner, 360-786-5475
Jeremy Davis, Associate Planner, 360- 754-3355 ext. 7010

Hearings Set on Moratorium and Prairie Lands Regulations

​OLYMPIA – Thurston County Commissioners next month, will hold two public hearings; one on a development moratorium in the Maytown area, the second on regulation of prairie lands in the county.  The hearings will be held back to back on September 15th.

The first hearing is to accept public comment on the renewal of Ordinance No. 14046, commonly referred to as the Maytown Moratorium, which placed a moratorium temporarily prohibiting any new uses for the portions of Thurston County Assessors Parcel Numbers 12602300200 and 12602340100 zoned Rural Resource Industrial. Ordinance No. 14211 renewed the moratorium until October 15, 2009. The area under moratorium is generally located east of Tilley Road SE at Maytown Rd. SE . The renewal period is proposed to be six months. For more information on this ordinance, contact Associate Planner Jeremy Davis at 754-3355 ext. 7010 or via email davisj@co.thurston.wa.us 

The second hearing is to accept public comment on the Prairie Conservation Ordinance enacted as an interim regulation to help conserve south Puget Sound 's last remaining oak woodland habitats and native prairies. Approximately three percent of south Puget Sound 's original native prairies (estimated to be about 150,000 acres) now remain. The interim ordinance made the county's definition of prairies consistent with state and federal guidelines, requiring that persons seeking to develop areas that may contain prairies identify the location of  prairies, and, as necessary, develop Prairie Habitat Conservation plans to reduce development impacts to prairies.  Commissioners felt prompt action was necessary to prevent further degradation to this increasingly scarce resource.

Prairies used to extend throughout Thurston County from Rochester up to an area just south of Tacoma . Some of the south Puget Sound's most valuable remaining prairies are located in Thurston County . Prairie and oak habitats are home to endangered plants such as the golden paintbrush as well as threatened and endangered wildlife and insect species such as the Mazama pocket gopher, streaked horned lark and Taylor 's checkerspot butterfly.

These species as well as other prairie dependent species are found in only a small number of places in the world. In recent years, south Puget Sound prairies have become threatened due to development and the invasion of non-native plant species. A few of the larger prairies can be easily seen, such as the Mima Mounds and the Glacial Heritage Preserve, while others are scattered among forests, farms and houses.   For more information on the ordinance and on Thurston County prairies, contact Senior Planner Cynthia Wilson at 786-5475 or via email wilsonc@co.thurston.wa.us

Both hearings will be held on Tuesday, September 15, 2009, the first beginning at 5:30 P.M.  The location is Room 280, Building 1 of the Thurston County Courthouse Complex, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW , Olympia , WA 98502

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3