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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Nancy Pritchett, Interim Senior Planner, 360-754-3355, ext. 6474

GMA Compliance Hearing to be Held

OLYMPIA – Thurston County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on October 30 regarding proposed changes to the county's Comprehensive Plan and development regulations.  The recommendations come after months of public meetings, study and deliberation.  They are in reaction to an earlier finding by the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board that some aspects of the county long range plan were out of compliance with state regulations.

The purpose of the hearing is to accept public comment on proposed amendments to the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan, Rochester Subarea Plan, zoning maps and associated zoning and development regulations. The proposed amendments relate to designating Limited Areas of More Intensive Rural Development (LAMIRDs), and amending policies for designating agricultural lands of long-term commercial significance. (It should be noted that another aspect of GMA compliance, rural rezoning, is still under review by the Thurston County Planning Commission and will have its own hearing at a later date.)

The proposed amendments include, but are not limited to, the following:

Thurston County Comprehensive Plan: Proposed new LAMIRD designations and criteria for these designations; revised criteria for designating agricultural lands of long term commercial significance; amendments to land use designations to be incorporated into Map M-15, Future Land Use, and land use map in the Rochester Subarea Plan.

Thurston County Zoning Code, Title 20: Addition of three new chapters with regulations for new Residential LAMIRD districts to comply with LAMIRD criteria; and revision to regulations and definitions associated with the new zoning districts.

Official Zoning Map of Thurston County , Washington .  Proposed rezoning of portions of the rural area to reflect new land use designations of Residential LAMIRD 1 unit per acre, Residential LAMIRD 1 unit per 2 acres, and Residential LAMIRD 2 units per acre; and rezoning of some areas to a density of 1 unit per 5 acres from higher density districts.

Staff reports and copies of the amendments, including draft map changes, are available at: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/GMA/index.htm

Information on the proposed changes is also available by contacting Interim Senior Planner Nancy Pritchett at (360) 754-3355 x 6474, or by visiting the Permit Assistance Center at Thurston County Development Services Department at the address shown below.

Written comments on the amendments may be mailed to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners, Attn: Nancy Pritchett, Thurston County Development Services Department, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW , Olympia , WA 98502 .  Written comments must be received by the close of the hearing on October 30, 2006.

The hearing will be held -

October 30, 2006, at 6:00 p.m. at the Thurston Expo Center, located at the Thurston County Fair Grounds, 3054 Carpenter Rd SE, Lacey, Washington.  An open house will precede the public hearing, beginning at 5:15 p.m., at the same location.  

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3