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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 12, 2006
 Jennifer Hayes, Senior Planner, 360-786-5477 for Rural Rezoning Project
Nancy Pritchett, Associate Planner, 360-754-3355x6474 for LAMIRD Project

Public Forums to be Held Regarding Rural Lands Proposals

OLYMPIA – The public has a chance to find out about revised plans for rural lands in Thurston County beginning June 16th.  A "virtual public forum" will be held from the 16th until June 20th with information on the Rural Rezone, Agricultural Lands and LAMIRDs (Limited Areas of More Intensive Rural Development) projects that the county has been working on for the past several months.   The virtual forum can be accessed through http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/GMA/index.htm.  It will include opportunities to submit public comment online. For folks who can't access online information, a "live" public forum will be held on June 19th in Tumwater. Capacity at that meeting will be limited.

Hundreds of county residents attended an earlier round of workshops on the issues and the proposals to be discussed at the forums include some changes prompted by those meetings.  Senior Planner Jennifer Hayes says, "We've taken people's comments to heart and tried to be as accommodating as we can, while still responding to the mandates we received from the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board."  The Board ruled last July that zoning in the rural parts of Thurston County did not provide enough variety of densities, which in other jurisdictions includes areas such as one housing unit per 10 acres or one per 20.  The Hearings Board also asked the planners to review rural areas that are denser than one housing unit per five acres and define them as LAMIRDs if they meet specific criteria; otherwise they must be rezoned.

The online forum beginning the 16th and the meeting on the 19th will give residents several ways to get information and to comment on possible rural lands changes, including-

  • Reading or hearing a brief presentation on the issues.
  • Viewing maps to see how their property might be affected by proposed new zoning densities.
  • Visiting topical information stations where people can learn more about specific changes.
  • Links to the draft new zoning codes that may affect their property.
  • Submitting comments on various topics covered by the proposed changes.

The same information will be available online as will be at the meeting on the 19th.  The 19th will have an opportunity to ask questions of staff.

After the forums, a draft version of the proposals will be issued.  A formal public hearing will be held on August 3rd.

The virtual public forum on rural lands runs from June 16th through June 20th.  The June 19th "live" rural lands forum will begin at 6:30 and last until 8:30.  Capacity will be limited. It will be held at the Labor and Industries Building at 7273 Linderson Way SW in Tumwater.

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3