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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Contact:
Jennifer Hayes, Senior Planner, 360-786-5477 for Rural Rezoning Project
Nancy Pritchett, Associate Planner, 360-754-3355x6474 for LAMIRD Project

Final County Workshop On Rural Rezoning to be held Thursday Night


​OLYMPIA – The last of four scheduled workshops on rural planning will be held tomorrow night at the Rainier Sportsman's Club in Rainier. This workshop is aimed at residents and property owners in the south/southeast area of Thurston County, including Yelm, Rainier, Tenino, Bucoda, and Bald Hills areas. However, any interested County citizen is invited to attend. 

About 550 people so far have participated in three previous workshops, held in other regions of Thurston County earlier this month. Senior Planner Jennifer Hayes says, "We've been getting a lot of great participation. People have learned about why the County has been ordered to consider some rezoning in the rural area. Most importantly, folks have been giving us ideas about how to prioritize the types of lands the county should study for rezoning." Ideas and input generated by the workshops will be shared with the Thurston County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.  Hayes says, "The concerns we're hearing from people, as well as their specific ideas about where to look at rezoning, will all be shared with the decision-makers on this issue. Once we've looked at all the input, it will be time to put together some rezone study area options." Planners hope to present the information to the Board of County Commissioners in late February. Later in the year, the County will hold formal public hearings on the proposals.

Planners will continue to work on state-mandated revisions to rural zoning throughout the year. In July 2005, the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board ruled 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 "Limited Areas of More Intensive Rural Development" (LAMIRDSs) if they meet specific criteria; otherwise they must be rezoned.

The County held two open houses on the project in December 2005. Questions and answers from those open houses will be posted on the Thurston County GMA Compliance website (http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/GMA/) soon.

Hayes says the workshops include an information session followed by facilitated small group work.  Anyone interested may attend the workshop, although people from the local area are especially encouraged to attend.

SOUTHEAST AREA WORKSHOP

  • 6:30 – 9:00 PM, Thursday, January 19th, Rainier Sportsman's Club, 404 Alaska St., Rainier, WA

For more information on the Rural Rezoning or LAMIRD projects, county residents can visit the county's web site at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/GMA/.  Those interested may also call Jennifer Hayes at 360-786-5477 for information about the Rural Rezoning project or Nancy Pritchett at 360-754-3355x6474 for information about the LAMIRD project.

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3