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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, July 12, 2013
Jeremy Davis, Senior Planner at (360) 754-3355 x 7010

Public Hearing on Changes to Critical Areas Ordinance July 17

The Thurston County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, July 17 on proposed changes to the Thurston County Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO). The majority of the proposed amendments center on refining portions of Chapter 17.15 and Title 24 of the Thurston County Code.

The public is invited to participate in informed discussion, and public comment will be accepted at Wednesday's hearing. The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 152 of Building One at the county courthouse. The sign-up sheet for those who wish to make public comments will be available when the doors open at 6 p.m. For those unable to attend the hearing to testify, written comments will be accepted up to the close of the public hearing on Wednesday.

In July 2012, the Thurston County Board of Commissioners approved a comprehensive update to the county's critical areas regulations. Since then, county staff have been reviewing the implementation of the new regulations to identify areas that need better definition or refinement, as well as working with the Thurston County Farm Bureau and Washington State Farm Bureau on changes to parts of the ordinance that deal with agricultural activities.

Some of the proposed changes include:
  • Amending Chapter 17.15 of the Thurston County Code (TCC) to change references to agricultural uses and lands to agricultural activities, adding regulations governing single-family residences related to agricultural activities identical to previous regulations in Chapter 17.15 TCC, and amending references to Chapter 17.15 in all sections of the TCC to change the name from the Agricultural Uses and Lands CAO to the Agricultural Activities CAO.

  • Amending the Critical Area Review Permit regulations in Title 24 of the Thurston County Code to allow the review to be combined with other reviews.

  • Changes to Title 24 of the Thurston County Code to clarify issues and questions that have arisen in the implementation of the new regulations, including landslide hazard areas, flood regulations, existing lots and nonconforming uses, and replacing manufactured homes.

To read the full text of the proposed amendments, go to www.ThurstonPlanning.org and click on "Critical Areas Update." From the Critical Areas webpage, click on the staff report link to open the full text of the proposed amendments. The Critical Areas webpage also has a link to sign up to receive email updates on this and other Planning Department topics.

The Thurston County Planning Commission will review the proposed amendments and consider the public's comments before making recommendations to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners. County commissioners will then hold a separate public hearing on the proposed changes and the planning commission's recommendations at a later date. Comments received after the close of Wednesday's public hearing will be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for their review of the proposed amendments.

Please send written comments to Jeremy Davis, Senior Planner at DavisJ@co.thurston.wa.us, or mail them to Thurston County Planning Department, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, WA 98502.

WHAT: Planning Commission Public Hearing on Critical Areas Updates

Wednesday, July 17 - doors open at 6 p.m., hearing begins at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Room 152, Building One of County Courthouse at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW in Olympia



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3