Thurston County Commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to add a dozen items to the list of proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments for 2017-18, more commonly known as the county docket.
“Each item on this list will go through its own individual analysis and public review before any final decision is made,” said Allison Osterberg, a senior planner for Thurston County.
The board received 48 written comments on the proposed land-use items, she said. Of those, 38 comments related to Lakeside Industries’ request to use recycled asphalt product at their plant in the Nisqually Valley.
In addition to the new comments, Lakeside resubmitted a packet of 68 comments that had been collected between 1992 and 2014, Osterberg said. A resident also resubmitted a 2014 comment on Lakeside, she added.
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Numerous people testified on the proposed docket items during public comment periods at Board of County Commissioners meetings during the past month.
On Tuesday, Thurston County resident Lee Rivera urged the commissioners to keep Lakeside Industries’ project off the docket, which would mean it couldn’t get an environmental review or move through the subarea plan amendment process.
She said she’s concerned the use of recycled asphalt would pollute the Nisqually Valley’s farmlands and water.
“Lakeside has what, 30 jobs?” she said. “We have the health and safety of the entire Nisqually Valley to think of.”
In the meantime, Lakeside officials say they are excited to finally land a spot on the docket. They’ve tried to get on the list for several years so that their proposal can get an environmental review.
“We just want to get the science and the facts out there we’ve been denied for all these years,” Lakeside division manager Dean Smith told The Olympian in March. “ … There are 2,500 asphalt plants in the United States, and they’re capable of recycling. And there’s one that’s not allowed — and that’s this one.”
The projects that made it onto the docket include:
1. An update to the county’s Comprehensive Plan. It will include a targeted review of the plan as well as goals, policies and development regulations related to land use, natural resource lands, housing, transportation, utilities, economic development and health. The project will include updates to the joint plans with the cities of Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, Yelm, Rainier, Tenino and Bucoda.
2 . Completion of a Habitat Conservation Plan that will describe how the county will implement land-use policies, programs and projects to ensure that threatened and endangered habitats and species such as the Mazama pocket gopher are protected in perpetuity. The document will describe how the county will avoid, minimize and mitigate the impacts through the activities it performs or regulates, such as land-use permits. Federal law allows building on the species’ habitat, which is known as a “take,” but it also requires that lost habitat be replaced.
3. An update to the Shoreline Master Program, to ensure its compliant with the state’s requirements.
4. An update to the Capital Facilities Plan, which is a six-year outline of capital projects for the county, with estimates, dates, costs and proposed methods of financing.
5. Development of policies related to the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP). Instead of enacting more rules on agricultural lands, the VSP allows the county to work with stakeholders to create voluntary, site-specific stewardship plans.
6. Review and update of the Nisqually Subarea Plan, which was adopted in 1992.
7. Updates to the Grand Mound Subarea Plan, which was developed the mid-1990s and updated in 2006. County officials say they’ll review existing development standards for consistency with recommendations in the Grand Mound 10-year Development Plan that was developed by the Chehalis Tribe in consultation with Thurston County and residents and business owners in the area.
The county could also rezone properties to be consistent with the revised land-use plan map and urban growth boundary.
8. Exploration of methods to protect agricultural lands and sensitive prairie and riparian habitats through the transfer of development rights. The county’s program allows working land owners to sell their development rights without having to sell their entire property for development.
9. Review the most effective elements of local cities’ tree ordinances and urban forest management programs to create policies for Urban Growth Areas.
10. A proposed change to the Nisqually Subarea Plan that would allow reprocessing or recycling of used pavement at a plant operated by Lakeside Industries.
11. An amendment and rezoning for a site at 9902 Yelm Highway SE, currently owned by Spooner Farms. The request would change a portion of the 5-acre site’s land use and zoning from McAllister Geologically Sensitive Area to Neighborhood Convenience Commercial.
12. A policy amendment to review the 100-acre project size for Planned Rural Residential Developments, or cluster developments, in rural areas of the county. The amendments relate to a 1,740-acre Tenino ranch property, according to county documents.