Thurston County will host an open house Saturday to begin the process of updating its land use plan for the Nisqually Valley.
The county adopted a plan for the Nisqually subarea in 1992 that established goals, policies, and zoning to guide land use. Now, 26 years later, the county is calling on community members to help determine what changes the plan needs.
The Nisqually subarea covers roughly 9,000 acres, including the Nisqually Indian Reservation, the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, and a portion of the Joint Base Lewis McChord military reservation. And since 1992, it has experienced transportation, land-use, population, and other changes — changes that sparked discussions of updating the current land-use plan.
Those changes have led to some disagreements already. The Nisqually tribe clashed with JBLM last year over HIMARS rocket testing on the military base. And Lakeside Industries has been trying to get permission to process asphalt in the valley for some years.
The Thurston County Community Planning & Economic Development Department is hosting the open house from 10 a.m to noon Saturday at the Nisqually Youth & Community Center gymnasium at 1937 Lashi St. SE.
“The purpose of the open house is to provide information to community members about the existing Nisqually Subarea Plan, collect feedback on the goals and vision in the existing plan, find out from residents if there are any issues not covered by the existing plan that they feel should be addressed, and inform community members about the process for updating the plan and how they can get involved,” said associate planner Celinda Adair.
Minimal changes have been made to the Nisqually land-use plan since its conception and Adair says the goal is to ensure the updated plan can effectively guide land-use activity to 2035 and beyond.
“Attendees will have the opportunity to share in writing or conversations with staff their vision for the future land-use in the Nisqually area,” Adair said. “They can also give staff feedback regarding the current plan and any changes to the subarea plan they would like to see or believe are needed.”
For those who can’t attend the open house, all of the information displayed will made available online at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/planning/nisqually/nisqually-sub-area-plan-update.htm and Adair ensures that there will be plenty of other opportunities to get involved.
“There will be multiple occasions throughout the planning process when the county will be seeking input from community members. These opportunities will be advertised and there will be a variety of avenues to provide feedback,” she said.