State considers county compliance efforts

By seeking compliance with a state growth law, Clallam County garnered additional legal challenges.

During a Jan. 12 Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board meeting in Sequim, Clallam County planners argued they had reached compliance with state law by amending its land-use rules in areas adjudged out of sync with the Growth Management Act.

Two growth-conscious

groups, whose appeals resulted in the county's land being deemed noncompliant, reported to the three-member growth board that the county hadn't quite reached compliance in their eyes.

"We acknowledge the substantial work the county has done and we believe it has reached compliance in some areas," said Robert Beattey, attorney for Seattle-based growth watchdog Futurewise.

"But we still have technical issues with six (limited areas of more intense rural development)."

James McNamara, presiding officer of the growth board, said the board's decision likely would come after about a month's review.

For landowners in the contested areas, the decision could mean a drastic change in the worth of their land based on whether they are allowed to be included in the more intensely developed areas.


A "limited area of more intense rural development" is land the county identifies as being able to support more uses than rural land but not as much as urban areas.

State guidelines prohibit a LAMIRD, as it is called, from having growth beyond what was evident in 1990.

Clallam County initially identified 40 LAMIRDs, including SunLand. Twenty of them were found noncompliant and subsequently were amended by the county.

In the Sequim area, Futurewise and its partner in the challenge, the Port Angeles-based Dry Creek Coalition, dispute the size and scale of LAMIRDs at Dungeness Village and at Dryke Road along U.S. Highway 101.

The Dry Creek Coalition also is filing an entirely new appeal based on the changes.

"The county added language that allows land uses from prior to 1990 as a qualifier for a LAMIRD boundary," said Dry Creek attorney Gerald Steel.

"There are a lot of areas people made a log pile in the 1800s; we don't think that qualifies the land to be a commercial development LAMIRD."

Clallam planners stand by their amendments, stating they are within the growth board's ruling.

"The original (growth board) language allowed for vestiges of pre-existing commercial uses to be considered as 'built environment' and as a qualifier for use in the logical outer boundary," said Douglas Jensen, Clallam County civil deputy prosecuting attorney.


As for Blyn, Futurewise believes the county has reached compliance by creating a LAMIRD north of the highway and rezoning land south of the highway as rural residential.

The Blyn changes, however, were not enough for Steel.

"We want to see specific height, size and scale guidelines in the Blyn area, as well as the other LAMIRDs, to make sure land uses greater than what was seen in 1990 are not allowed," he said.

"The thrust of a LAMIRD is to make sure prior nonrural uses do not become urbanized development."

Depending on the state growth board's decision, the county's LAMIRDs may become compliant or may face additional changes to size and scope.

No decision will be made on the county's efforts to bring certain rural lands and the Carlsborg growth area into compliance. These issues received a deadline extension so staff can work on those areas.

The county and the Clallam County Public Utility District are working on a sewer plan to bring Carlsborg into compliance. The county hired a consultant to review its options for rezoning noncompliant rural lands.

Reach Evan McLean at

LAMIRD locations

Limited Areas of More Intense Rural Development that are being challenged after recent revisions by Clallam County include:


_ Dungeness Village LAMIRD

_ Dryke-Sherbourne LAMIRD

_ East, west Laird's Corner LAMIRD

_ Deer Park LAMIRD

_ Lake Farm LAMIRD

_ Bogachiel Bridge LAMIRD

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