State Board Largely Backs County Growth Plan

Rural-landowners group sees appeal dismissed; environmental groups declare victory

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State board largely backs county growth plan
(Clark County is rapidly growing in places such as the Interstate 5/Northeast 179th interchange. On Thursday, a battle over how the county will grow was settled, for now.)

A state land-use board on Thursday issued its long-awaited decision about appeals to Clark County’s Comprehensive Growth Management Plan. Though it will take some time to analyze the complex ruling in depth, a rural-landowners group saw its challenges against the plan dismissed while environmental groups declared victory.

The county’s comprehensive plan is a document required by the Growth Management Act and is meant to guide growth in the county for the next 20 years. After it was passed by the county council last summer, it quickly drew challenges from two different angles.

Local environmental group Friends of Clark County was joined by Seattle-based Futurewise in its appeal, alleging that the county plan contained 12 violations of state law, including improperly expanding urban growth areas, removing agricultural land, failing to properly fund a transportation plan and contributing to sprawl by shrinking minimum lot sizes for agricultural and forest land. The two groups also challenged a move by the county to establish an industrial land-use bank on the Lagler Dairy property along Northeast 117th Avenue in Brush Prairie.

Clark County Citizens United, a landowners group, appealed the plan from a different angle. The group alleged that the county essentially discriminated against rural landowners. Their appeal claimed that the county violated public participation processes that excluded rural and resource landowners, low-balled its population projection and put unlawful limits on the acres of rural land available for development.

On Thursday, the Growth Management Hearings Board, a quasi-judicial panel that adjudicates charges that local jurisdictions aren’t complying with the Growth Management Act, issued its long-awaited order on Clark County’s comprehensive plan.

“The (board members) concluded Clark County did not err in its public participation process, private property rights procedures, population projections, remainder parcels claims, transportation or capital facilities or environmental claims,” reads the synopsis of its 101-page decision.

The decision appeared to dismiss virtually every challenge made by CCCU, describing the group’s arguments over the alleged lack of public participation as “torturous” and “difficult to follow.”

CCCU did not respond to a request for comment after the appeal was released Thursday afternoon.

However, the decision appears to give FOCC and Futurewise a partial victory. It states that the county violated the Growth Management Act by allowing development outside of the current urban growth area and permitting La Center, Battle Ground and Ridgefield to expand their urban growth areas. The decision also found the county violated state law by reducing the minimum lot size of agricultural lots from 20 acres to 10 acres, and of forest lots from 40 acres to 20 acres, and erred in creating the rural industrial land bank. The rural land bank would allow the dairy, which is located along a state highway but far from city limits, to be redeveloped for industrial uses.

“We are very pleased with the decision,” Tim Trohimovich, Futurewise director of planning and law, wrote in an email. “It will help protect working farms, working forests, and taxpayers from overdevelopment.”

The order sends the plan back to the county for revisions, which are due in the fall.

Clark County Council Chair Marc Boldt told The Columbian that Deputy Prosecutor Christine Cook would evaluate the decision over the next few days.

The parties have the right to appeal the hearings board’s decision in the courts.

Job: Communications/Membership Manager

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT

COMMUNICATION/MEMBERSHIP MANAGER

Friends of Clark County is seeking a part-time Communications/Membership Manager to work with the Board of Directors in the development and implementation of organizational systems for public awareness, engagement and membership strategies.

Reports to: Friends of Clark County Board of Directors

Salary:  $20.00/hour up to 20 hours per week but may vary.

BACKGROUND

Friends of Clark County is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established in 1996.  Friends’ mission is to make Clark County an even better place to live, work and raise a family through conservation, advocacy and education.  We have operated for many years as a predominantly an all volunteer organization with a primary focus on local implementation and compliance with the state Growth Management Act.

Friends is seeking a part-time employee who will assist the Board of Directors with organizational communications, social media, community outreach and database management.  You will work closely with the Board of Directors to develop and implement a strategic communications plan and outreach efforts that engage the public and key audiences in understanding and promoting responsible growth in Clark County. The Friends are particularly interested in preservation of local agriculture, compliance with the state Growth Management Act and assuring equitable solutions and involvement.

An important goal for this work will be development of tools and strategies that can be sustained by our organization over the long haul.

SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITY

Primary objectives of this position:

  • Expand FOCC social, traditional media presence and public awareness of responsible growth in Clark County.
  • Develop and implement diverse community outreach and engagement including potential collaborations with WSUV and Clark College to better engage a younger demographic.
  • Help to convene diverse community leaders to find common ground collective impact strategies.
  • Expand membership in FOCC.
  • Database management and assist with fundraising efforts.

QUALIFICATIONS

Ideally, you are a highly motivated and mission driven individual with prior experience in communications and/or public relations tied to policy issues. We are looking for someone who enjoys working with diverse people and organizations to get things done. The right candidate will be a consummate collaborator and a good listener. Experience and understanding of the Growth Management Act, farmland preservation strategies and Clark County government political process is a plus.

SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

  • Strong communications skills, both written and verbal
  • Experience developing and executing a comprehensive Media and Communications plan and a Outreach and Engagement Plan
  • Track record of identifying and developing earned media opportunities and developing press relationships
  • Social media organizing experience
  • Experience with development of culturally appropriate outreach materials for target audiences
  • Respect for economic and cultural diversity and experience working with diverse groups of people
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills with an ability to mobilize people toward positive ends
  • Demonstrated self-motivation and initiative
  • Ability to work cooperatively in a team environment
  • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and database management and a willingness to develop additional skills as needed.
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule including some evenings and weekends
  • Experience working in a non-profit setting with a mission-driven board.

TO APPLY

The position will be open until April 14, 2017 or until an adequate number of applications have been received.

Please submit a cover letter, resume and three references via email to  info@friendsfoclarkcounty.org with subject line – JOB APPLICATION.

FOCC is an equal opportunity employer.  Women, people of color, people with disabilities and LGBTQ candidates are encouraged to apply.

Do You Support Farming in Clark County?

Do you support farming in Clark County?

Let the Clark County Council hear from you!

The Clark County Council is holding their annual planning retreat February 16th. Let them know you feel farming is a priority they should be planning for. Show your support for the “Conserve Long-term Commercially Viable Farms in Clark County – 2017 Winter Request”.

https://www.clark.wa.gov/councilors/write-councilor

Conserve Long-term Commercially Viable Farms in Clark County – 2017 Winter Requests:

Dedicate a Council Work Session to review the 2008 Agriculture Preservation Strategies Report, to identify success stories from its recommendations and identify opportunities for implementation. The Clark County Food System Council can put together a panel of local and regional experts for this work session.

Appoint an Agricultural Commission to work with citizens, agricultural producers and public officials to conserve and support long-term economically viable farms in Clark County (Recommended in 2008 Agriculture Preservation Strategies Report).

The 2008 Agriculture Preservation Strategies Report was developed by the Board of Clark County Commissioners to recommend the most effective short- and long-term actions to protect the opportunity to pursue and enhance commercial and non-commercial agriculture in the county. The 2012 County Council shelved the Agriculture Preservation Strategies Report and choose to let a small group of large landowners guide development of the rural areas of Clark County.

What can I do?

1. Offer comment at the next two County Council meetings in support of “Conserve Long-term Commercially Viable Farms in Clark County – 2017 Winter Request”. 2/7 6pm or 2/14 10am.

2. Have your farm, business, or organization sign the “Conserving long-term commercially viable farms in Clark County – 2017 Winter Request”

3. Email comment advocating the County Council support the “Conserve Long-term Commercially Viable Farms in Clark County – 2017 Winter Request”
https://www.clark.wa.gov/councilors/write-councilor

Why support FARMS?

Clark County farms support the local economy
· Local farms employ more than 4,000 people. Preserving agriculture land provides economic opportunity for new farmers and allows for existing farms to expand, keeping these jobs local.
· Supporting local farms keeps our money circulating locally.
· Locally produced food travels shorter distances, reducing transportation costs and carbon footprint while maintaining food quality.
· Privately-owned and managed agriculture land generates more local tax revenues than it costs in services.

Local food is healthy for people and for land
· Good farming practices can help preserve clean water and healthy soil.
· Encouraging the production, distribution, and procurement of food from local farms increases the availability to and consumption of locally produced foods for our community.
· Maintaining the potential to grow more of our own food helps make us resilient in the event of major emergencies.
· Local food has a lower risk of causing food-borne illnesses because it spends less time in transit, doesn’t change hands as often and is more apt to be processed in small batches.

The rural character of farm land enhances the quality of life
· A high quality of life is attractive to employers wanting to locate in Clark County.
· Agricultural land provides habitat for wildlife and allows natural water filtration.
· Food grown closer to consumers uses less fossil fuels which contribute to pollution, greenhouse gases and emissions, extreme heat days, flooding, drought, deteriorating air quality, and other impacts to human health.

Questions or feedback contact:
360-771-1296
info@slowfoodswwa.com

Growth Management Hearing: Wed 2/8

Growth Management Hearing, Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 9 AM

Friends of Clark County has joined with Futurewise to appeal the decision by the Clark County Council to expand homebuilding in rural Clark County. The hearing will be before the Growth Management Hearings Board on Wednesday, February 8th at 9 AM, in the Public Service Center hearing room on the 6th floor, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver, WA. In their recent update of the Comprehensive Plan for Clark County the councilors voted to reduce minimum lot sizes from 20 acres to 10 acres, 10 acres to 5 acres in many areas in the rural areas. Friends of Clark County is concerned that much farmland will be lost to homesites on large lots that are in violation of the Growth Management Act. Also appealing are Clark County Citizens United, who wants more building in rural areas and and a few others. The hearing will run into the afternoon, most likely.

We encourage your attendance to learn about how this will affect all Clark County citizens.

Growing Our Future 2017 Food Summit: Fri 2/10

Growing Our Future: The 2017 Food Summit

Friday, February 10, 2017 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Join Clark College and members of the community as we explore Ideas for a potential Ecology and Agronomy program and how its STEM and Career and Technical Education can provide the training needed for a vibrant local food ecosystem.

Cost: $10 per person (lunch included)

Register online at http://www.clark.edu/campus-life/arts-events/food-summit/

Clark College Columbia Tech Center
18700 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA

2017 Food Summit

Dick Dryland, FOCC Board Member, Receives Award

Congratulations to Friends of Clark County Board Member, Dick Dryland!

Dick received the Presidents’ Fishery Conservation Award from American Fisheries Society at its 2016 Annual Meeting. The Columbian Newspaper published an article of Dick’s achievement on September 1st.

Please join the Friends of Clark County in congratulating Dick and thanking him for his 20+ years of service to Clark County fish and habitat restoration efforts.

Dick-Award

Dick Dryland receiving his award at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting on August 24th.

To learn more information about Dick Dryland’s amazing efforts and accomplishments regarding fish, wildlife, and watershed restoration, read the Nomination letter.

Nomination of Richard Dyrland