Join FOCC for a game of Jeopardy as part of Give More 24!–an exciting 24 hours of giving all across Southwest Washington. Watch on Zoom and laugh along as local celebrities compete to see who knows the most about our county. More details to come!
August 21 25th Anniversary Membership Picnic
Everyone here at FOCC is excited to announce that this year marks our 25th anniversary! We are excited to have members, both old and new, join us in person on August 21st outside at Coyote Ridge Ranch to celebrate this exciting milestone. We will commemorate the great work that has been done in Clark County, honor the people that have made it happen, and discuss what we have left to accomplish. Look out for more information coming soon on Friends of Clark County’s social media pages and in our August Newsletter.
June 29th 10:00 County council hearing continuance on Buildable Lands will be open for public comment.
The Clark County Council hearing continuance on Buildable Lands will be open for public comment in order to consider recommendations from the Buildable Lands Project Advisory Committee and other interested stakeholders to update the Vacant Buildable Lands Model (VBLM.) This tool is used to estimate land capacity in Clark County.
The Tuesday, June 29 hearing begins at 10am. This is a continuation of the Tuesday, June 15 hearing and can be viewed at www.cvtv.org. Meeting materials for both hearings can be found on the Council’s meeting page at https://clark.wa.gov/councilors/clark-county-council-meetings.
Meetings are closed to the public until further notice, but the council encourages participation in the following ways:
Watch it live on CVTV (Comcast channel 23) or livestream at www.cvtv.org
Listen to audio only by calling: 1-408-418-9388 and entering the access code, which will be posted one week prior to the meeting. Please consult the County Council’s webpage at https://www.clark.wa.gov/council-meetings
Register to give verbal testimony by sending an email to Rebecca.email@example.com and indicate the meeting date and topic you wish to address. Please see these instructions and use the link and access code provided next to that meeting date.
Dirt Dump Superior Court Appeal Tossed
Congratulations to our South Ridgefield neighbors for their win in Superior Court! As you will recall the county let a grading permit advance without any mitigation or conditions – their assumption being that 533,000 cubic yards of fill material would not have an environmental or traffic impact when placed on a steep slope within a geohazard and Shoreline area of Whipple Creek – wrong. The Hearings Examiner reversed his decision and ordered a traffic study along the entire haul route as a condition of the grading permit.
Cano-Glavin attorneys appealed that decision to Superior Court but improperly served the county by failing to deliver their notice of appeal on time and in person. Judge Gonzales decided in favor of the neighbors and dismissed the case! The appellant group had two motions for dismissal before the Judge (improper service to the county and the appeal of a SEPA determination must be linked to a governmental action, which theirs was not). Judge Gonzales granted the motion for dismissal on the improper service to the county rendering the other motion moot.
If NCNG, LLC (Cano-Glavin) chooses to go forward with their dirt dump, then they must adhere to the Hearings Examiner’s reconsideration decision. Under that decision, technically, Cano-Glavin could get the grading permit but they would need to comply with the Hearing Examiner’s mitigation requirements, including a transportation study, identification of haul routes, and repair requirements.
There are a number of steps that Cano-Glavin could take next and the South Ridgefield Neighbors remain on alert.
Setting Growth Boundaries without Sprawling
Clark County Council is deliberating on an updated Vacant Buildable Land Model (VBLM). This is a first step in updating the county’s 2016 comprehensive plan. The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires there be an analysis and projection of land needed to meet a 20-year supply of developable land that can be used to model projected growth, VBLM.
While this analysis does not set urban growth boundaries, it is the basis for determining how much land is needed and ultimately informs growth boundaries. It is important to make sure the VBLM accurately reflects historic trends, accounts for lands that will likely not develop, and for the actual development densities that cities have achieved. Recent legislative revisions now make it a requirement for the county and cities to show their work and develop a model that is data driven.
If the model does not provide enough land, the growth boundaries can be expanded later. If the model brings in too much land, it does not retract to account for the difference. Rather by expanding too much, we risk – losing critical farm and forest lands, impacting water quality and wildlife, shrinking the rural landscape, and paying for costly infrastructure – roads, schools, water, etc. The public foots the bill or suffers with inadequate public services.
It is important to adopt an accurate Vacant Buildable Lands Model.
Right now there is cause for alarm as it appears the development industry are high-jacking what had been a thoughtful process. At the County Council public hearing (scroll to 6/15 meeting: https://clark.wa.gov/councilors/clark-county-council-meetings) the building industry presented three options, not supported by data as both staff and the VBLM Advisory Committee have concluded, that could bring in more acres than needed. Turning a blind eye to the Advisory Committee’s recommendation, council chair has directed staff to just find the data to support the building industry.
the past VBLM has consistently over estimated the number of acres needed and not accounted for lands held in Urban Holdings (land set aside till funds for necessary roads could be secured) and;
actual density development levels that are documented are not being taken into account e.g., the City of Vancouver is building at a much higher density and will continue to do so.
Councilor Medvegy raised questions about whether public testimony that raised compliance concerns about the proposed VBLM options proposed by the Building Industry Association could be considered evidence and leave the County vulnerable to an appeal. The Council will consult their attorney and at this time it is uncertain whether the public will have access to that information. The public hearing has been continued to June 29th at 10:00 – link to the announcement is herePlease let the Council know that Clark County needs an accurate Vacant Buildable Lands Model that does not promote sprawl that we cannot afford.
You can provide public comment in person and/or in writing. Instructions are in the meeting notice here
Strengthening Affordable and Equitable Housing
WA House Bill 1220 updates the GMA housing goal to strengthen the development of comprehensive plans and development regulations directing local jurisdictions to plan for and accommodate, rather than just encourage the availability of, affordable housing.It requires the Commerce Department to provide the inventory and analysis of existing and projected housing needs that identifies the number of housing units necessary to manage projected growth as required in the housing element of the comprehensive plan, including units for moderate, low, very low, and extremely low-income households as well as emergency housing, emergency shelters, and permanent supportive housing.
Jurisdictions now must:
identify sufficient land and zoning capacities for housing including moderate, low, very low, and extremely low-income households; emergency housing, emergency shelters, and permanent supportive housing; and, consideration of duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes within the UGA boundary;
when making provisions for existing and projected needs of all economic segments of the community:
incorporate special consideration for low, very low, extremely low, and moderate-income households;
document programs and actions needed to achieve housing availability, including gaps in local funding, barriers such as development regulations, and other limitations;
consider housing locations in relation to employment location; and
consider the role of accessory dwelling units in meeting housing needs;
identify local policies and regulations that result in racially disparate impacts, displacement, and exclusion in housing;
identify and implement policies and regulations to address and begin to undo racially disparate impacts, displacement, and exclusion in housing;
identify areas at higher risk of displacement from market forces that occur with changes to zoning development regulations and capital investments; and
establish anti-displacement policies, with consideration given to the preservation of historical and cultural communities as well as investments in low, very low, extremely low, and moderate-income housing; equitable development initiatives; inclusionary zoning; community planning requirements; tenant protections; land disposition policies; and consideration of land that may be used for affordable housing.
All good news. There will be opportunities in Clark County to advocate for these changes locally. FOCC will keep you posted.
Clark County’s Housing Option Study and Action Plan Advisory Group has proposed five objectives that they will use as a framework to help guide the development of strategies/recommendations to meet housing needs in the unincorporated area within the city of Vancouver’s growth boundary. The objectives include:
Encourage housing development that meets the needs of middle-income households who are not being served in the current housing market.
Develop strategies to support the development of housing that is affordable to low, very low, and extremely low-income households.
Encourage diversity in housing types and tenure (rental/ownership), including expanding middle housing options and increasing multifamily feasibility.
Encourage the creation of a broad range of housing sizes to match the needs of all types of households (families, singles, students, older adults, disabled, or other unique population groups), with a focus on 1-2 person households not being served in the current housing market.
Guide development of diverse housing options to areas with access to transportation corridors and transit, commercial services, schools and parks, and conversely, support development of those same amenities in areas where more housing is added.
Planning for affordable and diverse housing needs can help meet a growing and critical need in our community. It is also timely in preparation for the update of the 2016 Comprehensive Plan and hopefully meet the new requirements of House Bill 1220 passed by the Legislature to address inequities and the needs of low, very low, and extremely low income householdsTo learn more and participate in meetings and hearings, check out the information on the county’s website.
Guest Column – Dick Leeuwenburg, North County Voices Yacolt Mountain Quarry Concerns Raised by Neighbors
The East Fork Community Coalition (EFCC) has concerns about the proposed expansion of the Yacolt Mountain Quarry (YMQ). The EFCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit group that was founded by citizens living in proximity to the YMQ. To be clear, we are not opposed to mining or development. Many of us use the products of local quarries. Our concerns relate to this particular quarry and its operation. We want the industry and the local residents to be able to co-exist but that will require changes in the way the quarry operates and a County willing to protect the rights and privileges of citizens as well as promote the interests of commercial organizations.
There are over 7,000 people living within 2 miles of the YMQ. Many of them were concerned with the permitting of the YMQ in 2002 and the impact the quarry would have on their lives as well as the East Fork of the Lewis River. Many of the concerns voiced in 2002 have been realized and the proposed expansion has the potential to increase the negative impact of the YMQ on the citizens in the area and on the environment. The County’s failure to enforce the provisions of the existing Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and relevant County Codes and State Laws only increases concerns about expansion of the quarry and the rigor with which the County will review and oversee the proposed expansion.
The County needs to hear from the citizens of Clark County that ensuring a proper balance between the needs of industry and the ability of citizens to enjoy their homes should be given a high priority. The County also needs to hear that its citizens expect it to enforce laws and regulations on the politically powerful as well as ordinary citizens.www.eastforkcommunitycoalition.org Follow us on FacebookExpress your concerns by emailing the Hearings Examiner. Address the email: “Richard Daviau and Hearing Examiner”, Subject: ‘Yacolt Mountain Quarry Expansion PAC-2021-000048″. If you are a Clark County resident, please include your name and address.
You may also want to copy your County Councilors firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Inside the Yacolt Quarry photo courtesy of EFCC
Clark County Council Public Participation, in the age of Covid
Since the start of the pandemic, in-person meetings have been replaced with remote meetings. Public participation and/or ability to ‘attend’ these meetings has varied but is improving. Some key meetings and how to participate: County Council meetings
The county Council meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, at 10 am (1st Tuesday) and 6 pm (3rd Tuesday) of the month. They can be watched live on CVTV, where the meetings are also archived for later viewing. Also available by phone and Webex.
You can submit written public comment, which will be read until the reader gets to 3 minutes if it applies to Consent and separate business items. Open Public comment received in writing is provided to the council and posted, but not read aloud. We recommend that you provide comment in writing for the record AND show up and provide oral comment when at all possible.
Oral Public comment is limited to 3 minutes. If you provide written and it is read by staff, know that they are doing their best, but they don’t know your material, don’t have your passion, and likely won’t get as much in 3 minutes as you would.
Wednesdays at 10. Check the weekly calendar here to make sure one is scheduled, and to see what, if any, work sessions are scheduled.
Live – Audio only, no CVTV or Webex available to the public. Note that the posted replay of the meeting does include the Webex video.
Public Comment is not allowed. The BIA has gotten around this by providing written and public comment on a work session topic at the preceding Council Meeting. Interesting tactic.
These are frequently followed by executive sessions, occasionally the council comes back after to vote on a decision needed. Since the timing is an estimate and the public can’t weigh in anyway, it is easier, if you really want to hear what happened, to watch it after the meeting Webex is posted.
Materials should be posted on the county website although I have had to ask for materials for some meetings.
FRIENDS OF CLARK COUNTY VISION
We envision a flourishing Clark County thriving with local farms, healthy forests, clean water, protected wildlife habitats and neighborhoods that are vibrant and diverse with parks and natural areas accessible to all.