code development process
County is currently developing a proposal to amend provisions in our land
use code that affect property purchases for environmental conservation
and restoration. We understand foresters and farmers feel pressure from
habitat acquisitions that also include resource lands, and conservation
groups are constrained by regulations that force them to purchase more
resource land than theyd prefer.
PDS has encountered situations where the owner of a parcel wishes to sell
a portion of his property for conservation or restoration, but faces several
barriers to completing a transaction that would sufficiently compensate
the property owner. For example:
- The property owner does
not want to sell a conservation easement because the price offered for
an easement is lower than that for a purchase in fee, and selling an
easement would require the property owner to continue to pay property
taxes on the parcel.
- The seller wants to retain
a portion of the property for their existing or future house, but a
subdivision would result in a lot smaller than the minimum lot size,
and therefore is prohibited under current code.
- Even if a subdivision would
result in lots at or bigger than the minimum lot size, both parties
want to avoid the subdivision process because of the significant expense
involved (approaching $30,000) for certifications (e.g. water availability)
that serve no purpose for a lot to be used in perpetuity for conservation.
Staff are conscious of potential impacts from changes to the minimum lot
size requirements in various natural resource zones, and are considering
designing performance standards to avoid negative impacts.
March, as part of the initial outreach associated with developing our
proposal, County staff took a short draft code amendment to the forestry
and agricultural advisory boards and other stakeholders. Although staff
had initially envisioned proposing the code amendment as an interim ordinance,
we have accepted requests to not propose code changes through an interim
process that might prevent us from fully vetting the idea before adoption.
staff has scheduled two collaborative meetings for May 6 and May 20 from
8-10am at the Commissioners' Administrative Building, 1800 Continental
Place in Mount Vernon, to
- explain the needs
that generated our proposal, and identify similar needs participants
- discuss the intricacies
and requirements of our current subdivision code, and
- explore solutions
to these problems that won't endanger our natural resource industries.
We expect a comprehensive
workshop on this topic will help us generate a proposal that we all can
support and ensure a well-developed proposal that fixes existing problems
without creating new ones.
For More Information
Resources Team Supervisor
Planning & Development Services
Resources Division Manager
County Public Works
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
County Prosecutors Office