Eastsound Planners Schedule Work for 2018 Advisory committee sets timelines and stakeholders for top issues

— by Margie Doyle —

The Eastsound Planning Review Committee (EPRC) got off to a substantive start in its first meeting of 2018, fleshing out its workplan, publicizing the Eastsound Vision Survey completed last fall, and hearing from Council Member Rick Hughes. The EPRC is charged by San Juan County to advise the Planning Department, Planning Commission and Council on land use and development matters affecting Eastsound.

Councilman Hughes thanked the committee and in particular past Chair Jeff Otis, for “engaging the community and council  last year. Thank you, Jeff,  for leading the charge, and the entire group for leading [efforts] in the Comp Plan and other outreach. It’s important for the Council to hear your representations from the community. I appreciate Co-chairs [Margaret Payne and Paul Kamin] for stepping forward in this important time for our community, Eastsound, Orcas and the County.”

Hughes announced that the Co-chairs have agreed to scheduled monthly meeting with him, “so the public and board know we’re working together to provide focus and counsel to the Council.”

As in discussion of other EPRC 2018 Work Plan elements, notice was made of the percentage of respondents to the Eastsound Vision Survey who supported issues such as Open Spaces, cluster parking and stormwater plans, among many issues figuring prominently in the EPRC’s work plan. EPRC Co-Chair Margaret Payne said, “[From the survey results of the 600-plus respondents to the survey] we can see that our community deeply values our environment, which is why we live here.”

Co-chair Paul Kamin led the county advisory EPRC in discussions of its 2018 Work Plan in light of the Subarea Plan Recommendations, with different committee members reporting on the projects for which they have taken the lead:

  • Indication of public support for the EPRC Workplan recommendations and potential modifications: (Jeff Otis)
  • Consideration of Service Light Industrial zoning designation:  (Dan Vekved with Jeff Otis)
  • Open Space designations and protections (Margaret Payne)
    • 1) Crescent Beach and adjacent areas
    • 2) Near Shore Waters of Fishing and Ship Bays
    • 3) Nature-based stormwater Management and Protection of Eastsound Swale
    • 4) Fern Street/Public Square, including transfer of property from County Roads
    • 5) “Dark skies” Pedestrian Night Lighting (Paul Kamin)
    • 6) Victory Hill west of intersection of School and North Beach Roads
    • 7) Trails — Focus on Eastsound trails (Margaret Payne)
  • Public Areas (Yonatan Aldort) Play structure on Village Green
  • Lighting (Paul Kamin): timeline for consultant and sample lighting locations
  • Service Light Industrial zoning: (Paul Kamin): focus on corners of Mt Baker and North Beach NW and NE corners (Jeff Otis)
  • Housing Plan (Yonatan Aldort) Will use county affordable housing plan as a guiding document. County Development Department head Erika Shook said that in the related matter of vacation rentals, the County Council will hold a public hearing on final draft of an ordinance affecting unpermited rentals and annual updates.
  • Enchanted Forest/Lovers Lane Trail: (funded by County’s .09 Public Facilities Fund, granted to County Public Works) Timelines presented to design, permit and construct a rustic trail from the intersection of Main Street and Lovers Lane to the Orcas Christian School on Enchanted Forest Road (Margaret Payne)

Kamin presented a logo representing the Band Shell in the Eastsound Village Green to the county advisory board in an effort to “brand the work the EPRC is doing.” The logo was accepted unanimously.

Kamin also engaged the EPRCin a discussion about sending a letter of notice to the county to consider acquisitions of the Zukin property west of the Post Office, for cluster parking on “A” Street. The property has been for sale and may now be available for county purchase to mitigate parking in Eastsound. Payne noted that cluster parking had received a high percentage of approval in the Eastsound Vision Survey.

Council liaison Rick Hughes gave an extensive, but partial, recap of County developments, focusing on Eastsound, which will be the subject of an article in Orcas Issues later this week.

Several terms for EPRC members expire in May 2018, and citizens willing to serve on the County advisory committee are sought to replace: Bob Maynard, Jeff Otis, Dan Vekved and Jonathan Welch.

The committee meets on the first Thursday of each month, except for July, when it will meet on the second Thursday.

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