— by Matt Willis —
Over the last two months members of the Eastsound Planning and Review Committee (EPRC), business owners, and Orcas citizens have toiled diligently to begin the process of distilling the output from each of the four working groups tasked to make recommendations to County Council for the Comprehensive Plan Update. During the Sept. 7 monthly EPRC meeting, Paul Kamin provided attendees with an early preview of the EPRC’s current thinking.
It’s important to note important caveats that were covered at the meeting regarding the early preview. First, the EPRC acknowledges it has significant vetting to complete before its recommendations are finalized. This includes an upcoming outreach to the broader public for the purpose of gauging how well their current thinking aligns with the Orcas community, and then making adjustments as necessary.
Second, important details for each recommendation need to be developed, especially determining how projects might be funded, thinking through suggested policy updates, and detailing requests for the County to take action.
Keeping these caveats in mind, here are the top “highest priority” recommendations presented by Kamin:
- Resolve the A St. terminus problem by installing a round about
- Complete streetscaping on North Beach Rd.
- Purchase the Zukin property on A St. (adjacent to and west of the Eastsound Post Office) and then use it for cluster parking.
- Remove the single family home exception to current Eastsound design standards.
- Require dumpsters to be screened.
- Incentivize businesses to develop street side gathering places and paths to interconnect businesses and other locations in town.
- Adopt streetscape standards for different land uses.
- Update County Code to require all outdoor lighting to comply with dark sky standards.
- Add linked pedestrian crossings (especially at the intersection of Enchanted Forest Rd and Lovers Lane).
- Rather than holding private developers responsible for funding streetscape construction make it the County’s responsibility to fund this work.
- Enforce Main St coastal view easements.
- Complete an agreement with the Orcas Island School District (OISD) to allow use of campus parking during summer months.
- Pursue the previously proposed Fern Street Plaza project for viability by June 2019.
- Provide incentives for affordable housing, such as density bonuses, lower utility costs, and streamlined permitting.
- Develop more picnic areas, playgrounds, way-finding signs, bike racks, and public restrooms in Eastsound.
- Make the County responsible for completing paths in the remainder of the Urban Growth Area (UGA).
You may view the table being used by the EPRC to suss these high priority recommendations here: http://sanjuanco.com/DocumentCenter/View/12849 In the meantime, look for opportunities to engage the process during the upcoming community outreach effort.