Council mulls delay of CAO startup date

The San Juan County Council will consider postponing until May 1 the date that the recently approved update of the critical areas ordinance would take effect.

The County Council agreed it would consider postponement of the CAO startup date as part of a Feb. 12 public hearing, beginning at 10:15 a.m., allowing for testimony by the public on the topic.

Approved by the council Dec. 3, the CAO updates, which apply to wetlands, aquifer recharge areas, frequently flooded areas, fish and wildlife habitat and geologically hazardous areas, are slated to take effect March 1.

Postponing the effective date would not affect the time period for appeals to the Growth Management board, which is 60 days after the publication of the county legislation action.

A postponement would allow an additional two months for county staff to complete a series of workshops for design professionals, planning staff, real estate professionals, and to develop materials and information to assist individuals in understanding revisions to the ordinance before they take effect, according to a press release by the county.

Councilwoman Patty Miller, Orcas East, said the delay would provide time to “ensure a solid implementation of the new regulations.”

The county Community Development and Planning Department is sponsoring a pair of workshops for land-use design professionals, land-use planners and attorneys, and consultants who regularly deal with development permits and land-use codes. The first workshop is Jan. 30, 8:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., at the Mullis Street Fire Station, 1011 Mullis Street, in Friday Harbor. The second, on Orcas Island, is Feb. 6, 10:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., at the Eastsound Fire Station, 45 Lavender Lane.

Registration is required for each workshop. To register, contact CDPD's Lynda Guernsey, (360) 370-7579, or, with name, phone number, email address, and the workshop you wish to attend.


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