The Thurston County Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on December 4, 2012 at 4:00 p.m., in Room 280, Building 1, of the Thurston County Courthouse Complex. The purpose of the hearing is to accept public comment on the draft regulations relating to the designation of new mineral lands on long-term commercial significance as required by the Growth Management Hearings Board Compliance Order.
proposed changes include:
Thurston County Comprehensive Plan: Amending the designation criteria in Chapter 3 Natural Resources for Mineral Lands of Long Term Commercial Significance, and other related amendments.
Title 20, Zoning: Amending Chapter 20.30B Designated Mineral Lands to amend the designation criteria and for other related amendments to ensure consistency with the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan.
The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) requires counties to identify and conserve natural resource lands (RCW 36.70A.060). This includes designating mineral resource lands that are not already characterized by urban growth and that have long-term significance for the extraction of minerals (RCW 36.70A.170). Thurston County's tool for complying with the Growth Management Act is the county's Comprehensive Plan -- which is essentially a master blueprint for land use in Thurston County.
From January through June 2004, a task force, appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, met to study and make recommendations regarding the designation of mineral lands in Thurston County, as well as location criteria for mineral extraction and asphalt production operations. In the ensuing years, the Thurston County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners have scheduled many briefings, work sessions and public hearings on this issue. (Click here for a timeline.)
On April 17, 2010, the Planning Commission approved recommended changes to the designated mineral lands chapter of Thurston County's Comprehensive Plan in a vote of seven for and one against. The Board of County Commissioners then held a public hearing on April 22, 2010 to take public comment on the proposal. On June 16, 2010 the Board of Commissioners approved for adoption the most recent draft mineral lands designation criteria.
On September 7, 2010, the Board of County Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 14401 with annual amendments to the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan, and Ordinance No. 14402 amending the Thurston County development code. A notice was published in the Nisqually Valley News on September 24th. The notice of adoption is available by clicking here.
Soon after adoption, a challenge was issued on November 23, 2010 by several interested parties. They raised 23 issues with the adoption of the mineral lands designation criteria. The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board (WWGMHB) held a hearing April 13, 2011, and made its final decision May 23, 2011. The county prevailed on all but seven of the issues that were raised. These seven issues must be in compliance by November 21, 2011. Click here to see the Final Decision Order.
Through 2011 and 2012, the Planning Commission and the BoCC reviewed and made amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and the Development Code. On April 17, 2012, the BoCC adopted Ordinance No. 14740 and Resolution No. 14739.
The GMHB held a hearing on June 5, 2012 following the submittal of Thurston County’s Compliance Report. On July 18, 2012, the Growth Management Hearings Board issued a compliance order. This Compliance Order found the County generally met the Compliance Order requirements. However, two issues remained unresolved. GMHB found that Thurston County must reconsider duel designation of:
Planning Commission work schedule to comply with the Growth Management Hearings Board compliance order:
Board of Commissioners work schedule to comply with the Growth Management Hearings Board compliance order:
Proposed Changes to Mining Reclamation Permit Requirement
Subsection 20.30B.030(1)(d) in Chapter 20.30B.030 for mineral lands designation, requires a mineral lands designation applicant to provide a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Surface Mining Reclamation Permit prior to designation. However, DNR will not issue a Surface Mining Reclamation Permit without county approval that (1) the proposed subsequent use of the site is consistent with the local land use designation (RCW 78.44.091(1)(a); and (2) the proposed mine is approved under local zoning and land use regulations (RCW 78.44.091(4), leaving the applicant in a “catch-22” situation.
A SEPA checklist was issued on November 8, 2008, and by June 18, 2010, DNR responded to the SEPA checklist, making comments regarding the mineral lands designation criteria, specifically, the inconsistency for reclamation permit requirement. Staff’s intention was to consider the recommendation and make the necessary changes. Unfortunately, the changes were inadvertently left out. The final draft ordinance was approved by the Board on September 7, 2010 without the necessary changes.
The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed changes in order to make this correction. A public hearing on this was held on June 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM. Click here for the staff report regarding the meeting. At the close of the hearing, the Planning Commission recommended to the Board of Commissioners approval on the draft regulations. The Board of Commissioners will consider this change, along with several other remanded to the County from the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board at a later date.
Note: Thurston County is also working to update an ordinance that governs the permit process for mineral extraction and asphalt plants ("special use permits"). Click here for details.
Interested Parties: If you would like to be added to our Web Mail list, please click here. Staff contact: Christy Osborn, Associate Planner. Phone: (360) 754-3355, x4465 E-mail: email@example.com
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