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Development Code Docket

Facts About the Development Code Docket

What is a Docket?

calendar imageThe docket is a list of proposals for making changes to Thurston County’s development regulations. (The County also has a docket for changes to its Comprehensive Plan.)

The purpose of the docket is to provide information about potential changes to development regulations that the County is considering. The Board of County Commissioners chooses the topics from a “Preliminary Docket,” maintained year-round, and places them on an Official Docket. This docketing process is used to provide the public with information about and opportunities to participate in the amendment process.

How are Amendments Reviewed?

The Thurston County Planning Commission reviews and holds hearings on the merits of planning and land-use related issues, or as requested by the Board of County Commissioners. The Board of County Commissioners reviews and holds public hearings on the merits of all development code proposals.  Proposals may be considered and adopted throughout the year. As the schedule of public hearings becomes available, the hearings will be published in The Olympian, Thurston County's official newspaper, and posted on this web site.

Which Regulations Are Included?

The Washington State Growth Management Act defines development regulations as “…the controls placed on development or land use activities by a county or city, including but not limited to, zoning ordinances, critical areas ordinances, shoreline master programs, official controls, planned unit development ordinances, subdivision ordinances, and binding site plan ordinances together with any amendments thereto.” (RCW 36.70A.030) The portions of the Thurston County Code that are covered by the Development Regulations Docket include the following:

  1. Building and Construction, Title 14
  2. State Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 17.09
  3. Critical Areas Ordinance, Chapter 17.15
  4. Platting and Subdivision Ordinance, Title 18
  5. Shoreline Master Program for the Thurston Region, Title 19
  6. Zoning Ordinance, Titles 20, 21, 22, and 23.

Who Suggests Development Regulation Amendments?

Amendment ideas can come from a variety of sources. The Board of Commissioners can propose changes to development regulations. For the urban growth area zoning ordinances, the city that shares the urban growth area can suggest changes for the County to consider. County staff can suggest changes to address issues that come up during implementation of the regulations. The Thurston County Planning Commission is a citizen group that regularly advises the Board of Commissioners on planning matters and is a source of amendment ideas as well.

Individual citizens or groups can suggest amendments, too. You may suggest the change by filling out a form available at the Permit Assistance Center in the Thurston County Courthouse. Your suggestion may be grouped with other suggestions gathered throughout the year; it could take several months to over a year for any action to be taken. There is no fee for suggesting proposals. The County’s annual budget for amendments will affect the number of amendments considered in any given year. Contact County staff, at the number below, if you are not sure how or when to suggest an amendment. The next docket for amendments proposals will be formed in 2008.

How Can I Affect the Decisions?

The County provides three opportunities for the public to comment on development regulation amendments under consideration.

  1. The first chance to comment is on the docket itself. County staff maintains a Preliminary Docket at all times, where a suggestion for a development regulation amendment first appears. The public may review this docket upon request. In addition, before deciding to take any action on a proposal, the Board of Commissioners will solicit public comment on Preliminary Docket items. The Board will then set an Official Docket and a new, Preliminary Docket will be started for the following year.
  2. Most of the amendments proposed on the Official Docket are first reviewed by the Thurston County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on each amendment proposal, except those items that go directly to the Board for review and hearing. The public hearing is a chance to comment on the merit of the proposal(s) or to suggest changes to the proposals. Comments can be given either in person or in writing.
  3. The Board of Commissioners will also hold a public hearing before making a decision on the amendments. That is the third and last opportunity to comment on amendment proposals.

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