Port Townsend comprehensive plan amendments topic of meeting tonight

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Five topics are on the docket for the 2014 amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan and will be addressed at a special meeting of the city’s Planning Commission tonight.

The meeting takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in council chambers, 540 Water St.

The docket, which is revised each year, accommodates four types of amendments: site-specific formal applications, amendments that are time-sensitive, amendments needed to address a deficiency in the comprehensive plan or amendments suggested by the public.

The items on the docket have gone through a vetting process of matching one of the four types of amendments, but their approval is not to be assumed, according to Rick Sepler, director of development services.

“There are a few controversial items on the docket, but everything has to go through process,” he said.

“There will be opportunities to submit comments, which we will consider before taking any final action.

“Just because something is on the docket, it doesn’t mean it will get adopted.”

Sepler said the two controversial items are the changing of the governance of Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park, adding language that will protect it from development in perpetuity, and a measure that encourages the development of a master plan for Fort Worden State Park.

One of the items on the master plan is the possible opening of another gate to the park, located near the cemetery on Admiralty Way and opposed by many of the residents.

The master plan is meant to accommodate unforeseen uses as Fort Worden grows and evolves, and voids setting particular building functions or uses, instead assigning more flexible use categories.

Any changes will be subject to a state Environmental Policy Act review.

A Development Services Department staff report lists two Kah Tai-related items, but they have been consolidated, Sepler said.

For Kah Tai park, which was recently transferred to city ownership from the Port of Port Townsend, the city strives to design and manage recreational park facilities to maximize environmental protection and provide interpretive opportunities for ecological systems and features, according to the staff report.

Sepler said the park’s Decatur Street Trail has generated some controversy, as it travels through a wetland that some feel should not be used as a trail.

One position is that the trail should be dead-ended and create two viewpoints, while another favors closing it entirely, Sepler said.

Other items on the docket are:

■ A rezone of property at the corner of state Highway 20 and Hancock Street owned by Jefferson Transit from designated public infrastructure to general commercial use.

■ A change in zoning for Parkside Park, on Parkside Road between Hancock Street and Memory Lane, from single-family residential to parks and open space.

■ A rezone request for approximately 0.88 acres of city-owned land on the west side of Beech Street between M and P streets from public mixed use to parks and open space.

For more information about the comprehensive plan or the process, phone Senior Planner Judy Surber at 360-379-5084.

Written comments can be submitted to jsanders@cityofpt.us or sent to the Planning Commission, 250 Madison St., Suite 2, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

Emailed comments should include “2014 Annual Update” in the subject line along with the amendment the comment is to address.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 26. 2014 8:42PM
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