Jefferson commissioners eye comprehensive plan amendments

Items include Port Hadlock, Brinnon wastewater plants

PORT TOWNSEND — The Board of Jefferson County commissioners may add the Port Hadlock sewer project and two additional items to the final docket in the annual comprehensive plan amendment cycle.

Out of six possible amendments presented during a public hearing Monday, commissioners also are eyeing land use regarding recreational marijuana in rural residential zones and the Brinnon subarea wastewater treatment development regulations to the final docket.

County staff recommended that only the Port Hadlock Sewer project be added to the docket, due to staff capacity and a lack of planning time with the county Planning Commission, which lost three months and 10 meetings of work time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said David Wayne Johnson, associate planner for the Department of Community Development (DCD).

“We simply don’t have the time to process other items,” Johnson said.

The commissioners received one verbal comment and about 17 pages of written statements that they did not read aloud but considered privately during their lunch recess Monday.

Commissioners Kate Dean and Greg Brotherton pushed for the recreational marijuana production and processing in rural residential zones through a conditional use permit policy be added to the docket, because they said the county has received a large amount of public comment calling for future facilities to be barred on rural residential land.

Linda Paralez, acting director for the DCD, recommended the marijuana issue and the Brinnon project be held until the 2021 docket — for which the process starts March 1, 2021 — due to staff limitations and capacity, as DCD would have to conduct a consultant search for both projects and the DCD is already at capacity, she said.

The Port Hadlock sewer project is already being worked on in the department, Paralez said.

“That one was already built into our work plan; marijuana was not,” Paralez said. “We’re running out of time very quickly.”

Dean said the current process for the marijuana facilities puts the burden of proving impact on the surrounding area on the neighbors of the proposed facilities instead of the owners.

“I think we have this a little bit upside down,” Dean said.

The Brinnon subarea project was part of the preliminary docket and would be to develop code that would allow for certain portions of Brinnon to connect to the sewer system at Dosewallips State Park. The commissioners said the project shouldn’t wait.

Both the Brinnon and marijuana items would require the hiring of additional consultants. County Administrator Philip Morley said the Central Services Department was willing to lead the search, if necessary.

The discussions regarding the amendments will continue next Monday, with official resolutions expected to be adopted that could add the three items to the docket.

The full meeting and proposed amendments can be viewed at tinyurl.com/PDN-JeffCoCompPlan.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].

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