Wahkiakum County Comprehensive Plan

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Wahkiakum County Comprehensive Plan ...

    Wahkiakum County Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee

    Meeting Summary

    October 15, 2003

Members Present Others Present

    Tom Doumit Terry Irving, Planning Commission

    Ken Scholes Melissa Taylor, CWCOG

    Delvin Fredrickson

    Frank Webb

    Kyle Gribskov

    Ruth Edmondson

    David Vik

1. Project Update

    Last meeting was a departure back to economic development strategy to explore the concept of community forestry and how it is implemented. Tonight‘s meeting is a resumption of the discussion on housing, and how new development relates to ―rural character.‖ Melissa asked the group to participate in the community image survey before returning to a discussion of just what constitutes ―rural character.‖

2. Group Discussion

    Before going into the community image survey, several committee members expressed opinions about the planning process and the potential products of that process.

    ; Ruth observed that there has been a great deal of public discussion in Clatsop

    County regarding a new zoning ordinance based on their planning process. She

    commented that she could identify with that situation and shared that she had been

    reading the 1985 Wahkiakum County Comprehensive Plan. She is very interested in

    how things will be implemented in the new plan, as it seems that there is quite a bit in

    the 1985 plan that has not yet happened.

    ; Ken stated that the Economic Development Council will implement portions of the

    plan that relate to economic development, on an on-going basis. ; Kyle observed that the comprehensive plan is by definition a huge effort covering lots

    of issues.

    ; Tom stated that he sees the plan as a long-term vision, not necessarily with specific

    projects. A list of (county) projects might limit its flexibility. ; Kyle suggested that an implementation strategy will keep the plan from simply

    acknowledging the status quo.

    ; Melissa outlined the typical process where projects are included in a comprehensive

    plan for ongoing budget processes such as capital improvements programming and

    to provide documentation for grant applications.

    ; Terry recalled how much controversy was generated by the 1985 plan, and

    suggested that this plan take that history into consideration. Page 1

    ; Melissa stated that the county has received grant funding from the state to update

    the county subdivision and critical area regulations so that they are in sync with the

    comprehensive plan. These are some important implementation tools for the plan,

    but certainly not the only ones available.

    ; Ruth quoted from the 1985 plan recommendations, which cited the need for

    ―coherent policy direction…efficiency measures…and quality control standards…in

    county government.‖

    ; David Vik commented that there had been some positive changes in the county, over

    time. He added that change is slow in government by design, due to requirements

    and expectations for fairness and accountability regarding public expenditures. This

    requires more of a process than private sector decision-making. He referred to

    recent events in the news regarding poor decisions made by some corporations and

    investment firms as a case in point.

    ; Terry recalled that over 300 people attended a hearing on the county‘s first building

    code. He emphasized that the plan should be conservative in its approach. He added

    that the planning commission uses the comp plan in decision making. At times, state

    agencies interfere with local rules to implement local plans.

    ; Tom suggested that plan language should be very general.

    ; Melissa observed that the group is working from the most general level down to more

    specifics, to where a common comfort level can be reached.

    ; David added that the current plan is sometimes too vague, and doesn‘t provide

    enough guidance. It is hard to strike the right balance.

    ; Ruth commented that there are quite a few recent residents to the county who don‘t

    have history of the progress made over time, and they may not be as patient as

    others. She also suggested that the plan format have a user-friendly orientation,

    perhaps incorporating a topical index.

Visual Preference Survey

    Melissa distributed an informational sheet about Visual Preference Surveys (VPS), also referred to as community image surveys. These tools have been used across the country in urban and rural areas to help groups define what qualities make up local community character.

    The group viewed a selection of 40 slides from a rural area that contained various types of development, including isolated residential, subdivisions, commercial areas, public buildings, art, and streets. Each participant assigned a score to each image, with +5 representing a high degree of visual appeal and a score of 5 representing undesirable

    images. Prior to starting the survey, Ruth mentioned a definition of rural character found in Clatsop County‘s plan as describing ―…modest incomes and lifestyles, ‗unkempt charm,‘ with farm and forestry activities‖.

    The results of the survey are scored and attached along with a copy of each image in a separate document.

Page 2

Rural Character Qualities

    The group conducted a brainstorming exercise to list all of the qualities they could

    associate with ―rural character,‖ listed below.

; No cell phones

    ; Productive landagriculturebeauty in that

    ; Tree-lined winding roads

    ; Friendly, distant neighbors

    ; Quiet neighbors

    ; Quiet

    ; Caring people and a sense of community ; Tolerance for natural odors

    ; Tolerance for the way things are

    ; Visually uncrowdednot cluttered with buildings ; No strip malls

    ; No Superfund sites

    ; Public access to natural settings (woods, beach, river, etc.)

    ; Hidden garbage dumps

    ; Rooted in tradition

    ; Non-urban culture

    ; Small, good schools

    ; Education is valued

    ; Minimal industrial pollution

    ; Small government

    ; Need adequate fire & medical services ; Sparser/less population; low density

    ; Affordable taxation

    ; Complacency

    ; Able to herd cows/livestock down the road ; Relatively less crime

    ; People know each other—can‘t hide behind ―urban anonymity‖

    ; Living in a community where you can go to the cemetery and recognize family names

    ; Not lost in numbers

    ; Private property ―urination privileges‖ (You can take a nature break from the back porch

    because no one is near enough to notice) ; Natural resource based economy

    ; Small-unit industry (5 or less employees) ; People with versatile skill sets

    ; Buildings with character

    ; Coyotes and frogs

    3. Committee Questions/Comments/Suggestions Melissa handed out copies of two articles from AARP‘s website: ‖The 15 Best Places to

    Reinvent Your Life‖ and ―Checklist: 20 Ways to Pick the City That‘s Best for You.‖

    4. Upcoming Meetings thThe next regularly scheduled meeting will be November 5 at 6:30 p.m.

5. Adjourn

    The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:45 p.m.

     0265 Steering Committee Meeting Summary 10 15 03

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