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County commissioners look at zoning change amendment
Following planning commission okay
August 21, 2012
By SVERRE BAKKEA proposed amendment to the Klickitat County Zoning Ordinance being considered by County Commissioners would allow clustering of residential lots within the Forest Resource District, subject to established review standards.
County Commissioners planned to hold a public hearing on the zoning amendment on Tuesday in Goldendale. The proposal came to them with a do-pass recommendation from the County Planning Commission, which affirmed its support last month in a 6-1 vote.
Planning Commissioners James Dean, Mat Spalding, Rick Graves, Craig Schuster, Howard Kreps and Lori Zoller voted for the legislation, while Keith Arndt voted against it, according to the record of the vote on the motion to approve.
The proposal before County Commissioners inserts amendments in the Forest Resource District under "Permitted Uses" and "Dwelling Regulations," and adds a new section titled Forest Cluster Standards. All told, clustered residential land divisions would have to meet 12 criteria before they could be approved by the Planning Commission.
According to the County Planning Department, eight Washington counties currently allow clustered residential development in zoning districts dedicated to forest lands of long-term significance, and several more allow clustering in zones that are intended for residential use but also allow for forest management.
In reaching its do-pass recommendation, the Planning Commission concluded:
"The proposed amendments are in the public interest, as they will provide an alternative to subdividing land with Forest Resource zoning into 20-acre lots."
"The proposed amendments will preserve the integrity of the Comprehensive Plan and assure its systematic execution."
Under current zoning, the Forest Resource District requires a minimum lot size of 20 acres and limits the placement of single-family dwellings to one per lot. Alternatives to such land divisions are not available at this time.
Planning Commissioners found that the proposed amendment provides an alternative to the traditional format for residential subdivisions. "This amendment would allow subdivision of property in Forest Resource into a 'cluster' of smaller-sized residential lots (2 to 5 acres each) and a single, large lot committed to timber management, while maintaining an overall density of one dwelling per 20 acres."
Earlier this year the County Commission enacted an ordinance that established a process for allowing clustered residential development on lands zoned Extensive Agriculture and Open Space. The Cluster Agriculture Overlay provides an alternative to subdividing land into 20-acre lots by giving landowners the ability to create small acreage residential lots on less-productive agricultural lands.