Comments taken on Comprehensive Plan proposals

March 13, 2019

MOUNT VERNON — The Skagit County commissioners heard from the public Monday on several proposed changes to the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

The county annually considers changes to its planning policies as amendments to the plan, said Hal Hart, director of Planning and Development Services.

The commissioners plan to decide March 19 which of the 13 proposals to docket for further study.

Two of the proposed changes deal with water availability on Guemes Island.

The first would streamline the process to install a rainwater catchment system, letting Guemes residents use rain as their primary water source without an engineer’s approval.

“The idea is to not re-create the wheel every time,” said Jack Nickschmeck, an intern in the planning department.

If Guemes residents can use off-the-shelf schematics instead of having an engineer design a system, they can save money, he said.

The second proposal is aimed at reducing seawater intrusion in Guemes Island wells, by enforcing the requirement that residents seek county approval to sink a new well.

“There is a lack of oversight on Guemes for new wells,” said Nancy Fox, a member of the Guemes Island Planning Advisory Committee.

Fox said seawater intrusion is a real threat that is exacerbated by new wells.

Both of these proposals are recommended for the docket by county staff.

Proposals that are docketed March 19 will be studied by staff, and will be the subject of several public workshops with the county Planning Commission.

The commissioners expect to meet again in the fall to decide which docketed proposals will be adopted as policy.