Summary of January 11, 2012 Special Planning Commission Meeting

The Special Meeting (special because it was a Regular meeting for purposes of advisory committee notice) on January 11, 2012 had change in which I can believe and more of the same. The latter was congealed a two hour slog about minor points over chapter 5 of the SMP draft. The subcommittee had done this during their meetings but some of it was removed from the “consent” calendar because evidently there was disagreement about in Monday. In any case, the language in that chapter for the most part has been vetted by the OPC and may actually become part of the SMP. So much for more of the same.

As for change in which I can believe, the OPC took on a commendable process of heights and view limitations for purpose of the SMP update. As some of you may be aware, this is a contentious issue in Olympia and the OPC decided first to establish working policies about heights and views before allowing their thinking to be caged into regulations provided by the staff. This takes more time now, but if we don’t do this correctly we won’t save any in the long run anyway. There is nothing the OPC is better equipped to do than provide policy recommendations that are representative of the community. (If you ask me, they shouldn’t be doing anything else.)  While some may disagree with me, I think the divergence of views on our commission will represent the community well in our deliberation over this issue.  Naturally, we have received voluminous public comment over the last couple of years about this heights and views so we should be well prepared.

The single public comment last night expressed dismay over the application process for the 2012 year in the OPC.  This year, just like last year, nine of the 11 terms have come up for reappointment. In contrast to last year when the council simply allowed the commissioners who wanted to continue their terms to do so, this year those who want to serve another term are required to reapply and interview with the General Government Committee of the City Council. Once the commission has been selected, the terms will be staggered so that this problem does not arise again soon. If the there are to be nine new members, it might throw a wrench in the 2012 work plan. Point well taken.

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