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County calls timeout in Freeland

Island County commissioners passed an emergency ordinance Monday for a one-year timeout on development proposals that could conflict with Freeland's new growth plan.

The surprise move follows weeks of criticism of county government from Freeland residents, and many are unhappy about a proposal for a new warehouse storage facility near the Freeland Library.

County commissioners adopted the Freeland Sub Area Plan in December 2007, a document that will guide development in the area south of Holmes Harbor as it becomes increasingly urban.

But a recent proposal by Terry Otey to build a 23,944-square-foot storage building in Freeland, however, has left some residents surprised that developers can still pursue projects under Freeland's existing zoning.

Critics have said the Otey project will be an eyesore, and claim the development conflicts with the vision set out for the area by the Freeland Sub Area Plan.

Some have also said the Otey proposal could be the first in a potential rush to the permit counter by developers who want to capitalize on Freeland's current zoning before new regulations are implemented that fit with the newly adopted growth plan.

Commissioners did not hold a public hearing before voting on the emergency measure. A hearing is expected to be held at a later date.

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