Clinton takes another look at planning

"Uncertainty in Clinton about the community's future has resulted in the local planning process going back to the future through a visioning exercise.Next Monday, the Clinton community will be asked to describe their vision for the next 20 years. The input is intended to help the county-appointed Clinton Subarea Planning Committee decide how to proceed.After two years of planning, the subcommittee has reached what Island County Planning Director Phil Bakke called a notable fork in the road. The subcommittee has prepared a draft comprehensive plan and adopted proposed land use designations, but the process seems stalled.A meeting earlier this month attracted nearly 30 community members, but there was no consensus on whether to plan for a Clinton Non-Municipal Urban Growth Area (UGA), or remain a RAID (Rural Area of more Intense Development), as it is now designated. The Island County Comprehensive Plan calls for Clinton to become a UGA, which would allow it to absorb more growth through higher densities.The committee's decided to take a couple of steps back and go through a visioning exercise, Bakke said last week as he updated the Freeland Subarea Planning Committee on Clinton's progress. There's still a lot of MNUGA vs. RAID questions.While the county recommends the UGA status for Clinton, Bakke suggested the community may not be ready to accept much more growth. To slow or stop growth, the RAID designation is probably the way to go, Bakke said.Bakke said the county would like the Clinton subcommittee to decide where it's headed before we spend a quarter of a million dollars on infrastructure studies. To plan for a UGA, detailed sewer, stormwater and other infrastructure studies are required.If Clinton opts out of the UGA designation, that would mean Freeland and other areas of the county would have to absorb more growth over the next 20 years.Freeland is further along than Clinton in the subarea planning process, but Freeland also has not formally decided to become a UGA, according to Tom Roehl, committee chairman. For planning we chose UGA so we could develop a comprehensive plan, then we can compare, he said. RAID is just what we are now.Monday's visioning meeting in Clinton starts at 7 p.m. at the Progressive Hall. "

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