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Community Forum decides to plan Clinton

"The planning torch in Clinton has been picked up by the Clinton Community Forum, which is holding a meeting next week to talk about planning.The action comes more than a month after the county-appointed Clinton Subarea Planning Committee decided to stop planning after concluding that residents there are satisfied with the area's treatment in the Island County Comprehensive Plan. The committee decided not to pursue a path that would have led to locally controlled zoning and building standards.However, Lynae Slinden, a founder of the Community Forum, sees a leadership vacuum. Lead or be led, she said, summarizing her group's planning philosophy.The forum welcomes the public to its meeting Wednesday, May 30 at 7 p.m. to discuss planning issues. Speakers will include Mike Shelton, Island County commissioner, Mike Helland, water district manager, and Jean Steinbrecher, an architect.A long-term comprehensive plan can continue to evolve, Slinden said in a written statement. Among the issues to be discussed are the need for a public beach, landscaping on the highway, and the desire for design review authority on major community projects.Shelton said Thursday that the county will listen to any organization of citizens, including the forum, which is now several years old. It's stood the test of time, he said. But the group's impact on county planning will be indirect as a result of the Subarea Committee's decision to stop work.Clinton, like Freeland, is presently planned as a RAID (Rural Area of Intense Development) in which guidelines are adopted by the Island County Commissioners with input from staff and the Planning Commission.Shelton doubts that people living in a RAID can adopt their own regulations. Probably not, he said. The issue has been raised in Freeland. But Shelton didn't entirely rule it out, either.It's an issue worthy of debate, he said.As for the Clinton Forum, Shelton said members can have an impact even without official status. Any group wields a certain amount of power, he said. "

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