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Changes streamline zoning response

As part of their annual review of the county's comprehensive plan, the Island County Board of Commissioners passed seven new ordinances and amendments last week.

An amendment to the county's zoning ordinance (C-161-01) consolidates enforcement authority in the planning department. In some cases, two related zoning violations, which formerly required two separate enforcement responses, have been combined into a single violation. Now only one response is necessary, saving the department money and time.

Ordinance C-161-01 incorporates into the county's zoning ordinance a set of standards for the construction of public schools, which includes site plan review provisions with maximum limits on impervious surfaces and minimum requirements for open spaces.

Another amendment to the zoning ordinance creates standards by which the county can assess variance requests for issues of site coverage (i.e. parking lots). Prior to adopting the changes, the board heard comments from a handful of citizens concerned about the allegedly damaging environmental and ecological impact of the proliferation of impervious surfaces.

The commissioners also approved an amendment allowing mobile homes to be placed lots smaller than 2.5 acres in the Rural Zone.

Height variance requests by developers will now be reviewed and processed by the county under Ordinance C-164-01, which sets in place a series of "reasonable use" standards and regulations.

Ordinance C-165-01 incorporates into the zoning code development standards for fire stations.

Commissioners also rezoned Au Sable in Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve from Rural to Special Review District, which allows special consideration for development under a master plan that protects land and structures having historical, archaeological or environmental significance.

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