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Public comment period on Nichols’ plan extended

The public comment period on the master permit and expansion planned by Nichols Brothers Boats Builders has been extended one month to January 15, 2005.

The county received a number of requests to extend the comment period.

This latest extension will cover all aspects of Nichols Brothers Boats master permit request including the launch system and expansion of boatyard facilities, Island County Planner Jeff Tate said.

“Nichols Brothers Boat Builders has submitted a request to Island County Planning and Community Development to extend the public comment periods on all of their land use applications to Jan. 15, 2005,” he said.

The public had 30 days to comment to the county on all aspects of Nichols’ plans including the proposed new rail launch system,— the shoreline portion— and the land use portion of the project which includes 11 new buildings and moving the storage areas and the parking lot.

Tate said the extended comment period applies to all aspects of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders master permit.

Washington State Code provides Island County with the authority to consolidate public comment periods for both SEPA and the land-use proposal.

Because of the confusion from past permit approvals, changes to regulations, efficiencies in boat building and requests of the Washington State Department of Ecology and Island County, Nichols Brothers Boats is seeking a comprehensive or master permit. Island County Planning Director Phil Bakke said Nichols’ management has been working with the county and other agencies to develop this plan.

The goal of the master permit is to: consolidate all permit approval conditions into a single approval, require a permanent launch system that will not require maintenance dredging and ensure aesthetic and noise impacts to acceptable levels for the surrounding community.

Tate said the county has limited authority in mandating extended comment periods, however, because Nichols made this request there doesn’t appear to be a conflict with any state or local laws in granting such a request.

Interested parties can view the Nichols Brothers Boats application at the Freeland Library in Freeland, the front counter at the Island County Planning office in Coupeville and at Office Max at 775 NE Koetje Street in Oak Harbor where copies can be ordered.

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