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Island County sets deadline for public comment on SPU's Camp Casey plan

Seattle Pacific University has plans to develop the iconic Camp Casey, and the master plan for the property will soon be reviewed by the Island County Planning Commission. - Spencer Webster / Record file
Seattle Pacific University has plans to develop the iconic Camp Casey, and the master plan for the property will soon be reviewed by the Island County Planning Commission.
— image credit: Spencer Webster / Record file

Critics of Seattle Pacific University's plan to further develop Camp Casey have been silent so far.

But time is running out. The Island County Planning Commission has set a July 8 deadline for public comment on Seattle Pacific University's master plan for Camp Casey.

As of Friday no comments have been received yet, according to county planning staffer Anthony Boscolo.

University officials have repeatedly said new facilities need to be built on the property so it can become financially self-sustaining. The plan includes six new retreat buildings, 40 cabins, an educational center and a chapel.

In September 2007, the university applied for an amendment to Island County’'s comprehensive plan that would allow the university to change its zoning designation from rural to existing master planned resort.

The master plan was designed to allow Camp Casey to generate more revenue, rather than use revenue from student fees at the university to handle needed improvements.

Seattle Pacific University bought the property from the federal government in 1956 and has since used it for a conference center.

Some have been critical of earlier plans to develop Camp Casey, an iconic and largely preserved landscape of Whidbey's post pioneer past.

The Whidbey Environmental Action Network and the Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve raised concerns about future development of the camp, and WEAN appealed the county's environmental review of the expansion proposal in early April. The environmental group warned of development impacts to a 25-acre "Heritage Forest" that straddles the Camp Casey property.

To see the master plan, visit www.islandcounty.net/planning. Comments can be sent by e-mail to topaulab@co.island.wa.us.

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