Freeland development regulations released, county seeks public input

Island County Planning and Community Development has released the first draft of proposed development regulations for Freeland.

The new rules will transition the area from rural to urban standards. The next step involves seeking input on the draft from members of the community.

“It’s the community’s code, so we need the community to be involved as much as we can,” said Beckye Frey, a long-range planner and project coordinator.

Planning staff will be available for the next three to four months to meet with small groups to discuss the regulations and answer questions, she said. They can come in any form including club meetings, library groups or events.

“Literally, I will come to somebody’s house if they want to get together with a group of neighbors,” Frey said.

After Jan. 1, the department will start holding larger open house meetings and stakeholder meetings. Frey said the current draft is the working draft for at least a month and another will be released after a significant amount of feedback is received.

Freeland was designated an urban growth area years ago, but its development rules were never updated. Currently, the area’s regulations reflect those of a rural area of more intense development, or a RAID. These changes will allow for more density per acre in certain areas.

The goal is to allow Freeland to grow but still maintain its “village” character. Frey said the regulations are designed to allow for a lot of flexibility while maintaining a degree of predictability.

Many areas in the code allow for design alternatives. The code would specify a required intent in certain designations and a developer could submit an application with their plan to fulfill that intent in a different way than the options provided in the code.

A developer would have to successfully demonstrate to the planning director that their proposed design would meet the desired criteria. This would apply to building designs, materials and landscaping.

To be included in the collaboration phase, contact Beckye Frey at b.frey@co.island.wa.us or call 360-679-7365. The preliminary draft is available online at https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Planning/Pages/WP17_FreelandRegs.aspx

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