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Port Townsend,
WA 98368

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Page last updated: 6/9/2006

2006

On June 7, 2006, as part of a 15-year celebration of the Growth Management Act, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire awarded Jefferson County with one of six "Smart Communities Awards" for "Supporting Agriculture while Protecting Fish and Wildlife Habitat."

Click to expand thumbnail photo of, from left, Brent Butler, Josh Peters and Al Scalf of DCD, and Governor Gregoire on June 7, 2006 in Tacoma.

2005

The County and the Conservation District hosted a meeting on March 17, 2005 at the Quilcene Community Center on the development of an agriculture "best management practices" (BMPs) plan.  Here is the announcement.  The Ag BMP Plan will be based on work already completed for the Chimacum basin.

Skip below for more information on the basin-by-basin Ag BMP planning process.

 

2004

The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) adopted Ordinance No. 15-1213-04 on December 13, 2004, thereby designating 220 parcels of real property as Agricultural Lands of Local Importance on the map of Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations.

The Ordinance linked above includes a list of the 220 parcels organized alphabetically by property owner last name and and East and West Jefferson County maps of the designated parcels.

The map of Comprehensive Plan Agricultural Land Use Designations has been updated pursuant to Ordinance No. 15-1213-04.

For more information and access to the legal notice of adoption and other documents, visit the general webpage for the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle.

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DCD released its 2004 Docket Integrated Staff Report and SEPA Addendum on September 22, thereby initiating a formal comment period.  The Report includes the list of parcels under consideration for Agricultural Lands designation and the recommendation of the Planning Commission Agricultural Lands Committee.  See the 2004 Re-Designation Process section below for background information and links to associated webpages.

The Planning Commission finalized its recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on November 3, 2004 regarding MLA04-27, the potential designation of Agricultural Lands of Local Importance.  The Planning Commission and staff jointly recommend designation for 220 parcels.

For more information on the Planning Commission recommendation and the process by which it was reached, see the formal memorandum addressed to the BOCC posted under the "Documents" section on the 2004 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Cycle page.  Included on the 2004 Amendment Cycle page is information about a public hearing before the BOCC on December 6 concerning this proposal and others on the 2004 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Docket.

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Previously, the BOCC unanimously approved an ordinance on May 19, 2004 that amends the Unified Development Code to establish regulations for Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses.  See Ag Activities & Accessory Uses below for more information.

Background

In late 2002, Jefferson County initiated an Agricultural Lands planning effort that is anticipated to be completed in 2006.  The planning effort is related to unfinished tasks outlined in the Natural Resource Conservation Element of the 1998 Comprehensive Plan.

This 14-page staff memorandum from February 2003 provides background information:

The steps of the planning effort are the following:

  1. 2003 UDC amendment to clarify the exemption from standard stream and wetland buffers for existing and ongoing agriculture [MLA02-485]
  2. 2003 Comprehensive Plan amendment to simplify Agricultural Lands designations and adjust associated policy language [MLA03-209]
  3. 2004 UDC amendment to establish regulations for Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses [MLA04-26]
  4. 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment to potentially change the land use designation of some parcels to Agricultural Lands on the official map of Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations [MLA04-27]
  5. Ongoing basin-by-basin planning effort to establish basin- or site-specific agricultural best management practices (BMPs) to protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.  Completion anticipated in 2006.

Each of these steps is described in the sections below.  When more detailed information for particular items is contained on other DCD webpages, internal links are provided.

Comprehensive Plan Amendments

The 2003 and 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycles include two distinct proposals related to Agricultural Lands.  The main objectives of the proposals are to complete unfinished Agricultural Lands planning tasks, as described in the Comprehensive Plan Natural Resource Conservation Element and in the DCD Memorandum to the Planning Commission referenced above.

2003 Comprehensive Plan amendment proposal

As a follow-up to addressing the issue of exemptions for existing and ongoing agriculture through MLA02-485, DCD and the Planning Commission Ag Lands Committee developed a suggested amendment proposal for inclusion in the 2003 annual Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle under case number MLA03-209

DCD released a Staff Report on September 17, 2003 that presents a proposal jointly developed by staff and the Planning Commission Ag Lands Committee to amend the Comprehensive Plan categories and designation criteria for Agricultural Lands. The full Planning Commission recommended the proposal to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), which adopted the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan by ordinance on December 8, 2003.  See the 2003 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Cycle page for results.

Based on the results of the 2003 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle, the County produced a revised map of Agricultural Lands of Long-Term Commercial Significance.  Consideration of parcels for Agricultural Lands designation under the new categories and criteria was deferred to the 2004 amendment cycle.

2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment proposal

The main objective of MLA04-27 is to provide an opportunity during the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle for landowners who desire to "opt-in" to the Agricultural Lands of Local Importance program.  Land in the program would be designated (i.e., zoned) as an Agricultural Land of Long-Term Commercial Significance on the official map of Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations.

DCD produced an "Agriculture in Jefferson County Information Booklet," Summer 2004.  This 12-page booklet is a must read for farmers and landowners interested in the new opportunities available on designated Agricultural Lands.  The booklet includes a summary of potential advantages and disadvantages to re-designating land as Agricultural Lands.

The deadline for submitting a signed Re-Designation Request Form was Friday, July 30.

With the help of WSU Extension, and with local food provided by the Farmers Market, DCD held an Ag Lands Open House on June 23, 2004 to celebrate agriculture in Jefferson County.  County Commissioners, County staff, Planning Commission members, and a Jefferson County Conservation District representative were available to answer questions about how some of the recent code changes positively affect farmers and about the opportunity to "opt in" to Agricultural Lands zoning during the 2004 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Cycle.

Visit this page and the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle page periodically to follow the 2004 Agricultural Lands planning process.

DCD released its 2004 Docket Integrated Staff Report and SEPA Addendum on September 22, thereby initiating a formal comment period.  The Report includes the list of parcels under consideration for Agricultural Lands designation and the recommendation of the Planning Commission Agricultural Lands Committee.

UDC Amendments

The Unified Development Code (UDC) is the set of development regulations that implement the Comprehensive Plan.  Included in the UDC are provisions for the protection of environmentally critical areas and standards for agricultural activities and accessory uses.

MLA02-485: Existing and ongoing agriculture

Jefferson County and the Washington Environmental Council (WEC) reached a Settlement Agreement in 2002 regarding a WEC appeal to the December 2000 adoption of the Unified Development Code (UDC). One of the topics addressed in the Settlement Agreement is the regulation of existing and ongoing agriculture in the context of protecting "critical areas," specifically streams and wetlands.  In order to implement this aspect of the Settlement Agreement, Jefferson County initiated a UDC amendment proposal, which was packaged as MLA02-485.  Documents associated with MLA04-285 are linked in the bullet list below.

In addition to the agriculture component, MLA02-485 addressed wetland replacement ratios and permit review processes for applications that involve special reports, such as Habitat Management Plans.  Issued in late 2002, the initial staff recommendation for limiting code exemptions for existing and ongoing agriculture was revised during the public process.  The Planning Commission and the staff presented a unified recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in early 2003.

The BOCC adopted amendments to the UDC through MLA02-485 on April 28, 2003.  Ordinance No. 05-0428-03 effectively amended the UDC in relation to various issues, including the regulation of existing and ongoing agriculture.

On May 5, 2003, DCD adopted an administrative policy that addresses the period of time slotted to complete Agricultural Lands planning.  Because the consideration of parcels for Agricultural Lands designation was deferred to the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle, the grace period described in the administrative policy is effectively extended to the completion of that process.  See Comprehensive Plan Amendments above for more information.

Documents associated with MLA02-485:

MLA04-26: Agricultural activities & accessory uses

After months of meetings and discussion in 2003 and early 2004, the Planning Commission Ag Lands Committee and DCD proposed a set of amendments for the UDC that address Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses.  The full Planning Commission held a public hearing on February 18, 2004 concerning the proposal and continued deliberations in March and April.  DCD staff proposed a revised UDC section 4.3 as part of its staff recommendation for discussion at the Planning Commission meeting April 7, where the the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend a set of UDC amendments to the BOCC for MLA04-26.

The Planning Commission recommendation was presented to the BOCC on April 26.  On May 10, 2004, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance that amends the UDC per the Planning Commission recommendation to establish regulations for Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses.

Outreach

DCD produced an "Agriculture in Jefferson County Information Booklet," Summer 2004.  This 12-page booklet is a must read for farmers and landowners interested in the new opportunities available on designated Agricultural Lands as a result of code amendments made under MLA04-26.

With the help of WSU Extension, and with local food provided by the Farmers Market, DCD held an Ag Lands Open House on June 23, 2004 to celebrate agriculture in Jefferson County.  County Commissioners, County staff, Planning Commission members, and a Jefferson County Conservation District representative were available to answer questions about how some of the recent code changes positively affect farmers and about the opportunity to "opt in" to Agricultural Lands zoning during the 2004 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Cycle.

 

Refer to these documents for details on the MLA04-26 code amendments:

Basin by Basin Best Management Practices

Per a 2002 Settlement Agreement between Washington Environmental Council (WEC) and Jefferson County, a basin-by-basin voluntary planning effort is underway and is scheduled for completion in 2006.  The objective of the effort is to establish basin- or site-specific agricultural best management practices (BMPs) that will protect or enhance water quality and fish and wildlife habitat associated with streams and wetlands.

Farmers in Chimacum have been participating in the first phase of this planning process and together with the Conservation District and the County completed a final draft of the Chimacum Ag BMP Plan for the protection of agriculture, fish and wildlife in the Chimacum Creek watershed.  The Conservation District hosted a public meeting March 22, 2004 at WSU Extension to provide the community with the opportunity to review and comment on the first draft version of the plan.

An updated version of the plan that incorporated suggestions gathered during public review was dated May 17, 2004.  The Chimacum committee met to establish a final version of the plan, dated January 11, 2005, which will be provided to the County Commissioners for approval.

The Conservation District and the County will pursue the development of one unified Ag BMP Plan for the remaining agricultural areas in Jefferson County.  A "kick-off" meeting was scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2005, at the Quilcene Community Center.  The general Ag BMP Plan will be based on work already completed for the Chimacum basin.

For more information about this basin by basin planning effort, contact Jefferson County Natural Resources and/or the Jefferson County Conservation District.

More Information

For more information, contact DCD Long-Range Planning.

DCD has produced an "Agriculture in Jefferson County Information Booklet," Summer 2004.  This 12-page booklet is a must read for farmers and landowners interested in the new opportunities available on designated Agricultural Lands as a result of code amendments made in May 2004.

Additionally, the following are links to other sources of information about agricultural policy and regulation.

 

     
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