All Politics is Local

What Marc Boldt said on his last appearance on Clark County Focus

Marc Boldt on Clark County Focus

Marc Boldt on Clark County Focus

Clark County Council Chair Marc Boldt appeared on Clark County Focus for what’s likely to be the last time earlier this week.

The show, which is broadcast on CVTV (the C-SPAN of Clark County), features a member of the Clark County Council being interviewed by a local reporter. Boldt lost reelection in August, so if you’re into Clark County government and politics it’s a show for you.

But if you’re not into witnessing this reporter’s need of a haircut and inclination for rambling questions, here’s a few takeaways:

Reason for the rail bill

Since last year, the Clark County Council has been steadily trying to implement a change to the Growth Management Act that’ll allow industrial development along a stretch of the county-owned railroad in Brush Prairie.

The change to state law (SB 5517) was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2017. It caught many residents, particularly those in Brush Prairie, off guard.

Boldt said that whole point of it was to side-step the Growth Management Hearings Board, a quasi-judicial panel that oversees land-use and planning disputes. In 2017, the board found that the county’s plans for a rural industrial land bank on the Lagler dairy farm violated state land-use law.

“When Futurewise took us to court over the rural industrial land bank there wasn’t any hope of getting that rezoned,” said Boldt, referring to the Seattle-based environmental group that challenged the county’s zoning plans.

Boldt said the Lagler property abuts the railroad. He said that Eric Temple, who leases the railroad from the county, went up to Olympia to for a change in state law.

GMA soup

Despite the rare change the Growth Managment Act, the county has been cautious in implementing it. There remain disagreements about how the rest of the law applies to SB 5517.

Boldt likened the legislation to soup. He said that the bill has been mixed in with the soup that is the state’s Growth Management Act, a complicated law.

“They refer to (SB) 5517 as still there. Well when a bill gets passed there’s no such thing as the bill,” said Boldt. “It’s like soup, you know? You just throw it in the soup and you can’t tell where the bill is. So when you put the language of 5517 in with the bill, in with the law of GMA itself, to tell you the truth, it really doesn’t do much because there is so much other stuff in the chapter that has regulations against ag and everything else.”

Boldt said that Inslee was likely well aware of this when he signed the bill.

“Even if we would pass it tomorrow, this would go to the hearings board like every other thing and probably go to court,” said Boldt. “He knew all that. He knows GMA better than anyone.”

Mission accomplished

Boldt’s term expires later this year. Boldt said that he’s currently looking for policy jobs and intends to stay in Clark County. He said that he’s not planning to run for office again after serving for the last 21 years that’s included stints in the Legislature and the county commission.

Boldt ran for the position in 2015 at a time when Clark County government was marked by division and feuds that drew attention from across the state.

“The goal was to make our meetings boring again,” said Boldt. “I’ve always said, if you do your job your meetings will be boring.”

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