Mayors join forces to fight sprawl

You’ve got to hand it to the Rural Lands Task Force. They are not afraid to dream big.

First, they suggested 2,500-square-foot temporary roadside stands, which are currently allowed to be no larger than 300 square feet.

That was laughed off by two of three commissioners.

Now the task force wants additional commercial opportunities in rural centers (Amboy, Brush Prairie, Chelatchie Prairie, Dollars Corner, Fargher Lake and Hockinson).

The six mayors in the county have another word for “additional commercial opportunities.”


At Tuesday’s public hearing on a batch of proposed code changes, commissioners received a letter signed by Battle Ground Mayor Mike Ciraulo, Camas Mayor Paul Dennis, La Center Mayor Jim Irish, Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow, Washougal Mayor Sean Guard and Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt.

The letter said the Rural Land Task Force wants “a host of new commercial uses” in rural centers including “mini-storage/warehousing units, amusement centers, theaters, health clubs, vocational schools, hotels, motels, event facilities of up to 50,000 square feet, and retail stores (manufacturing based) of greater than 25,000 square feet.”

“These recommendations would change the character of these service centers from rural to urban,” the letter says.

The mayors expressed concerns that such changes would not only violate the county’s own comprehensive growth plan, but would lead to greater demand for water, sewer and other urban services.

The mayors suggested that if the commissioners really want to make these changes, they should hold off until 2014, when the comprehensive plan is updated.

On the side of the mayors? The county’s planning commission, which voted 4-1 against making changes to rural center commercial uses with the exception of bed and breakfast establishments and adult care homes.

As for commissioners, all they knew after the public hearing was that they needed more time. They set the matter over to March 15.

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