End in sight for the Comp Plan Update!

In October 2022, we provided background on the Comprehensive Plan and the ongoing County Update process. You can still access that information here.

This month, we’re providing an overview of the progress of the Comprehensive Plan update for San Juan County and sharing what we might expect in 2023.

Attending public hearing in person is the best way to let the County Council know what the community’s priorities are!

Everyone is well qualified to comment!

The San Juan County Council will be holding its public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan on November 29th and 30th. You don’t need to have carefully reviewed all 800+ pages of the Comp Plan draft or have specific language changes to suggest. General comments to let the Council know what topics you are concerned about are very important and impactful.

These are the next opportunities to appear in person:

  • Tuesday, November 29, starting at 9:00 a.m (preferred date for comments)
  • November 30, again starting at 9:00 a.m.

You can literally just show up!

The hearing will be located at the Council Hearing Room, 55 Second St., Friday Harbor.

Public comments will also be taken by phone, and the hearing can be viewed online via Livestream video feed. However, the Council members have no way to know how many people are viewing the hearing online. This is why we are encouraging anyone who is comfortable with live public meetings to appear in person at the Council Hearing Room.

Where to get information and drafts being considered

County Comprehensive Plan Update main web page.
Comprehensive Plan Update Current Drafts.

The staff report and most recent drafts for consideration at the hearing will be posted prior to the hearing (although unfortunately they are not typically released for public review until a few days prior to the meeting).

Watch for the latest documents at the Council’s Upcoming Agenda and Livestream pages:

(Note: try the “upcoming” tab)

What are the main concerns and comments of Friends of the San Juans?

Friends has submitted many comment letters and verbal comments to both the Planning Commission and County Council. Our most recent written comments submitted to the County Council can be viewed at the following links:

General Plan comments submitted on September 15, 2022. 
Comments on proposed Map Amendments submitted on September 30, 2022.

How to comment

  • Comments to the County Council may be made in writing at any time, and/or at their public hearing to be held on November 29 and November 30, 2022.
  • Written comments should be submitted to: [email protected] 
  • The County Council requires anyone who wants to appear before them to register prior to the meeting or hearing date.  Register here: Public Comment Signup | San Juan County, WA 
  • Comments at the hearing can be made in person in the Council meeting room, or via phone (the number is included on the Council agenda, which can be accessed from the Council’s Live Stream page).
  • If you plan to comment by phone, you should call in before the hearing begins, and monitor the audio via your phone. The hearing should also be streamed on internet video; however, the video typically lags behind, so you need to listen on your phone to know when your name is called.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help!

Friends aims to be a conduit for the community to understand environmental issues impacted by San Juan County’s Comprehensive Plan, and to provide resources on how to make public comments and take action to protect what you love. Here are some options to help keep you informed and up to date:

  • Join our email list to receive action alerts and stay in the know as issues arise.
  • Follow our social media channels on Facebook or Instagram for Action Alerts about Comp Plan elements and opportunities to comment. 

County Planning efforts to watch for in 2023:

In 2023, it is anticipated that the County’s Department of Community Development (DCD) will be working on updates to the County’s Unified Development Code to conform to any changes that will have been made to the Comprehensive Plan. In addition, the County Council has previously directed DCD to undertake the following projects to evaluate proposals from the annual docket, after completion of the Comprehensive Plan Update:

  • 18-0005, proposal for nomination of coastal cutthroat trout and coho salmon as species of local importance.  
  • 19-0001, proposal to allow the separate sale of a primary residence and ADU provided the ownership of the underlying land for both the primary residence and the ADU remains the same. 
  • 19-0003, proposal to reduce wetland habitat buffers within urban growth areas.
  • 21-0001, code project exploring options for allowing commercial composting on Agricultural Resource lands.
  • 21-0002, code project exploring options for allowing indoor recreation facilities in the Rural Farm Forest land use designation.
  • 21-0005, new development code section for improved tree protection standards outside of critical areas and the shoreline jurisdiction.
  • 21-0006, review of SJCC 18.30 Article VII, Eastsound Subarea Plan.
  • 21-0008, stormwater code amendment project.

Joan and I love this tiny corner of paradise and know that Mother Nature needs all the help she can get. We are solidly friends of the Friends of the San Juans.

Jon and Joan Christoffersen

members, Shaw Island