Abstract Title

Session S-07G: Integrating Landscape Scale Assessments Into Local Planning II

Keywords

Planning Assessment & Communication

Start Date

1-5-2014 3:30 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 5:00 PM

Description

Addressing the cumulative impacts of land use and development patterns is one of the most intractable challenges to preserving and restoring the ecological integrity of the Salish Sea. Thurston County is a largely rural county located at the southern end of Puget Sound, but it is considered one of the fastest growing areas of the state, with an estimated demand for more than 60,000 additional dwelling units by 2040. As the region continues to grow, local governments need to ensure that development is directed away from sensitive areas. But how do we define which areas are the most sensitive, and how can that information be translated into site-specific changes to zoning and development codes? Thurston County partnered with Thurston Regional Planning Council on an EPA-funded effort to investigate ways to accommodate projected growth while protecting water resources, using a watershed approach. This presentation will step briefly through the stages of the project: 1) evaluating current conditions and risk factors throughout several watersheds, 2) selecting three at-risk basins, 3) developing and modeling future land use scenarios for those basins, and 4) implementing policy changes based on the study results. We will discuss our strategies for incorporating watershed- and basin-scale assessments into the local planning and policy realm, the strengths and limitations of modeling, as well as lessons learned. The study has led to proposed changes to zoning and urban growth area boundaries, among other recommendations.

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May 1st, 3:30 PM May 1st, 5:00 PM

Translating Watershed Science into Local Policy in Thurston County

Room 6E

Addressing the cumulative impacts of land use and development patterns is one of the most intractable challenges to preserving and restoring the ecological integrity of the Salish Sea. Thurston County is a largely rural county located at the southern end of Puget Sound, but it is considered one of the fastest growing areas of the state, with an estimated demand for more than 60,000 additional dwelling units by 2040. As the region continues to grow, local governments need to ensure that development is directed away from sensitive areas. But how do we define which areas are the most sensitive, and how can that information be translated into site-specific changes to zoning and development codes? Thurston County partnered with Thurston Regional Planning Council on an EPA-funded effort to investigate ways to accommodate projected growth while protecting water resources, using a watershed approach. This presentation will step briefly through the stages of the project: 1) evaluating current conditions and risk factors throughout several watersheds, 2) selecting three at-risk basins, 3) developing and modeling future land use scenarios for those basins, and 4) implementing policy changes based on the study results. We will discuss our strategies for incorporating watershed- and basin-scale assessments into the local planning and policy realm, the strengths and limitations of modeling, as well as lessons learned. The study has led to proposed changes to zoning and urban growth area boundaries, among other recommendations.