by Margaret Payne, Yonatan Aldort and Jeffrey Otis
In January and February of 2017, looking ahead to the updating of the County’s Comprehensive Plan, the Eastsound Planning and Review Committee (EPRC) asked a volunteer group of 35 islanders to develop a Vision for Eastsound. Immediately following this process, another 40 volunteers, including many from the Visioning group, delved deeper into topics of Livability, Character, Open Space, Parking, Lighting, Infrastructure, and Transportation. These work groups compared the new Eastsound Vision with the goals and policies of the existing Eastsound Subarea Plan and made proposals for updating and improving the Plan.
Subsequently, a team from the work groups sought and received EPRC authorization to create a survey to gauge the support of the broader Orcas community for some of the proposals.
How the Eastsound Vision and Subarea Plan Fit into the County’s Comprehensive Plan:
The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) requires state and local governments to develop and maintain a Comprehensive Plan to guide growth aligned with population projections. The GMA does not mandate growth, but it does require that local governments plan for growth. San Juan County’s 20-year update to this plan is expected to be completed in late 2018.
The Eastsound Subarea Plan (see map), adopted in 1981, is a subset of the Comprehensive Plan. Within the Eastsound Subarea is the Eastsound Urban Growth Area (UGA), where growth is encouraged so the rest of the island might remain rural. The UGA contains several land-use designations, such as Village Commercial, Village Residential, Service and Light Industrial, and Eastsound Residential which allow a mix of commercial, institutional, light industrial, and residential uses.
About the Survey
To take the survey go to http://eastsoundvision.com/. It will take about an hour and a half to complete, but you can do it in sections and save your results for completion. The survey is chock-full of valuable information, including pros and cons for each proposal.
In the survey, you will find questions on topics such as housing (affordable, senior, employee, and vacation rentals); building heights, densities, and standards; pedestrian lighting, parking, and streetscapes; stormwater treatment affecting the Eastsound Swale and near-shore waters of Fishing and Ship bays; the future of Crescent Beach; solar projects and electric vehicles; and jobs, industries, and infrastructure of the future. The results of the survey will be provided to the County to inform their work on the Comprehensive Plan.
The results of the survey will be provided to the County to inform their work on the Comprehensive Plan.