Orcas Plan recommendations go before Planning Commission

April 2008 draft of plan to be addressed in public testimony at Planning Commission meeting on Friday, April 18 at Eastsound Fire Hall.

The Orcas Village Plan in its most recent incarnation, dated April 11, 2008, comes after 10 years of efforts by private citizens and county departments. Over the years, numerous plans have come forward, and since last summer, eight public meeting took place to consider the options.

The CDPD staff report on the plan, presented at a public hearing on April 11, will be the subject for public testimony to be taken before the Planning Commission at the Eastsound Fire Hall, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The proposed plan and associated development standards “interpret the requirement for future consistency with the character of the existing areas in terms of average building size and perceived intensity of use.”

It states, “The most recent series of meetings have shown that the development of an Orcas Village Plan is a contentious issue. It appears that the primary division is between conflicting visions of the village, on the one side there is an idea that it is a village which must tolerate a ferry terminal, while on the other, there is the notion that it’s a ferry terminal that a village

grew up around.

“And, as befits contentious issues, neither position is entirely wrong.

“Certainly without the ferry landing, it’s unlikely that existing density of development would have occurred. That having been said, however, does not gainsay the fact that the village is now primarily a residential area and homeowners are legitimately concerned about the impacts of further commercial development in the village.”

Orcas Village is a Type 1 Limited Area of More Intense Rural Development (LAMIRD) because “it has a variety of commercial uses and residential activities….[and] fixed boundaries that are not currently allowed to change.”

Orcas Village covers approximately 111 acres, currently divided into 80 lots of varying size. There are approximately 38 houses and total population of approximately 81 people.”

The residential district covers about 77 acres divided into 56 lots.

The commercial district contains approximately 12 acres of commercial space, approximately eight acres are zoned Village Transportation related. The Transportation Related district encompasses all the land currently owned by Washington State Ferries (WSF) within the village, including the existing lanes, the hillside park and the 4.343 acre lot just northwest of the holding lanes. The report states that the “central purposed of the Transportation Related District is to ensure that there will be sufficient land in Orcas Village to meet the potential needs of the ferry system for a marshalling yard for passengers and cars in preparation to their embarkation.,

Among the conclusions in the April 11 staff report, it is stated that there is sufficient land to meet the residential needs through 2020, development of the village is required by the GMA to be “consistent with the character of the existing area,”

there is insufficient parking/holding space for cars at periods of peak ferry travel, inconveniencing residents and a clear preference for Option C of the WSF preliminary Site Development Study was maintained.

This option considers a dedicated off-loading lane that mirrors the current downhill holding lane. “Future increases in ferry service as population grows are expected despite a current revenue crisis, and the potential impacts need to be anticipated in local planning.”

There was little public support for new road construction within the village expressed… in public community meetings.

Public utilities, compliance with the Shoreline Master Program, erosion of Killebrew Lake Road, congestion during ferry loading and unloading, stormwater runoff, lack of parking are listed as issues within the 2008 plan draft.