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Fate of Brinnon resort in county’s hands

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The Jefferson Board of County Commissioners’ public hearing on the proposed Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort (MPR) is still set for 6 p.m., Monday, April 9 in the Jefferson County Superior Courtroom, even as some members of the public have called for the public comment period to extend beyond the close of the hearing.

Patty Charnas, director of the county’s Department of Community Development (DCD), explained that the hearing on the MPR does not involve the county hearing examiner, but instead falls under the purview of the board of county commissioners (BOCC).

“Amendments to development regulations fall under the Growth Management Act, while the development agreement falls under the Planning Enabling Act,” Charnas said. “Both are board actions, but under different acts.”

Charnas added that, unlike a public hearing over which a hearing examiner presides, the BOCC is under “no firm time frames” to deliver a decision on the MPR’s development agreement and proposed zoning regulations.

“They could go ahead and still close the public comment after the April 9 public hearing, or they could decide to keep it open,” Charnas said of the BOCC. “Depending on the board’s decision, staff could be asked to compile comments submitted after the hearing, with an eye toward informing them if we see anything that should be brought forward or responded to.”

First proposed in 2006 and initially referred to as the Brinnon Master Planned Resort, the project is now called the Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort. It is still located at Black Point, which is south of Brinnon.

In 2008, county commissioners approved moving forward with the proposal and listed 30 conditions that must be met for the project to be approved. Mitigation required in a final supplemental environmental impact statement in 2015 covered environmental, services, housing, traffic and utility issues.

The resort would include a nine-hole golf course with a three-hole practice course, 890 residential units, 56,608 square feet of commercial space with resort-related amenities, and 103 acres of natural area preserved with 1 million cubic yards of earthwork for golf course grading.

The 300-slip marina at Pleasant Harbor, although within the MPR boundary, was not included in the final supplemental environmental impact statement, because it was redeveloped under an existing, binding site plan.

REQUEST FOR EXTENSION

Donna Simmons, president of the Hood Canal Environmental Council, wrote to the BOCC Feb. 25, requesting that it extend the public comment deadline.

Among the “environmental and economic” reasons she listed for doing so were “the still undecided plan on how to treat the kettles, assigning responsibility for water quality monitoring and enforcement, determining whether the economic analyses need to be revisited, and acknowledging how the project might impact traffic on Highway 101.”

Charnas cited the amount of time she’s spent working with BOCC chair David Sullivan and the time that Sullivan has spent consulting with area Native American tribes as evidence that “the board considers every comment it receives, and does not make decisions without due deliberation.”

Even if the board adopts the MPR development regulations, Charnas noted that there remains a 60-day window for appeals, which would go the Growth Management Hearings Board.

“The same would be true if the board did not approve the development regulations,” Charnas said.

As to the development agreement, if the hearings board approves that part of the MPR, Charnas elaborated, that decision may be appealed under the Land Use Petition Act (LUPA) upon the issuance of any development or building permit.

“LUPA appeals go to Superior Court,” Charnas said.

As of March 19, Charnas reported that the DCD had received 55 comments during the current 60-day comment window.

In the meantime, the public can view the complete text of the proposed ordinances for not only the Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort development agreement, but also the amendment of Title 17 and Title 18 to adopt zoning and other development regulations, by visiting: co.jefferson.wa.us/727/Pleasant-Harbor-Master-Planned-Resort.

Written public comments are being accepted through the close of the public hearing. Those can be addressed to BOCC at P.O. Box 1220, Port Townsend, WA 98368 or sent by email to

jeffbocc@co.jefferson.wa.us.

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