We need clear development standards that reflect our community’s Common Values as identified in the Comprehensive Plan: Ecosystem Stewardship, Growth Management and Quality of Life. And we need consistent interpretation of these standards.
The Comprehensive Plan identifies Ecosystem Stewardship as our commitment to protecting our natural resources. It identifies Growth Management as a suite of strategies and guidelines on how to achieve the goals of ecosystem stewardship. And it recognizes how Ecosystem Stewardship and Growth Management combine to preserve our Quality of Life. Our Comp Plan is a commitment to a community-first, resort-second ethic. If we are consistent with this vision, we will protect our habitat, provide for a diversity of housing and implement effective multi-modal transportation. The key lies in how we craft zoning rules and development standards to implement our plan.
The county is at point where it has the opportunity to move in a new direction and amend zoning and development standards so that they offer the best potential for progress on protecting tracts of wildlife habitat and open space in the unincorporated county, stemming the increase in congestion, and addressing the lack of housing. Not implementing the hard-earned vision of the 2012 comprehensive plan would mean a continuation of the imbalanced growth that has placed 60% of our residential housing in the unincorporated county and 40% in town. Residences in the county tend to be large and labor-intensive, placing ever more demand on our limited supply of workforce housing. Residences in town and in complete neighborhoods tend to be smaller and lower-impact. Perpetuating this imbalance would make our transportation woes worse, our housing woes worse and the challenge of protecting tracts of open space and wildlife habitat that much greater.
Working together to implement our common values means recognizing personal rights, freedoms and dignity. That often means listening first. By listening to you, and through my experience as a county planning commissioner, jack-of-all-trades worker and life-long resident, we will preserve our natural resources and our vibrant, diverse community.