December 6, 1999

Mr. Gary Christensen, Assistant Director
Skagit County Planning Department
200 W. Washington
Mount Vernon, WA 98273

RE: Proposed Chapter 14.28 (Concurrency), Chapter 14.32 (Drainage), 14.16.170 (Rural Marine Industry), and 14.16.710 (Accessory Dwelling Units)

Dear Gary:

Objective 2 of the Stormwater Section of the Utilities Element of the CP requires that the County: "Establish and adopt a systematic and comprehensive approach to solving existing surface water and stormwater problems and prevent future problems." The emphasis on existing stormwater problems evolved from : CPP 10.2 ("Land use decisions shall take into account the immediate and long range cumulative effects of proposed uses on the environment, both on and off-site"); CPP 10.9 ("Septic systems ...shall not have an adverse significant effect on Skagit County waters..."); and CPP 2.6 ("Commercial and industrial development, except development directly dependent on local agriculture, forestry, mining, aquatic and resource operations, should be restricted to urban or urban growth areas where ...appropriate utility services are available").

The Objectives of the Stormwater Section require monitoring (Policy 2.5), enforcement (Policy 2.4), preservation of natural wetlands (Policy 2.4), public comment (Policy 5.1: "Where land use decisions require public review, planning, design and construction of stormwater management, measures should include opportunity for comment by the general public and interested agencies), and steering of urban style development to UGAs (Policy 3.7: "Future urban style development should be directed to urban growth areas to prevent sprawling development which would negatively impact water quality and quantity on natural resource lands and in rural areas").

Existing stormwater problems are acute:

Three watershed specific, nonpoint action plans currently existing and are incorporated as a part of this chapter:
a) Nookachamps Watershed Nonpoint Action Plan...
b) Bayview/Padilla Bay Watershed Nonpoint Action Plan...
c) Samish Watershed Nonpoint Action Plan...

Chapter 13, Policy 4.1.2 of the Skagit County CP. See also Attachment A to this letter of July 25, 1997 (County Health Memorandum).
Mr. Gary Christensen
December 6, 1999
Page 2

Despite existing, documented stormwater problems the CP (and CPP) focus on existing stormwater problems, Chapters 14.28 and 14.32 are directed almost exclusively towards new development. As such these development regulations are woefully deficient, inconsistent with CP (and CPP) mandates and internally inconsistent in that the performance standards called for elsewhere will not and cannot be met. Further, Chapter 14.16.170 is directly contrary to Stormwater Policy 3.7 and 14.16.710 improperly ignores septic system loading factors and CP density limits. Finally, Stormwater Policies 2.5, 2.4, 4.2, and 5.1 are not codified in the Development Regulations as required under GMA.

We request that these deficiencies be rectified before any further action be taken to increase densities and uses outside Urban Growth Areas.



Ian S. Munce, AICP
Director of Planning & Community Development


cc: Mayor and City Council (w/o attachments)
Planning Commission (w/o attachments)