Tethys Bottling Plant: Anacortes Proposes UGA Expansion - Part 1

by Tom Glade Friday, August 10, 2012 9:01 PM

This post is the first of a series on the City of Anacortes problematic application to expand its urban growth area (UGA).

Finding a Site for the Tethys Bottling Plant

On July 31, the City of Anacortes submitted an application (the Application) to amend the Skagit County comprehensive plan to change the Anacortes urban growth area boundary. In the application, the City proposed an amendment to the Anacortes Comprehensive Plan that would add 11.15 acres to the Anacortes UGA (see map below). This rezoned land would serve as the site for the Tethys bottling plant, which has a contract with the City for 5 million gallons of water a day (mgd) from the Skagit River.

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The UGA Allotment Dilemma

However the City’s petition is highly problematic. For instance, Anacortes can currently only add an additional 2 acres to its UGA before the UGA exceeds its 20 year UGA land allotment. The urban growth areas of each Skagit County cities have previously been sized to accommodate a 20 year growth projection (through year 2025) pursuant to the requirements of the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A).

In his March 24 e-mail to Phillip Bastien, a principal with Tethys Enterprises, Gary Christensen, the manager of the Skagit County Planning and Permit Center, advised the following:

The most recent Anacortes UGA modification (2003) utilized all but 2 acres of their allocated commercial/industrial acreage. Post requests to add additional commercial/industrial acreage to the Anacortes UGA have failed. Any request for commercial/industrial acreage beyond the banked 2 acres would be denied as well. Possible options would be to “borrow” acreage from another city/town that has allocated but unmapped acreage, or propose a new look at commercial/industrial acreage needs and allocations. There has been mention of the lat(t)er, but this would be impossible to complete before the end of July, 2012, since it would require studies, analysis, and agreement among all of the cities and towns and the county.

The City of Anacortes Proposed Solution

In its Application, the City of Anacortes proposed the following solution to its UGA allocation dilemma:

In October 2008, the Samish Indian Nation purchased six parcels of real property, constituting 14.69 acres, on the southeast comer of SR 20 and Thompson Road. This property is located within the Anacortes City Limits and is zoned Light Manufacturing. Prior to its purchase by the Samish Indian Nation, the property was included in the City of Anacortes' allocation of property zoned for industrial use. This property has been or will be placed in trust for the benefit of the Samish Indian Nation. Such a change will result in a 14.69-acre reduction of Anacortes' allocation of land zoned for industrial use. It will also result in a reduction of the tax base of the City of Anacortes.

Rather than wait for this change to occur at an uncertain time in the future, the City of Anacortes intends, in conjunction with the proposal to enlarge the Anacortes UGA, to rezone the Samish Indian Nation's property to a non‑industrial use category which is mutually agreeable to the City and the Samish Indian Nation, thereby making room in the City's industrial property allocation for the inclusion of the Subject Property's 11.15 acres, once it is brought into the Anacortes UGA.

A map comparing the Samish tract and the UGA Expansion tract is shown below.

While the Application includes Owner’s Certifications from the owners of the parcels in the proposed UGA expansion tract, the Application did not include any written comments from the Samish Indian Nation.

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