Progress Update and Next Steps

Staff and the Citizen Advisory Group are tackling the first work tasks on our work plan, making updates to Goal 1 and 2 while simultaneously changing the look of the Comprehensive Plan.

The first hearing will be on April 3rd with the Wasco County Planning Commission.

WorkTasks 1 & 2

These first changes are updates, rather than adding new policy, to the existing plan as well as changing the format of the Comprehensive Plan to make it more readable.  The new format of Wasco County 2040 will be focused around each land use planning goal.  Within each goal, there are specific policies and implementation points that help us to achieve our vision.

The updates will be available for review, along with a staff report, mid-March.

The process for adopting the amendments, or changes, looks like this:

Work Task Process

The next work task deadline is in November, and focuses on amendments to Goals 3 and 4.  Specifically, the current Comprehensive Plan references old minimum parcel sizes, which we will be amending.  The process for that adoption will be similar to the above, with hearings likely starting in September.

At the March 6th work session, we will also be discussing with the Citizen Advisory Group our next roadshow tentatively planned for this Spring/Summer.  This work will be looking at policy and implementation strategies that were specifically called out in the visioning process, and include things like agri-tourism, more flexible minimum parcel sizes, and incentive based approaches to land use planning/development.

In conjunction with these activities, we will be rolling out a few new topic or subject focused surveys, as well as informational videos and other materials to help you feel informed and ready to provide feedback.

 

Opening with the Wasco County Planning Commission

The Wasco County Planning Commission currently has the two alternate positions open and are accepting applications for volunteers.  Alternates attend and participate in Planning Commissions but do not vote on matters unless a voting member is absent from the meeting.  Alternates are also considered first to fill vacancies on the Planning Commission.

The Wasco County Planning Commission examines and reviews changes to the Wasco County Comprehensive Plan, Wasco County National Scenic Area Land Use and Development Ordinance, and other documents, makes recommendations to approval authorities on land use matters, review certain complex land use cases and renders decisions, and performs other functions related to land use and strategic planning.  Our Planning Commission currently also serves as the Citizen Advisory Group and is actively involved in the Wasco County 2040 process.

Essential qualifications include both the ability and willingness to work toward solutions concerning land use and development.  Typically, the Planning Commission meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 3pm until finished for a regularly scheduled meeting and to hear any land use development application cases or appeals.

Planning Commissioners will typically have several hours of reading per month to prepare for workshops or hearings.

If you have an interest in becoming a Wasco County Planning Commissioner, applications are available here  or can be obtained at the Wasco County Planning Department.

Please complete and return to the Wasco County Planning Department.  We will be closing the application process for review and interviews in September 2017.

Wasco County 2040 Citizen Advisory Group

The Citizen Advisory Group is made up of Planning Commission members, but runs according to a separate charter with different Chair and Vice Chair leadership.

The Citizen Advisory Group members self-identified areas in Wasco County they felt they best represented in order to help citizens make direct connections.  GIS Staff created a  territory map to illustrate the different regions Citizen Advisory Group members cover.

The charter consists of the following:

Wasco 2040 Citizen Advisory Group Charter

Project Background

The Wasco County Comprehensive Plan Update, Wasco County 2040, is a multi-year project to review and update the Wasco County Planning Department’s long range vision document.

Mission of the Citizen Advisory Group (CAG)

The mission of the Wasco County 2040 CAG is to represent the citizens of Wasco County during the Comprehensive Plan update process, and engage them while identifying critical past, current, and future issues and recommended solutions.

Scope of the CAG

The CAG is charged with focus on the Voluntary Periodic Review update of Wasco County 2040.  Specifically, the CAG is responsible for providing feedback on work products prepared by the Wasco County Planning Department and as reviewed and approved by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD).

Duration and Number/Frequency of Meetings

The CAG will meet monthly during the prescheduled Planning Commission hearing time, unless notified otherwise.  Additional meetings, including workshops and open house style meetings, may be scheduled during the public outreach portions of the project. Individual members may be asked to attend in support of their representative geographical area or stakeholders.

Organization and Facilitation

Members of the Planning Commission serve as the CAG.  In order to keep Wasco County 2040 work separate from current planning activities and hearings, the CAG has a separately appointed chair and vice chair.  The chair will facilitate the meetings with administrative support from the Wasco County Planning Department Staff.

Decision Making Process

The CAG will work by consensus decision making.  The goal is not a formal vote on the items to be considered, but the creation of a well-thought out and documented list of policy and implementations to be added to the Wasco County 2040 plan.  All suggestions will be considered and carefully vetted by the CAG.  The results of the committee’s work will be presented by Staff, in final draft document form, to the Planning Commission during a formal legislative hearing process, which will, upon approval by the Planning Commission, be reviewed by the Wasco County Board of Commissioners. All work is then reviewed by DLCD, and the final document will be reviewed and acknowledged by Land Conservation and Development Commission.

Ground Rules

  • Listen carefully and speak honestly
  • Respect the views of others
  • Keep an open mind
  • Critique issues, not people or organizations
  • Allow everyone to speak without dominating the conversation
  • Take responsibility for the success of the meeting
  • Listen and weigh both individual and community concerns
  • Do not include personal land use interests in discussions or decision making

Membership

The CAG is comprised of Wasco County Planning Commission members.  All members are volunteers who are recommended by the Planning Commission Review Committee and approved by the Board of Commissioners.

The CAG shall encourage the participation of citizens representing a broad cross-section of the population by: encouraging a diverse geographic and vocational cross section of citizen members, supporting the Wasco County Planning Staff to provide clear and concise notice of opportunities for citizen involvement, supporting the Wasco County Planning Staff to encourage open attendance and participation by all people at workshops, open houses, and other Wasco 2040 functions.

Roles and Responsibilities of Members

  • Attend all meetings.  Attend all meetings and other related public activities.  Advise Planning Department Staff in advance of meeting absences.
  • Come prepared to work. Review all agendas and meeting information in advance of the meeting and be ready to discuss.
  • Represent your community. Assist Planning Staff in identifying and informing community stakeholders regarding the project and strategize outreach solutions that work for those stakeholders. Provide Staff with contact information for key stakeholders. Keep community and stakeholders informed on project issues and activities.  When discussing issues, options, and voting, do so in a manner that reflects the position of the community and stakeholders and avoids personal interest or bias.

Documentation

Documentation of meetings and materials are maintained by the Wasco County Planning Department.

We currently have one alternate Planning Commission position available.  Planning Commission members will also be part of the Citizen Advisory Group.  You can find out more about volunteering for the Planning Commission here: http://www.co.wasco.or.us/departments/administrative_services/volunteer_opportunities.php

Progress to Date

On August 8, 2018 staff and the Board of County Commissioners received notice that the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) had approved work tasks 1 and 2, chapters 1 and 2 of Wasco County 2040.  To review the approved chapters and see pending chapters, please visit the Wasco County 2040 adopted and pending chapters page.

The Planning Commission heard and approved amendments to Chapter 3 on September 4th.  The Board of County Commissioners heard and approved amendments on October 3rd and 17th.  Work task 3 (Chapter 3) is due to DLCD by the end of November.

We had a successful round of outreach events in May and June, and couple with survey and other feedback mechanisms, are working to prepare amendments and recommendations for work tasks 5-8.  Staff and the Citizen Advisory Group held a work session on October 9th to make edits to proposed chapters.  Staff reports and proposed amended chapters were available here and on the Wasco County website on September 28th.

A hearing on amendments related to work tasks 5-8 will be held on November 6th at the Discovery Center lower level classroom from 3pm to 5pm.  The packet will be available on the Wasco County website on October 30th.

Those products are due to DLCD at the end of March of 2019.

The Citizen Advisory Group and the Planning Department staff are also working to prepare for a series of work sessions and roadshow events in early 2019 to work through work tasks 9-11, which include aggregate and historical inventories, transportation, housing, and flexible minimum parcel sizes.  Stay tuned for updates about those exciting events.

To increase opportunities for engagement, Planning staff has added a poll feature to Wasco2040.com.  We hope these quick, fun polls will engage community members short on time but still interested in participating.  Look for them in different topic blog posts.  The blog post should offer context to each poll question, and will often correspond to work we are doing in surveys and at our events.

At any time during the process you can submit comments, mail or email us comments, get notifications about upcoming events or news, or follow us through the blog or social media.  Your participation and feedback is critical to helping us craft a vision for Wasco County 20 years into the future.