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City starts six months of comprehensive plan updates

Illness and scheduling conflicts have cropped up just in time to necessitate the cancellation of the year’s first meeting of the Port Orchard Planning Commission, a meeting that was to have begun the six-month process of updating the Comprehensive Plan and turning the updates in to the state.

“There’s a lot of things that are up in the air this week,” said Port Orchard Planning Director Joanne Long-Woods. “There’s a lot of things we need to finalize in order to begin.”

The deadline for turning in required amendments to the state was Dec. 1, however Port Orchard has asked for an extension until July.

According to Long-Woods, the Comprehensive Plan is a policy document that directs how growth and development will be handled (in a city or county). Development regulations, or “zoning codes,” enforce the Comprehensive Plan.

Long-Woods said she is preparing a packet to distribute among the members of the planning commission next week, highlighting plans in further detail.

According to the work plan, January is the month the Planning Commission and the Growth Management Committee review the Comprehensive Plan and prepare a list of changes and deletions in the existing documents, a form of pre-planning.

However, Monday night’s meeting was cancelled, and the early January meeting that was projected for the Growth Management Committee has been pushed back until Jan. 13.

The Planning Commission will meet on or near Jan. 17, however, things must be ready in time for the first work study session with the Port Orchard City Council on Jan. 24.

“My proposal is to use our time to quickly ‘clean up and bring current’ the document and forward a recommendation to the Council that an in-depth review be accomplished,” wrote Planning Commission Chair Gil Michael in an e-mail to the commissioners. “Once this is approved or more specific guidance is provided, we then can be a part of the process. I want our time to be productive.”

As for whether or not this delay would push back the set July 1 finish date, Long-Woods was cautious: “I don’t think so at this point in time,” she said.

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