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Transportation planning

Rural Lands Review

Rural Preference Census

A work session with the Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for Wednesday, January 22, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the results of the rural preference census. The work session will be held at the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver, and is open to the public.

For the Summary Report of the Rural Preference Census results, please see the Rural Census page.  The county surveyed owners of properties zoned for agriculture (AG-20) and forest (FR-40) to determine preferences of these owners for a smaller minimum parcel size. In November 2013, owners of AG-20 parcels larger than 10 acres and FR-40 parcels larger than 20 acres received letters asking for their preferences. The Board of County Commissioners will use the results to decide if changes are needed in the county's rural lands policy. Any changes would be done as part of the 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update.


Project summary

The county began a project in 2008 to review the effectiveness of its land use policies in preserving rural lands and rural economic opportunities. The project to date has had three phases. The first phase involved the convening of a Rural Lands Task Force. The group worked with Rural principles and values to define what rural Clark County is and should be. In the second phase, the task force looked at rural economic development opportunities, including the recommendations of the Agriculture Preservation Advisory Committee (APAC). the result of this phase was a number of Rural Lands Task Force recommendations. Many of these recommendations have been addressed through the county's Retooling Our Code project, with the results being changes to Clark Count Code sections, including:

  • Changes to rural center residential uses;
  • Development standards for mixed use on some rural center parcels;
  • Kennels code revisions;
  • Stables code revisions;
  • Master planning for energy parks;
  • Temporary farmworker housing;
  • Agriculture markets and roadside stands; and
  • Wineries.

A number of recommendations from the task force require review beyond simply amending the code. In 2011, the Board of County Commissioners authorized the Rural Lands Study, which is the third and current phase of the Rural Lands Review.

The Rural Lands Study began in September 2011 and is anticipated to continue into 2013. The Study consists of three phases.

  • Phase 1 - Identify rural land trends in Clark County

  • Phase 2 - Examine policy ideas that support preservation of rural lands and economic opportunities.
    This phase resulted in a series of policy options that were presented to the Board in a work session on June 27, 2012.

    The Board directed staff to focus on the following in the short term:

      • A homesteading provision;
      • Clustering on resource lands;
      • A rural planned unit development (PUD) provision;
      • An analysis of minimum parcel sizes for resource lands; and
      • Rural centers.

    The Board expressed interest in the following as items that could be combined with the 2016 Comprehensive Plan update:

      • A transfer of development rights (TDR) program;
      • Agriculture production district / Rural reserve district; and
      • A public benefit rating system for the current use open space program
  • Phase 3 – Policy recommendations will be drafted for further consideration by the public, the Clark County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.
    • County staff are working on developing policy and code language for public review. A joint meeting of the Board and the Planning Commission was held October 16 to get input from rural residents. View the meeting presentation.

Project contact

Gordy Euler, Clark County Community Planning
(360) 397-2280 ext. 4968


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