The county with the help of a consultant began preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) in compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The SEIS was to address the environmental impacts anticipated under each of the three proposed growth alternatives.
The Board of County Councilors (Board) held a work session on January 21, the purpose of which was an update on the progress of the comprehensive plan and the SEPA process. The Board expressed interest in developing a fourth alternative for the SEPA process, and directed that work on the draft SEIS stop until the alternative is developed.
The Board discussed a fourth alternative at a work session on February 18. Another work session is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 in the 6th floor Hearing Room, 1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver. Two open houses are planned to review the three alternatives and to present the fourth alternative.
Alternative 4: Rural options. The councilors are considering whether to expand the environmental study. The preliminary focus is on parcels smaller than 9.5 acres in forestry and agricultural zoning districts.
Open Houses dates/times/locations:
- Wednesday, March 25, at Ridgefield High School, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 1, at Hockinson High School, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
A Board hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 10:00 a.m., in the 6th Floor Hearing Room, 1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver.
The question that will need to be answered is whether or not a full EIS needs to be prepared because of the addition of the fourth alternative.
Once the SEPA document (draft SEIS or draft EIS) is issued, there will be a 30-day comment period and a public hearing scheduled.
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Three alternatives represent the range of options currently being considered for the distribution of population, employment and development in the County over the next 20 years (2015-2035). The impacts of these alternatives will be studied and compared during the environmental review process required under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
Alternative 1: No action. The county adopts the map as it is with no new changes.
Alternative 2: Rural and Urban Changes. The new planning assumptions, policy direction, changes in land use/zoning, and principles and values defined by the commissioners were used in this alternative. This option supports job and population growth, acknowledges development trends and cleans up map inconsistencies.
Alternative 3: Battle Ground and La Center. The cities of Battle Ground and La Center are considering expanding their urban growth areas to support job growth.
Open House materials: Information on Alternatives
Environmental Impact Statement ~ Scoping Open Houses
Clark County received input on the possible scope of the supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS). The scope is the range and types of issues to be studied for the EIS. The comment period for the scoping process ran from July 30-September 1, 2014. However, comments on the comprehensive plan in general can be submitted up until the plan is adopted in June 2016.
Four open houses were held to provide the public with opportunities to comment on the scope of the three suggested land use and growth alternatives to study under SEPA. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the three suggested alternatives and provide comments.
A Scoping Report which provides information on the comments received from the public has been completed. Please see the report below.
Information and materials presented at the open houses:
2016 Comprehensive Plan update SEPA process
Because growth in Clark County had lagged since the growth plan was last updated in 2007, the county intends to rely on the final environmental impact statement written for that update. However, the county will supplement that final EIS with new environmental analysis, as needed.
When the EIS of the newest suggested alternatives is completed, it will be sent to the Board of Clark County Commissioners, which will select one alternative in spring 2015. The chosen alternative then will undergo an even deeper analysis, which will result in a final environmental impact statement.
What is SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act)?
SEPA, enacted in 1984, requires local jurisdictions to evaluate potential environmental impacts of actions they approve or undertake. The most common evaluation looks at potential environmental impacts of a proposed project, such as a big box store, or a large non-project action, such as adoption of a new urban growth boundary. A SEPA checklist prescribes elements to be evaluated, and the completed checklist is shared with federal, state and local agencies, tribes, neighborhood organizations and interested residents. People can comment on the alternatives, mitigation measures, probable significant adverse impacts or other relevant topics.