POULSBO — Councilman Dale Rudolph may be known as Poulsbo’s Henry Clay after tonight’s public hearing on the city’s proposed Critical Areas Ordinance.
The council could adopt the ordinance or extend the public hearing — which begins at 7:15 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall on Jensen Way — until March 7, said Planning Director Barry Berezowsky.
“In all honesty, I think it will be March 14,” Berezowsky said of the earliest date the ordinance could be adopted.
At its March 7 meeting, the council must decide whether or not to extend the citywide moratoriums on development in or near critical areas and on Planned Unit Developments, which could preclude the adoption of the new CAO, Berezowsky said.
The proposed ordinance has generated concern from both the environmental and development communities, which resulted in the formation of a CAO working group.
The working group’s final report will be unveiled at tonight’s council meeting, and as the council’s liaison, Rudolph has offered a compromise of his own.
“I call it developed versus undeveloped,” he said of his proposal.
The city’s developed areas would be regulated under the Fishman Report, which focuses on protecting stream quality.
The undeveloped areas in the city’s Urban Growth Area would fall under the state’s standards, which emphasize quality habitat protection in addition to water quality, he said.
“It’s silly to have a 150-foot buffer on Poulsbo Creek, because it’s all been paved,” Rudolph said.
But the buffer makes sense on portions of Johnson and Bjorgen creeks as nearby property is largely undeveloped, he said.
If the council were to implement his proposal, Rudolph said the city would meet the state standard for its CAO.
“You have to have something to hang your hat on,” he said. “We would have the Fishman Report and the state’s best available science.”
Many of the working group’s recommendations have merit, but without any scientific analysis or other supporting documentation, the council shouldn’t implement them, Rudolph said.
And even though the working group’s report will be a large part of the public hearing, Rudolph said it is still important for the public to make its voice heard.
“We want to get as much as possible, so hopefully we can come back in two weeks and make a decision,” Rudolph said.