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P&Z puts off ruling on comp plan changes

by KEITH KINNAIRD
News editor | February 17, 2021 1:00 AM

NEWPORT – The Pend Oreille County Planning Commission put off a ruling Tuesday on amendments to its comprehensive land use plan.

The commission voted to take the matter up again in March.

Planning Commissioner Norris Boyd said said he was hesitant to move forward on the changes until there are more discussions with county commissioners.

"I’m a bit reluctant to move forward on the development regulations," Boyd said during a two-hour hearing conducted over videoconferencing.

"We're going to have to revisit this," said planning Commissioner Tom Watson. "There's no way to say that these are ready for public review."

Opponents of the proposed silicon smelter contend the comp plan changes are meant to pave the way for the project, as it would reclassify parcels purchased by PacWest Silicon as industrial.

Phyllis Kardos of Responsible Growth Northeast Washington argued the comp plan changes were essentially a spot-zoning effort to accommodate the smelter.

"This plan is not about catering to one property owner," Kardos said.

Kardos argued that the parcels should be designated as natural resources lands until a formal request for a zone change is applied for.

County resident Tracy Morgan, meanwhile, took issue with the Washington Department of Commerce's reported endorsement of the comp plan changes.

"I found that very alarming," said Morgan, who urged the commission to put off a decision on the changes.

Others argued that the comp plan should ensure that polluting industries should be prevented from being established in residential zones.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and followed on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.