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Ellensburg Daily Record: "Planning process to resume for 57,000 acres in the Teanaway River valley"

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September 9, 2010 -- Community input will restart soon in a continuing effort to plan for the future use of nearly 57,000 acres of Upper Teanaway lands.

By Mike Johnston, senior writer

Community input will restart soon in a continuing effort to plan for the future use of nearly 57,000 acres of Upper Teanaway lands.

Kittitas County commissioners, in mid-August, signed a revised agreement with American Forest Land Co., the owner of nearly 46,500 acres in the Upper Teanaway planning area.

The agreement outlines new guidelines on how planning will take place and the responsibilities of the company and the county in the effort.

The agreement also indicates the company will pay for county government costs to undertake the community land-use planning effort, also called subarea planning. 

Funding needed 

Currently, there is about $6,000 from an original allocation from the company that helped kick off community planning last year, according to Anna Nelson, the consulting land-use planner hired by the county to steer the planning process that began in spring 2009. That effort was halted in November when law enforcement began an investigation into missing public documents related to the company’s past request to subdivide portions of its property.

Before the process was halted, several open house events and public meetings were held in connection with getting input on what should be allowed to occur on the lands and what areas should be protected from development.

The Teanaway planning process

The proposed plan for Upper Teanaway lands is broken into three phases, according to a revised agreement that includes public outreach, gathering input and identifying main alternatives for using lands by the end of March 2011.

Other phases include taking the land-use alternatives and forming them into a formal subarea plan document, then undertaking an environmental study that will take six months to complete. It’s estimated a draft environmental impact statement will be completed by March 2011.

Public and county government review of the draft plan and the environmental study is planned as part of the county’s annual comprehensive plan amendment process.

Amendments to the plan, which would include the proposed Teanaway subarea plan, must be filed with the county no later than June 30, 2011.  The subarea plan then will proceed as part of the annual amendment process, with open houses, workshops and public hearings before the county planning commission.

This will lead to a recommendation from the planning commission to county commissioners who will conduct their own public hearings on the amendments, which will include the Teanaway plan.

A final decision by county commissioners on the amendments must come before the end of 2011.