eBlast #2: 6/22/15

This is the second in a series of eBlasts from the ad hoc committees addressing the logging within the MPR.  The presentation below was made to the Board of County Commissioners on June 22. It points out that the land use restrictions in question were agreed to by the developer.

My name is David Jurca. I live in Port Ludlow.

On many occasions when you as county commissioners are called upon to deal with land use or development issues you have to balance the interests of a community against the rights of an individual property owner. I want to remind you that the present situation involving commercial timber harvesting in the Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort is not one of those occasions. That is because the developer voluntarily entered into a Development Agreement with the county in May 2000 to set forth the development standards that would apply for the term of the agreement, which was originally for 20 years and was recently extended for another 5 years. That means the developer, now PLA, voluntarily agreed to the land use restrictions contained in the MPR zoning ordinance.

The developer did not agree to those restrictions out of the kindness of its heart. As with any clustered development, the developer got something very valuable in exchange for agreeing to those land use restrictions. In return for agreeing to preserve open spaces in perpetuity to enhance the natural amenities and aesthetic qualities of the resort, the developer got the right to build housing with much greater density than would otherwise have been allowed. In addition, the developer got the certainty of knowing what development standards would be in effect for the next 20 years, which was expected to be more than enough time to finish the development.

So the county is not being asked to balance the interests of the community against the rights of a property owner. That balance was struck by agreement 15 years ago, when the county and the developer entered into the Development Agreement. The residents of Port Ludlow are merely asking the county to enforce the land use restrictions that the developer voluntarily agreed to when it entered into the MPR Development Agreement in May 2000.

One of the documents included in the Agreement was the county commissioners’ formal finding in 1998, when the MPR was established, that “because of its development history and patterns of development, the land on which Port Ludlow is located is determined to be better suited and has more long-term importance as a Master Planned Resort than for the commercial harvesting of timber or agricultural production.” That finding is incorporated in and is part of the Development Agreement, and by entering into that Agreement the developer acknowledged and agreed to that finding. By enforcing the prohibition of commercial timber harvesting in the MPR, the county is not depriving PLA of any of its rights as a property owner. The county is merely enforcing a prohibition that the developer agreed to in May 2000.

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