Bay View Ridge UGA Sub-area Plan                                                    May 7, 2004


TO:      Skagit County Planning  -- Gary Christiansen

FROM:  Friends of Skagit County – June Kite, President

RE:       Bay View UGA Sub-area Plan


In a previous comment letter on Bay View UGA (for the Planning Commission Hearing) Friends of Skagit County gave recognition to the good work that all parties have made toward this sub-area plan that can be an example for future sub-area plans.  We recognize that all plans are subject to review and change as need arises.  Innovative and flexible housing types are being considered for residential development in the UGA and the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is being introduced.

            The Growth Management Hearings Board Compliance Hearing on the 1997 Skagit County Comprehensive Plan ruled, in part, the Port District is in compliance, the residential UGA is under invalidity, and strong provisions must be in place to preclude conversion to residential sprawl and preclude incompatible land uses adjacent to airports.   Efforts have been made in this regard.              At times, some people do not realize why we plan, do not comprehend what is rational and voice objection to any proposed change.  The Bay View UGA sub-area plan is a thorough study of the factors that comprise good planning and has addressed the issues of the GMHB. 

1  -- WHY PLAN? – Skagit County Comprehensive Plan – Chapter I  -- “make efficient use of scarce resources”. 

2  -- PLANNING FOR TOMORROW – Comprehensive Plan Chapter 7 – “critical step for rational policies”.

3  -- CHAPTER 7 -- UGA’s  -- designation of a boundary separating urban from rural  -- historical and existing urbanizing development patterns  -- urban services available -- requiring levels of service.

4  -- JOINT PLANNING – inter-local agreements

5  -- URBAN/RURAL POPULATION PROJECTIONS – Table 4 – Comprehensive Plan.

6.  -- TAKING STOCK OF COUNTY’S VITAL SIGNS – Argus – April 21, 2004

Some question the need for residential development in Bay View Ridge UGA.  The county presents a need to accommodate residential urban growth because some cities cannot accept more than originally planned.  So what are the population figures? 



Population        Unincorporated                        Incorporated                Total

1995 – actual               36,674                         56,426                         93,100             Table 4

2000 – census              44,506                         58,473                         102,979           Argus

****2003 – OFM       45,830                         60,870                         106,700           Argus

**2000-2003 increase     1,324                         2,397                           3,721

*Eight-year growth       9,156                          4,444                           13,600

***2005 Projected         39,116                      75,519                         114,635           Table 4

    2010 Projected           41,503                      84,007                         125,510

****2015 Projected       43,593                      94,107                         137,700          

  • In 8 years the rural areas accepted more than double that of urban areas.

 Skagit County adopted Planning Policies goal is a 20% new rural population vs. 80% in urban** While the county has improved the ratio in the last 2 years, the rural areas have accepted 35% of the new population, far above the 20% goal.       

*** Comprehensive Plan Update required in 2005 is underway as Office of Financial Management (OFM) figures are in 5 yr. increments.

**** The 2003 rural population is 2,237 greater than that projected for 12 years into the future.

The county has failed to protect rural resource lands.  The failure is not with planning, the failure is in implementing and enforcing good plans and policies.



This section of the Comprehensive Plan  (Criteria – Joint Planning – Goals & Objectives) will be the focus of the 2005 update.  How much change will be proposed in view of the county’s failure to enforce adopted regulations.  The County has failed to enforce development regulations in some of the city UGA’s, how then can we expect the county to enforce the proposed non-municipal Bay View Sub-Area plan??   The method and statistics for tracking the actual population growth in the individual city UGA’s is lacking.

Friends of Skagit County has worked for years to protect resource lands from sprawling sub-standard lot development.  The Transfer of Development Rights (TDR’s) from rural areas to UGA’s is an important tool to accomplish the goal of resource protection.  We welcome the development of this program.  There has been little or no joint planning with cities to accept TDR’s.  There has been poor cooperation with county enforcement of development regulations in individual city UGA’s.  


In view of the current rate of population increase in the rural areas, it would seem appropriate to place a moratorium on development in rural zones and Bay View residential UGA until the TDR program is a reality, until the aggregation of substandard lots in resource lands is accomplished, and the 20/80 goal is reached.


Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

June Kite



President, Friends of Skagit County