The bottom line is that the CAO update is required and the update must comply with current law. I agree that a majority of councilmembers are committed to getting the update completed. It has been well over 3 years since we have been working on the CAO update – we began the CAO update in 2003!It might be a good idea for Lovel to become acquainted with the requirement. The wording in the law regarding comprehensive plans and development regulations can be found at RCW 36.70a.130(1)(a):
Each comprehensive land use plan and development regulations shall be subject to continuing review and evaluation by the county or city that adopted them. Except as otherwise provided, a county or city shall take legislative action to review and, if needed, revise its comprehensive land use plan and development regulations to ensure the plan and regulations comply with the requirements of this chapter according to the deadlines in subsections (4) and (5) of this section.In WAC 365-196-610(1)(e), the scope of the review is set forth:
The required scope of review. The purpose of the review is to determine if revisions are needed to bring the comprehensive plan and development regulation into compliance with the requirements of the act. The update process provides the method for bringing plans into compliance with the requirements of the act that have been added or changed since the last update and for responding to changes in land use and in population growth. This review is necessary so that comprehensive plans are not allowed to fall out of compliance with the act over time through inaction. This review must include at least the following:
(i) Consideration of the critical areas ordinance;
(ii) Analysis of the population allocated to a city or county from the most recent ten-year urban growth area review;
(iii) Review of mineral resource lands designations and mineral resource lands development regulations adopted pursuant to RCW 36.70A.040 and 36.70A.060; and
(iv) Changes to the act or other applicable laws since the last review that have not been addressed in the comprehensive plan and development regulations.Where is the Council resolution regarding their review of the current ordinance? Where is their determination that revisions are needed? That should happen at the beginning, not the end, of the process.
As with most hopeless humpty dumpty projects, things usually go wrong at the very beginning: at the scoping phase. Once that goes wrong, all the kings horses and men can't put it back together.
The Council never properly scoped the CAO work, either their own work or the work of staff. That, more than anything else, is the root-cause for the mess that we are in. As Lovel states, a majority of the Council members are committed to getting the update completed, but they were never committed to properly scoping the review process in the first place or ensuring that it addressed genuine needs.