What does Envision Skagit say about industrial land?

September 6, 2012 22:30 by Ryan

Several proponents of the Tethys UGA expansion application have tried to use the County’s Envision Skagit 2060project (an EPA-funded study to project growth in Skagit County through the year 2060) to justify the addition of industrial land to the City of Anacortes for the Tethys water plant.

The Envision Skagit Citizen Committee issued an 85-page report in October of last year that includes a number of recommendations for how to best navigate the next 50 years of growth. But what does the report actually say about expansion of UGAs and how to obtain additional industrial acreage?

You be the judge [italics mine]:

1.3: The Committee recommends establishing a new industrial tax revenue sharing mechanism (“Industrial Tax Basket”), to develop a more regional and effective approach to designating and marketing industrial lands, while providing tax revenue benefits in an equitable manner to all participating jurisdictions.

The concept is to provide some regional tax base support for cities and towns that accept residential growth consistent with a 90/10 ratio of urban vs. rural growth, while reducing the need to expand their UGAs to do so.

and then:

1.4: Identify 1,600 acres in the Bayview Ridge Urban Growth Area for light industrial use and redirect projected residential growth from Bayview Ridge into existing cities with established municipal services and tax structures…The new industrial land would be subject to the industrial tax basket for distribution of resulting tax revenues.

The Port of Skagit County estimates that 3,429 acres of industrial land will be needed in the county by 2060 to meet employment goals, while only 1,772 acres exist today, leaving a deficit of 1,657 acres. This is an important land use to plan for far in advance, to ensure that desirable industrial lands are not occupied by other land uses whose siting needs are much more flexible.

Much of the land surrounding the Skagit Regional Airport at Bayview Ridge meets key criteria for industrial designation: it is relatively undeveloped currently, falls within the airport environs and is therefore less desirable for residential use, is adjacent to existing industrial uses, is served by appropriate infrastructure, is within reasonable trucking distance of I-5 or SR 20, and lies outside of the floodplain and NRL land.

and later:

4.4: Establish higher thresholds than currently exist in the Countywide Planning Policies, county, city and town comprehensive plan policies and the adopted UGA expansion criteria for when urban growth areas are eligible to expand. This will encourage greater infill, redevelopment, and intensification within our existing urban areas.

and finally:

4.5: Existing Urban Growth Areas should be prohibited from expanding into environmentally sensitive areas…

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