Foot-dragging in Pacific County? Surely not!

May 25, 2016 | 1 comment

Oysterville SignLike all other residents in the Oysterville Historic District, we received a letter in mid-April concerning four vacancies on the Oysterville Design Review Board.  Qualified residents were invited to apply.  Deadline for applications:  May 2nd.

I know of five (possibly six or seven) property owners within the District who sent in their applications well before the stated deadline.  That was more three weeks and two Commissioners’ meetings ago.  None of the applicants have heard a word.  Not “thank you for applying,” not “we’re too busy to deal with this right now” and certainly not “you are hereby appointed…”  There is an official silence.

Design Review Guidelines0003But the oyster shell telegraph does not remain silent on the issue.  We have heard that at least one of our neighbors is waiting for some decisions regarding his property and desires those decisions to be made ‘in a timely manner.’ We have also heard that the Department of Community Development does not think an ODRB can be convened and trained within the required timelines – which according to some are 180 days and according to others are 120 days.

It looks to me like 23 days have already been wasted.  The Board could have been appointed and trained (which we are told takes two or three hours) and be up and running by now. So what’s the hang-up?  It would seem to be in the best interests of both the County and its residents to get this show on the road. But… and isn’t there always a ‘but’?

Last January, the Commissioners directed the DCD to develop a new Design Review model for Oysterville.  It would replace the ODRB with a Hearing Examiner, effectively taking the decision-making process for “major and minor construction” in Oysterville out of the hands of its citizens.  That new ordinance is to go into effect by January 2017.

Pacific County CourthouseSuddenly, according to the oyster shell chatter, the new ordinance has already been written (presumably by the DCD) and awaits approval by the Commissioners.  Also presumably, the ‘process’ involved in its adoption would require a public hearing and an appeal period, then appointment and training of the Hearing Examiner – all undoubtedly taking as much or even a longer period of time than establishing an interim ODRB.

So the foot-dragging seems to involve some decision-making on the part of the Commissioners.  Should they appoint an interim ODRB (which could be hard at work until January 2017)  or move ahead more quickly than planned on a new Ordinance? Meanwhile, the clock is ticking… Seems like it’s time to fish or cut bait.  Or at least tell those who complied with that application deadline what’s going on.

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    The citizens of Oysterville certainly have to be on their toes as so many who do NOT live there seem to want to have a say as to how the land will be used and what sort of design the dwellings will have. How very disappointing.


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