In October 2020, LWVTC created an ad hoc work group to provide input about the scope of the Community Driven Review of Thurston County Agriculture Policies and Programs and all aspects of the 18-month review. The adopted proposal in copied below. A number of documents related to the committee's work are also included here.
Loretta Seppanen, [email protected], is the Agriculture Study Lead
Other committee members are: Nathaniel Jones, Fran Beard, Helen Wheatley, Peggy Smith.
LWVTC Board Action: Create an Ad Hoc Committee to Represent the LWVTC in the Community Driven Review of Thurston County Agriculture Policies and Programs – October 14, 2020
Relevant LWVTC Positions: Our local positions that relate to Urban Growth Management speak to concentrating "urban development within the planned urban area" and "Programs should encourage protection of agricultural, aqua cultural, and environmentally sensitive areas and should address citizen needs for open space and recreation."
Summary of 18-Month Review: Loretta Seppanen provided the following information based on her conversation with Thurston Community Planning Manager, Jennifer Davis. Jennifer stressed to Loretta that county staff want this to be a community-driven process with significant community engagement.
In August 2019, based on discussions at the Thurston County Planning Commission (PC) and many community comments related to concerns about agriculture, the PC requested that the 2020-21 Comprehensive Plan Docket include a review of agricultural lands, including policies, prime farmland soils, and conservation programs such as transfer and purchase of development rights to ensure support for agriculture. The project is called Community Driven Review of Ag Policies and Programs (CDRAgP&P).
In spring of 2020, the PC request was approved by the Board of County Commissioners.
The Project started on September 17th at a Thurston Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting. The Ag Advisory Committee heard a presentation of a study by the American Farmland Trust, Farm Under Threat: State of the States. This study provides newly mapped county level information about agricultural lands. The Ag Advisory Committee also gave county planning staff input on parties to involve in the Project.
This fall, county staff will work with the Ag Advisory Committee, various stakeholders, and the broader community to “scope” the project. Steps will include:
- Looking for a limited set of policies, regulatory, and incentive-based programs to better serve agriculture.
- Considering the possibility of building a matrix of potential actions and doing a community survey/outreach to get feedback on these actions.
- Presenting the highest priority items to the Planning Commission.
- Amending the Comprehensive Plan to reflect the highest priority items.
- Submitting the Comprehensive Plan amendments to the Board of County Commissioner after Planning Commission action.
Proposal: Creation of a LWVTC ad hoc work group to provide input about the scope of the Community Driven Review of Thurston County Agriculture Policies and Programs and all aspects of the 18-month review.
Proposal Adopted by LWVTC Board on October 14, 2020
In November 2020 -- An article written by Loretta Seppanen, to inform members about the establishment and function of this committee, was published in the LWVTC Voter. Click here to read that article.
In January and February 2021 --The committee participated in a County Survey to provide community information to the Agriculture Advisory Committee. In addition, members and interested other were encouraged to complete the survey, with the aid of a background document developed by the committee. Click here to see that document.
In April - May 2021 - Committee members attended several meetings of the Agriculture Advisory Committee, as well as with CDRAgP&P. As a result, they were able to identify a number to topics that they felt needed increased attention. Click here to review these recommendations.