Changes to Mineral Resource Lands Criteria to be Introduced at County Council

The Whatcom County Council will be introducing a change to the Mineral Resource Lands designation criteria. This is a brief descriptor of the proposed changes that will significantly change Whatcom County’s ability to fulfill this resource locally. The amendment is AB2014-344 and will be introduced tonight. You can speak to this issue during the open public comment session of the meeting.

Proposed amendments to the Mineral Resources portion of the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code. The proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments include changes to general mineral extraction policies that implement Goal 8K (adverse impacts), Goal 8Q (MRL designation), and MRL Designation Criteria. Proposed amendments to the zoning code include altering the permitting process from administrative approval use to a conditinal use permit, changing the distance from rural or residential districts that surface mining activities associated with forest practices within the forestry zones trigger a discretionary permit, changing the notfication distance for discretionary permits associated with surface mining, requiring noxious weeds to not be established in buffers of surface mining operations, limiting the area of active mineral extraction, and requiring compliance with regulations and permits for neighboring mines of common beneficial ownership. County Planning Department staff and Washington State Department of Natural Resources staff will be available to discuss mineral resource extraction processes in Washington State.

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