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New town plan nears completion
This Sunday a panel of Islanders will present its proposed updates to the Vashon Town Plan and provide residents the chance to ask questions and give feedback — one of the last opportunities to do so before the proposed changes go before the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council (VMICC) next week and are voted on in August.
Melodie Woods, who has been active on the Town Plan Committee since its inception, said the committee has been working to update the 1996 Town Plan and holding monthly public meetings for about four years.
Woods noted that many updates to the plan are simply factual. For example, some parks have been created since 1996 and will be incorporated into the new plan.
However, Woods said, a few substantive revisions to the plan — which will eventually go before the King County Council and be folded into the county’s comprehensive plan — would affect construction and growth in Vashon’s unincorporated town, a swath of commercial and residential properties that extends north to Cove Road and south to Cemetery Road.
For example, a proposal on signage would allow sandwich board signs in town but limit the size of other signs and ban new lighted plasma display signs. Another proposal would require new construction in town to include a component of public education and feedback, while another would ban water catchment for potable purposes.
Natalie Sheard, owner of Café Luna and one of the committee’s key players, said Sunday’s meeting will give committee members a chance to present the changes they arrived at after a lengthy process. She anticipates Islanders will suggest only minor changes.
“We want to see if we have represented the community properly or if we had any blind spots,” Sheard said.
Significant revisions to the plan, she said, have been discussed at committee meetings and presented at VMICC meetings, as well as to the Vashon-Maury Island Chamber of Commerce and the Vashon Merchants’ Association. Hundreds of Islanders have also given feedback via an online forum on the town plan.
“We feel like we’ve worked hard to get the pulse of the community,” Sheard said.
At Sunday’s meeting, participants can read about the proposed changes on posters stationed throughout the room, talk with committee members and mark the posters with comments or questions before the meeting is turned over to a group discussion.
“Whether you like to talk in a group or not, you voice can be heard.” Sheard said.
The meeting will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 10, at the Open Space for Arts & Community. A motion for the proposed changes will be presented to the VMICC on Monday, July 18, for voting on Monday, August 15.