Comprehensive plan process is worth your attention — and groans

Over the last month, The Beachcomber has been up to our ears, figuratively, in comprehensive plan research.

Over the last month, The Beachcomber has been up to our ears, figuratively, in comprehensive plan research.

The comprehensive plan is a hefty undertaking, a policy document that guides growth and development over the next 20 years across the county. In unincorporated areas like ours, which lack a city government, it’s even more important — it forms the direct conduit between what islanders want to see here and how the county helps us get there.

Affordable housing construction, development regulation, environmental protection, investment in parks and businesses — many topics of importance on the island will be guided, in part, by the 2024 comprehensive plan.

We detail just a few of them in our Page 1 story this week — efforts to incentivize affordable housing and to change zoning law to allow a grocery store on the island’s north end, specifically.

But there are many, many more that we simply have not yet had time to address, such as requests to allow larger accessory dwelling units.

The county’s comprehensive plan page includes a 553-page ordinance, nine attachments, 11 documents for a Vashon-Maury specific amendment, other proposed ordinances and rafts of meeting agendas and notes.

We echo a Beachcomber commentary this February from islander and retired Seattle Times journalist Eric Pryne, which likened the reams of ordinances, amendments and other materials to a “labyrinth.” In addition to community input about the comprehensive plan, the county should heed this feedback about the process overall — it is devilishly difficult to navigate the comprehensive plan. Even a short guide explaining all of the documents and their roles would be of great help.

Pryne’s research has been essential in helping us and the community understand the plan. Organizations like the Vashon Community Council and our Chamber of Commerce have also devoted hours of work to bettering the plan.

If you care deeply about the island’s future, now is the time to slip on your reading glasses, too. County executive staff will edit the plan over the rest of the year based on community feedback. The plan can be found online at:

The King County Council is set to review, amend and adopt the final plan near the end of the year.

As we continue to pore over everything, we want to hear from you: What’s important to you in the comprehensive plan? Which parts haven’t we addressed yet, or what have we missed in our coverage so far?

Let us know — we’re ready to do our homework.