Whitman County Board develops 10 framework goals for Comprehensive Plan

Framework, economic development, transportation goals discussed

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MEETING SCREENSHOT

The slideshow with the updated draft of the plan discussed at the open house is on Whitman County’s website. 

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

Whitman County board members drafted several goals to include in the county’s updated Comprehensive Plan at the first of three open houses on Wednesday.

The Growth Management Act of 1990 requires most counties to periodically adopt a comprehensive plan, but Whitman County does not fall into that category because of its rural nature, said Todd Hall, LDC Inc. planning manager. 

“The only required topics are critical areas and natural resource lands to be adopted,” he said. 

Whitman County wants to update elements of the comprehensive plan such as land use, transportation and utilities, Hall said. 

The slideshow with the updated draft of the plan discussed at the open house is on Whitman County’s website

Wednesday’s meeting introduced framework goals for the county, Hall said. The county’s goals represent a shared vision and value behind the elements of the Comprehensive Plan. 

The goals were drafted, reviewed and public input was taken into consideration, he said. Board members discussed ten framework goals during the meeting; one includes recognizing how important Whitman County’s heritage is, as well as protecting important cultural sites.

Economic development helps to create jobs along with supporting the county’s government and business environment, Hall said. 

“All of those combined provide a unique opportunity that some of your neighboring jurisdictions or counties may not have,” he said. 

Having a university or two nearby impacts the economic health and sustainability within the county, he said. 

“We’ve developed policies and goals that talk about the supply of suitable lands or where we could have potential economic development,” he said.

The goals discuss encouraging job retention, improved infrastructure funding, economic development programs and education funding, Hall said.

The board always accepts comments and questions on framework, transportation and economic development goals, he said. 

The board looked at existing transportation methods and alternatives that might support the county’s goals better, Hall said. 

Nine transportation goals were introduced at the meeting. Hall said one goal discusses promoting traffic safety on Highway 270 between Pullman and Moscow. All of the goals discussed during the meeting are located on the online slideshow.

Hall said the next open house will be on June 16.

“[We’ll] review the parks and recreation, natural resources and the public facilities and utilities elements,” he said.

The rest of the Comprehensive Plan is being discussed in the final open house on June 30, he said. 

The links to the meetings can be found on Whitman County’s website, said Mark Storey, Whitman County public works director. There is a section on the comprehensive plan and where to find the meetings. 

“We wanted to break these out into three meetings because we understand that this is a lot of information to digest,” Hall said. “It’s virtually impossible to talk about it for multiple hours at once.”