The Mason County Commission has granted Green Diamond Resource Company’s request to rezone 248.7 acres on Lake Nahwatzel. Tuesday, the current Commissioners held a public hearing to reconsider the previous Commission’s December denial of the rezone which actually was an exchange of land use designations with a same sized property along Kennedy Creek. The change of designation for Green Diamond’s Lake Nahwatzel property was from Long Term Commercial Forest to Rural Residential 5 while the change along Kennedy Creek was from Rural Residential 20 to Long Term Commercial Forest. On December 11, 2012, Commissioners Lynda Ring-Erickson and Terri Jeffreys voted against Commissioner Tim Sheldon’s motion to approve the rezone request. Last month, Green Diamond asked the current Commission to reconsider that denial. During the reconsideration hearing, the company restated that their request complied with the County Comprehensive Plan and the Commissioners should make their decision based on facts and policies. Pat Schneider is Green Diamond’s Attorney:
Those who live on and around Lake Nahwatzel have been opposed to this “land swap” saying the rezone will lead to more homes around the Lake, decrease water quality, and negatively impact the environment and wildlife. Several of those residents spoke against the proposal as they did in December adding stories of how they are dealing with an overcrowded lake now. Most belong to the group Friends of Lake Nahwatzel whose attorney, July Taylor, also spoke during the hearing agreeing s it is a policy decision but the Commissioners have some latitude:
The County’s attorney, Tim Whitehead, also said the decision is a policy decision:
After an hour and a half of testimony and discussion, the current Commissioners – Tim Sheldon, Terri Jeffreys and Randy Neatherlin – unanimously approved Green Diamond’s request.
The Friends of Lake Nahwatzel will likely be filing an appeal of this decision to the Growth Management Hearings Board.