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"What price growth...?"
April 1, 1998

CONTACT: Brian Derdowski 296-1012

LAND USE LAWS IN PLAIN ENGLISH?!

"Plain English" may soon be the norm rather than the exception for land use regulations and amendments in King County. The proposal received unanimous support yesterday from the Metropolitan King County Council’s Growth Management Committee.

Councilmember Brian Derdowski’s proposal calls for a "plain English disclosure" report requiring that every planning amendment and development regulation be written in a way the general public can understand. The proposal is part of a larger measure called the public participation program, designed to increase public participation in amending the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

"This proposal will take the mystery and maybe some of the intrigue out of our land use laws," said Derdowski, an outspoken proponent of public participation. "Unintelligible legalistic notices make it very hard for the public to know what’s going on around here. Every citizen and property owner deserves a clear explanation of every law that we consider."

Specifically, the proposal would require that all proposals for amendments to the Comprehensive Plan or development regulations include a "detailed description of the proposed amendment in non-technical terms." The description would be made publicly available at the time a legal notice is issued by the county.

"A person shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer or a lobbyist in order to participate effectively," he said. "My proposal empowers the public,"

The Council is expected to take action on the measure by the end of the month.


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