Snohomish County Agricultural Advisory Board
Conference Room #1F03
Robert Drewel Building
October 11, 2011
1. Call to Order, Introductions, Announcements – Chair
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Brian Bookey (Position 4 - Commodity Crops)
Mike Bueler (Position 1 - Dairy)
Mike Harnden (Position 2 - Nursery)
Gerald Labish (Position 3 - Livestock)
Dave Remlinger (Position 6 - Diking Drainage & Flood Control Districts in Snohomish
John Postema (Position 9 - Snohomish County Farm Bureau)
Marv Thomas, Chair (Position 11 - Snohomish River Basin)
BOARD MEMBERS EXCUSED:
Jesse Allen (Position 10 - Stillaguamish River Basin)
Elizabeth Christianson (Position 7 - Diking Drainage & Flood Control Districts in Stillaguamish
Mark Craven, Vice Chair (Position 5 - Agricultural Direct Marketing)
Jackie Macomber (Position 8 - Equine)
Merle Ash, Rural Landowners
Howard Knight, Snohomish County PDS
Monte Marti, Snohomish Conservation District
Ed Moats, Snohomish County Farm Bureau
Amy Ockerlander, Snohomish County DPW SWM
Tom Rowe, Snohomish County PDS
Ed Stocker, Snohomish Valley Farmer
Terri Strandberg, Snohomish County PDS
Terry Svoboda, Interested Citizen
Clay White, Snohomish County PDS
Board members and attendees were welcomed to the October 2011 Ag Advisory Board
The meeting was called to order by Chair Marv Thomas, and introductions made by Board
Mr. Thomas announced that Elizabeth Christianson (Ag Board - Position 7) recently lost her
husband, Mark. A card is being circulated among members of the Ag Board and is available
to anyone who might like to express their condolences.
2. Approval of 09/13/11 Meeting Summary – All
The September 13 Regular Meeting Summary was approved as written/presented to the
3. Public Comment
Ed Moats, consultant for the Snohomish County Farm Bureau, addressed Proposed
Ordinance No. 11-058, Relating to the Regulation of Substandard Lots. Mr. Moats
encouraged the Board to review the reports from the Planning Commission, and to pay
close attention to the minority report written by Gary Reiersgard. Mr. Reiersgard’s letter
refers to the Substandard Lots provision of the ordinance as a “taking.” Mr. Moats said that,
even after reading and re-reading this ordinance several times, he still doesn’t completely
understand what that means. He encouraged the Ag Board to ask the County Council for
more time before taking action, so the Board can review it more thoroughly and try to gain a
better understanding of its potential impacts.
Terri Strandberg, PDS, asked the Board to write a letter in support of a grant proposal
application PDS must submit prior to its November 14 deadline. Two specific goals of this
grant are to protect the water quality of all waters entering into Puget Sound and to support
the protection and stewardship of farmlands, both in alignment with the Board’s Work
Program for the Critical Areas Update, Ruckelshaus Program, FEMA floodplain regulations,
BiOp issues, CAR, and the SLS Project. We would like to include a letter from the Ag Board
in support of our application for this $500,000 grant.
ACTION: The Board voted in favor of supporting PDS with this proposed grant effort. Terri
will draft a letter and submit to Celia for the Board’s approval and the Chair’s signature.
Tom Rowe, PDS, provided copies of Proposed Ordinance No. 11-058, Relating to the
Regulation of Substandard Lots/BLAs. Mr. Rowe clarified that the first part of this ordinance
addresses substandard lots and changes the regulations allowing uses on some
substandard lots that currently aren’t allowed. The other part of this ordinance makes
changes to BLA (Boundary Line Adjustment) regulations, prohibiting aggregation of
boundary lines in order to create new building sites. This takes into consideration the Ag
community; it does not affect existing substandard lots, still allows for uses that meet bulk
standard requirements, and allows accessory structures to be built.
A Council hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19. Mr. Rowe encouraged Board
members to submit their questions/concerns to him via email and/or submit their comments
to Council prior to or during that public hearing.
ACTION: The Board voted in favor of sending a letter to Council, asking for more time, so
the Ag Board can review this proposed ordinance prior to the Council taking action. John
Postema will draft a letter for the Board’s approval and the Chair’s signature.
4. County Reports:
a. Update on PDS Activities – PDS Staff
Nothing to report.
5. Board Discussion and Possible Action:
a. Update from Use Matrix Subcommittee – Marv Thomas/Tom Rowe
Marv Thomas provided a brief status report on progress made by the Use Matrix
Subcommittee. Some slight modifications have been made to composting language in
the Draft Use Matrix; Tom Rowe clarified that those changes are in regard to farm-to-
farm operations and to wholesale-retail as a conditional use in permitted zones. Troy
Holbrook gave a presentation on Wedding Facilities, followed by discussions and
suggestions to change some of that language as well.
The Use Matrix Subcommittee will again meet on November 8, to further discuss Ag
Composting, Wedding Facilities and Ag Enterprise Zoning; they will then report back
during the November Ag Board meeting. Celia will send out an announcement of that
subcommittee’s meeting time and place.
John Postema met separately with a small group of County staff to discuss the concept
of an Ag Enterprise Zone; they agreed that a strategy meeting is necessary to determine
who should be included in future discussions, and to be sure and include representation
from the Ag community as this moves forward.
b. Work Session: Development of 2011-12 Work Plan – All
Clay White facilitated discussion of the Board’s Work Program for 2012. This exercise is
geared toward helping the Ag Board determine important issues they feel need to be
addressed during upcoming months. Mr. White provided an outline of some possible
goals the Board might want to consider for 2012, acknowledging that the Board is often
put in the position of being reactionary to issues, rather than planning a strategy.
However, he did encourage the Board to be more proactive in what they’d like to
accomplish, establishing some priorities on specific issues they want to tackle – i.e.
promoting Ag through the SLS process, updating SAEDAT strategies, developing code
amendments, CAR, TDRs, etc.
Possible topics that might be addressed through the Work Program were discussed
amongst the Board. Mr. White made notations to modify the Draft Work Plan the Board
was working from, and will send out a Revised Draft Work Program for 2012, to be
revisited in more detail during the November 8 Ag Board meeting.
6. Round Table Discussion of Topics of Interest
a. John Postema again brought up his concerns that Board members be allowed to provide
input in determining monthly meeting agendas. After brief discussion, it was determined that
Celia will email the “Draft” agenda to the Chair and cc other Board members. Board
members can then funnel their comments/suggestions through the Chair, who will work with
Celia in finalizing each month’s agenda.
b. Chair Marv Thomas announced that next month’s Ag Board meeting (November 8) will
again be held on the west side of the 1st Floor Public Meeting Room. Then, beginning with
the December 13 meeting and through September 2012, we will again meet in the Council
Chambers, with its recording capabilities of a “live” webcast.
c. Brian Bookey updated the Board on activity on Ebey Island, stating that since WDFW is no
longer pursuing that habitat restoration project, exploring Cascade Land Conservancy’s role
in preserving Ag land on Ebey Island might be something we’ll want to pursue through the
7. Future Agenda Topics:
a. Upcoming meeting agenda topics were addressed briefly by the Board:
The Use Matrix Subcommittee will report back to the Ag Board during their November
Board meeting, to provide an update on Ag Composting, Wedding Facilities and Ag
Celia will contact Debbie Terwilleger to find out when SWM can next provide the Board
with an update on the Smith Island Project.
Further development of the Board’s 2012 Work Plan will be concluded during the
November 8 Ag Board meeting.