JEFFERSON: Board may have to vote again

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Planning Commission stumbled upon a conundrum when it voted last week to recommend that Black Point should be rezoned as rural residential land.

The commission voted 4-1 for zoning the area to allow one residence per 10 acres. Two members abstained from voting.

But someone questioned whether the vote represented a majority of the planning board. The nine-member board had previously worked under the assumption that five votes constitute a majority, even though fewer than nine members were present.

Planning Commission bylaws state a majority vote need only be of the members present, so Chairman Tom McNerney concluded the motion passed by a majority vote.

But the Washington State Planning Enabling Act of 1963 stipulates that board votes must constitute a majority of the board, not a majority of those present.

Deputy Civil Prosecuting Attorney David Alvarez said McNerney's interpretation of the bylaws was correct, but noted they conflict with state law.

For the complete story see Wednesday's Peninsula News, on sale in Jefferson County.

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