North Bend land-use rules to be reviewed by AWC

NORTH BEND - Officials in Olympia are going to help North Bend dot all its I's and cross all its T's in its upcoming process of writing land-use codes.

The North Bend City Council passed a resolution at its meeting last Tuesday that will allow the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) to review its land-use codes for any problems.

Carol Morris, the city attorney for Gig Harbor and an attorney for the AWC, will give a presentation this week on how the AWC plans to work with the city on looking over its land-use codes.

"All cities would benefit from the program," Morris said. "We just need to pass on it and see that it looks great."

North Bend Mayor Joan Simpson said she first heard of the program during a recent meeting of the AWC in Bellevue, of which North Bend was already a member.

"They offer a free basic review, which is my favorite price," Simpson said.

Land-use codes, which dictate where and how any public or private building may be built, can get very complex. Problems can arise when someone tries to build because of the myriad of land, water and other utility regulations in the North Bend land-use laws.

The draw of the AWC program comes from the spurt of growth that North Bend and other Washington communities have experienced in recent years. Since communities have seen so much growth, potential legal problems can arise if city organizers are not mindful of the land-use codes they develop in order to cope with growth.

The AWC Insurance Services division came up with the program in order to avoid possible litigation costs to a city. If there is a problem between the city and the applicant for a permit, the AWC will help with formal mediation.

North Bend Community Services Director Larry Stockton said the program will help North Bend become more efficient and effective for its citizens.

"It's a good thing for North Bend because it will insure that our code is written correctly to insure that we serve our customers," Stockton said.

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