Coupeville and Island County officials tackle historic buildings

The Coupeville Town Council and the Board of Island County Commissioners will begin reviewing a new set of design standards that will affect homeowners living within the confines of Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve’s 17,000 acres.

Island County Planning Director Bob Pederson said the regulations will provide a uniform set of guidelines for homeowners living within the district. The county, town of Coupeville and the Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing have been working together to develop the new regulations.

The joint meeting with Coupeville and the county commissioners takes place Tuesday, April 13, at 8 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room at the Courthouse Annex Building.

Coupeville Town Planner Larry Kwarsick said Tuesday’s meeting will allow officials a chance to review the first part of the design standards, specifically the guidelines affecting the alteration of historic and non-historic buildings.

A second meeting to review standards concerning new construction built in the reserve will take place May 4.

A draft of the regulations sparked controversy in 2009. Residents were concerned the proposed color palette was too restrictive and farmers were concerned the regulations wouldn’t allow the flexibility needed to stay in business.

Kwarsick said the color palette is a guideline residents can use in selecting colors to paint their homes.

“The primary objective is to give guidance to homeowners,” Kwarsick said.

As for the farmers concerns, Kwarsick said officials have tried to write in regulations that minimize the review process for existing agriculture operations.

“I still think this has been a great public process,” Kwarsick said.

Ultimately it’s up to the county commissioners and the Coupeville Town Council to approve the new ordinance and design guideline sometime in 2010.

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