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Columbia City's Paulette Lichatowich, a member of the Port of St. Helens Commissoin and Columbia County Planning Commission, solicits return of CPACs

PORT OF ST. HELENS PHOTO - Lichatowich I am concerned that only one out of seven Citizen Planning Advisory Committees (CPACs) is active in Columbia County and that we have dropped the ball in this important aspect of land use planning. Extensive citizen participation has been the hallmark of the state's land use planning program since 1984. Citizen participation is important to maintain two-way communication between the public and planning officials.

For several decades, seven CPACs met and provided citizens input. However, around 2005 the groups weakened until only one CPAC is still functioning. The Scappoose-Spitzenberg CPAC still meets and works to provide input on land use decisions such as housing subdivisions, industrial development, airport expansions and storm water runoff. I hope you see the need for rebuilding citizen participation in our county's land use administration and Planning Commission decisions.

Columbia County needs to renew its commitment to the CPAC process. I have personally spoken with several people who are interested in the CPAC process. Because we have new economic growth, this is a critical time, a tipping point for two-way communication within the county's land use planning process.

It's up to us. Do you have time, on an irregular basis, to receive a copy of the land use applications being processed for your neighborhood? To answer that question, you'll need more information. I urge you to stop by Land Development Services at the court house in St. Helens or contact them 503-397-7217 to request more information.

Paulette Lichatowich

Columbia City

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