WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. -- The Whatcom County Council added more proposed changes to the local law that defines the character of rural areas after hearing from rural landowners this week. The Rural Element Ordinance of the County’s Comprehensive Plan determines what rural landowners can do with their property. The new ordinance adds a policy encouraging economic development within the rural communities. It also specifies that all uses are permitted in rural business-designated areas, and increases the allowable floor size for new buildings in those areas from 5,000 to 7,000 sq. ft. The council will hold another public hearing on August 7, which is the extended deadline for the County to bring the rural element into compliance with the State Growth Management act.