tougher land-use rules
says Clallam must scrap reduced buffer zones,
write new regulations
By Ken Short
for The Peninsula Daily News
7, 2001 - Clallam County, WA - Minor new developments
close to salmon-bearing bodies of water will be governed
by tougher land-use regulations for the next six months.
temporary regulations follow a state Growth Hearings Board
decision ordering Clallam County to scrap reduced buffer
zones in its Critical Areas Ordinance.
hearings board decision, announced Tuesday, said the
distances do not comply with the state Growth Management
Act (GMA). The board ordered county planning staff to
write new rules within 180 days.
new developments include construction of single-family
residences, land-clearing of 20,000 square feet or less
and agricultural structures less than 4,000 square feet in
the meantime, current stream and river buffer distances
some will be replaced by higher distances - increasing
from 35 feet to 150 feet - usually applied to major
hearings board ruled that the county failed to use the
“best available science” when it reduced buffer
zones, undeveloped areas, are required between commercial
or residential developments and aquatic habitat.
‘Zero’ distance Invalidated
ruling also invalidated the part of the ordinance that
allows minor building development “zero” distance from
small non-salmon bearing streams of 2 feet or less in
county was ordered to establish an adequate small stream
buffer within 90 days.
County Community Development Director Bob Martin said the
department will provide more thorough scientific data to
support the reductions.
will be attempting to develop that record more thoroughly
" Martin said. “And, we think we can prove to them
that some scientific information supports the buffers.”
for limited instances.…Clallam County has done an
excellent job of recognizing, modifying, synthesizing, and
applying best available science to its local
conditions,” board members wrote.
ordinance came under fire last March when environmental
groups Protect the Peninsula’s Future and Washington
Environmental Council appealed the regulation.
group alleged parts of the ordinance were scientifically
Kailin, president of that group, said she is pleased with
the outcome, but doubts Martin can enhance the scientific
record enough for the state board to accept reduced buffer
not quite sure what rock he’s going to pull that out
from under,” Kailin said.
temporary buffer distance increases for minor development
not including wetlands, is as follows:
distances are scaled for Type 1 through Type 5 waters.
Type 1 waters are the highest use areas for fish,
wildlife or humans:
1 – Marine, streams and lakes, 150 feet.
2 – 150 feet, up from 65 feet.
3 – 100 feet, up from 50 feet.
4 – 50 feet, up from 35 feet.
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