Public can comment on shoreline rules
Olympia, WA - The state Department of Ecology is making a third run at revising Washington's rules that guide development and other activities along rivers, marine shores and larger streams and lakes.
Ecology started the controversial revisions in 1995, and tougher
rules adopted in 2000 later were overturned on appeal. A year of mediation
sessions led to revisions and a current draft of new shoreline rules.
The agency is accepting public comments on the new rules through Sept. 15.
As part of the comment process, Ecology will hold four public hearings, including one Aug. 6 in the Cowlitz PUD auditorium, 961 12th Ave., Longview. That session will begin with an informal open house at 5:30 p.m. before the 7 p.m. hearing. Similar hearings will be held next month in Seattle, Spokane and Wenatchee.
This time around, Ecology officials say opposing groups are among supporters of the proposal.
"It took a lot of work, but we finally have a shorelines proposal that has the support of both the business community and environmentalists," Ecology Director Tom Fitzsimmons said in a written statement.
The proposed guidelines would require cities and counties to inventory and analyze their own shorelines to establish a foundation for updating their own master plans. Local plans must strive for "no net loss of shoreline ecological function" under the proposed rule.
Instead of the rigid setback requirements of previous rules, in these regulations those setbacks are simply among the wetland-protection tools that may be used.
The rules also are designed to slow the spread of bulkheads, piers and docks, which can degrade the environment and sometimes cause erosion.
The draft rule and other information is available on-line at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/SMA/guidelines/index.html. For a printed copy, call 1-888-211-3641. Send written comments to: Shoreline Guidelines, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504.
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