Okays long-debated land-use law
County, WA - 6/26/01 - Clallam
County commissioners approved a revised Critical Areas Ordinance on
Tuesday, June 26, 2001, wrapping up debate over regulations scrapped by
the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board.
Commissioners voted 2-1, Republican Mike Chapman of Port Angeles
voting no, to approve the ordinance governing stream buffer zones.
“If this local ordinance is passed, we’ll be abrogating our
rights to an unelected board appointed by Gov. Locke,” Chapman said.
“I’m not sure this is in our best interest.”
said he did not think the county should knowingly kow-tow to a
non-elected board unfamiliar with Clallam County.
Commissioners Mike Doherty, D-Port Angeles, disagreed.
“If we don’t make the tough decision at the local level, some
other government will,” Doherty said.
Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, also supported the ordinance.
“Is it perfect? Certainly
not. Is it manageable? Just
barely,” Tharinger said. “Is
it legally defensible? I
believe it is.”
Commissioners have previously been criticized by both property
rights activists and environmentalists over the Critical Areas
rights activists said the rules go too far in restricting activity on
private land. Environmentalists
have said the regulations do not go far enough in protecting streamside
changes are the result of the Hearings Management Board’s 1999
decision to kick back streamside development regulations to
issue were buffers for streams, particularly Type 5 waterways.
Type 5 stream is defined as less than 2-feet wide and 500-feet long.
its decision, the hearings board applauded the county for the bulk of
its law, but ruled it “failed to use the best available science”
when reducing buffer widths for some streams.
zones, scaled for Type 1 through Type 5 waters, are required between
commercial or residential developments and aquatic habitat. Buffer zones limit or restrict development near streams.
1 waters are the highest use areas for fish, wildlife or humans.
Peninsula Daily News, June 26, 2001.