Senate to consider House shoreline management bill
EVERETT, WA-- A bill that spells out the steps cities and counties must take to update their Shoreline Master Programs is headed for the state Senate.
The Everett Shorelines Bill, House Bill 1933, sponsored by Rep. Jean Berkey D-Everett, passed the House by a vote of 66 to 31 last week.
This week, the bill goes to the Senate.
Berkey said she would meet with Senate leaders today. "I think it has a very good chance of passing the Senate."
A 1995 state law requires that cities and counties roll their shoreline plans into their growth management plans.
However, the law never clarifies which set of guidelines -- the Growth Management Act, which regulates urban and rural growth, or the Shoreline Management Act, which governs development of land within 200 feet of the state's waters -- should take priority.
Recently, a state board rejected portions of Everett's revised shoreline plan, which would govern development of land along the city's waterfront and riverfront, including several properties owned by the Port of Everett.
"The board decided that the Shoreline Management Act had priority over the Growth Management Act," Berkey said. "My legislation ensures that one does not have priority over another."
The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Board, an unelected panel, rejected three parts of Everett's shoreline plan, covering the marshland site on the Snohomish River and the shores of Smith and north Spencer islands.
It agreed with the plan's legal challenger, the Everett Shorelines Coalition -- a citizens' group -- that the city had failed to protect several environmentally fragile areas.
The state board reviews citizen challenges to city, county or state agencies. The three-member board has the legal authority to determine if a development plan complies with the growth or shoreline acts.
However, both sides agreed that city officials were plotting new territory, at times working in the dark to integrate the two guidelines that sometimes contradict one another.
State Sen. Aaron Reardon D-Everett, is sponsoring a companion Senate Bill 5880.
"We came up with an agreement last week with the Port of Everett, the Department of Ecology, private industry and environmental groups," Reardon said. "We brought in all the interested parties and we negotiated a compromise that works."
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