USA: Ecology Starts Review of Gig Harbor Shoreline Program
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking public comment on Gig Harbor’s recently updated shoreline master program.
The proposed shoreline master program combines local plans for future development and preservation with new development ordinances and related permitting requirements.
It will guide construction and development along approximately six miles of city shoreline. These include areas along Gig Harbor Bay within city limits and a small segment on Henderson Bay. It also pre-plans for Urban Growth Areas located on Gig Harbor Bay, Colvos Passage and the Tacoma Narrows.
Gig Harbor’s locally tailored shoreline program is designed to help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to public lands and waters.
Under Washington’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act, Ecology must review and approve Gig Harbor’s proposed shoreline program before it takes effect. About 195 cities and counties statewide are in the process or soon will be updating or crafting their master programs.
Ecology will accept public comment on Gig Harbor’s proposed shoreline program through April 22.
Gig Harbor’s proposed updated master program:
– Provides shoreline regulations that are integrated with the city’s growth management planning and zoning ordinances as part of a unified development code.
– Establishes protective vegetation conservation areas with the flexibility to reduce these setbacks based on individual property circumstances.
– Recognizes the city’s unique historical role in the commercial fishing industry.
– Includes a restoration plan showing where and how voluntary improvements in water and upland areas can enhance the local shoreline environment.
– Helps support the broader initiative to protect and restore Puget Sound.
All of Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update their programs by December 2014.
Press Release, March 22, 2013