USA: Ecology Seeks Comment on Island County’s Shoreline Program

Ecology Seeks Comment on Island County’s Shoreline Program

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) seeks public comment on Island County’s recently updated shoreline master program.

The proposed updated shoreline program will guide construction and development on the county’s 210 miles of marine and freshwater lake shorelines. The county’s proposed Shoreline Master Program consists of unique shoreline environment designations, buffers and setbacks. It combines local plans for future development and preservation with new development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

Island County’s locally tailored shoreline program is designed to help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-dependent and oriented uses, recognizes established residential uses and protects access to public land and waters.

Under Washington’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act, Ecology must review and approve Island County’s proposed shoreline program before it takes effect. Cities and counties statewide are in the process or soon will be updating or crafting their master programs.

Ecology will accept public comment on Island County’s proposed shoreline program until 5 p.m. on May 24, 2013. Ecology also invites the community to a public hearing and open house on May 1, 2013, in the Island County Commissioners Hearing Room at 1 Northeast Sixth Street in Coupeville. The open house begins at 6 p.m., followed by the hearing at 7 p.m.

Island County’s proposed updated master program:

– Incorporates the County’s critical areas regulations and flood damage prevention code;

– Establishes appropriate shoreline environment designations that recognize established shoreline uses and existing intact shoreline habitat;

– Tailors unique shoreline setbacks and buffers to each shoreline environment designation;

– Contains unique standards that require buffers and setbacks measured from the top of bluffs;

– Provides unique standards that recognize historic beach and canal communities;

– Encourages soft-bank erosion control methods and limits construction of new shoreline armoring;

– 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.

[mappress]

Press Release, April 24, 2013

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