‘Pit-to-pier’ firm appeals Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Plan- PDN

The Peninsula Daily News reports today that the Thorndyke Resources Project will take a legal challenge on the Shoreline Master Plan to the Growth Management Board. Given what the PDN reports, it seems unlikely to be successful, but hope springs eternal with these folks, and they apparently have the money to hire the lawyers to challenge it. 

Read the whole story here:

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140418/news/304189970/-8216-pit-to-pier-8217-firm-appeals-jefferson-county-8217-s

 

 

Jefferson County – Michelle McConnell leaves for Ecology

Michelle McConnell, who has been a stalwart at the Jefferson County Dept. of Community Development for many years, has chosen to leave and work for the Department of Ecology. Michelle has had the extremely hard job of shepherding the Shoreline Master Program through over the last 8 years. She has always been a steady hand and been a sea of calm in the midst of turbulent public meetings over the SMP. We will miss her guidance on these issues. No word on a replacement yet. Best of luck to Michelle in future endeavors.

I’m pleased to announce I have accepted a new job and will be leaving DCD the week of April 7; my new position will be as a Shoreline Planner with WA Department of Ecology.

I have learned a lot during my eight years with the County and it has been both challenging and rewarding to have served as Project Manager for major, multi-year projects including the Shoreline Master Program Update and Watershed Stewardship Resource Center/SquareONE.  I’m proud of the many positive contributions I’ve made to the never-ending, fast-paced and varied work of DCD.

Thanks to all the good folks I’ve met and worked with along the way!

Best wishes,

Michelle

Jefferson County shoreline program gains state approval

February 12th. So it’s finally done. No thanks to The Department of Ecology for stonewalling our County  on banning net pens in our county for years, on behalf of the net pen industry. It has been an incredibly divisive effort, that has called into question  Ecology’s mission and their allegiances. Their intransigence in being unwilling to look at the issues and concerns of citizens and their representatives who have legitimate questions about the net pen industry seemed to be entirely self serving of that industry, instead of supporting those who are spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars trying to recover wild fish. While just to the north of us in British Columbia, the scientific evidence continues to mount that net pens are very likely to be contributing to the decline in those stocks.

Much thanks to County Commissioner Phil Johnson who fought for the ban tooth and nail for many years, along with David Sullivan and John Austin, to Michelle McConnell for sheparding this through, the two volunteer groups that spent years going over the existing Program and updating it, and for the Planning Commission all of whom took time to deliberate whether what was done was acceptable. It was a Herculian task. Also thanks to the Jefferson County Democrats, who have fought hard at the State level to promote banning net pens in our waters.

Ecology webpage about our SMP Update (with related documents)

The new SMP (full document, non-codified version; 40 MB)
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/mycomments/jefferson.html

Press release announcement

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has approved Jefferson County’s updated shoreline master program.
The county’s shoreline program will result in significant improvements in the water quality, protection, use, development and restoration of about 250 miles of marine shorelines including Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca; roughly 600 miles of river shorelines, including portions of the Quinault, Hoh, Elwha and Dungeness rivers; as well as along the shores of numerous lakes and streams.

Jefferson County is one of nearly 90 local governments that have completed shoreline program updates. The new master program combines local plans for future shoreline development and preservation with new shoreline development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

Before they can take effect, each locally-tailored city and county shoreline master program must be approved by Ecology to affirm compliance with the state’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act (SMA) and the most current shoreline master program regulations.

About 150 cities and counties statewide are in the process of, or soon will be, updating or crafting their master programs.

“We are pleased with how the new shoreline program addresses net pens and establishes local controls that include a conditional use permitting process,” said Sally Toteff, Ecology Southwest and Olympic Region director.

The conditional use permit process allows the county to evaluate proposals based on site-specific concerns, and to require mitigation or use other measures to offset impacts. Any permit application would also trigger an environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act.

Shoreline master programs are the cornerstone of the SMA. The law requires cities and counties with regulated shorelines to develop and periodically update their locally tailored programs 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.

“It’s very impressive how Jefferson County brought diverse local interests to the table to work collaboratively through tough issues,” Toteff said.

Jefferson County conducted extensive public outreach and facilitated technical and policy advisory committees. The committees included shoreline property owners and experts from various disciplines and agencies.

The county’s shoreline master program:

  • Provides shoreline regulations that are integrated with the Jefferson County growth management planning and zoning, floodplain management and critical areas ordinances as part of a unified development code.
  • Limits new stair towers in landslide hazard and feeder bluff areas.
  • Limits the length of new residential docks and piers.
  • Encourages soft-bank erosion control methods and limits construction of new shoreline armoring such as bulkheads.
  • 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.
  • Once approved by Ecology, the local shoreline plan becomes part of the state shoreline master program. If needed, the department will help defend Jefferson County’s shoreline program against legal challenges.
  • All of Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines are updating their programs to meet a December 2014 deadline. They are following regulations adopted in 2003 that resulted from a negotiated settlement among 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology and the courts.

# # #

Media Contacts:

Linda Kent, 360-791-9830, linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov; @ecySW

South Sound Activist Sue Patnude Joins Sound Action Board of Directors

Sound Action is shaping up to becoming a force to be reckoned with in protecting the Sound. The problem this is trying to solve is that while many people may feel that shoreline protection is overly regulated, the reality is that there is no enforcement of the regulations in many jurisdictions, and the people who should be enforcing laws are being paid by the people wanting the approvals. This not only leads to lax or no enforcement of laws and rubber stamping of anything that is put in front of them, but frustration from citizens that are made to jump through regulatory hoops to find out that the laws have no teeth. I heard, not very long ago,  one county planner say to a public gathering that, “well there’s no real money to do enforcement so I wouldn’t worry about it.”  Do you want real protection of the Sound? Then you are going to have to rely on organizations like Sound Action to demand it. 

———————————-

2/17/14 NEWS RELEASE: 

Sue Patnude of Olympia and Elma, Washington, has joined the board of directors of Sound Action, an environmental watchdog group dedicated to protecting the health of Puget Sound’s nearshore habitats and species.

Patnude is principal consultant in environmental policy management at Patnude and Associates and has extensive experience working for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington Department of Ecology, and for the City of Ocean Shores and Grays Harbor Regional Planning.

Patnude currently serves as executive director of the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT), which seeks to restore the Deschutes River to a healthy estuary.

“Puget Sound needs accountability and regulation enforcement,” said Patnude, “and I look forward to working with people supporting Sound Action and who are unafraid to speak out. We need to openly discuss and find solutions on the hard stuff if we are going to be successful in cleaning up our waters and having healthy habitat.”

Sound Action was launched in 2013 to watchdog government application of nearshore regulations protecting habitat and species. It has reviewed state hydraulic permits for Puget Sound marine in-water construction and appealed those permits failing to meet protection standards. 

In 2014, Sound Action focuses on state legislation affecting Puget Sound, watchdogs the state revision of the hydraulics code, and continues to insist that every hydraulic project approval incorporates environmental protections required by law.

Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners Adopts SMP

The Board of County Commissioners took formal action to adopt the new Shoreline Master Program with supporting documents by unanimous vote this morning, December 16, 2013. Staff is preparing to forward the updated SMP to Ecology for final adoption and anticipates the new program will be in effect by mid-January 2014. Final documents will be posted online when available.

We thank all the County Commissioners for their diligent and determined work to bring a high standard to the environmental protection of our shores. Many dozens of people have worked for over 8 years on this project. It’s the belief of this writer that they have done the best job they could, given the contentious issues, and now to move on stronger protections of this fragile shore.

As to the issue of net pen aquaculture in Jefferson County, it is this writer’s belief that there should be a significant independent scientific study done, perhaps by the Sea Grant folks at the UW who just completed the 6 year geoduck study, to explore the effects of the net pen industry on benthic layers beneath the pens, as well as possible wider effects due to disease and sea lice.  Since DOE relies on science, and the science hasn’t been updated since the 1980’s (at best), it is time to revisit this. There is much water under the bridge on this issue since those days. As we wait for this science to be documented, there should be a moratorium on new net pens in Puget Sound and the greater Salish Sea (i.e. Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca). All existing pens should be allowed to continue to exist (if financially viable) but no new ones should be added until we understand whether this is hurting the efforts to re-establish wild salmon or not. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bring back wild fish. We have no idea of whether sea lice and disease vectors in the pens are harming salmon, rock fish and other species in serious decline.

Jefferson County SMP to finally be adopted! Dec 16th

No really! After local adoption, the County will then forward the new Shoreline Master Program (SMP)  to Ecology for final adoption and anticipates the new program will be in effect by mid-January 2014.

From Michelle McConnell of the Department of Community Development:

Monday, December 16, 2013

City of Port Townsend’s Cotton Building

(former Police station)

607 Water Street – downtown

See the Board’s agenda (to be posted on Friday) for final estimated time (likely ~ 10:30am). The meeting is open to the public – please note this is not a public hearing.

This has been a long and collaborative project for our community and your involvement has been important – whether you just tuned-in or have been following this for years, whether just tracking progress via web & email updates, submitting comments, attending the many public hearings and outreach events, or participating in the extensive advisory committees and Planning Commission process.  The result is an updated Shoreline Master Program that is robust and flexible, rooted in current science, reflective of local values, and better able to address the diversity of our approximate 500 miles of lake, river, and saltwater shorelines under SMP jurisdiction.  The SMP gives us all a much-improved toolbox for allowing appropriate waterfront development in balance with our fragile natural resources:  Let’s Do More With Our Shores:  Protect – Use – Develop – Restore!

Jefferson County SMP – Latest Update

Status of Final Adoption – From the Jefferson County Department of Community Development

After much consideration and additional public input, the Board and Ecology have agreed on proposed provisions to regulate finfish aquaculture. Ecology’s September approval concludes the County’s formal response to the State’s required and recommended changes. Staff is working to prepare the final SMP document and it’s adopting ordinance and a resolution for the supplemental technical documents. The Board is anticipated to take formal action to adopt the new SMP with supporting documents in mid-November. The County will then submit the new SMP to Ecology for final adoption and anticipates the new program will be in effect by mid-December 2013.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 268 other followers

%d bloggers like this: