Shoreline Master Program
The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is the state’s attempt to allow local jurisdictions (meaning the people of the counties) to write their own specific regulations within the legal framework of requirements (i.e. regulation for mining, urban shoreline uses, etc.)
We support the process and the update, with exceptions. The process of writing this update in Jefferson County seems to have been weakened by the presence of people on the Planning Commission that specifically stood to gain financially from the outcome. This is conflict of interest at it’s core. Section 14 of the Planning Commission By-Laws specifically calls out that conflict of interest is reason for a PC member to recuse themselves.
The lack of any real enforcement of the current SMP is also of great concern to us. There is no real provision for providing greater enforcement, or incentives to people to follow the SMP. We see that as a weakness. The document also needs substantial summary in easier to read format. We hope the county will work on providing a web site and supporting printed literature that helps people understand these regulations without having to read the entire document. Streamlining the processes to support the SMP would be very valuable. That will cost money to implement, money that is currently not budgeted.
Given that, here is the current response from People For Puget Sound on the September draft documents.
Currently, Jefferson County is in negotiations with the Department of Ecology over a controversial decision to put a moratorium on net pen aquaculture.
Clallam County is in process on their SMP. Final Drafts are available for the public at the County offices or online.
(updated December 2014)
Critical Areas Ordinances (CAO)
Jefferson County has started (as of fall 2014) updating their CAO that covers special areas like wetlands and other habitat deemed to need special protections in land use planning. The new updates more significant work will need to integrate agriculutural areas, which includes coming up with workable, scientifically valid, buffers around these critical areas. A good example is to best understand what buffers should be implemented along all of Chimicum Creek. The concern from all sides, is that an incredible coalition of farmers, both ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ have worked with NGO’s such as the Jefferson County Land Trust, and the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, along with the Jefferson County Conservation District to forge a variety of buffers based on unique conditions of farms and the needs of those farmers. The danger is that prescriptive “one size fits all” buffers might actually work against the progress that has been made along the creek. In past versions, it was always understood that this kind of ‘custom’ buffer work is better to do than prescriptive, but costs and time were deemed to be too expensive. Now that we have an ability with create these custom buffers, the challenge will be to continue to keep our conservation districts funded to allow for the work to be done. While ridiculously cheap to fund, the 2015 legislature is looking for anything to cut that they can, to implement the McCleary Decision.