State board dismisses challenges to Jefferson County Shoreline Management Program; one petitioner may appeal – PDN

Having been a member of the ~20 person Shoreline Policy Advisory Committee (a non technical citizens’ advisory team), I’m very gratified that the work we did over almost 7 years, has been upheld by the Growth Management Board. We knew we weren’t doing anything that was not capable of being upheld in court, and we have been proven correct. This is also time for a thanks to Michelle McConnell for her expert guidance of the almost 40 person team of volunteer advisors through the process. Now I hope the County has the capability of doing as good a job on the new Critical Areas Ordinance.

The state Growth Management Hearings Board has dismissed 19 challenges to the newly enacted Jefferson County Shoreline Management Program. The decision, issued Monday, said “the board concludes that petitioners failed to provide clear and convincing evidence demonstrating the challenged action.” The challenges the plan enacted in February were made by three petitioners: Hood Canal Sand and Gravel — which may appeal, a spokesman said — the Olympic Stewardship Foundation and the Jefferson County chapter of the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

 http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150319/news/303199980/state-board-dismisses-challenges-to-jefferson-county-shoreline

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.

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Media Contacts:

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

New Jefferson County Republican Leader Rages Against the Environmental “Machine” – PT Leader

Just picked up the Port Townsend Leader today, and read the interview with Gene Farr, the new head of the Republican Party for Jefferson County. Beyond asking why anyone would want such a job, which the Leader did, Farr was allowed a lot of ink to rant against the environmental machine, which he claims is destroying the county. He also took off after the United Nations on the Agenda 21, which is a typical conspiracy theory floated by some of Fox News folks. Gene went on to denounced climate change and environmental protection while he was at it.

It’s really sort of sad where the Republican Party has ended up. More and more they seem like the Goldwater lunatic fringe of the 60s, rather than the party that ran this State in the late 60s through 70s.  It was a Republican Governor,Dan Evans, who worked collaboratively with the the voters of King County to  get Metro off the ground in it’s efforts to clean up Lake Washington. It was Republican Dan Evans who formed the first Department of Ecology at the State level in the US.  Republican Secretary of State Ralph Munro, out on his boat on the Sound, witnessed first hand an Orca capture for the likes of a show much like the one documented in the recent movie “Blackfish”. Ralph was so upset by what he saw that he came back, called his friend Republican Slade Gordon and Governor Evans and pushed to outlaw the practice, thus beginning the long protection of these beautiful animals we share here in the  Salish Sea. It was Republican Richard Nixon who, at popular request, and the urging of the Ash Council, supported the notion of the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and named William Ruckelshaus, a Republican, to run it. Mr. Ruckelshaus has lived in the Seattle area since the 80s, and has been very much involved in helping with the Northwest Straits Initiative, and the founding of the Puget Sound Partnership. He’s still considered a pillar in the environmental community. Closer to home, there are Republicans in Clallam County that I’ve met that are moderate folks who are willing to admit that there are environmental problems worth solving collaboratively, and reasonably come to the table to work on them. They may not agree with Democratic points of view, they might be at odds with some in the environmental community there, but they seem less polarized about it than some I’ve met.

The point of this,is that the keys to success of the Republican Party are not to rant and rail against what many people understand to be positive steps towards protecting our air, water and shorelines. These decisions are difficult, and many of us have volunteered hundreds if not thousands of hours to help formulate regulations that are workable to most. And more importantly, have been found to be legal when challenged to our State Supreme Court. The Shoreline Master Program, the Critical Areas Ordinance and other regulations by the State, which we are allowed to participate in rather than be handed down to us to implement, are legal documents based on rules and regulations that are developed in meetings all over this State. It’s not a cabal, you get invited to them, and can ask to be included. There were distinctly Republican supporters at the meetings I attended, so this wasn’t done in a vacuum. The voters of this county have returned the commissioners who put forward those regulations to office. Something is in alignment I’d venture.

We look forward to Mr Farr putting away his conspiracy theory books, turning off the TV and actually rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the processes he is so adamantly opposed to. By participation, he is more likely to come face to face with his neighbors, and understand that we are all working to make this a better place. We’re willing to debate different points of view, but to paint us as villains  is just counterproductive. He might just succeed in getting his agenda better integrated into the whole. The history of his party shows that they have been leaders before, and we are anxiously awaiting them to become so again.

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!

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