060(2). The court concluded that the "no harm" standard protected critical areas by maintaining existing conditions. The GMA does not impose a duty on local governments to enhance critical areas. The county did not need to require buffers near rivers, where previously existing buffers had long since been removed (there is no requirement to enhance). The court also concluded that, while best available science needed to be considered and included in its record, the county did not need to follow it.
The handbook and guidebook below provide a great overview of critical areas issues, as well as detailed guidance for each step in the process (from designating critical areas to specific protection methods and monitoring). Critical Areas Handbook: A Handbook for Reviewing Critical Areas Regulation (2018) – Comprehensive handbook Small Communities Critical Areas Implementation Guidebook (2007) – Links to guidebook, appendices, and other useful information on critical areas and best available science. (Published by Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, now the Department of Commerce) Note: The Department of Ecology has updated their critical areas guidance for wetland buffers as of July 2018.
172(1). The county had to use some kind of scientific methodology in a reasoned process of analysis to designate the habitats. Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. Washington Growth Mgmt. Hearings Board, 161 Wn. 2d 415 (2007) - "No Harm" Standard The tribe challenged the county's critical areas ordinance alleging, among other things, that a "no harm" provision failed to protect critical areas, as required by RCW 36.
680 (2011), review denied, 173 Wn. 2d 1019 (2012) - GMA/Subdivisions The court concluded that the county subdivision code failed to protect critical areas, as required by the GMA. Significantly, the code did not address impervious surface coverage in multiple important contexts, it did not apply county-wide, and it did not mention methods for addressing storm water or impervious surface coverage. KAPO v.
Examples from local governments in Washington are listed further down in the examples section. Department of Ecology: Best Available Science for Wetlands Department of Commerce: Citations of Recommended Sources of Best Available Science for Designating and Protecting Critical Areas, - Older but still contains useful reference documents.
17. 52 – Critical Areas Regulations Olympia Municipal Code Ch. 18. 32 – Critical Areas Wenatchee Municipal Code Ch. 12. 08 – Critical Areas County Ordinances Cowlitz County Code Ch. 19. 25 – Critical Areas. Cowlitz County is required to follow GMA critical areas regulations but is not fully planning under the GMA Douglas County Code Title 19. 18 – Resource Lands/Critical Areas King County Code Title 21A. 24 – Critical Areas Skagit County Code Ch. 24 – Critical Areas Ordinance Spokane County Code Ch.
11. 20 – Critical Areas Update Processes Bainbridge Island Critical Areas Ordinance Update (2018) Bellevue Critical Area Ordinance Update (2016) Snohomish County Critical Areas Regulation Update (2015) Thurston County Critical Areas Update (2013) Black Diamond Sensitive Areas Ordinance - Best Available Science Review and Recommendations for Code Update, Summary and Recommendations (2008) Bremerton Critical Areas Ordinance Best Available Science References (2006) San Juan County Best Available Science Synthesis (2011) Thurston County Critical Areas Update: Best Available Science Voluntary Stewardship Programs Thurston County Voluntary Stewardship Program Work Plan Appendix I: Voluntary Incentive Programs – Includes a variety of technical assistance, incentives to improve irrigation efficiency, promote native planting, and an open space tax incentive Grant County Volunteer Stewardship Program – Lead agency is Grant County Conservation District Work Plan Executive Summary (2017) Full Work Plan (2017) Programs and Services – Overview of technical assistance and cost-sharing programs More examples are available on the Washington State Conservation Commission website.
City Ordinances Bainbridge Island Municipal Code Ch. 16. 20 – Critical Areas Bothell Municipal Code Ch. 14. 04 – Critical Area Regulations Ellensburg Municipal Code: Ch. 15. 620 – Wetlands Ch. 630 – Frequently Flooded Areas Ch. 640 – Geologically Hazardous Areas Ch. 650 – Fish and Wildlife Conservation Area Ch. 660 – Aquifer Recharge Areas Mukilteo Municipal Code Ch.
The court held there was no duty on a county to describe each step of the deliberative process that links the science that it considers to the adopted policy or regulation; rather, the county must address on the record the relevant sources of best available scientific information included in the decision-making. The court also found that, by prohibiting vegetation removal and development only within those areas determined to be "high risk" critical areas, any dedications of land within the critical areas are de facto "reasonably necessary as a direct result of the proposed developments, " in compliance with RCW 82. 02. 020. Stevens County v. Hearings Bd., 163 Wn.
Thurston County District Court City of Olympia - Home#OlympiaStrong We are developing an economic resiliency plan to help residents, businesses and the broader
The court found that the county failed to use BAS and the reasoning provided for their ordinance was unsubstantiated. Yakima County v. E. Wash. Hearings Bd., 168 Wn. 680 (2012) – Best Available Science The hearings board decided that the county's standard stream buffers were unsupported by the best available science, and that the minimum adjustments allowed to be made to stream and wetland buffers failed to comply with the GMA. The court of appeals held that the superior court erroneously reversed the hearings board's decision on stream buffer widths, noting that the record did not show the county systematically analyzed the efficacy of the stream buffers in place since 1995, or that “for the most part” these buffers had adequately performed their intended function. However, the court of appeals ruled that the superior court properly reversed the hearings board's decision to invalidate the county's decision not to designate and regulate type 5 ephemeral streams under the county's critical areas ordinance.
MRSC - Critical AreasThis page provides an overview of the critical areas regulations required of all cities, towns, and counties in Washington State under the Growth Management Act. Overview The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires all cities and counties in Washington to adopt regulations protecting “critical areas” in order to preserve the natural environment, wildlife habitats, and sources of fresh drinking water. Critical areas regulation also encourage public safety by limiting development in areas prone to natural hazards like floods and landslides. RCW 36. 70A. 030(5) defines five types of critical areas: Wetlands Areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas Frequently flooded areas Geologically hazardous areas Counties and cities are required to develop policies and development regulations to protect the functions and values of critical areas using the best available science (RCW 36.
The court determined that the county provided a reasoned justification in deciding not to designate or regulate ephemeral streams as critical areas. Olympic Stewardship Found. W. Growth Mgmt., 166 Wn. 172 (2012), review denied, 174 Wn. 2d 1007 (2012) - Best Available Science Olympic Stewardship Foundation challenged the county's vegetation regulations applicable to rivers subject to channel migration, arguing that the regulations violated the GMA's "best available science" requirement and that the Legislature's 2010 amendment to RCW 36. 480 invalidates the county's nonconforming use regulation for critical areas.
Recommended Resources Several state agencies provide a number of resources specific to each type of critical area. See the links below for more information. Department of Ecology: Wetlands – Wealth of resources on wetlands, including guidance on local regulations and best available science Critical Aquifers Recharge Areas Department of Ecology: Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas webpage – Includes detailed Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas Guidance Document Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas Department of Fish and Wildlife: Priority Habitats and Species (PHS) – Comprehensive information on important fish, wildlife, and habitat resources in Washington, including a list of management recommendations Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) Map – Clickable map showing fish populations, federal protection status, and hatchery information for all WRIAs Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office: Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office Frequently Flooded Areas Department of Ecology: Frequently Flooded Areas: Critical Areas Ordinance – Information on developing a chapter on frequently flooded areas Geologically Hazardous Areas Department of Natural Resources: Geological Hazards and the Environment – Webpage with information on various hazards, including hazard maps Court Decisions This section contains a selected list of court decisions about critical areas and the Growth Management Act.
060, RCW 36. 172, and RCW 36. 710) Ch. 365-190 WAC – Minimum guidelines to classify agriculture, forest, mineral lands and critical areas Ch. 365-195 WAC – Growth Management Act - Best Available Science WAC 365-196-485 – Critical areas (relationship to the comprehensive plan) WAC 365-196-830 – Protection of critical areas Examples of Critical Areas Ordinances and Documents This section provides examples of city and county critical area ordinances and other related documents.
Central Puget Sound Growth Mgmt. Hearings Board, 159 Wn. 270 (2011) - GMA/Shorelines Management Following 2010 legislation (Chapter 107, Laws of 2010) that applied retroactively, the court held that the Growth Management Act was to regulate critical areas in shoreline areas until such time as Shoreline Management Act plans are updated. Stevens County v. Futurewise, 146 Wn. 493 (2008), review denied, 165 Wn. 2d 1038 (2009) - GMA The court held that substantial evidence supported the growth board's decision that the county's critical habitat code provisions did not comply with the GMA, because the county failed to designate all critical habitats and failed to consider the best available science in designating critical habitats, as required by RCW 36.
Watch Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA ... Algona Municipal Utilities · All West Communications Hardy Telecommunications · Harlan Municipal Utilities Live Stream