Greetings Interested Parties,



Tonight is the state-wide open house and public hearing on the Locally Approved SMP.  The WA Dept. of Ecology hosts the event at Fort Worden State Park in the Commons building.  The open house starts at 5pm, the hearing starts at 7pm.  Both written and verbal comments will be accepted, comment period closes May 11.  More details at the state’s webpage.



Last week we sent notice of a State law revision and local code interpretation regarding shoreline and critical area regulations.  Learn more on our Unified Development Code (UDC) webpage.  Pasted below is a press release distributed to local newspapers by our office:




Now that the legislative session has ended, new laws have taken effect.  A new land use law passed on March 18 requires critical area regulations be applied within the shoreline jurisdiction.  All applications received after this date will be subject to the new legislative action requiring local governments to review development proposals under both the shoreline master program regulations and the critical areas ordinance.


The Department of Community Development issued a code interpretation on April 14 to apply the minimum requirements of the new law passed in Olympia.  Even though the new law has a retroactive clause, the County will apply standards in effect prior to March 18 in order to honor another legal requirement called “vested rights”.  This code interpretation reinforces the validity of existing vested permit approvals including Site Plan Approval Advance Determinations (SPAADs), shoreline permits and building permits currently under review by Jefferson County.  Issued permits and existing uses are not affected by this new law.


This action by the legislature ends the recent debate over which regulations apply in what areas of the County.  In 2008, Jefferson County passed a updated critical areas ordinance.  In late 2009, Jefferson County sent a locally approved shoreline master program to the State Department of Ecology for final approval.  The Critical Areas Ordinance requires a 150 foot buffer in fish and wildlife areas which generally overlay shoreline areas.  The Critical Areas Ordinance has been appealed through the courts and has been found lawful based upon best available science and legal mandates of the state Growth Management Act.  The legislative action is intended to rectify the disputes over the past few years and seeks to provide certainty to land use regulations throughout the State of Washington.


To view the recent code interpretation issued by the Department of Community Development on April 14 to implement the state law known as EHB 1653 see the County web page at , the legislative bill web page at  or call the Department of Community Development at 360-379-4450.


Best regards,



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Michelle McConnell, Associate Planner - LRP Lead


Jefferson County Department of Community Development

Long Range Planning Division

621 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, WA 98368


MAIN  360.379.4450        DIRECT 360.379.4484        FAX 360.379.4473



OFFICE OPEN:  9:00 a - 4:30 p Monday - Thursday; Closed Friday


All e-mail sent to this address will be received by the Jefferson County e-mail system and may be subject to Public Disclosure under Chapter 42.56 RCW and as such may be viewed by parties other than the intended recipient.