SMP update in Jefferson County.

by Mike Gustavson

Much can be learned from the experience in our neighboring county, as our SMP (Shoreline Master Program) review builds steam. Tuesday evening September 8, 2009 six KAPO members attended the Jefferson County Commissioners public hearing on their Shoreline Management Plan update. Several of us spoke. Here are my comments.

It was soon evident, from public testimony, that the community had worked three years to help develop the Planning Commission draft. Department of Ecology reviewed it and, in a letter to the County, rejected it out of hand, before it had come to the Board of County Commissioners. County staff then drafted a shoreline plan that apparently would pass muster with DOE. The Staff plan, with uniform buffers, often of 150 feet, was addressed Tuesday night.

A cursory review of the plan showed no proof of harm to the waterways in question, and chose instead to apply fixed width buffers as a function of the use of various “reaches” of beach.

There was no acknowledgement of a relationship between regulation and proven harm, as required in landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases Nolan vs. California Coastal Commission and Dolan vs. the City of Tigard.

Neither addressed were Washington State Supreme Court Case Isla Verde vs. City of Camas, prohibiting an environmental tax through land use restriction nor Engrossed Senate and House Bill 1933, which specifically prohibits uniform buffers on salt water and instead requires each parcel of property stand on it’s own merits when measuring harm to the shore and attendant regulation.

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