Bremerton SMP Update

Notes from the 15 Feb Planning Commission Meeting
by Alan Beam, Director

Workshop — Shoreline Master Program Update:

Nicole Ward, City Planner, introduced Barbara Nightingale from the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE). Ms. Nightingale gave a PowerPoint presentation on the DOE’s requirements for a successful Shoreline Master Program update.

The guidelines for a Shoreline Master Program are in the 2003 Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173.26. These guidelines are applicable to all Washington state jurisdictions. Bremerton is within the guidelines set for due dates of each step in the update process.

As Bremerton completes each step, documentation is sent to the DOE for review and comment; Bremerton then incorporates those comments into a revised document.

The first step of a SMP update is the shoreline inventory and characterization; future regulations and designations are based on what is in the inventory and characterization.

The goal of the Shoreline Master Program is “no net-loss” of shoreline use and function based on what level of functionality the shorelines are at present time.

Once the inventory is complete, Bremerton can move forward to creating future planning, policies and regulations, and a restoration plan by using the inventory as well as technical memos created by Parametrix (SMP consultant).

The final SMP document cannot be adopted until it is approved by DOE.

The Bremerton SMP regulates not only shorelines within the city limits, but also in Bremerton’s Urban Growth Areas (UGA) that will eventually be annexed into the city.

Ms. Nightingale showed several samples of shoreline within Bremerton, highlighting “difficult to classify” areas and offered examples of what methods other jurisdictions have utilized. She also reviewed items such as shoreline restoration incentives and alternatives, and new federal regulations for docks.

It is anticipated that it will take at least ten years of monitoring, planning, and documenting to achieve the goal of no net-loss.

Larry Taylor asked where someone could get the federal standards for docks and piers. Ms. Nightingale said they were available through the Army Corps of Engineers and she will provide the information to Nicole Floyd to post on the Bremerton shoreline website.

Commissioner Tift asked for examples of incentives to remove bulkheads. Ms. Nightingale gave an example of reducing a buffer requirement to expand a home in exchange for removing a bulkhead. She added that incentives are site specific.

A member of the audience asked of neighbors could “trade” incentives. For example, one neighbor removes a bulkhead so the other could reduce a buffer. Ms. Nightingale said that if that was something that would work for those neighbors they could use it.

Commissioner Tift asked if there were ever a monetary incentive to remove a bulkhead. Ms. Nightingale said there was no money available from the state, but there are other agencies like a land trust that might have that type of resource, especially if the bulkhead removal benefits the habitat for native species. It is also possible for local jurisdictions to create a conservation fund that landowners who don’t have the ability to mitigate their shorelines can pay into for use on sites that can be restored.

Sunny Wheeler asked about the requirement of a 100-foot buffer when a lot depth may be far less than 100 feet. Ms. Nightingale explained that during the SMP update process, each jurisdiction has the ability to develop alternatives for property that would not meet the minimum buffer requirements.

Nicole added that some jurisdictions determine the buffer requirement as a percentage of the lot depth.

Upcoming Meetings:

March 15, 2011 – Planning Commission Meeting
Discussion of proposed shoreline designations, goals and policies

May 17, 2011 – Planning Commission Meeting
Discussion of proposed Goals and Policies

July 19, 2011 – Planning Commission Meeting
Agenda to be determined

More Information:

Bremerton SMP website


Nicole Floyd, Land Use Planner

345 6th Street, Suite 600
Bremerton, WA 98337
(360) 473-5279
(360) 473-5278 fax


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