Summary of 11/9 Kitsap County SMP Update Taskforce Meeting

Existing Shoreline Development

Under the proposed Shoreline Master Program (SMP) update, within limited exceptions, legally established existing development within the 200-foot shoreline jurisdiction would be considered “conforming” with regard to setbacks and buffers. This means that if an existing home is closer to the shoreline than would be allowed under new standards, the home would be considered “conforming” so long as it was lawfully constructed. (See proposed language here – Kitsap SMP Existing Development Revised 10-24-11)

Shoreline Buffers

Kitsap County must include provisions for shoreline vegetation conservation buffers as an element of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) update process. State guidelines specifically require local governments to include provisions for vegetation conservation in order to:

  • Protect and restore the ecological functions and ecosystem‐wide processes performed byvegetation along the shorelines;
  • Protect human safety and property;
  • Increase the stability of slopes;
  • Reduce the need for shoreline armoring;
  • Improve the visual and aesthetic qualities of the shoreline;
  • Protect plant and animal species and their habitats; and
  • Enhance shoreline uses.

Kitsap County has had varying shoreline buffer standards in effect since 2000. While these standards are located in the Kitsap County Critical Areas Ordinance (“CAO”), applicable shoreline buffer standards must be integrated into the SMP during the update process.

Kitsap County is proposing a flexible approach to buffers in order to protect ecological functions while still accommodating appropriate use of the shoreline. Under this preliminary proposal, each Shoreline Environment Designation would have a standard buffer and a reduced standard buffer.

Standard Buffer – A starting buffer that provides optimum buffer functions for the Designation. Development activity outside of this line would not require additional shoreline mitigation measures.

Reduced Standard Buffer ‐ The standard buffer could be reduced through site‐appropriate mitigation.

Constrained Lot Buffer ‐ Development on constrained lots could occur below the reduced standard buffer line upon submittal of a site‐specific shoreline mitigation plan, and would require an Administrative Buffer Reduction or Variance. Any such development must prevent loss of existing shoreline functions.

Preliminary Draft Buffer Proposal – Measured from the Shoreline (ordinary high water mark)

Standard Buffer

  • Natural: 200’
  • Rural Conservancy: 130’
  • Urban Conservancy: 100’
  • Shoreline Residential: 85’
  • High‐Intensity: 50’

Reduced Standard Buffer

  • Natural: 150’
  • Rural Conservancy: 100’
  • Urban Conservancy: 85’
  • Shoreline Residential: 50’
  • High‐Intensity: 50′

Bulkheads and repairs to bulkheads need to demonstrate a threat to structures, in accordance with state and federal rules.

Docks will be required to extend out to sufficient water depth such that propeller wash will not damage marine bottom vegetation. Community docking will be encouraged over individual docks. No Net loss of ecological functions will nedd to be demonstrated.

Next meeting – 14 Dec 2011

SMP Update drafts will start to be posted on the Kitsap County SMP Update website


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