Kitsap’s shoreline plans up for approval.

Efforts to protect Kitsap County’s shorelines will gain attention in 2012, as separate shoreline master programs are completed by the county commissioners and city councils for all four cities.

Poulsbo recently leapt ahead of the other jurisdictions when the planning commission completed its work and recommended a complete shorelines plan to the City Council, which could adopt the plan in March.

The other jurisdictions are hoping to complete recommendations and get final approvals in the April-June time frame.

Kitsap County, Poulsbo and Port Orchard are working with shoreline designations (zones) recommended by state agencies. Bremerton and Bainbridge Island are using their own designations to maintain consistency with their existing plans.

How to protect vegetative buffers along the shoreline varies greatly among the jurisdictions. So far, Poulsbo is simply sticking with its existing 100-foot buffer for Liberty Bay and 150-foot buffer for the Dogfish Creek estuary.

Port Orchard has proposed a 25-foot buffer for “shoreline residential,” with 100 feet for “urban conservancy” and 150 feet for “natural.”

Bainbridge Island is working on a complex system that includes a protected inner zone as well as an outer zone. In setting a specific buffer, consideration is given to the shoreline proximity of existing homes and businesses.

Kitsap County’s shoreline task force is discussing a split buffer zone that allows construction closer to the shore when a property owner takes extra steps to protect ecological values. The basic buffer for “shoreline residential” would be 85 feet, but 50 feet is possible with simple mitigation.

Bremerton’s residential buffers would be determined, in part, by the depth of a building lot, with tiny lots getting a minimal buffer.

Read more in the KitsapSun

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