News

Shoreline plans up for public forums, scrutiny

by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

Officials are moving forward with updating the Clallam County Shoreline Master Program but not without the public’s input.

 

Two public forums, following three in other parts of the county, are scheduled for July 14 at John Wayne Marina in Sequim.

 

In April about 40 people attended a similar forum, where Clallam County Planning Director Steve Gray explained why the county’s Shoreline Master Program is being updated and consultants explained the goals and restrictions of the project.

 

The program, which regulates land use and development within 200 feet of rivers, lakes, streams and marine shores, was created through the state Shoreline Management Act of 1971. The act applies to bodies of water larger than 20 acres, according to the state Department of Ecology. The county’s program was adopted in 1976 and last revised in 1992. In 2003, the Legislature set up a timetable for local governments to update their Shoreline Master Programs to address current conditions, consider new science and better align them with related laws, according to the Department of Ecology.

 

A 16-page vision report was released June 27 and broke down the affected areas into three groups: East, Middle and West. The report noted the different stakeholders, lifestyles and natural attributes of each area, along with its individual challenges.

 

The East portion, from Morse Creek east to the county line, is the fastest-growing area in the county and also the driest, the report notes.

 

Key issues identified by focus groups at the April 20 forum include eroding bluffs, complicated regulations and neighbors’ activities impacting other property.

 

“Fooling with the river is dynamite,” one person said, according to the report. “You mess with the river, now my house is in danger.

 

The county also released the draft Shoreline Inventory and Characterization Report, which addresses the specific shorelines that are subject to the Shoreline Master Program Update.

 

Most of the shoreline in the East region is bluff-backed beach or barrier beach, including the Dungeness Spit.

 

According to the vision report, bluffs west of the Dungeness Spit appear to be eroding at a rate of six inches to three feet on average but a single storm or bluff failure can lop off as much as 28 feet of shoreline at a time.

 

The upcoming meetings will focus on how to assess the quality of different shorelines and how they should be managed for the public and private benefit.

 

To read the report and the shoreline inventory go to www.clallam.net/realestat/html/shoreline_management.htm. Public comment will be sought through Aug. 31.

 


Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.
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