Greetings & Happy Summer Interested Parties!



The State’s review of our Locally Approved SMP (LA-SMP) continues with WA Department of Ecology: 

1.       The County is currently working to provide Ecology some feedback on the issues raised by the 300+ comment letters received during the state-wide public comment period. 

2.       After our Response to Comments is submitted to Ecology (within the next month or so), Ecology will prepare their Findings and Conclusions along with their decision to A) approve; B) approve with required changes; or C) deny the SMP.  If changes are required, some dialogue may be required to find complete agreement between the State and the County.

3.       After Ecology approval, the final step is for the Board of County Commissioners to adopt the new SMP by ordinance as new components of the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code.


So while the process is moving forward, we still have a few months to go before final adoption and the new SMP takes effect.  Stay tuned… this email list will continue to receive project updates.



You may have seen the recent articles in last week’s Leader newspaper – a few points of clarification are needed:

·         Buffers & Setbacks – While it may seem a finer point, there is a difference between the terms buffers and setbacks as proposed by the LA-SMP.  The 150-foot distance proposed is a standard shoreline buffer for stream/river and marine shorelines that fall under SMP jurisdiction.  There are separate 5-foot side-yard and 10-foot building setbacks proposed as well.  Far from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, the LA-SMP also proposes 6 options to adjust the standard shoreline buffer when specific situations arise.


The current SMP has only requires setbacks:  30 to 100-feet for residential and a minimum of 15-feet for commercial and urban development.  The County’s Critical Areas Ordinance has included a 150-foot buffer for fish & wildlife habitat conservation areas since early-2008, and has successfully withstood legal challenge.  The City of Port Townsend SMP requires buffers that range from 50 to 200-feet.  Other jurisdictions around Puget Sound also have 150-foot buffers in place (e.g. Whatcom County).


·         SMP jurisdiction – Not all shoreline areas in the county meet the statutory definition for ‘Shoreline of the State’.  The SMP will apply to all shorelines that meet the criteria for SMP jurisdiction.  Lakes less than 20 acres in size, rivers/streams with less than 20 cubic feet per second mean annual flow, and lands under federal or tribal ownership do not qualify.



Thanks for your continued interest,



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Michelle McConnell, Associate Planner - LRP Lead


Jefferson County Department of Community Development

Long Range Planning Division

621 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, WA 98368


MAIN  360.379.4450        DIRECT 360.379.4484        FAX 360.379.4473



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