Greetings Interested Parties,


Status - Responsiveness Summary

The County is continuing to prepare a review of and response to the issues raised by over 300 comments/testimonies received by the State during the state-wide public comment period.  This is a required step of the final review process.  In order to meet the State SMP Guideline requirements (WAC 173-26-120(6)) and to give due diligence to considering the overwhelming volume of public comment, the County requested more time to complete this task.  Ecology approved the timeline extension, making the Responsiveness Summary due by early October.  DCD hopes to complete the task well before the new deadline.  Learn more on the Locally Approved SMP page.



Next Steps

Once Ecology receives the County’s Responsiveness Summary, they will prepare Findings & Conclusions on whether our Locally Approved SMP is consistent with State requirements.   Then they’ll issue their decision to approve, modify or deny.  Learn more about the state review process at the Ecology website.



Infringement on Private Property Rights

Public concerns continue to be voiced over the effect of SMPs on property owners.  While a legal review of the ‘takings’ issue was prepared in February 2010, another legal memo has been released to further explore the County’s obligation to analyze the property rights issue.  Learn more on the Locally Approved SMP page under ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.



Press Coverage

As the political season heats up, more local ink is related to the SMP Update.  In our opinion, the details do matter, so here are some clarifications:


Buffers& Setbacks

·         Buffers are not the same as setbacks.  The proposed buffers are 100’ – 150’; the proposed setbacks are 10’.  There are 6 options proposed that would allow buffer adjustments based on specific criteria and site conditions.

·         Existing SMP (JCC 18.25; adopted 1989) has required setbacks that range from 15’ to 100’.

·         Existing Critical Areas Ordinance(JCC 18.22; adopted 2008) requires a 150’ buffer from fish & wildlife habitat conservation areas including lakes, streams/rivers, and marine shores.  The most recent legal interpretation requires application of CAO standards to critical areas that occur in the shoreline area.

·         Port Townsend SMP buffers range from 50’ to 200’.

·         The proposed buffers are a compromise based on a range of science, some of which calls for buffers in excess of 400’.  The required scientific review is contained in the Final Shoreline Inventory & Characterization Report, which documents existing conditions and the need for better protection.

·         The proposed buffers are not ‘no-touch’ zones.  Water-dependent development is allowed in the buffer, and 20% of the buffer area can be ‘active use’ for lawns, foot paths, landscaping, etc.  Some vegetation can be trimmed/removed to maintain views.

Law & Jurisdiction

·         Not ‘all shorelines’ will be governed by the SMP, only those that meet the jurisdictional criteria set by State law.  Not included: Lakes smaller than 20 acres; Streams where the mean annual flow less than 20 cubic feet per second; Federal and Tribal lands.

·         The SMP update is required by State law (RCW 90.58) and the State administrative rules (WAC 173-26).  WA Department of Ecology is tasked by the Legislature to oversee shoreline management in the state.



And remember, if you have questions, review the LA-SMP document or contact DCD for questions.


Best regards,



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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


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