Poulsbo's Shoreline Master Program heads to state

POULBO — For residents with more questions, concerns and comments about Poulsbo's shoreline plan, they will soon be able to voice their opinions to the Department of Ecology.

The council approved sending their May 2 draft of the Shoreline Management Program plan to the Department of Ecology at Wednesday night's council meeting, with Councilwoman Linda Berry-Maraist dissenting. Berry-Maraist said she voted nay, as she did at the May 2 meeting, because of two concerns:  for businesses located in the 200-foot shoreline jurisdiction, restrictions on development opportunities are too "excessive;" and the plan misses an opportunity to encourage private as well as public shoreline improvements within the restoration plan.

Here is a breakdown of the commercial impact of the SMP:
— A commercial building located outside the 100-foot buffer (the 200-foot shoreline jurisdiction zone) with a non-water-dependent or -related use is conforming. Buildings and business within the buffer are non-conforming.

— If a business within the shoreline buffer (100 feet) suffers an unintentional disaster, such as a fire, the property owner may rebuild to its current footprint (requirements listed at chapter 16.08.480, or pg. 56). If outside of the shoreline buffer but within the 200-foot jurisdiction zone, the building may be rebuilt and even expand, provided an area equivalent to 25 percent of the new building square footage be a water-oriented/water-related/water-dependent use, either inside the building or on the property.

— All new development within the shoreline buffer must be a water-dependent and/or water-related use if the property has direct access to Liberty Bay. If the property is separated from the bay, only 25 percent of the new square footage is required to meet this requirement.

Not much changes for residential development in the new plan. Over-water structures, including docks, boat lifts and haul-outs, are still prohibited in all zones for residential use.

The shoreline use table, which explains what activities are allowed, allowed conditionally, or prohibited, can be found on pages 22-23 of the plan.

The city is sending the plan to Department of Ecology in the next week. Once receive, Ecology will open a minimum 30-day comment period, most likely in August, according to planner Keri Weaver.

In that comment period, public comments will be accepted while Ecology internally reviews the document. Ecology must send all the comments back to Poulsbo within 15 days of the closed comment period. Poulsbo then has 45 days to prepare a response, including any potential changes to the plan. Ecology has another 30 days to make formal, written findings whether the SMP is consistent with the Shoreline Management Act guidelines. Ecology can then approve the document as originally submitted, approve with the possible changes made from comments, or direct Poulsbo go to back and work on the document more.

The plan, as approved by the council May 2, is available for the public to review at Part 16.08 explains the regulations and conditions of the plan, including the rules of non-conforming use. Part 16.09 explains the permitting process. The shoreline maps are also available.


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