POULSBO — The city is awaiting final approval of its submitted Shoreline Management Program plan by the Department of Ecology, which has no comments or changes to the plan so far.
"[No comment] is a statement that it's a good document," said Mayor Becky Erickson.
City planner Keri Weaver said there is no indication Ecology plans to ask the city to change its shoreline plan, but has not formally approved it. Once the plan is approved, it becomes effective 14 days after the city receives notice. If anyone wants to appeal the plan, state law allows 60 days to appeal the plan to the Growth Management Hearings board.
"We're definitely pleased," Weaver said. "We had verbal conversations with Ecology staff during which we made small tweaks throughout the process. We tried to make sure there were no big surprises during the review."
The changes to the shoreline plan will occur when new development, substantial redevelopment or a usage change is proposed to the city. Weaver said the shoreline buffer, at 125 feet, is now aligned with the city's Critical Area Ordinance, updated and adopted in 2008.
"In the five years since the Critical Area Ordinance was adopted no development has been stymied by the buffers," Weaver said.
The city had not updated its Shoreline Master Program since 1976.
The Port of Poulsbo Board of Commissioners was unhappy with the city's plan, which was approved by City Council May 2, being concerned commercial activities and any future development at the port would be restricted based on the buffer. Commissioner Jim Rutledge was also concerned that residents, like the commissioners, were not able to see a final draft before council approved the plan.
"[We] don't view it as perfect, but we're realistic about it being passed, we're glad to have affected it as much as we did," Rutledge said.