Friday, April 23, 2010

DOE's Role in Shorelines Update

Kim Van Zwalenburg, Shoreline Planner, Southwest Regional Office, Washington Department of Ecology, shared with attendees at yesterday’s Shorelines Task Force meeting explanations of the origins of the Shorelines Management Plan and the current process for local jurisdictions update of their Shorelines Master Program. She was very responsive to questions, which took most of the time at the meeting.

Some notes made of responses for the questions posed:

1. DOE considers itself a partner with local jurisdictions (and is reluctant to do anything without that partner’s participation).

2. Impression that DOE’s role as approving local jurisdiction’s plans is much less than that of an enforcer and more that of a partner.

3. This update is the mechanism that will mesh the Growth Management Act’s obligations to jurisdictions and the Shoreline Management Plan requirements.

4. There is no prescribed balance between water-dependent users (like businesses), environmental protection (excepting “no-net-loss”) and public access.

5. There is no defined upper or lower limit to the amount of “public access” nor any requirement for maintenance of public access properties. No min. No max.

6. DOE is trying to get away from inaccessible public access projects.

7. Public access requirements for private property has been part of the SMP since its adoption in 1972.

8. Public access obligations are incurred when development impacts the public trust (environment).

9. Safety and security are absolutely recognized as making site specific public access inappropriate, but it does not relieve the public access burden.

10. Proximity to shoreline is relevant for public access projects/sites.

11. Designation of public access at private/non-profit sites would need to assure that pubic access.

12. There has not yet been in her experience a quantification of “fee-in-lieu” provisions for public access mitigation.

UPDATE (May 22, 2010):  Ms. Van Zwalenburg had mentioned that the DOE was updating its master Shoreline regulations.  And, she said that the proposed changes were not impactful on the present Tacoma Shoreline Update process.  The public comment period for the DOE's update is now open until June 5. 

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