Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shoreline Update: Now for the Hard Stuff

The Tacoma Planning Commission held their first session focused on responding to public comments about the preliminary draft Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update Wednesday night.

On the agenda: marine buffers and exemptions.

Staff explained that the complexity of the proposed SMP Update partially occurs because of the attempt to integrate the existing Critical Areas Protection Ordinance (CAPO) and the Shoreline Master Program. This complexity is especially relevant in the issue of marine buffers. The Chamber expects more discussion of this issue. Commissioners were very interested in understanding where the proposals go beyond CAPO or SMP into new or amended regulation.
In the presentation about exemptions, staff acknowledged there is a problem as written to understand how exemptions would be handled. Among proposed fixes to this issue are: decoupling exemption from the Shoreline Substantial Development Permit requirements, standardization of forms, use of existing studies for documentation and a quest for other suggestions, especially from the Port of Tacoma.

More follow-on meetings to examine responses and input from Commissioners are expected to address the myriad issues in the proposed SMP Update.

The Chamber shared with Planning Commissioners its objectives for these issues, including many more still to be examined, in a letter and attached “track changes/red line” version of the preliminary draft. The letter is here and the changes version is here.

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