City of BrierCritical Areas Ordinance Update Heather Gibbs Andrew Lofstedt Amanda Sparr
Agenda • Project Overview • Client Information • Stakeholders • Project History • Regulatory Context • Project Goals • CAO Update Process • Public Involvement • Methodology • Recommendations • Next Steps • Questions
Project Overview • The City of Brier is currently in the process of updating their Critical Areas Ordinance. • Our team was responsible for reviewing their current ordinance and developing recommendations based on our research. • We were responsible for making recommendations on three of the five ecosystems considered critical areas per the Growth Management Act: Geologically Hazardous Areas, Fish & Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas and Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas.
Project Overview (cont.) • We created a draft critical areas ordinance using the Washington State Office of Community Development’s Model Ordinance as a template for our draft • Once our draft ordinance is complete, it will be submitted to the City of Brier for their reference in the updating process.
Client • City of Brier • 2.13 square miles • Approximately 6,400 residents • Demographics (2000 Census) • 86.42% Caucasian • 7.77% Asian • 3.23% Hispanic/Latino • 0.97% Other Race • 0.83% African American • 0.66% Native American
Stakeholders • City of Brier (Jursidiction & Sewer Purveyor) • Residents of Brier (Private Property Interests) • Unincorporated Snohomish County (Neighbor) • City of Mountlake Terrace (Neighbor) • City of Lake Forest Park (Neighbor) • City of Kenmore (Neighbor) • Department of Commerce (Accepts GMA Updates) • Alderwood Water and Wastewater District (Water Purveyor)
Stakeholders (cont.) • King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (Sewer Treatment) • Snohomish County PUD No. 1 (Power) • Watershed Co. (Consultant)
Project History • Sunbrook • 29-Lot Subdivision on 13.7 acres • Preliminary Plat application deemed complete on June 8, 2006
Project History (cont.) Pop Quiz! Question: What happens when a large development firm proposes to build 29 new homes on a densely wooded piece of land in Brier that has a tributary running through it?
Project History (cont.) Answer: Outrage and Appeals
Project History (cont.) • June 2006: Sunbrook application deemed complete • March 2009: Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance (MDNS) issued • April 2009: People for an Environmentally Responsible Kenmore (PERK) appeals MDNS SEPA determination • July/August 2009: SEPA/Permit Appeal Hearing • August 2009: Hearing Examiner John Galt denies the appeal and recommends approval • September 2009: PERK files a motion for reconsideration with City of Brier
Project History (cont.) • November 2009: Brier denies the reconsideration and issues preliminary approval for Sunbrook • December 2009: PERK files appeal under LUPA • December 2009: City of Kenmore threatens to file an appeal with the Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board • January 2010: Brier finally states on the record that they are reviewing their current CAO and plan on updating it
Project History (cont.) • January 2010: Our team decides to work with Lee Michaelis from R.W. Thorpe & Associates to assist in updating the CAO • February 2010: City of Kenmore decides not to file an appeal with the PSGMHB and give the City of Brier time to update their CAO; PERK continues with the LUPA process • April 2010: City of Brier decides to sign a contract with the Watershed Co. to update their CAO instead of with R.W. Thorpe & Associates; our client changes from R.W. Thorpe & Associates to the City of Brier
Regulatory Context What are Critical Areas? (Defined in RCW 36.70A.030(5)) • Wetlands • Areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water • Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas • Frequently flooded areas • Geologically hazardous areas
Regulatory Context (cont.) • Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A) • Classification of critical areas (RCW 36.70A.050(1)) • Designation of critical areas (RCW 36.70A.170(1)(d)) • Adopt development regulations (critical areas ordinances) to protect critical areas (RCW 36.70A.060(2)) • Conduct periodic reviews to update critical areas ordinances every seven years following the first update deadline (RCW 36.70A.130(4)) • Regulations for critical areas must protect the functions and values of these designated areas (RCW 36.70A.172(1))
Regulatory Context (cont.) • Counties and cities shall include the best available science (BAS) in developing policies and development regulations to protect the functions and values of critical areas (RCW 36.70A.172(1)) • Counties and cities shall give special consideration to conservation or protection measures necessary to preserve or enhance anadromous fisheries (RCW 36.70A.172(1))
Regulatory Context (cont.) • Best Available Science (RCW 36.70A.172(1)) • Implemented by Legislature in 1995 • Best: Really means valid science • Available: In the record and practically and economically feasible • Science: A process involving methods used to understand the workings of natural world • Definitions by the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board
Regulatory Context (cont.) • Our main sources of Best Available Science • Department of Ecology • Department of Fish & Wildlife • Department of Health • Department of Natural Resources • Federal Emergency Management Agency • King/Snohomish County • National Research Council • National Academy of Sciences • U.S. Geological Survey
Project Goals • Provide recommendations for an update to the critical areas ordinance • Incorporate Best Available Science research in recommendations • Provide a recommended public involvement strategy for the update process
CAO Update Process • Establish a public participation program (RCW 36.70A.130(2)(a)) • Early and continuous public participation (RCW 36.70A.14) • Counties and cities must ensure that notice of the update process is broadly and effectively disseminated (RCW 36.70A.035)
CAO Update Process (cont.) • Evaluate existing comprehensive plan and development regulations to ensure they are consistent with each other and the GMA • Critical Areas Ordinances (and other development regulations), Shoreline Master Programs and Comprehensive Plans must be evaluated and updated at least every seven years (RCW 36.70A.130(1)(a)) • Urban Growth Areas are to be reviewed at least every ten years based on 20-year population projection from OFM (RCW 36.70A.130(3)(a))
CAO Update Process (cont.) • Take legislative action • Adopt or amend comprehensive plan and/or development regulations • Submit notice to state • Cities and counties must notify the Department of Commerce at least 60 days prior to the adoption of any plans or regulations (RCW 36.70A.106(1)) • Cities and counties must send a final copy of the adopted plan or regulation to the Department of Commerce within 10 days of adoption (RCW 36.70A.106(2))
Public Involvement Strategy • Publish final public involvement plan • Adopt timeline commitments formally • To advance the level of outreach and social marketing, we recommend the City incorporate messaging about protective measures into the City’s overarching public outreach and media strategy, alongside the City’s comprehensive plan. • In addition to our recommendations for the update to the Critical Areas Ordinance, we recommend the City consider quarterly technical committee working groups with neighboring cities and counties, the exchange of data and information, and a collaborative review process to advance the coordination and consistency between jurisdictions with shared interests.
Methodology • Researched Growth Management Act to determine what is required of the City of Brier and what is required in their critical areas ordinance • Researched existing City of Brier critical areas ordinance to determine if it is consistent with the GMA and comprehensive plan • Researched the critical areas ordinances of contiguous municipalities to determine if Brier’s existing critical areas ordinance is consistent with theirs • Conducted site visits to determine if the current critical areas ordinance protects the functions and values of the critical areas
Methodology (cont.) • Created new critical areas maps with data and GIS shapefiles from City of Brier, Snohomish County, King County, Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fish & Wildlife and the U.S. Geological Survey • Compiled data • Developed recommendations based on data and best available science
Recommendations • Fish & Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas • Areas necessary for maintaining species in suitable habitats within their natural geographic distribution so that isolated subpopulations are not created as designated by WAC 365-190-080(5)
Recommendations (cont.) • These areas include: • Areas with which state or federally designated endangered, threatened, and sensitive species have a primary association; • Habitats of local importance, including but not limited to areas designated as priority habitat by the Department of Fish and Wildlife; • Commercial and recreational shellfish areas; • Kelp and eelgrass beds; herring and smelt spawning Areas;
Recommendations (cont.) • Naturally occurring ponds under twenty acres and their submerged aquatic beds that provide fish or wildlife habitat, including those artificial ponds intentionally created from dry areas in order to mitigate impacts to ponds; • Waters of the state, including lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, inland waters, underground waters, salt waters and all other surface waters and watercourses within the jurisdiction of the state of Washington;
Recommendations (cont.) • Lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers planted with game fish by a governmental or tribal entity; • State natural area preserves and natural resource conservation areas; and • Land essential for preserving connections between habitat blocks and open spaces.
Recommendations (cont.) • Natural Environment • Within the City of Brier there are two major creek systems, the Scriber/Swamp Creek corridor and the Lyon Creek Corridor. • “Swamp Creek is the only shoreline in the city of Brier’s Planning Area that is identified as a stream of statewide significance, from its confluence with Scriber Creek to its mouth at the Sammamish River.”
Recommendations (cont.) • “Shoreline Management Master Program designates the Snohomish County portion of Swamp Creek as Suburban Environment, recognizing that residential housing currently exists along its shores (within the 200-foot protection zone of either side of the banks of the creek).” • The comp plan supports that wildlife habitats are supported naturally in the city due to the, “areas of wooded slopes, ravines, wet forestland and wetlands throughout Brier.”
Recommendations (cont.) • “The Scriber Creek Greenbelt was obtained through land dedication as part of the Brierwood subdivision development.” • The only lake in the city is Abbey View Pond which is used as an irrigation reservoir by the cemetery.
Recommendations (cont.) • “The “City Planning or Municipal Urban Growth Area” (MUGA) for Brier is located to the east and north of the City. The land area is slightly larger than the City boundaries, and includes approximately 2.72 square miles. At this time there are no population estimates for the Planning Area because it will be studied at a later date.” This is the same location as the Scriber/Swamp Creek corridor • Stormwater control homepage with anonymous call line to report spills • Working with surrounding cities, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace
Recommendations (cont.) • Best Available Science: • The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) maintains a GIS database that contains information on important fish and wildlife species that can be useful in land use decisions and activities. WDFW provides maps and reports that answer the most common questions concerning the presence of important fish and wildlife species. • Additional 22 pages of references
Recommendations (cont.) • Geologically Hazardous Areas • Areas that because of their susceptibility to erosion, sliding, earthquake, or other geological events, are not suited to the siting of commercial, residential, or industrial development consistent with public health or safety concerns (RCW 36.70A.030(9))
Recommendations (cont.) • Must include Best Available Science! • Other than responses to federal and/or state disasters, or the installation of fences, there should be NO projects exempt from the requirement of a geotechnical report; this puts the public at risk. • Landscaping/Tree Removal Plan for any clearing in geologically hazardous areas
Recommendations (cont.) • There should not be a specific buffer width that applies to the entire City of Brier. Although 25-feet from the top or toe of slope plus a 10- or 15-foot building setback from the buffer is typically adequate, the buffer width should be determined on a case by case basis by the qualified geotechnical engineer that completes the required report.
Recommendations (cont.) • Factors influencing erosion: • Climate • Soil Type • Surface Area • Slope Length and Gradient • Surface Texture • Slope Orientation
Recommendations (cont.) • Mitigation Techniques and Strategies: • Terracing/Retaining Walls • DON’T REMOVE VEGETATION! • Slows runoff velocity • Shields soil from rain impact • Enhances water absorption • Roots stabilize soil • Construction accelerates the natural process of erosion
Recommendations (cont.) • Best Available Science: • U.S. Geological Survey Maps and GIS Data • 2005 Western Washington Stormwater Manual
Recommendations (cont.) • Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas • areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water
Recommendations (cont.) • Elevate the protection of critical areas • Designation • Regulation (Draft ordinance) • Incorporate into Comprehensive Plan utilizing land use regulation and easements where appropriate • Establish a technical working group with neighboring cities and the county • Establish a roster of hydrogeologic professional services to provide to permit applicants
Recommendations (cont.) • Best Available Science: • Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas Guidance Document, Laurie Morgan, Washington State Department of Ecology, Water Quality Program January 2005. Publication Number 05-10-028. • Residential activity to be regulated • Public outreach and social marketing