Voice concerns with Critical Areas Ordinance at public hearing | Letter

Mar 10, 2016

Editor, The Beacon:

I encourage the citizens of Edmonds to attend the City Council public hearing at 7p.m. Tuesday, March 15, on the proposed critical area (e.g., natural areas, streams, wetlands, Marsh) regulations and amendments proposed by councilmembers.

Many of the changes to the existing regulations are updates required by the state on the level of protection for critical areas and the setting of buffer widths. But, the public won’t know the actual effects of the updated regulations because they do not stipulate what buffer widths (e.g., 75 feet versus 150 feet) will actually apply at each critical area in the city.

Fortunately, a council amendment is proposed to have an appendix that lists all of the critical areas in Edmonds, along with their category designations and respective buffer widths. However, because city staff is opposed to this because they say it would not be easy to assemble, the citizens of Edmonds will need to voice his or her opinion on Amendment No. 8 on the city’s website.

There also are efforts underway to interpret the updates to the regulations in a manner that could cause changes to the expected buffer widths AFTER the council adopts the final Critical Area Regulations.

To avoid this, a council amendment is proposed to require the “official list” of critical areas and buffer widths (the appendix described above) be made a “permanent” part of the regulations and that no changes to that list can be made without public notice and council approval.

Citizens of Edmonds who agree with this amendment to provide “full public disclosure and process” should submit supporting comments on Amendment No. 10 on the city’s website.

Another council amendment (Amendment No. 7 on city’s website), which will help bring more “light” to the more than 90 pages of regulations, will require the city to monitor the regulatory objective of protecting and enhancing critical areas, and provide periodic reporting to the council and the public.

Amendment No. 7 should be supported by the public, because the amendment will require biannual (twice a year) reports on the variety of the actions set forth in the regulations and their effects on critical areas and private property (see city website for details).

In closing, I hope the citizens of Edmonds share my view that these critical area regulations will affect the quality of life we’ve come to expect in Edmonds, and citizens will take the time to submit comments on March 15.

 

Joe Scordino,

Edmonds

 

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