Chapter 30.32A
FOREST LANDS

Sections:

30.32A.010    Purpose and applicability.

30.32A.020    Resource protection areas.

30.32A.030    Exemption from special benefit assessments.

30.32A.100    Subdivision restrictions:

30.32A.110    Siting of new structures: local forest land or adjacent to forest land.

30.32A.120    Siting of new structures: commercial forest land.

30.32A.200    Forest management activities - presumed reasonable and not a nuisance.

30.32A.210    Notice and disclosure required.

30.32A.220    Disclosure text.

30.32A.010 Purpose and applicability.

(1) The purpose of this chapter is to regulate development on and adjacent to designated forest lands in order to conserve forest resources and ensure compatibility between forest lands and adjacent uses. An additional purpose of this chapter is to help assure that the use of lands adjacent to designated forest land does not interfere with the continued use, in the accustomed manner, of the designated forest land for the production of timber and other forest products, as required by the state Growth Management Act (chapter 36.70A RCW). This chapter establishes that forest management activities conducted in compliance with current Washington forest practice rules and regulations (Title 222 WAC) on designated forest lands are accepted activities which should be protected from nuisance complaints and lawsuits. A further purpose is to encourage a good neighbor relationship between forest landowners and residential and other landowners. The chapter promotes greater awareness of forest management activities through notification and disclosure requirements.

(2) The provisions of this chapter shall apply to:

(a) All subdivisions, short subdivisions, building permits, or any other development permits on designated forest land; and

(b) The sale or transfer of real property designated forest land or land adjacent to or within 500 feet of designated forest land.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003; Amended by Amended Ord. 10-072, Sept. 8, 2010, Eff date Oct. 3, 2010)

30.32A.020 Resource protection areas.

(1) Subdivision and short subdivision of parcels adjacent to forest land shall establish a resource protection area of a minimum 100-foot width along forest land boundaries.

(2) The resource protection areas shall be recorded in the manner required by law for covenants running with the land.

(3) Structures shall not be located in the resource protection area and this use restriction shall be considered in calculating the assessed value of the property.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003)

30.32A.030 Exemption from special benefit assessments.

Forest land designated and classified pursuant to chapter 84.33 RCW shall be entitled to the exemption from special benefit assessments provided by RCW 84.33.210.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003)

30.32A.100 Subdivision restrictions:

(1) There shall be no subdivision or short subdivision of land designated commercial forest, except that subdivision or short subdivision to allow installation of communication and utility facilities may be allowed if all the following requirements are met:

(a) The facility cannot suitably be located on undesignated land;

(b) The installation cannot be accomplished without short subdivision or subdivision;

(c) The facility is to be located on the lowest feasible grade of forest land; and

(d) The facility removes as little land as possible from timber production.

(2) Land designated local forest shall not be divided into lots or parcels of less than 20 acres in size except through a rural cluster subdivision pursuant to chapter 30.41C SCC.

(3) Any subdivision or short subdivision of rural land adjacent to designated local or commercial forest lands shall only occur through a rural cluster subdivision as provided under chapter 30.41C SCC; except that, if such rural land is designated rural residential-RD and located outside a rural/urban transition area, rural cluster subdivisions shall not be allowed, and the subdivision or short subdivision procedures of title 30 SCC must be used.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003; Amended by Amended Ord. 12-018, May 2, 2012, Eff date May 21, 2012)

30.32A.110 Siting of new structures: local forest land or adjacent to forest land.

Builders of new structures proposed to be located on parcels adjacent to forest lands or on lands designated local forest shall:

(1) Establish and maintain a minimum 100-foot setback, which shall be a resource protection area, from the property boundaries of adjacent forest lands except as follows:

(a) If the size, shape, and/or physical site constraints of an existing legal lot do not allow a setback of 100 feet, the new structure shall maintain the maximum setback possible as determined by the department; or

(b) If the owner of the land on which the new structure is proposed and the owner of the adjacent forest land each sign and record with the county auditor, in the manner required by law for covenants running with the land, a document which establishes an alternative setback for one or both of the properties, a setback of less than 100 feet may be maintained;

(2) Submit a notice signed by the developing landowner and recorded with the title of the developing property, which explains the ability of the forest landowner to practice forestry using management practices as allowed under Title 222 WAC;

(3) Provide adequate access for fire vehicles; and

(4) If the proposed structure is located within 200 feet of the boundary of the property designated forest land, survey the property boundaries that abut forest land, locate the property boundaries on the ground, and submit a record of survey with a building permit application.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003)

30.32A.120 Siting of new structures: commercial forest land.

An application for a new structure on parcels designated commercial forest, but not within a designated commercial forest - forest transition area, shall provide a minimum 500-foot setback, which shall be a resource protection area, from the property boundaries of adjacent commercial forest lands except that if the size, shape, and/or physical site constraints of an existing legal lot do not allow a setback of 500 feet, the new structure shall maintain the maximum setback possible, as determined by the department.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003)

30.32A.200 Forest management activities - presumed reasonable and not a nuisance.

Forest management activities conducted on designated forest land in compliance with best management practices as defined by the current Washington forest practices rules and regulations (Title 222 WAC) and in compliance with Washington’s pesticides regulations (WAC 16-228-1220(5)), and established prior to surrounding non-forestry activities, are presumed to be reasonable and shall not be found to constitute a nuisance unless the activity has a substantial adverse effect on the public health, safety, or environment. Nothing in this section shall affect or impair any right to sue for damages.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003)

30.32A.210 Notice and disclosure required.

The disclosure text set forth in SCC 30.32A.220 shall be used under the following circumstances and in the following manners:

(1) Within 90 days of December 22, 1993 (the original effective date of this requirement), and each three years thereafter, Snohomish County shall mail a copy of the disclosure text in SCC 30.32A.220, with an explanatory informational attachment to owners of designated forest land and real property within 500 feet of designated forest land;

(2) Development permits and building permits for land designated forest land or land adjacent to or within 500 feet of designated forest land shall include or have attached the disclosure text in SCC 30.32A.220 on the final development or building permit in a location determined by the director of the department. The disclosure notice shall apply to the real property upon development or building permit approval, and may not be applicable thereafter if areas designated forest land are changed from designated forest land;

(3) Prior to the closing of a transfer of real property designated forest land or real property adjacent to or within 500 feet of designated forest land, by sale, exchange, gift, real estate contract, lease with option to purchase, any other option to purchase, or any other means of transfer (except transfers made by testamentary provisions or the laws of descent), the transferor shall provide the transferee a copy of the disclosure text in SCC 30.32A.220 and shall record with the county auditor a copy of the same showing an acknowledgment of receipt executed by the transferee in a form prescribed by the director of the department. The form of the acknowledged disclosure text shall include a statement that the disclosure notice applies to the subject real property as of the date of the transfer, and may not be applicable thereafter if areas designated forest land are changed from designated forest land; and

(4) In no case shall liability attach to Snohomish County for any actions, errors or omissions of any person subject to the requirements of this section.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003; Amended Ord. 04-119, November 17, 2004, Eff date December 10, 2004)

30.32A.220 Disclosure text.

The following shall constitute the required forest management disclosure:

Your real property is on, adjacent to, or within 500 feet of designated forest land, on which a variety of forest management activities could occur that may not be compatible with residential development for certain periods of limited duration. These forest management activities include, but are not limited to, timber harvest, road and trail construction, the operation of machinery, trucks and aircraft, brush control, slash burning, the application by spraying of forest chemicals, and other forest management activities, which activities are lawful if conducted in compliance with Title 222 WAC.

In addition, forest management activities may cause physical and aesthetic risks to residences and other structures within 200 feet of forest lands including falling timber and increased fire hazard. Due to these risks, Snohomish County encourages landowners to locate structures at least 200 feet from adjacent forest land boundaries.

Snohomish County has adopted Forest Lands Regulations (chapter 30.32A SCC) which may affect you and your land. You may obtain a copy of chapter 30.32A SCC from Snohomish County.

A provision of chapter 30.32A SCC provides that "forest management activities conducted on the designated forest land in compliance with best management practices as defined by the current Washington Forest Practices Rules and Regulations (Title 222 WAC), and Washington’s pesticide regulations (WAC 16-228-1220(5)), and established prior to surrounding non-forestry activities, are presumed to be reasonable and shall not be found to constitute a nuisance unless the activity has a substantial adverse effect on the public health, safety, or environment."

This disclosure applies to real property upon any development or building permit approval; or, in the case of real property transfers, the disclosure applies to the subject property as of the date of the transfer. This disclosure may not be applicable thereafter if areas designated forest land are changed from designated forest land.

Nothing in chapter 30.32A SCC shall affect or impair any right to sue for damages.

(Added Amended Ord. 02-064, December 9, 2002, Eff date February 1, 2003; Amended Ord. 04-119, November 17, 2004, Eff date December 10, 2004)