Chapter 23.20


23.20.005    Generally.

23.20.010    Adoption.

23.20.020    Economic development.

23.20.030    Public access.

23.20.040    Recreation.

23.20.050    Transportation and essential public facilities.

23.20.060    Shoreline use.

23.20.070    Conservation.

23.20.080    Archaeological, historical and cultural resources.

23.20.090    Views and aesthetics.

23.20.100    Restoration and enhancement.

23.20.005 Generally.

This chapter describes overall program goals and objectives. The general policies and regulations in Chapter 23.90 WCC and the specific use policies and regulations in Chapter 23.10 WCC are the means by which these goals and objectives are implemented. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.010 Adoption.

In addition to the policy adopted in WCC 23.10.020(C), the following goals and objectives relating to the program elements specified in RCW 90.58.100(2) are hereby adopted. They provide the comprehensive foundation and framework upon which the shoreline area designations, policies, regulations, and administrative procedures are based. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.020 Economic development.

The economic development element provides for the location and design of industries, transportation facilities, port facilities, tourist facilities, commerce and other developments that are particularly dependent upon a shoreline location and/or use of the shorelines of the state.

A. Goal. To create and maintain an economic environment that can coexist harmoniously with the natural and human environment.

B. Objectives.

1. Encourage economic development that has minimal adverse effects and mitigates unavoidable impacts upon shoreline ecological functions and processes and the built environment.

2. Encourage shoreline development that has a positive effect upon economic and social activities of value to the region.

3. Encourage new water-dependent, water-related, and water-enjoyment economic development in priority order.

4. Encourage economic development that is consistent with the adopted Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Whatcom County.

5. Implement economic development policies contained in the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan in shoreline areas consistent with this program and the Act.

6. Encourage new economic development to locate in areas that are already developed with similar uses.

7. Discourage expansion of existing development that is incompatible with this program, the character of the local area, or the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.030 Public access.

The public access element provides for public access to publicly owned or privately owned shoreline areas where the public is granted a right of use or access.

A. Goal. To increase the ability of the general public to reach, touch, and enjoy the water’s edge, to travel on the waters of the state, and/or to view the water and the shoreline from adjacent locations; provided, that private rights, the public safety, and shoreline ecological functions and processes are protected consistent with the U.S. and state Constitutions, state case law, and state statutes.

B. Objectives.

1. Locate, design, manage and maintain public access in a manner that protects shoreline ecological functions and processes and the public health and safety.

2. Design and manage public access in a manner that ensures compatibility with water-dependent uses.

3. Where appropriate, acquire access to publicly owned tidelands and shorelands. Encourage cooperation among the county, landowners, developers, other agencies and organizations to enhance and increase public access to shorelines as specific opportunities arise.

4. Provide and protect visual access to shorelines and tidelands.

5. Require physical or visual access to shorelines as a condition of approval for shoreline development activities commensurate with the impacts of such development and the corresponding benefit to the public, and consistent with constitutional limitations.

6. Develop and manage public access to prevent adverse impacts to adjacent private shoreline properties and developments. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.040 Recreation.

The recreation element provides for the preservation and expansion of water-oriented recreational opportunities that facilitate the public’s ability to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of the shoreline through parks, public access to tidelands and beaches, bicycle and pedestrian paths, viewpoints and other recreational amenities.

A. Goal. To provide opportunities and space for diverse forms of water-oriented recreation.

B. Objectives.

1. Locate, develop, manage, and maintain recreation areas in a manner that protects shoreline ecological functions and processes.

2. Provide a balanced choice of water-oriented public recreational opportunities regionally. Ensure that shoreline recreation facilities serve projected county growth in accordance with the level of service standards established in the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan and related goals and policies; the Comprehensive Park and Recreation Open Space Plan; the Whatcom County Bicycle Plan; and the Natural Heritage Plan.

3. Acquire additional recreation areas and public access areas with a high recreation value prior to demand to assure that sufficient shoreline recreation opportunities are available to serve future recreational needs.

4. Encourage cooperation among public agencies, nonprofit groups, and private landowners and developers to increase and diversify recreational opportunities through a variety of means including incorporating water-oriented recreational opportunities into mixed use developments and other innovative techniques.

5. Recognize and protect the interest of all people of the state by providing increased recreational opportunities within shorelines of statewide significance and associated shorelands.

6. Encourage private and public investment in recreation facilities.

7. Locate, design, and operate recreational development in a manner that minimizes adverse effects on adjacent properties as well as other social, recreational, or economic activities. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.050 Transportation and essential public facilities.

The transportation and essential public facilities element provides for the general location and extent of existing and proposed public thoroughfares, transportation routes, terminals, and other public utilities and facilities.

A. Goal. To provide transportation systems and essential public facilities in shoreline areas without adverse effects on existing shoreline use and development or shoreline ecological functions and/or processes.

B. Objectives.

1. Locate, develop, manage, and maintain transportation systems and essential public facilities in a manner that protects shoreline ecological functions and processes. Minimize and mitigate unavoidable impacts.

2. Locate and design transportation systems and essential public facilities to be harmonious with the existing and future economic and social needs of the community.

3. Discourage the development of non-water-dependent transportation systems and essential public facilities unless no feasible alternatives exist. Devote roads within the shoreline jurisdiction to low volume local access routes and shoreline public access where feasible.

4. When appropriate, require adequate compensation where transportation systems and essential public facilities reduce the benefits people derive from their property.

5. Provide for alternate modes of travel, encourage freedom of choice among travel modes, and provide multiple use transportation corridors where compatible in association with shoreline transportation development.

6. Require transportation system and essential public facility development in shoreline areas to protect and enhance physical and visual shoreline public access. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.060 Shoreline use.

The shoreline use element considers the use and development of shorelines and adjacent land areas for housing, business, industry, transportation, agriculture, forestry, natural resources, recreation, education, public institutions, utilities and other categories of public and private land use with respect to the general distribution, location and extent of such uses and developments.

A. Goal. To preserve and develop shorelines in a manner that allows for an orderly balance of uses.

B. Objectives.

1. Give preference to water-dependent and single-family residential uses that are consistent with preservation of shoreline ecological functions and processes. Give secondary preference to water-related and water-enjoyment uses. Allow non-water-oriented uses only when substantial public benefit is provided with respect to the goals of the Act for public access and ecological restoration.

2. Designate and maintain appropriate areas for protecting and restoring shoreline ecological functions and processes to control pollution and prevent damage to the shoreline environment and/or public health.

3. Ensure shoreline uses are consistent with the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan.

4. Balance the location, design, and management of shoreline uses throughout the county to prevent a net loss of shoreline ecological functions and processes over time.

5. Encourage mixed use developments that include and support water-oriented uses and provide a substantial public benefit consistent with the public access and ecological restoration goals and policies of the Act.

6. Encourage shoreline uses and development that enhance shoreline ecological functions and/or processes or employ innovative features that further the purposes of this program.

7. Encourage shoreline uses and development that enhance and/or increase public access to the shoreline. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.070 Conservation.

The shoreline conservation element provides for the protection of natural resources, and shoreline ecological functions and processes. Resources to be conserved and protected include, but are not limited to, wetlands; riparian, nearshore, and aquatic habitats; priority fish and wildlife habitats and species; floodplains; feeder bluffs and other geological features; cultural and historic resources; as well as scenic vistas and aesthetics.

A. Goal. To conserve shoreline resources and important shoreline features, and protect shoreline ecological functions and the processes that sustain them to the maximum extent practicable.

B. Objectives.

1. Develop regulations and mitigation standards that ensure new shoreline developments prevent a net loss of shoreline ecological functions and processes. Implement such regulations and standards in a manner consistent with all relevant constitutional and other legal limitations on the regulation of private property.

2. Protect critical areas in accordance with the policies and regulations in Chapter 16.16 WCC.

3. Manage renewable natural resources on a sustained yield basis. Extract nonrenewable natural resources in a manner that maintains the quality of other resources and shoreline ecological functions and processes.

4. Prioritize protection and/or conservation of shoreline areas that are ecologically intact and minimally developed or degraded. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.080 Archaeological, historical and cultural resources.

The archaeological-historical-cultural element provides for protection, preservation and/or restoration of buildings, sites, and areas having archaeological, historical, cultural, or scientific value or significance.

A. Goal. Protect shoreline features of historic, cultural, archeological, or scientific value or significance to prevent damage or destruction through coordination and consultation with the appropriate local, state and federal authorities, including affected Indian tribes.

B. Objectives.

1. Protect sites in collaboration with appropriate tribal, state, federal and local governments. Encourage public agencies and private parties to cooperate in the identification, protection and management of cultural resources.

2. Where appropriate, make access to such sites available to parties of interest; provided, that access to such sites must be designed and managed in a manner that gives maximum protection to the resource.

3. Provide opportunities for education related to archaeological, historical and cultural features where appropriate and incorporated into public and private programs and development. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.090 Views and aesthetics.

This element provides for preservation and/or protection of scenic vistas, views of the water, and other aesthetic qualities of shorelines for public enjoyment.

A. Goal. To assure that the public’s ability and opportunity to enjoy shoreline views and aesthetics is protected.

B. Objectives.

1. Identify and protect areas with scenic vistas and areas where the shoreline has high aesthetic value.

2. Design development to minimize adverse impacts on views from public property or views enjoyed by a substantial number of residences. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.20.100 Restoration and enhancement.

This element provides for the timely restoration and enhancement of ecologically impaired areas in a manner that achieves a net gain in shoreline ecological functions and processes above baseline conditions as of the adoption of this program.

A. Goal. To reestablish, rehabilitate and/or otherwise improve impaired shoreline ecological functions and/or processes through voluntary and incentive-based public and private programs and actions that are consistent with the Shoreline Management Program Restoration Plan (County Resolution 2007-011) and other approved restoration plans.

B. Objectives.

1. Encourage and facilitate cooperative restoration and enhancement programs between local, state, and federal public agencies, tribes, nonprofit organizations, and landowners to address shorelines with impaired ecological functions and/or processes.

2. Restore and enhance shoreline ecological functions and processes as well as shoreline features through voluntary and incentive-based public and private programs.

3. Target restoration and enhancement towards improving habitat requirements of priority and/or locally important wildlife species.

4. Ensure restoration and enhancement is consistent with and, where practicable, prioritized based on the biological recovery goals for early Chinook and bull trout populations and other species and/or populations for which a recovery plan is available.

5. Integrate restoration and enhancement with other parallel natural resource management efforts such as the WRIA 1 Salmonid Recovery Plan, Drayton Harbor and Portage Bay Shellfish Protection District Plans, WRIA 1 Watershed Management Plan, Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, and the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Draft Plan. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).