Chapter 23.40


23.40.010    Adoption of policy.

23.40.020    Designation of shorelines of statewide significance.

23.40.030    Policies for shorelines of statewide significance.

23.40.010 Adoption of policy.

In accordance with RCW 90.58.020, the following management and administrative policies are hereby adopted for all shorelines of statewide significance in unincorporated Whatcom County, as defined in RCW 90.58.030(2)(e) and identified in WCC 23.40.020. Consistent with the policy contained in RCW 90.58.020, preference shall be given to the uses that are consistent with the statewide interest in such shorelines. These are uses that:

A. Recognize and protect the statewide interest over local interest.

B. Preserve the natural character of the shoreline.

C. Result in long-term over short-term benefit.

D. Protect the resources and ecology of the shoreline.

E. Increase public access to publicly owned areas of the shoreline.

F. Increase recreational opportunities for the public in the shoreline.

G. Provide for any other element as defined in RCW 90.58.100 deemed appropriate or necessary.

Uses that are not consistent with these policies should not be permitted on shorelines of statewide significance. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.40.020 Designation of shorelines of statewide significance.

In accordance with the criteria of RCW 90.58.030(2)(e), the legislature designated the following shorelines of unincorporated Whatcom County, including the shorelands and associated wetlands as therein defined, as having statewide significance:

A. Lakes:

1. Lake Whatcom;

2. Ross Lake; and

3. Baker Lake.

B. Rivers:

1. Nooksack River: its Mainstem downstream to Bellingham Bay, its North Fork to the mouth of Glacier Creek and its South Fork to the mouth of Hutchinson Creek.

2. Skagit River: upstream of the Whatcom-Skagit County line to the point where the mean annual flow is measured at 1,000 feet per second or more, approximately, at the confluence of Newhalem Creek.

C. Marine:

1. Birch Bay from Birch Point to Point Whitehorn.

2. All other marine waters, water columns, and bedlands waterward of extreme low tide. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.40.030 Policies for shorelines of statewide significance.

The statewide interest should be recognized and protected over the local interest in shorelines of statewide significance. To ensure that statewide interests are protected over local interests, the county shall review all development proposals within shorelines of statewide significance for consistency with RCW 90.58.030 and the following policies:

A. Redevelopment of shorelines should be encouraged where it restores or enhances shoreline ecological functions and processes impaired by prior development activities.

B. The Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Ecology, the Lummi Nation, the Nooksack Tribe, and other resources agencies should be consulted for development proposals that could affect anadromous fisheries.

C. Where commercial timber cutting takes place pursuant to WCC 23.90.110 and RCW 90.58.150, reforestation should take place as soon as possible.

D. Activities that use shoreline resources on a sustained yield or nonconsuming basis and that are compatible with other appropriate uses should be given priority over uses not meeting these criteria.

E. The range of options for shoreline use should be preserved to the maximum possible extent for succeeding generations. Development that consumes valuable, scarce or irreplaceable natural resources should not be permitted if alternative sites are available.

F. Potential short-term economic gains or convenience should be measured against potential long-term and/or costly impairment of natural features.

G. Protection or enhancement of aesthetic values should be actively promoted in design review of new or expanding development.

H. Resources and ecological systems of shorelines of statewide significance should be protected. Shorelands and submerged lands should be protected to accommodate current and projected demand for economic resources of statewide importance such as commercial shellfish beds.

I. Those limited shorelines containing unique, scarce and/or sensitive resources should be protected to the maximum extent feasible.

J. Erosion and sedimentation from development sites should be controlled to minimize adverse impacts on ecosystem processes. If site conditions preclude effective erosion and sediment control, excavations, land clearing, or other activities likely to result in significant erosion should be severely limited.

K. Public access development in extremely sensitive areas should be restricted or prohibited. All forms of recreation or access development should be designed to protect the resource base upon which such uses in general depend.

L. Public and private developments should be encouraged to provide trails, viewpoints, water access points and shoreline-related recreation opportunities whenever possible. Such development is recognized as a high priority use.

M. Development not requiring a waterside or shoreline location should be located inland so that lawful public enjoyment of shorelines is enhanced.

N. Lodging and related facilities should be located inland and provide for appropriate means of access to the shoreline. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1)).