Chapter 22.10


22.10.010    Definitions.

22.10.010 Definitions.

A. The following definitions shall be used when interpreting this program:

1. “Accessory development” means any development, structure or use customarily incidental to and subordinate to a primary use of a shoreline site and located on the same lot.

2. “Adverse impact” means a reasonable likelihood (or probability) of a significant, i.e., a more than moderate, adverse impact on environmental quality, i.e., an element of the environment per the Washington State Environmental Policy Act, SEPA (Chapter 197-11 WAC).

3. “Alteration” means any human induced change in an existing condition of a critical area or its buffer. Alterations include but are not limited to grading, filling, channelizing, dredging, clearing (vegetation), construction, compaction, excavation, or any other activity that changes the character of the critical area.

4. “Anadromous fish” means fish that spawn and rear in freshwater and mature in the marine environment. While Pacific salmon die after their first spawning, adult char (bull trout), sea-run cutthroat and steelhead can live for many years, moving in and out of saltwater and spawning each year. The life history of Pacific salmon and char contains critical periods of time when these fish are more susceptible to environmental and physical damage than at other times. The life history of salmon, for example, contains the following stages: upstream migration of adults, spawning, inter-gravel incubation, rearing, smoltification (the time period needed for juveniles to adjust their body functions to live in the marine environment), downstream migration, and ocean rearing to adults.

5. “Appurtenance” means development that is necessarily connected to the use and enjoyment of a single-family residence and is located landward of the OHWM and/or the perimeter of a wetland. Appurtenances include a garage, deck, driveway, utilities, fences and grading which does not exceed 250 cubic yards (except to construct a conventional drainfield).

6. “Averaging” means establishing the required buffer setback from a critical area, within the permitted parcel of land only, so that areas within the parcel determined to be more environmentally sensitive than others will have a larger buffer than the less sensitive areas. For every increase in setback for one area of the parcel, there will be an equal corresponding decrease in another area of the parcel. The total land area within the buffer shall remain the same as if the buffer were a uniform width.

7. “Best available science” means current scientific information used in the process to designate, protect, or restore critical areas that is derived from a valid scientific process as defined by WAC 365-195-900 through 365-195-925. Sources of the best available science are included in Citations of Recommended Sources of Best Available Science for Designating and Protecting Critical Areas published by the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.

8. “Best management practices (BMPs)” means conservation practices or systems of practices and management measures that:

a. Control soil loss and reduce water quality degradation caused by high concentrations of nutrients, animal waste, toxics, and sediment;

b. Minimize adverse impacts to surface water and ground water flow and circulation patterns and to the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of wetlands;

c. Protect trees and vegetation designated to be retained during and following site construction and use native plant species appropriate to the site for revegetation of disturbed areas; and

d. Provide standards for proper use of chemical herbicides within critical areas.

e. The city shall monitor the application of best management practices to ensure that the standards and policies of this title are adhered to.

9. “Bioengineered” is usually used in context with a shoreline modification where elements such as but not limited to sub-grade anchored drift logs, intense installation of native vegetation including shrubs and trees, large woody debris or clusters of anchored drift logs above-grade are installed, cobble/gravel/sand placement, earthen berms and any other stabilization measure that is not structurally engineered.

10. Bio-swale. A “bio-swale” or “bio-filtration trench” is a vegetated stormwater treatment system that removes pollutants by means of sedimentation, filtration, soil adsorption, and plant uptake. They are typically configured as swales or filter strips.

11. “Boathouse” means an overwater structure, including covered moorage of any kind, that is designed and used to store any type of vessel and/or related gear.

12. Boating Facilities. When used in context of mooring facilities, this term excludes docks and mooring facilities serving four or fewer single-family residences and moorage facilities for nine or fewer vessels.

13. “Boat lift” means a structure designed and operated to raise a boat above the surface of the water.

14. “Bog” means a wetland with limited drainage generally characterized by extensive peat deposits and acidic waters. Vegetation includes sedges, sphagnum moss, shrubs, and trees.

15. “Breakwater” means offshore structure aligned parallel to shore, sometimes shore-connected, that provides protection from waves.

16. “Buffer” means the area adjacent to a critical area that separates and protects the area from adverse impacts associated with adjacent uses.

17. “Channel” means an open conduit for water either naturally or artificially created, but does not include artificially created irrigation, return flow, or stock-watering channels.

18. “Channel migration zone (CMZ)” means the lateral extent of likely movement along a stream or river during the next 100 years as determined by evidence of active stream channel movement over the past 100 years. Evidence of active movement over the 100-year timeframe can be inferred from aerial photos or from specific channel and valley bottom characteristics. The time span typically represents the time it takes to grow mature trees that can provide functional large woody debris to streams. A CMZ is not typically present if the valley width is generally less than two bank-full widths, if the stream or river is confined by terraces, no current or historical aerial photographic evidence exists of significant channel movement, and there is no field evidence of secondary channels with recent scour from stream flow or progressive bank erosion at meander bends. Areas separated from the active channel by legally existing artificial channel constraints that limit bank erosion and channel avulsion without hydraulic connections shall not be considered within the CMZ.

19. The city has conducted an analysis of CMZs that occur within shorelines. The supporting documentation is included in Appendix D.

20. “Clearing” means the destruction or removal of vegetative ground cover, shrubs and trees including, but not limited to, root material removal and/or topsoil removal.

21. “Confluence” means the point at which two or more streams come together.

22. “Conservation easement” means a legal agreement that the property owner enters into to restrict uses of the land. Such restrictions can include, but are not limited to, passive recreation uses such as trails or scientific uses and fences or other barriers to protect habitat. The easement is recorded on a property deed, runs with the land, and is legally binding on all present and future owners of the property, therefore providing permanent or long-term protection.

23. “Creation (establishment)” means the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics present to develop a wetland on an upland or deep-water site, where a wetland did not previously exist. Activities typically involve excavation of upland soils to elevations that will produce a wetland hydro-period, create hydric soils, and support the growth of hydrophytic plant species. Establishment results in a gain in wetland acres.

24. Critical Areas. “Critical areas” include any of the following areas or ecosystems: aquifer recharge areas, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, frequently flooded areas, geologically hazardous areas, and wetlands, as defined in Chapter 36.70A RCW and Chapter 16.55 BMC.

25. “Critical habitat” means habitat necessary for the survival of endangered, threatened, rare, sensitive or monitor species.

26. “Culvert” means a pipe or concrete box structure that drains open channels, swales or ditches under a roadway or embankment; typically with no catch basins or manholes along its length.

27. “Cumulative impacts” means the combined, incremental effects of human activity on ecological or critical area functions and values. Cumulative impacts result when the effects of an action are added to or interact with other effects in a particular place and within a particular time. It is the combination of these effects, and any resulting environmental degradation, that should be the focus of cumulative impact analysis and changes to policies and permitting decisions.

28. “Dedications” means property dedicated to an entity (typically the city of Bellingham) to be preserved for open space or conservation/restoration area.

29. “Delineation” means the precise determination of wetland boundaries in the field and the mapping thereof.

30. “Development” means a use consisting of the construction or exterior alteration of structures; dredging, drilling, dumping, or filling; removal of any sand, gravel or minerals; bulkheading; driving of piling; placing of obstructions; or any project of a permanent or temporary nature that interferes with the normal public use of the surface of the waters overlying lands subject to the Act at any state of water level. This term may include activities related to subdivision and short subdivisions; planned unit developments; clearing activity; fill and grade work; building or construction; and activities that are exempt from the substantial development permit process or that require a shoreline variance or conditional use.

31. “Development permit” means any permit issued by the city, or other authorized agency, for construction, land use, or the alteration of land.

32. “Director” means the director of the city planning and community development department or their designee.

33. “Dolphin” means a cluster of piles bound together.

34. “Dredging” means any physical digging into the bedlands of a water body and subsequent removal of soil or other material.

35. “Ecologic function” or “shoreline ecological function” means the work performed or role played by the physical, chemical, and biological processes that contribute to the maintenance of the aquatic and terrestrial environments that constitute the shoreline’s natural ecosystem. See WAC 173-26-200(2)(c). Functions include but are not limited to habitat diversity, food chain support, and water quality protection and enhancement for fish and wildlife; flood storage, conveyance and attenuation; ground water recharge and discharge; erosion control; wave attenuation; protection from hazards; historical, archaeological, and aesthetic value protection; educational opportunities; and recreation. These beneficial roles are not listed in order of priority. Also referred to as functions or functions and values.

36. “Enhancement” means the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a wetland site to heighten, intensify or improve specific function(s) or to change the growth stage or composition of the vegetation present. Enhancement is undertaken for specified purposes such as water quality improvement, flood water retention or wildlife habitat. Activities typically consist of planting vegetation, controlling non-native or invasive species, modifying site elevations or the proportion of open water to influence hydro-periods, or some combination of these. Enhancement results in a change in some wetland functions and can lead to a decline in other wetland functions, but does not result in a gain in wetland acres.

37. “Erosion” means the process whereby wind, rain, water, and other natural agents mobilize and transport soil particles.

38. “Erosion hazard areas” means at least those areas identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service as having a “severe” rill and inter-rill erosion hazard.

39. “Estuary” means the zone or area of water in which freshwater and saltwater mingle and water is usually brackish due to daily mixing and layering of fresh and saltwater. Also includes pocket estuaries.

40. “Feasible” means an action, such as a development, mitigation, or preservation requirement, meeting all of the following conditions:

a. The action can be accomplished with technologies and methods that have been used in the past in similar circumstances, or studies or tests have demonstrated in similar circumstances that such approaches are currently available and likely to achieve the intended results; and

b. The action provides a reasonable likelihood of achieving its intended results; and

c. The action does not physically preclude achieving the project’s primary intended legal use; and

d. The action is consistent with applicable goals and policies within the 2006 City of Bellingham Comprehensive Plan.

41. In cases where this program requires certain actions unless they are infeasible, the burden of proving infeasibility is on the applicant. In determining an action’s infeasibility, the reviewing agency may weigh the action’s relative public costs and public benefits, considered in the short- and long-term timeframes.

42. “Filling” means depositing dirt, mud or other materials into aquatic areas to create more dry land, usually for agricultural or commercial development purpose, often with ruinous ecological consequences.

43. “Filtration” means a mechanism used where stormwater is filtered (treated) through a constructed system such as a sand trench, multi-cartridge stormwater vault, or bio-swale that does not percolate to the native soil layer but is discharged to a conveyance system after treatment.

44. Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas (FWHCAs). Please see BMC 16.55.470.

45. “Floating home” means an over-water residence not designed, registered or used as a vessel, without adequate navigation and propulsion system, and usually requiring land-based services to function properly.

46. “Flood” or “flooding” means a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from the overflow of inland waters and/or the unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff of surface waters from any source.

47. “Floodplain” means the total land area adjoining a river, stream, watercourse, or lake subject to inundation by the base flood.

48. “Floodplain (100-year floodplain)” means the land area susceptible to being inundated by stream derived waters with a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The limits of this area are based on flood regulation ordinance maps (Chapter 17.76 BMC) or a reasonable method that meets the objectives of the SMA (Chapter 90.58 RCW).

49. “Forested wetland” means a wetland with at least 30 percent of the surface area covered by woody vegetation greater than 20 feet in height that is at least partially rooted within the wetland.

50. Frequently Flooded Areas. Please refer to BMC 16.55.370(B)(1) through (3).

51. “Functions” or “functions and values” means the beneficial roles served by critical areas including, but not limited to, water quality protection and enhancement; fish and wildlife habitat; food chain support; flood storage, conveyance and attenuation; ground water recharge and discharge; erosion control; wave attenuation; protection from hazards; historical, archaeological, and aesthetic value protection; educational opportunities; and recreation. These beneficial roles are not listed in order of priority. Critical area functions can be used to help set targets (species composition, structure, etc.) for managed areas, including mitigation sites.

52. “Geologically hazardous areas” means areas that may not be suited to development consistent with public health, safety, or environmental standards, because of their susceptibility to erosion, sliding, earthquake, or other geological events as designated by WAC 365-190-080(4). Types of geologically hazardous areas include: erosion, landslide, seismic, mine, and volcanic hazards. See BMC 16.55.410.

53. “Grading” means the physical manipulation of the earth’s surface, soil conditions and/or drainage pattern in preparation for an intended use or activity.

54. “Groin” (also referred to as a spur dike or rock weir) means a barrier-type structure extending from the backshore or stream bank into a water body for the purpose of the protection of a shoreline and adjacent upland by influencing the movement of water and/or deposition of materials.

55. “Growth Management Act (GMA)” means Chapter 36.70A RCW as amended.

56. “Habitat” means the combination of essential elements and ecological functions of natural systems that comprise the area or type of environment and its surroundings in which a particular kind of organism or ecological community normally lives or occurs. “Habitat” includes habitat forming processes, which are the system-wide ecological processes (chemical, physical and biological) that create and maintain habitat elements. It is the disturbance processes that create unique habitat elements, enhance natural productivity, and drive biological processes that contribute to the ecological complexity and integrity of natural systems.

57. “Habitat conservation areas” means areas designated as fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.

58. Habitats of Local Significance. These areas include a seasonal range or habitat element with which a given species has a primary association, and which if altered may reduce the likelihood that the species will maintain and reproduce over the long-term. These might include areas of high relative density or species richness, breeding habitat, winter range, and movement corridors. These might also include habitats that are of limited availability or high vulnerability to alterations such as cliffs, talus, and wetlands. (WAC 365-190-030)

59. “Hazard areas” means areas designated as frequently flooded areas or geologically hazardous areas due to potential for erosion, landslide, seismic activity, mine collapse, or other geological condition.

60. “Hazard tree” means any tree or tree part which poses a high risk of damage to persons or property.

61. “Height” is measured from the mean average grade of the site, which is the average of the elevations of the midpoints of all exterior walls within the shoreline jurisdiction.

62. “High blow-down potential” usually indicates a small cluster of trees that are isolated and tend to be on windward ridges or in areas where high winds make them susceptible to being blown over and would be indicated as such by a certified arborist.

63. “High-intensity land use” (wetland rating) means a land use that includes the following uses or activities: commercial, urban, industrial, institutional, retail sales, residential (more than one unit/acre), high-intensity new agriculture (dairies, nurseries, greenhouses, raising and harvesting crops requiring annual tilling, raising and maintaining animals), high-intensity recreation (golf courses, ball fields), and hobby farms.

64. “Houseboat” means a vessel designated, registered and operated to be a live aboard with its own adequate means of propulsion, navigation and related vessel amenities.

65. “Impervious surface” means a hard surface area that either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil mantle as under natural conditions prior to development, or that causes water to run off the surface in greater quantities or at an increased rate of flow from the flow present under natural conditions prior to development. Common impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to, rooftops, walkways, patios, driveways, parking lots or storage areas, concrete or asphalt paving, gravel roads, packed earthen materials, and oiled macadam or other surfaces which similarly impede the natural infiltration of stormwater.

66. “Industrial development” means facilities for processing, manufacturing, and storage of finished or semi-finished goods, including but not limited to ship building and major repair, commercial storage and repair of fishing gear, and warehousing.

67. “Infiltration” means the downward entry of water into the immediate surface of the soil.

68. “Jetty” means a structure usually projecting out into the sea at the mouth of a river for the purpose of protecting a navigational channel or a harbor, or to influence water currents.

69. “Live aboard” means any noncommercial habitations of a vessel when any one of the following applies:

a. Any person or succession of different persons resides on the vessel in a specific location, and/or in the same area on more than a total of 30 days in any 40-day period or on more than a total of 90 days in any 365-day period. “In the same area” means within a radius of one mile of any location where the same vessel previously moored or anchored on state-owned aquatic lands. A vessel that is occupied and is moored or anchored in the same area, but not for the number of days described in this subsection, is considered used as a recreational or transient vessel; or

b. The operator of the facility where the vessel is moored, through the moorage agreement, billing statement, or facility rules, defines the use as a residential use or identifies the occupant of the vessel as a resident of the vessel or of the facility; or

c. The occupant or occupants identify the vessel or the facility where it is moored as their residence for voting, mail, tax, and similar purposes.

70. “Low impact development” means a method of managing stormwater that aims to mimic the predevelopment hydrologic conditions of the site by using existing soil, vegetation, and topography to detain runoff and remove pollutants.

71. “Low-intensity land use” (wetland ratings) means a land use that includes the following uses or activities: forestry (cutting of trees only), low-intensity open space (such as passive recreation and natural resources preservation), and unpaved trails.

72. “Marina” means a system of piers, floats, and buoys that provides private or public wet moorage for vessels for which a fee is charged and can also include launching facilities.

73. “Marsh” means a wetland where the dominant vegetation is nonwoody plants such as grasses and sedges, as opposed to a swamp where the dominant vegetation is woody plants such as trees.

74. “Mature forested” means comprised of coniferous trees of at least 50 years in age and/or deciduous trees 30 years in age or a combination of trees representing a distinct layered canopy complex of immature woody vegetation less than 20 feet in height, trees of medium heights, typically 20 to 60 feet, and taller trees ranging from 60 to 90 feet or more in height inclusive of a diverse under-story.

75. “Mean higher high tide (MHHT)” means the average height of daily high tides. For the city of Bellingham, this elevation is 9.38 feet above sea level, City Datum NGVD29 or NAVD88.

76. “Mine hazard areas” means areas that are underlain by, adjacent to, or affected by mine workings such as adits, gangways, tunnels, drifts, or airshafts, and those areas of probable sink holes, gas releases, or subsidence due to mine workings. Factors that should be considered include proximity to development, depth from ground surface to the mine working, and geologic material.

77. “Mitigation” means measures taken to reduce, avoid, or rectify adverse impacts on the environment.

78. “Moderate-intensity land use” (wetland ratings) means a land use that includes the following uses or activities: residential (one unit/acre or less), moderate-intensity open space (parks), moderate-intensity new agriculture (orchards and hay fields), paved trails, building of logging roads.

79. “Monitoring” means evaluating the impacts of development proposals on the biological, hydrological, and geological elements of natural systems, and assessing the performance of required mitigation measures through the collection and analysis of data by various methods for the purpose of understanding and documenting changes in natural ecosystems and features, including gathering baseline data.

80. “Mosaic of wetlands” means any group of wetlands that meet the following criteria: each patch of wetland is less than one acre (0.4 hectares), and each patch is less than 100 feet (30 meters) apart, on the average, and the areas delineated as vegetated wetland are more than 50 percent of the total area of the wetlands and the uplands together, or wetlands, open water, and river bars. If these criteria are not met, each area should be considered as an individual unit.

81. “Multifamily residence” means a building containing two or more dwelling units, including but not limited to duplexes, apartments, and condominiums.

82. “Native vegetation” means plant species that are indigenous to the area.

83. Navigable Waters. When used in context with commercial or industrial water-dependent and water-related uses, “navigable waters” means aquatic areas where draft is deep enough to accommodate the vessels that are inherent to the intended use. Navigable waters also include recreational accessible waters under the Public Trust Doctrine such as waters which can be accessed by recreational boats, including canoes and kayaks.

84. “Neighborhood plan” means sub-elements of the comprehensive plan that specify uses allowed and densities required for specific neighborhoods.

85. “Nexus” means a rational relationship between a probable adverse impact from a proposed development on a legitimate governmental interest or purpose. For example, the nexus between a proposal’s predicted impact on a riparian area and documented current available inventory of the same riparian area (or buffer).

86. “Nonconforming structure or building” means a structure or building, the size, dimensions, or location of which was lawful prior to the adoption, revision, or amendment to the code but that fails by reason of such adoption, revision, or amendment to conform to the present requirements of the current regulations.

87. “Nonconforming use” means a use or activity that was lawful prior to the adoption, revision or amendment of the code but that fails by reason of such adoption, revision, or amendment to conform to the present requirements of the current regulations.

88. “Nonconforming lot” means a lot, the area, dimensions, or location of which was lawful prior to the adoption, revision, or amendment of the code but that fails by reason of such adoption, revision, or amendment to conform to the present requirements of the current regulations.

89. “No net loss of ecologic function” means maintenance of the aggregate total of the city’s shoreline ecological functions, including processes. (See definition of “ecologic function.”) The no net loss standard requires that the impacts of shoreline development and/or use, whether permitted or exempt, be identified and mitigated such that there are no resulting significant adverse impacts on shoreline ecological functions. Each project shall be evaluated based on its ability to meet the no net loss goal commensurate with the scale and character of the proposed development. The baseline for no net loss shall be the level of shoreline ecological functions and environmental resource productivity as established in the 2004 City of Bellingham Shoreline Characterization and Inventory and as established by a required critical area report as part of the application submittal requirements specified in Appendix E.

90. “Open space” means public or privately owned land that is undeveloped and may not be developed due to designation, deed restriction or conservation easement.

91. “Ordinary high water mark (OHWM)” means the mark on lake, stream and marine shorelines which will be found by examining the beds and bank and ascertaining where the presence and action of waters are so common and usual, and so long continued in all ordinary years, as to mark upon the soil a character distinct from that of the abutting upland in respect to vegetation as that condition exists on June 1, 1971, as it may naturally change thereafter, or as it may change thereafter in accordance with permits issued by a local government or the Department of Ecology; provided, that in any area where the ordinary high water mark cannot be found, the ordinary high water mark adjoining saltwater shall be the line of mean higher high tide, and the ordinary high water mark adjoining freshwater shall be the line of mean high water which is elevation 9.38 feet City Datum, or as determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in case of sea level rise, and shall be used as the point of beginning for determining shoreline jurisdiction.

92. “Photic zone” means the area between the OHWM and approximately -30 feet mean lower low water (MLLW).

93. “Practical alternative” means an alternative that is available and capable of being carried out after taking into consideration cost, existing technology, and logistics in light of overall project purposes, and has less impacts to critical areas.

94. “Preservation (protection/maintenance)” means removing a threat to, or preventing the decline of, wetland conditions by an action in or near a wetland. This includes the purchase of land or easements, repairing water control structures or fences, or structural protection such as repairing a barrier island. This term also includes activities commonly associated with the term “preservation.” Preservation does not result in a gain of wetland acres, may result in a gain in functions, and will be used only in exceptional circumstances.

95. “Primary association” means use of a habitat area by a listed or priority species for breeding/spawning, rearing young, resting, roosting, feeding, foraging, and/or migrating on a frequent and/or regular basis during the appropriate season(s) as well as habitats that are used less frequently/regularly but which provide for essential life cycle functions such as breeding/nesting/spawning.

96. “Protected marine waters” means waters which are not directly influenced by wave action or currents, or those waters which are within the confines of a marina as defined.

97. “Public access” means the general public’s ability to be in, on or traveling upon the water, get to the water’s edge or have a view of the water and the shoreline.

98. “Public interest” means the community’s concern with and right to long-term protection of the public health, safety and welfare, which may be, or is likely to be, adversely impacted to a significant degree by particular uses or development actions, whether public or private.

99. “Public zone” means a zoned area or general use type intending to apply to major parcels of land within the city limits which are owned by public agencies and used for public purposes.

100. “Qualified professional” means a person with expertise in the pertinent scientific discipline directly related to the critical area in question. The qualified professional shall have a minimum of a B.S. or B.A., or equivalent certification, and a minimum of five years of directly related work experience.

101. “Recharge” means the process involved in the absorption and addition of water to ground water.

102. “Re-establishment” means the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning natural or historic functions to a former wetland. Activities could include removing fill material, plugging ditches, or breaking drain tiles. Re-establishment results in a gain in wetland acres.

103. “Rehabilitation” means the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of repairing natural or historic functions of a degraded wetland. Activities could involve breaching a dike to reconnect wetlands to a floodplain or return tidal influence to a wetland. Rehabilitation results in a gain in wetland function but does not result in a gain in wetland acres.

104. “Repair or maintenance” means an activity that restores the character, scope, size, and design of a serviceable area, structure, or land use to its previously authorized and undamaged condition. Activities that change the character, size, or scope of a project beyond the original design and drain, dredge, fill, flood, or otherwise alter critical areas are not included in this definition.

105. “Restoration” means the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning natural or historic functions to a former or degraded wetland. Includes “re-establishment” and “rehabilitation.”

106. “Right-of-way” means land which is dedicated to a city for purposes of public circulation and/or utilities.

107. “Riparian habitat area” (also referred to as a “buffer”) means areas adjacent to aquatic systems that contain elements of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that mutually influence each other. The width of these areas extends to that portion of the terrestrial landscape that directly influences the aquatic ecosystem by providing shade, fine or large woody material, nutrients, organic and inorganic debris, terrestrial insects, or habitat for riparian-associated wildlife. Widths shall be measured from the ordinary high water mark or from the top of bank if the ordinary high water mark cannot be identified. It includes the entire extent of the floodplain and the extent of vegetation adapted to wet conditions as well as adjacent upland plant communities that directly influence the stream system. Riparian habitat areas include those riparian areas severely altered or damaged due to human development activities.

108. “Rough proportionality test” means a case-by-case determination by the government that a particular condition of approval on a proposed project is reasonably related to both the character and the degree of a probable impact of the project on the public health, safety and welfare.

109. “Sediment transport” means the natural movement, transportation or relocation of weathered rock down a river, creek, or stream.

110. “Seep” means a spot where water oozes from the earth, often forming the source of a small stream.

111. “Seismic hazard areas” means areas that are subject to severe risk of damage as a result of earthquake-induced ground shaking, slope failure, settlement, or soil liquefaction.

112. “SEPA” means Washington State Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 43.21C RCW.

113. “Setback” means the distance measured in feet that a particular land use or development footprint must be located from a required buffer edge.

114. “Shall” means a mandate; the action must be done.

115. “Shorelands” means those lands extending landward for 200 feet in all directions as measured on a horizontal plane from the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of SMA shorelines; all of the 100-year floodplain as measured from the edge of the associated floodway, except for Whatcom Creek east of I-5, i.e., Reach 4, 5 and a portion of 3, which includes only that floodplain portion within 200 feet of the floodway; and all wetlands and river deltas that are associated with the areas specified above and are subject to the provisions of Chapter 90.58 RCW.

116. “Shorelines” means all of the water areas of the state as defined in RCW 90.58.030 including reservoirs and their shorelands together with the lands lying underneath them except:

a. Shorelines of statewide significance; and

b. Shorelines on segments of streams upstream of a point where the mean annual flow is 20 cubic feet per second or less and the wetlands associated with such upstream segments; and

c. Shorelines on lakes less than 20 acres in size and wetlands associated with such small lakes.

117. Water areas of the state that are “shorelines” within the city of Bellingham include Bellingham Bay, Lake Whatcom, Lake Padden, Squalicum, Whatcom and Chuckanut Creeks, and that portion of Padden Creek that is tidally influenced (upstream to McKenzie Avenue).

118. The Shoreline Base Maps indicate only which water bodies within the city are subject to shoreline jurisdiction and the regulations within this program but not the extent of their associated jurisdictions.

119. “Shoreline Management Act (SMA)” means Chapter 90.58 RCW.

120. “Shoreline mixed use” means a combination of water-oriented and non-water-oriented uses within the same structure or development area.

121. “Shorelines of the state” means the total of all “shorelines,” as defined in RCW 90.58.030(2)(d), and “shorelines of statewide significance” within the state, as defined in RCW 90.58.030(2)(c).

a. Shorelines of statewide significance (SSWS); (RCW 90.58.030(2)(e))

b. All waters of Puget Sound including Georgia Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca lying waterward of the extreme low tide line (MLLW) but not adjacent tidelands and shorelands (waters of Bellingham Bay);

c. Lakes or reservoirs with a surface acreage of 1,000 acres or more (Lake Whatcom) and the shorelands adjacent to such per RCW 90.58.030.

122. “Should” means that the particular action is required unless there is a demonstrated, compelling reason, based on the policy of the Shoreline Management Act and this title, against taking the action.

123. “Significant” means measurable, detectable or likely to have noticeable influence or effect.

124. “Silt fencing” means fencing designed to prevent the loss of topsoil from site.

125. “Single-family residence” means a detached dwelling designed for and occupied by one family including those structures and developments within a contiguous ownership which are a normal appurtenance.

126. SMA Floodway – RCW 90.58.030(2)(g).

a. Areas flooded with reasonable regularity: “Those portions of the area of a river valley lying streamward from the outer limits of a watercourse upon which flood waters are carried during periods of flooding that occur with reasonable regularity, although not necessarily annually.”

b. Identified by soil and vegetation: Floodway to be “identified, under normal condition, by changes in surface soil conditions or changes in types or quality of vegetative ground cover condition.”

c. Not to include lands protected from floods by legal dikes and levees: “The floodway shall not include those lands that can reasonably be expected to be protected from flood waters by flood control devices maintained by or maintained under license from the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.”

127. “Small wetland creation” means a wetland created for the purpose of mitigation or habitat conservation.

128. “Soil duff” means partially decayed organic matter (leaves, twigs, needles) on top of the top layer of soil.

129. “Soil survey” means the most recent soil survey for the local area or county by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

130. “Species” means any group of animals classified as a species or subspecies as commonly accepted by the scientific community.

131. “Species habitat” means the specific area or environment in which a particular species of plant or animal lives. An organism’s habitat must provide all of the basic requirements for life.

132. “Species of local importance” means those species of local concern due to their population status or their sensitivity to habitat manipulation, or that are game species.

133. “Species, priority” means any fish or wildlife species requiring protective measures and/or management guidelines to ensure its persistence at genetically viable population levels as classified by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, including endangered, threatened, sensitive, candidate and monitor species, and those of recreational, commercial, or tribal importance. (WAC 173-26-020(25))

134. “Species, threatened, sensitive and endangered,” as defined in both, means any fish or wildlife species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout a significant portion of its range without cooperative management or removal of threats, and is listed by the state or federal government as a threatened species. (WAC 173-26-020(25) and 232-12-297)

135. “Story” means that portion of a building included between the upper surface of any floor and the upper surface of the floor next above, except that the topmost story shall be that portion of a building included between the upper surface of the topmost floor and the ceiling or roof above. If the finished floor level directly above a basement, cellar, or unused under-floor space is more than six feet above grade, as defined in the building code adopted by the city, or more than 50 percent of the total perimeter or is more than 12 feet above grade as defined at any point, such basement, cellar or unused under floor space shall be considered a story.

136. “Stream” means those areas where surface waters produce a defined channel or bed. A defined channel or bed is an area that demonstrates clear evidence of the annual passage of water and includes, but is not limited to, bedrock channels, gravel beds, sand and silt beds, and defined channel swales. The channel or bed need not contain water year round. This definition includes drainage ditches or other artificial water courses where natural streams existed prior to human alteration.

137. “Sub-basin” or “sub-drainage basin” means the drainage area of the highest order stream containing the subject property impact area. “Stream order” is the term used to define the position of a stream in the hierarchy of tributaries in the watershed. The smallest streams are the highest order (first order) tributaries. These are the upper watershed streams and have no tributaries of their own. When two first order streams meet, they form a second order stream, and when two second order streams meet they become a third order stream, and so on.

138. “Substantial development” means any development of which the total cost or fair market value exceeds $6,416 or as amended by the State Office of Financial Management, or any development which materially interferes with the normal public use of the water or shorelines of the state.

139. “Surety” means a financial guarantee (bond or assignment of funds, or comparable instrument) established to ensure that work required by approval of a shoreline permit is completed satisfactorily.

140. “Temporary” means used or active for a limited and relatively short period of time. For purposes of this SMP, a temporary use is, in general, for not longer than three or four years and said use shall not make permanent improvements that cannot be abandoned when vacating the structure at the end of the temporary period.

141. “Tidelands” means land on the shore of marine water bodies between the line of ordinary high tide and the line of extreme low tide.

142. “Total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants” is established for waterways which fail to meet certain standards for water quality. Describes the amount of each pollutant a waterway can receive without violating water quality standards; takes into account pollution from all sources.

143. “Unavoidable” means adverse impacts that remain after all appropriate and practicable avoidance and minimization have been achieved.

144. “Unprotected waters” means surface water that is not protected by breakwater, jetty or groin and is under direct influence of wave and/or current.

145. “Vessel” means a floating structure that is designed primarily for navigation, is normally capable of self-propulsion and is used as a means of transportation, and meets all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to navigation and safety equipment on vessels, including, but not limited to, registration as a vessel by an appropriate government agency.

146. Waterfront District. Formerly referred to as the “New Whatcom Special Development Area.” The area has been renamed the “waterfront district.” Other applicable phrases that are related to this area include “Waterfront District Master Plan” and “development agreement.”

147. “Water quality” is a term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose.

148. “Water quality standards” means state-adopted and EPA-approved ambient standards for water bodies. The standards prescribe the use of the water body and establish the water quality criteria that must be met to protect designated uses.

149. “Water-dependent” means a use or portion of a use which cannot exist in any other location and is dependent on the water by reason of the intrinsic nature of its operations. Examples of water-dependent uses may include ship cargo terminal loading areas, ferry and passenger terminals, barge loading facilities, ship building and dry docking, marinas, boat ramps and transient moorage, aquaculture, float plane facilities and sewage treatment outfalls.

150. “Water-enjoyment” means a recreational or other use facilitating public access to the shoreline as a primary characteristic of the use. A water-enjoyment use also provides for recreational use or aesthetic enjoyment of the shoreline for a substantial number of people as a general characteristic of the use and which through the location, design and operation assures the public’s ability to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of the shoreline. In order to qualify as a water-enjoyment use, the use must be open to the general public and the shoreline-oriented space within the project must be devoted to the specific aspects of the use that fosters shoreline enjoyment. Primary water-enjoyment uses may include, but are not limited to, parks, piers, view towers, interpretive centers and other improvements facilitating public access to shorelines of the state. General water-enjoyment uses may include but are not limited to restaurants, museums, aquariums, scientific/ecological reserves, resorts and convention centers, and public markets; provided, that such uses conform to the above water-enjoyment specifications and the provisions of the master program.

151. “Water-oriented” refers to any combination of water-dependent, water-related, and/or water-enjoyment uses and serves as an all encompassing definition for priority uses under the SMA.

152. “Non-water-oriented uses” describes those uses which have little or no relationship to the shoreline and are not considered priority uses under the SMA. Examples include professional offices, automobile sales or repair shops, mini-storage facilities, multifamily residential development, retail facilities, department stores and gas stations.

153. “Water-related” means a use or a portion of a use which is not intrinsically dependent on a waterfront location but whose economic viability is dependent upon a waterfront location because:

a. There exists a functional requirement for a waterfront location such as the arrival or shipment of materials by water or the need for large quantities of water; or

b. The use provides a necessary service supportive of the water-dependent commercial or industrial activities and the proximity of the use to its customers makes its services less expensive and/or more convenient. Examples include, but should not be limited to, manufacturers of large materials for which transportation cost becomes a significant factor, professional services serving primarily water-dependent activities, warehousing of goods transported by water, seafood processing plants, hydroelectric generating plants, gravel storage when transported by barge, oil refineries where transport is by tanker and log storage.

154. “Watershed” means the entire region drained by a waterway that drains into a lake, reservoir, bay, or other water body; the total area above a given point on a stream that contributes water to the flow at that point; the topographic dividing line from which surface streams flow in two different directions.

155. “Weir” means an obstruction placed in a stream/river intended to back-up or divert the flow of water or net/trap species or objects that make their way past a certain point.

156. “Wetland types” means the descriptive wetlands taxonomic classification system of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

157. “Wetlands” means areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway. Wetlands may include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland areas created to mitigate conversion of wetlands.

158. “Zoning” means to designate by ordinance, including maps, areas of land reserved and regulated for specific land uses.

B. Acronyms.


Americans with Disabilities Act


Ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate


Bellingham Municipal Code


Channel migration zone


Crime Prevention through Environmental Design


Washington State Department of Natural Resources


United States Environmental Protection Agency


Fish and wildlife habitat conservation area


Growth Management Act


Interjurisdictional Coordinating Team


Low impact development


Large woody debris


Lake Whatcom Management Program


Mean higher high tide


Mean lower low water


Waterfront district special development area


Ordinary high water mark


Revised Code of Washington


Silver Beach Ordinance


2004 City of Bellingham Shoreline Characterization and Inventory


State Environmental Policy Act


Shoreline Management Act


Shoreline master program


Shorelines of statewide significance


Total maximum daily load


United States Code


Washington Administrative Code


Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife


Waterfront District Master Plan


Waterfront Futures Group

[Ord. 2013-02-005 § 2 (Exh. 1)].