Chapter 18.16

*    Editor’s Note: Prior Ordinance History: Ordinance 150 (1993) was previously codified in this chapter.


18.16.010    Title.

18.16.020    Purpose.

18.16.030    Definitions.

18.16.040    Compliance required.

18.16.050    Exclusions.

18.16.060    Permit required.

18.16.070    Standards.

18.16.080    Application for timber harvest permit.

18.16.090    Application for conversion option harvest plan.

18.16.100    Contents of an application.

18.16.110    (Repealed)

18.16.120    Application fee.

18.16.130    (Repealed)

18.16.140    Tax reporting.

18.16.150    Timber harvest permit approval expiration.

18.16.160    Appeal.

18.16.170    Amendment to approved timber harvest permit.

18.16.175    (Repealed)

18.16.180    Lifting of forest practices six-year development moratorium.

18.16.190    Enforcement.

18.16.200    Construction.

18.16.210    List of qualified consultants.

18.16.010 Title.

The ordinance codified in this chapter shall be known as the “Timber Harvest Ordinance.”

(Ord. 150-A (2000) § 1, 2000)

18.16.020 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to identify and mitigate, minimize or eliminate potential impacts from timber harvest and associated forest accesses (which includes but is not limited to improved and unimproved rights-of-way, access easements or driveways that are on or are used to access land to be cleared) on drainage courses and critical areas. Orderly development and protection of critical areas directly concern the public’s health, safety and welfare. Pursuant to RCW 76.09.240 and WAC 222-20-040, Kitsap County has limited authority to regulate Class IV forest practices and this chapter is an exercise of that authority. These regulations establish procedures for review of conversion forest practices application(s), conversion option harvest plan and lifting of permit moratoria.

This chapter implements WAC 222-20-040(3) relating to conversion forest practices and is not intended as a separate forest practice permit system. This chapter does not affect Class I, II, III, or Class IV-special forest practices as defined in the Forest Practices Act, Chapter 76.09 RCW and Chapter 222-16 WAC. Conditions of issuance of timber harvest permit pursuant to this chapter are intended to be conditions on the forest practices application to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources when that department issues a forest practices application pursuant to WAC 222-020-040. Issuance of a timber harvest permit does not grant authority to begin any forest practice as defined in Chapter 76.09 RCW, as such authority is statutorily vested in the Department of Natural Resources.

This chapter implements WAC 222-20-051 relating to conversion option harvest plans and RCW 76.09.060 relating to the six-year permit moratorium.

A.    For Classes II, III, and IV-special forest practices, if a landowner wishes to maintain the option to convert forest land to a use other than commercial timber operations, the landowner may request that the county approve a conversion option harvest plan.

B.    If a local governmental entity approves a plan, the landowner must attach it to the forest practices application or notification.

C.    The plan will be a condition of the approved application or notification.

D.    Violation of the plan shall result in the development prohibitions or the conditions described in RCW 76.09.460.

E.    Reforestation requirements will not be waived regardless of the existence of a conversion option harvest plan.

This chapter will be augmented with a memorandum of agreement between the Department of Natural Resources and Kitsap County.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 4, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 2, 2000)

18.16.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, unless otherwise specifically provided, certain words, terms, and phrases are defined as follows:

A.    “Applicant” means the person, party, firm, corporation or legal entity that proposes a timber harvest of property in Kitsap County or agent thereof.

B.    “Board” means the legislative authority of Kitsap County.

C.    “Buffer” means a strip of land that provides visual screening and/or protection of critical areas by preserving existing natural vegetation to the greatest extent possible.

D.    “Comprehensive Plan” means the current Comprehensive Plan of Kitsap County approved by the board pursuant to state law.

E.    Conversion. “Conversion to a use other than commercial timber operation” means a bona fide conversion to an active use that is incompatible with timber growing.

F.    “Conversion option harvest plan” means a plan for landowners who want to harvest their land but wish to maintain the option for conversion pursuant to WAC 222-20-051.

G.    “County” means Kitsap County.

H.    Critical Areas. Pursuant to the Critical Areas Ordinance (Title 19), and as hereafter amended, “critical areas” includes the following areas and ecosystems:

1.    Wetlands;

2.    Critical aquifer recharge areas;

3.    Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas;

4.    Frequently flooded areas; and

5.    Geologically hazardous areas.

I.    “Critical areas buffer” means an area of protection around a critical area.

J.    Danger Trees. Pursuant to the Critical Areas Ordinance (Title 19), and as hereafter amended, “danger trees” means any tree of any height, dead or alive, that presents a hazard to the public because of rot, root system or limb damage, lean or any other observable condition created by natural process or man-made activity consistent with WAC 296-54-505.

K.    “Department” means the Kitsap County department of community development or DCD.

L.    “Director” means the director of the county’s department of community development or an assigned designee.

M.    “Engineer” means the county’s engineer.

N.    Essential Public Facilities. An “essential public facility” (“EPF”) may be any facility which provides a public service as its primary mission; the facility may be owned or operated by a unit of local or state government or by a privately owned entity. EPFs include, but are not limited to, the following examples: state education facilities; publicly supported education facilities; state or regional transportation facilities; prisons, jails and other correctional facilities; solid waste handling facilities; airports; in-patient facilities (including substance abuse and mental health institutions and group homes); and communications towers and antennas used exclusively for governmental purposes.

O.    “Forestland” shall mean all land which is capable of supporting a merchantable stand of timber and is not being actively used for a use which is incompatible with timber growing. As it applies to the operation of the road maintenance and abandonment plan element of the forest practices rules on small forestland owners, the term “forestland” excludes:

1.    Residential home sites, which may include up to five acres; and

2.    Crop fields, orchards, vineyards, pastures, feedlots, fish pens, and the land on which appurtenances necessary to the production, preparation, or sale of crops, fruit, dairy products, fish, and livestock exist.

P.    “Forest practice” means any activity conducted on or directly pertaining to forestland and relating to growing, harvesting or processing timber, including but not limited to:

1.    Road and trail construction and maintenance;

2.    Harvesting, final and intermediate;

3.    Precommercial thinning;

4.    Reforestation;

5.    Fertilization;

6.    Prevention and suppression of diseases and insects;

7.    Salvage of trees; and

8.    Brush control.

Q.    “Forest practices application” means the application required to be submitted to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the harvest of forest products.

R.    “Hearing examiner” means a person appointed to hear or review certain land use applications and appeals pursuant to Title 21 of this code, the Land Use and Development Procedures Ordinance.

S.    “Nonforestry use” means an active use of land that is incompatible with timber growing.

T.    “Owner” means any person or persons having a legal or equitable property right or interest, whether it be legal or equitable in character, including a fee owner, contract purchaser or seller, mortgagor or mortgagee, optionor or optionee, and beneficiary or grantor of a trust and deed of trust.

U.    “Public resources” means water, fish and wildlife, and in addition shall mean capital improvements of the state or its political subdivisions.

V.    “Primary development” means the principal permit associated with a development including:

1.    All short plats, large lots, long plats;

2.    Site plan review;

3.    Planned unit developments or performance based development;

4.    Shoreline development permits;

5.    Unclassified use permits; and

6.    Conditional use permits.

W.    “Shoreline Management Program” means Chapter 90.58 RCW, the Shoreline Management Act, and the Kitsap County Shoreline Management Master Program.

X.    “Timber harvest” means the activity pertaining to the cutting and/or removal of forest product, but shall not include fertilization, prevention and suppression of diseases and insects and brush control.

Y.    “Timber harvest permit” means a permit issued by the department for those harvest activities which result in greater than five thousand board feet of merchantable timber.

Z.    “Vegetation” means all the plants or plant life on a specific parcel.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 5, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 3, 2000)

18.16.040 Compliance required.

All timber harvest permits shall comply with this chapter.

(Ord. 150-A (2000) § 4, 2000)

18.16.050 Exclusions.

This chapter shall not apply to timber harvest activities, other than Class IV general forest practices, on land proposed for conversion to a use other than commercial timber production.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 6, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 5, 2000)

18.16.060 Permit required.

A timber harvest permit shall be required for applications involving Class IV general forest practices on land proposed for conversion to a use other than commercial timber production.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 7, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 6, 2000)

18.16.070 Standards.

The following standards shall apply to land being converted to a nonforestry use, except where these standards conflict with the provisions of an approved primary development, in which case the primary development requirements will take precedence:

A.    Compliance with any other applicable Kitsap County ordinances.

B.    In the event that thinning or topping in a buffer area is necessary the director may, in consultation with the landowner and state or Tribal governments, require replanting of the buffer area.

C.    Required erosion control measures shall be implemented and maintained to the current Kitsap County silt and erosion control policies.

D.    When a project is phased, the timber harvest may also be phased.

E.    It is the applicant’s responsibility to arrange for on-site inspection of the project as may be outlined in the conditions of the timber harvest permit.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 8, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 7, 2000)

18.16.080 Application for timber harvest permit.

A.    Applications for a Kitsap County conversion option harvest plan (COHP) timber harvest permit shall be made to DCD. Review of the application and a field visit will be conducted by DCD staff, staff from affected Indian tribes, and representatives from state agencies including, but not limited to, DNR and Department of Fish and Wildlife. After completion of any corrective actions on the application through review and approval procedures, DCD shall provide an approval letter to DNR prior to submittal of an application to DNR.

B.    Applications for a timber harvest conversion permit shall be submitted to DCD and processed according to Kitsap County Code. When DNR receives an application for a conversion permit, they shall send the applicant to DCD for permit assistance and processing.

C.    Danger tree harvest applications are processed under a Kitsap County site evaluation permit. The permit specifies a building safety tree removal within a “tree-length and a half” around a permanent structure (or a planned single-family residence). Removal of trees within critical areas or associated buffers must demonstrate compliance with Title 19, Critical Areas Ordinance, and Title 22, Shoreline Master Program, or otherwise follow the guidelines for tree removal within Titles 19 and 22. Except for imminent risk to habitable structures, an arborist risk assessment letter or report shall be required for removal of danger trees within a critical area or its associated buffer. Except for imminent risk to habitable structures, removal of danger trees on moderate slopes or greater within the danger tree perimeter requires submittal and concurrence with a geologist or geotechnical engineer per Section 19.400.415 protocols.

D.    All timber harvest applications shall declare the type, scale and schedule of known future development plans. If primary development approval is required, a timber harvest permit will not be granted until the primary development permit is issued by the department.

E.    Areas of forest practice permit applications that may contain cultural resources to affected Indian tribes shall be subject to the notification and review provisions of WAC 222-20-120.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 9, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 8, 2000)

18.16.090 Application for conversion option harvest plan.

A.    The purpose of the conversion option harvest plan is to allow limited selective logging prior to final primary development approval. Each conversion option harvest plan shall be reviewed by the director on an individual basis.

B.    A conversion option harvest plan shall be submitted to the Kitsap County department of community development pursuant to WAC 222-20-051 prior to application for primary development and/or timber harvest activities on the project site.

C.    Application for approval of a conversion option plan shall be initiated by a property owner or his authorized agent by filing an application with DCD. Applications shall be consistent with the review authority table found in Section 21.04.100 and with WAC 222-20-040. Applications shall initiate site visits with DCD staff, staff from affected Indian tribes, and representatives from state agencies including, but not limited to, DNR and Department of Fish and Wildlife. Site visits will assist in understanding input on issues including, but not limited to, surrounding riparian functions, fish and wildlife, unstable slopes, water typing, cultural resource protections, and mitigation.

D.    The conversion option harvest plan shall expire upon expiration of the forest practices application/notification.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 10, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 9, 2000)

18.16.100 Contents of an application.

A timber harvest application or conversion option harvest plan shall contain information required by the submittal requirements checklist established by the DCD as set forth in Section 21.04.160 and any submittal requirements established by DCD permit checklists.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 11, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 10, 2000)

18.16.110 (Repealed)*

*    Editor’s Note: Former Section 18.16.110, “Map of proposed timber harvest,” was repealed by Section 11 of Ord. 622 (2023). This section was originally derived from Ord. 150-A (2000) § 11.

18.16.120 Application fee.

All applications for permits or actions by the county shall be accompanied by a filing fee in an amount established by county resolution, per Section 21.10.010.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 12, 2023; Ord. 291 (2002) § 14, 2002: Ord. 150-A (2000) § 12, 2000)

18.16.130 (Repealed)*

*    Editor’s Note: Former Section 18.16.130, “Review by director,” was repealed by Section 13 of Ord. 622 (2023). This section was originally derived from Ord. 150-A (2000) § 13 and Ord. 290 (2002) § 12.

18.16.140 Tax reporting.

All county timber harvest permit forms, including danger tree permit applications, shall include forest excise tax reporting requirements and reference requirements for the landowner or timber owner to contact the Washington State Department of Revenue to obtain a forest tax reporting account number at 1-800-548-8829.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 14, 2023)

18.16.150 Timber harvest permit approval expiration.

Approval shall be valid for two years following approval and shall expire thereafter.

(Ord. 150-A (2000) § 15, 2000

18.16.160 Appeal.

Any person wishing to appeal the granting, denial or conditions of approved timber harvest permit or conversion option harvest plan shall follow the appeal procedure as set forth in Chapter 21.04, Project Permit Application Procedures, and subsequent amendments.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 15, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 16, 2000)

18.16.170 Amendment to approved timber harvest permit.

A timber harvest permit, which has been approved, may be amended by the applicant. The contents and procedure for an amended application shall be the same as Sections 18.16.080, 18.16.090 and 18.16.100. The application fee shall be per the Kitsap County development permit fee schedule (Section 21.10.010.) Amended applications shall be forwarded to DNR on approval, if applicable.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 16, 2023; Ord. 291 (2002) § 15, 2002: Ord. 150-A (2000) § 17, 2000)

18.16.175 (Repealed)*

*    Editor’s Note: Former Section 18.16.175, “Forestry in rural wooded incentive program development,” was repealed by Section 17 of Ord. 622 (2023). This section was originally derived from Ord. 368 (2006) § 37.

18.16.180 Lifting of forest practices six-year development moratorium.

The purpose of this section is to provide criteria and a process for lifting a forest practices six-year development moratorium under certain circumstances. It establishes a public notification process, with criteria and standards by which a six-year development moratorium may be lifted.

A.    Process For Lifting a Forest Practices Six-Year Development Moratorium. Any person who intends to convert property which has been logged pursuant to a Class II, III or IV-special nonconversion forest practices application or notification, or without any such application or notification, from forestry use to another use, shall notify the director in writing of such an intent.

Upon receipt of a written intention for conversion of a nonconversion forest practices application/notification, the director shall insure that the property owner causes notice of intention thereof to be published at least once a week on the same day of the week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the area in which the property is located. In addition, the director shall insure that the property owner provides additional notice of such intention by the following methods:

1.    Mailing to the latest recorded real property owners as shown by the county assessor within eight hundred feet of the boundary of the property upon which the conversion is proposed. If the applicant owns property adjoining or across a right-of-way or easement from the property that is the subject of the request, notice shall be mailed to owners of property within an eight-hundred-foot radius, as provided in this subsection, of the edge of the property owned by the applicant adjoining or across a right-of-way or easement from the property that is the subject of the request.

2.    Posting in a conspicuous manner on the property upon which the conversion is requested.

An affidavit that the notice has been properly published, the property posted and notice letters deposited in the U.S. mail pursuant to this section shall be affixed to the request. Such notices shall include a statement that within fifteen days of the final publication, any interested person may submit his or her written views upon the conversion request to the director or to notify the director of his or her desire to receive a copy of the action taken upon the request. All persons who notify the director of their desire to receive a copy of the final order shall be notified in a timely manner of the action taken upon request. Notice of a hearing shall include a statement that any person may submit oral or written comments on an application at such hearing. All notices of conversion request shall be submitted on the county-approved notice application form and be approved by the director prior to publication.

The director shall review the request for conversion, any comments received, applicable code, including subsection (B) of this section, and inspect the property prior to setting a public hearing before the hearing examiner. This will be reviewed pursuant to a Type III process as described in Chapter 21.04.

B.    Criteria. The hearing examiner may lift a six-year development moratorium only upon finding that each of the following criteria has been met:

1.    Lifting the moratorium will not be detrimental to the public health, safety, and general welfare.

2.    Lifting the moratorium will not be injurious to the property or improvements adjacent to and in the vicinity of the proposal.

3.    Lifting the moratorium will be neutral or more beneficial as to environmental effects.

4.    Lifting the moratorium is consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan.

5.    One of the following has occurred:

a.    The site has been designated for an essential public facility as defined in this chapter or has been designated as a public facility on the Comprehensive Plan map; or

b.    Is a capital facility of the state or its political subdivision necessary for the protection of a natural resource; or

c.    The landowner has provided evidence that a theft of timber or a fraudulent forest practice application has been submitted without his or her knowledge or consent.

6.    The logging activities conducted on the site complied with requirements of the Forest Practices Act, including but not limited to replanting requirements. When applicable, a notification shall be provided by DNR that all outstanding final orders or decisions on any forest practice application have been resolved.

7.    Lifting of the moratorium would meet county review requirements of this chapter and Chapter 21.04 or could be mitigated to do so.

8.    There has been no intentional circumvention of the requirements of this chapter (timber harvest) rendering the property ineligible for lifting a moratorium for its entire term.

C.    Performance Requirements. The lifting of the six-year moratorium shall be conditioned upon compliance with the following requirements:

1.    All corrective actions necessary to bring the site into compliance with Kitsap County Code must be completed or adequately bonded prior to final land use, grading or site development, and/or building permit approval.

2.    Where forest practice activity has encroached upon or damaged, removed or altered buffers, critical areas or critical areas buffers, mitigation, enhancement, or increased buffers as necessary for compliance with current Kitsap County land use ordinances shall be required.

3.    Where applicable, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) determination and any associated conditions.

4.    Provision of any performance bonds for mitigation measures not completed.

5.    Lifting of the development moratorium is valid only for the specific land use proposed and that land use is subject to the applicable implementing regulations of the Comprehensive Plan.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 18, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 18, 2000)

18.16.190 Enforcement.

A.    The director is authorized to enforce this chapter and to authorize county employees to represent the department to investigate suspected violations of this chapter, issue orders to correct violations and issue notices of infractions.

B.    Kitsap County civil enforcement ordinance (Chapter 2.116), and as hereafter amended, applies to violations of this chapter. Any person, firm or corporation who fails to obtain a timber harvest permit when required to do so under this ordinance, or who violates any condition of a timber harvest permit shall have committed a Class I civil infraction. Each and every day or portion thereof during which harvesting that occurs without a timber harvest permit shall constitute a separate infraction. Each and every day or portion thereof during which a violation of a condition of a timber harvest permit is committed, continued or permitted, shall constitute a separate violation.

C.    Code Compliance and Project Permit Application Review Suspension. If an open and active code compliance case exists on a parcel, and a proposed permit application is submitted for that parcel which may, in the department’s interpretation, impact or be impacted by the code compliance case, the permit application may be suspended until the resolution of the code compliance case.

(Ord. 622 (2023) § 19, 2023; Ord. 150-A (2000) § 19, 2000)

18.16.200 Construction.

This chapter shall be liberally interpreted and construed to secure the public health, safety, morals and welfare and the rule of strict construction shall have no application.

(Ord. 150-A (2000) § 20, 2000)

18.16.210 List of qualified consultants.

As a resource to applicants, the department will maintain a list of arborists, habitat biologists, hydrogeologists, geological engineers, geologists, land surveyors, and wetlands scientists who, at the time of listing, are licensed in the state of Washington and meet the minimum qualifications of Kitsap County Code to prepare certain documents required by this title. The list will contain those consultants who have responded to Kitsap County’s call to be listed. Kitsap County makes no representation or guarantee as to the quality of services performed by those listed, and reserves the right to discontinue the list at any time.

(Ord. 617 (2022) § 34, 2022)