Chapter 14.04


14.04.010    Policy and purpose.

14.04.020    Definitions.

14.04.030    Disclosure.

14.04.010 Policy and purpose.

A. 1. It is the declared policy of this county to promote forestry operations and to inform residents of the county’s support for the right to practice forestry.

2. State planning goals encourage the conservation of productive forest lands and discourage incompatible uses. Land uses adjacent to forest lands should not interfere with forestry operations.

B. The purpose of this chapter is to promote a good neighbor policy between forest and non-forest property owners by requiring notice to purchasers and users of property adjacent to or near forest operations of the inherent potential problems associated with such purchase or use that may result from legally permitted uses, including but not limited to the noises, odors, dust, smoke and hours of operations and forest chemicals legally applied to forest land and contained within the site of application. Thorough mandatory disclosures purchasers and users will better understand the consequences of living near forestry operations and be prepared to accept attendant conditions as the natural result of living in or near rural areas.

C. An additional purpose of this chapter is to facilitate the unhampered continuation of legal and customary operations associated with forest operations. (Ord. 92-094 Exh. A (part)).

14.04.020 Definitions.

A. “Discretionary development permits” means permits which in the application stage require discretionary review, including but not limited to subdivision permits, binding site plan approvals, planned unit developments, special use permits, variances, shoreline substantial development permits and conditional use permits.

B. “Forest land” means all land which is capable of supporting a merchantable stand of timber and is not actively being used for a use which is incompatible with timber growing (WAC 222-16-010(19)).

C. “Forest practices” means any activity conducted on or directly pertaining to forest land and relating to growing, harvesting or processing timber, including but not limited to: road and trail construction; harvesting, final and intermediate; pre-commercial thinning; reforestation; fertilization; prevention and suppression of disease and insects; salvage of trees; and brush control (WAC 222-16-101(21)).

D. “Best management practices” means schedules of activities, prohibitions of practices, maintenance of procedures and other management practices, to prevent or reduce the pollution of ground or surface waters, to control erosion and slope failure, to control the drift of forest chemicals and to preserve natural biologic diversity and species numbers.

E. “Person” means an individual, corporation, partnership, association or other legal entity.

F. “Forestry” means those areas designated on the map or maps comprising the Official Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan designated as the forestry district, including the rural forestry zone and the commercial forestry zone. (Ord. 92-094 Exh. A (part)).

14.04.030 Disclosure.

A. The statement set forth in subsection B of this section shall be used under the following circumstances and in the following manners:

1. Upon the conveyance of a fee interest in real property, time share agreement or lease, the seller or lessor shall require that the disclosure statement as set forth in subsection B be signed by the purchaser or lessee and recorded in the county auditor’s office in conjunction with the deed conveying the real property, time share agreement or lease agreement, when one of the following conditions are met:

a. The real property is within the area designated as forestry on the map or maps comprising the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan;

b. The real property is within one-half mile of the area designated as forestry on the map or maps comprising the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan.

2. Upon the issuance of a discretionary development permit for land on or within one-half mile of the area designated as forestry on the map or maps comprising the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, the discretionary development permit shall include a condition that the owners of the property shall be required to sign a statement of acknowledgment containing the disclosure (subsection B) on forms provided by Whatcom County, which form shall then be recorded in the county auditor’s office.

3. All building permits and discretionary development permits for land on or within one-half mile of the area designated as forestry on the map or maps comprising the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan shall contain a notice of disclosure (subsection B).

4. The duty of disclosure pursuant to this section rests with the seller or lessor and omission of said disclosure does not create liability for the county.

B. The following shall constitute the disclosure required by this section:

The subject property is within or near designated FORESTRY lands on which a variety of commercial activities may occur. The legally permissible amounts of noise, dust, smoke, traffic and fumes which may be generated by activities on forest land may exceed those levels conducive to a tranquil residential environment. While the application by spraying or other means of forest chemicals may be legally permitted on forest lands, the persons making such applications and the owners of properties where such applications are being made, may be liable for loss and damages which are caused by the migration of forest chemicals from the site of the approved application. Whatcom County has determined that the use of real property for forestry operations is a high priority and favored use and will not consider to be a nuisance those inconveniences or discomforts arising from legally permitted forest practices, if such operations are consistent with commonly accepted best management practices and otherwise comply with local, state and federal laws.

(Ord. 92-094 Exh. A (part)).