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  • Kim Cooper

Wetland Buffer Rules Change

Last week before brokers tour we all gathered at the Pacific County offices in Long Beach to hear about the new wetland buffer regulations. The planning department is still feeling their way into these new regulations, For people buying vacant land there will be new considerations as wetland and shoreline buffers have increased.


Forested Wetland

Generally it seems that property owners will be able to apply for a variance to "grandfather" existing uses, but some properties that previously had enough room to build may not under the new regulations.


Here is Surfrider's brief summary. of the updated management plan. For those of you who enjoy planning documents here is the full document: Updated Shoreline Master Program.


A big part of what makes the peninsula such a beautiful place to live is the over 44,000 acres of federal, state and private conserved lands here, including Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge. On brokers tour near Oysterville, I heard Swainson's thrushes singing, such a favorite wonderful song, We are so blessed with wildlife here.


The Columbia Land Trust has recently secured grant funding for purchase of another 400 acres of declining coastal wetlands, riparian areas and conifer forest on the Long Beach Peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay, in addition to wetlands in the Chinook River estuary in southwest Washington."


Conservation of coastal wetlands ecosystems "not only benefits coastal wetland-dependent wildlife, but also enhances flood protection and water quality, and provides economic and recreational benefits to anglers, boaters, hunters and wildlife watchers". So these changes will serve us in the long run.


Meanwhile, if they are looking at property with the idea of building or rebuilding, I always encourage my clients to start by discussing the specific property with the Pacific County Planning Department. Then we work together to navigate the process for them, whether the next step is a simple permit application, a Critical Area Review, or a move on to another property.



Skunk Cabbage

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