State Ecology OKs Sequim shoreline master plan

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– The city’s updated plan to protect its shorelines has been approved by the state Department of Ecology.

The shoreline master program governs use and development and guides restoration of the approximately-one mile of shoreline in city limits along Sequim Bay, Washington Harbor and Pitship Marsh.

Sequim has about 145 acres of shoreline, which is split among 44 parcels, 27 percent of which are vacant.

The master program is required of about 150 cities and counties across the state under the 1973 Shoreline Management Act.

Those initial plans are being updated, with Sequim one of 90 to have completed their updates.

Sequim’s new plan has five shoreline designations; urban, urban conservancy, natural, research and shoreline residential.

A 75-foot development buffer from the shoreline is set up under the plan, with an additional 10-foot set back for structures, under all but the “natural” designation, which sets a 100-foot buffer.

The urban designation is reserved for the areas around John Wayne Marina on Sequim Bay at the mouth of Johnson Creek.

Calling the marina area “urban” allows it to be developed more intensively, city planner Jack Dodge said.

Land around Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Marine Sciences Laboratory is primarily designated as a “research” district, though some was tagged “natural.”

The shoreline plan will be integrated into the city’s development code, which is used to manage and plan growth of development.

In addition, the shoreline plan requires new residential docks be built as short as possible and not exceed 300 feet in length.

It also includes limits on the construction of shoreline armoring along soft-banks and a restoration plan to encourage erosion control measures from upland properties.

The plan was developed over several years, with input on restoration efforts guided by agencies with historic information about the city’s shoreline, such as the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, and also from the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 31. 2013 6:12PM
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