Jefferson County’s long-debated environmental protection ordinance adopted

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners unanimously adopted the county’s controversial update of its critical areas ordinance on Monday.

Immediately, at least one observer said that the decision would be appealed.

The three commissioners took about 20 minutes to put a final polish on the law after two years of public hearings and deliberations.

The update makes three significant additions to the county’s older version of the law that regulates environmentally-sensitive areas.

  • A marine shoreline habitat protection buffer of 150 feet.

  • A buffer of up to 300 feet for wetlands, which replaces a 150-foot zone, and which will require a rating system for habitat.

  • A stewardship program that allows land owners to manage their own critical areas.

    Last week, commissioners made a change requested by the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe to cut the buffer zone for non-fish bearing, seasonal streams from 75 feet to 50 feet.

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