Council approves critical areas revisions 5-2

Published on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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Following a directive from the state Growth Management Hearings board, Blaine City Council approved revisions to its critical areas ordinance 5-2.

Council members Scott Dodd and Jason Overstreet voted against the revisions with no comment.
The decision comes after an October appeal by Bellingham-based environmental advocacy group RE Sources, which challenged the city’s regulations for wetland buffers.

The board approved the ordinance overall last March, but called for several revisions to the code related to accessory dwelling units and remodels, stormwater facilities, exemptions and the requirement for “best available science” as a standard for developing buffers.

Revisions include:
• Reducing an allowance for remodels or accessory structures to be built within wetland buffers and requiring a critical areas study according to best available science.
• Eliminating a “reasonable use exception” because it was found to be non-compliant language.
• Reducing allowances for buffer reductions of 40 and 60 percent to 25 percent.
• Clarifying requirements for regulations to reference best available science for buffer reduction.
• Changes in allowances for stormwater management.