Information on the general update to the Edmonds Community Development Code is being posted here.
Public Information / Displays: Signs, 12/16/2015
Public Information / Displays: Subdivisions 12/16/2015
March 15, 2016 Public Hearing
At the last Council meeting of 2015, the City Council proposed a number of amendments to the draft critical area regulations which were adopted in Ordinance No. 4017 and subsequently vetoed by the Mayor. Following reconsideration of the Mayor’s veto, the Council discussed returning to review the version of the critical area regulations that were considered at the December 15, 2015 meeting which are linked below.
The City Council will hold another public hearing on March 15, 2016 to consider proposed amendments to the draft critical area regulations linked above. The proposed amendments are summarized below:
1. ECDC 23.40.220.C.4 – Physically Separated/Functionally Isolated Buffers
a. Require determination of physically separated/functionally isolated buffers to be made by a qualified critical area consultant.
b. Rename provision to physically separated/potentially isolated or “interrupted buffer”
2. Council Review/Critical Area Decision Processes
a. Include the City Council in the decision making process for certain critical area decisions such as physically separated/functionally isolated buffers, restoration projects, and exemptions.
b. Consider adding a decision matrix or some threshold for which projects would include the City Council in the decision making process
c. Consider amending the decision process for certain types of critical area decisions (i.e. Type I, Type II, Type III or other new process type.
3. ECDC 23.40.220.C.7.b.iv – Hazard Tree Replacement
Change the required diameter of deciduous replacement trees from one inch dbh to one to two inches dbh
a. ECDC 23.40.320 – Normal Maintenance of Vegetation Definition
Change the diameter of trees from three to four inches dbh which may be removed as “normal maintenance.”
b. Add definition for Council to reflect Edmonds City Council
c. Add definition for Best Available Science
d. Move definitions from Part VI to ECDC 23.40.010 after Purpose section.
5. ECDC 23.90.040.C – Retention of Vegetation on Subdividable and Undeveloped Parcels
a. Include RS-8 and RS-10 in addition to RS-12 and RS-20 zones to where this provision would apply
b. Consider requiring a different percentage of coverage for the RS-8 and RS-10 (existing is 30% for RS-12 and RS-20 zones).
c. Change “…native trees over 10 inches in dbh make up more than 70 percent of the canopy cover” to “…native trees over 6 inches in dbh make up more than 40 percent of the canopy cover.”
6. Frequently Flood Area Amendments in ECDC 19.00.025 and ECDC 21.40.030
Do not consider the frequently flooded amendments in the building code at ECDC 19.00.025 and definition of height at ECDC 21.40.030 with the critical areas update.
7. Council Status Reports
Require the administration to provide the City Council with periodic reports on implementation of the critical area regulations.
a. Make new Appendix A formally adopting critical areas maps
b. Make new Appendix B with an inventory of all critical areas within the City of Edmonds including buffer widths
9. ECDC 23.40.215 – Restoration Projects
Modify the Restoration projects provision to remove specific buffer reduction allowances, and have project proponents propose buffer width necessary to ensure success of the proposed project.
10. ECDC 23.40.040.C – Areas subject to the provision of the CAO
Replace this section to refer to new appendices if appendices are adopted
11. ECDC 23.40.040.D – Areas Adjacent to Critical Areas
Keep only first sentence and delete the remainder of the section
12. ECDC 23.40.090.D – Minimum Report Contents
Require critical area reports to identify the location of all native and non-native vegetation of 6 inch dbh or larger.
Note: The following is a list of ideas compiled by a councilmember gleaned from comments submitted on the critical area regulations update. The items with asterisks (*) are currently present in the draft critical area regulations.
a. Increase the tree removal threshold from 3” dbh to 6” dbh.
b. Allow removal of inappropriate trees such as alders, cottonwoods and willows in critical areas.
c. Compensatory mitigation should apply to streams in addition to wetlands.*
d. Provide for 100% of buffer, where available for enhancement projects.
e. Identify biodiversity areas and corridors.
f. The footprint of development should include compacted gravel areas.*
g. There are Inconsistencies between allowed activities in Wetlands and allowed activities in Critical Areas.
h. Add presence of railroad tracks as an example of physically separated but functional isolated conditions.
i. Allow healthy trees to be removed from critical areas on private land.
All cities and counties in Washington State are required to adopt critical areas regulations by the Growth Management Act (GMA). As defined by the GMA, "critical areas" include the following areas and ecosystems: (a) wetlands; (b)areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water; (c) fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas; (d) frequently flooded areas; and (e) geologically hazardous areas. [RCW 36.70A.030(5)]
Counties and cities are required to include Best Available Science (BAS) in developing policies and development regulations to protect the functions and values of critical areas. All jurisdictions are required to review, evaluate, and, if necessary, revise their critical areas ordinances according to an update schedule. The City of Edmonds critical area ordinance (CAO) update is due in 2015. This is the first comprehensive review and update of the regulations and science since the current version of the City's critical area regulations became effective in 2005. Below are links to the 2004 Best Available Science report and 2015 Addendum prepared in association with the current CAO update.
Draft Critical Area Regulations
The City's existing critical area regulations are largely compliant with Best Available Science; however, a few sections were indentified for updating. Some of the main areas identified for updating are:
The most recent version of the draft critical area regulations (Chapters 23.10 - 23.90 ECDC) are available at this link. Associated recommended code changes to the builidng code (Title 19 ECDC) and definitions (Title 21 ECDC) related to frequently flooded areas are available at this link. A Best Available Science Review and Gap Analysis Matrix of the proposed changes to the critical area regulations is availabe at this link.
Planning Board Review
The Planning Board reviewed the critical area regulations update over the course of five Planning Board meetings and forwarded a recommendation to the City Council follwing the July 22, 2015 Planning Bord meeting. Below are links to the Planning Board agenda items were critical areas were discussed which contain staff memorandums and video of the Planning Board meeting.
City Council Review
The City Council began review of the the Planning Board's recommendation on the draft critical area regulations in September 2015. Below are links to the City Council agenda items were critical areas were discussed which contain staff memorandums and video of the Council meeting. Minutes will be provided when they become available.