WARNING: The following information is LONG, boring to many, incomprehensible to others, and history that repeats itself!
The Silver Beach Neighborhood recently debated adopting a list of policy measures to address the issue of protecting the Lake Whatcom Reservoir.
Many of the items on the list were recognizable as elements of earlier discussions during the deliberations on the City's 'Silver Beach Ordinance', designed in response to the Dept of Ecology's 303 (d) listing of the lake for fecal cliform and dissolved oxygen levels.
Some were adopted and incorporated into the Ordinance, while others were not for various reasons.
It may be useful to revisit those earlier discussions again as a reminder of what was considered during those initial eight public meetings, which resulted in a list of unanimous, or near-unanimous, recommendations that were adopted.
The adopted recommendations -from meeting No. 9- were the subject of my 8/8/07 blog.
This general subject was also discussed or rferenced in blogs from October 9, 12 & 13 and Dec 3
Here is a Summary of the August 15, 2000 meeting:
I. Attendance: All present, except KB, BB*, AK*, JK*, AR*, BR. (* submitted written proxy).
Guest: P. Decker
• Recommendations Survey & 8/08/00 Meeting Summary. (see also http://www.cob.org/cobweb/council/sbo.htm)
III. Participant Comments on Recommendations Survey
• General: Have comments on most of these recommendations and would like another opportunity to discuss them with the group. Can we call a meeting after today's meeting to do this?
• Category 1. SCIENCE: Significant information exists to conclude that the lake is impacted by development, however insufficient data exists to allow compliance with required TMDL regulations. The Lake Whatcom Management Team is working to coordinate the science in regards to the lake to eliminate duplication of effort and reduce doubt about various studies.
• Category 2. PUBLIC EDUCATION: Group 2: somewhat confusing language; does this refer to current (actual) or potential influence? Public education should be high priority (highest). How else can an electorate make an informed decision?
• Category 3. MORATORIUM. There also should be a moratorium on single family (all new construction) until ordinances (and BMPs) are revised (and approved). This should extend into the Urban Growth and Urban Fringe areas also (areas that may be annexed into the city). It has been proven over the years that continuing to build while we talk just doesn’t work.
• Category 4. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.
• Category 5. NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN. By updating this plan guidance and foresight could be applied to other areas in the Urban Fringe and/or growth areas in the watershed.
• Category 6. DENSITY/MINIMUM LOT SIZE. Lots that are substandard should not be allowed to consolidate unless adjacent. A buy out program for substandard lots could be initiated to restore these areas to an environmental use. The idea is not to cram more density in, (per the State Urban Growth Plan) but to use common sense, land topography, and preservation as guidelines. Add Choice D1 -all of Silver Beach should be down-zoned to a minimum of 1 lot/13,333sf. What does C1 mean?
• Category 7. TRANSFER OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS (TDRs). This does not need to be an either/or choice; can have both, none or either one.
• Category 8. BUILDING SETBACKS & PARKING REQUIREMENTS. Front yard setbacks should be optionally reduced to allow less driveway/impervious surface and tandem parking, one behind the other should be permitted. I can see that this might be used to try to get a larger footprint but that is not the intent of this recommendation. What is a rear setback? Setback requirements should allow only the least amount impervious area, perhaps this would mean a choice of B1. A2 & B2 are not mutually exclusive, could also cover C2, at owner’s option
• Category 9. PERMITTED/CONDITIONAL USES. Especially consider remodels; Add D4 -ADU’s OK, if =/<< 2000 SF.
• Category 10. SUBDIVISION CODE. The density of the cluster development, while achieving some of the aims of the SBO is not desirable. The detrimental aspects (traffic, utilizing a space that could not be used for the same density for single family homes) outweigh the good.
• Category 11. STREET STANDARDS. Common sense. Add another group, 5,-to allow more alternate pervious surface choices for sidewalks. (gravel, etc)
• Category 12. OPERATING ORDINANCES, SEPA, CLEARING, GRADING, STORMWATER. Single family lots should comply with strict stormwater regulations, (not necessarily) like treatment and retention but impact, topography, and other factors need to be considered. Choice B4: (within reason; define how this is determined?)
• Category 13. WETLAND & STREAM ORDINANCE. Over the years science has told us that we always guess wrong and do not allow enough buffers.
• Category 14. SHORELINE MASTER PLAN. Best science says that next to the lake shore is extremely important, so setbacks should reflect this. Docks imply boats, and more boating is not a good use in a watershed resource. Why not docks? SMP regulations on permits. (San Juan County has limited # of docks) Environmental concerns include more people & water-craft, greater probability of spills, use of treated (toxic) pilings, impact on shoreline plants & aquatic life. Choice B1: ambiguous; how is feasibility determined? administrative flexibility, plus appeals; C2. -more discussion?)
• Category 15. IMPERVIOUS LIMITS. Changes to this will create the most difficulties of the entire ordinance. Trying to mitigate this or buy more by protecting other areas is subjective at best, arbitrary and sometimes unfair. Under no circumstances should any individual or corporation be allowed more than 2500 sq.ft period, no matter the mitigation. Impervious surface areas should be further reduced beyond the 2000sf or 15%.
• Category 16. ADDITIONS & REMODELS. Incentives should be used to approach current restrictions. Add E1: Increased impervious area for remodels, with tighter baseline impervious %, applicable; B2: -only if built up to existing footprint & applicable impervious area limit; insurance issue?
• Category 17. PERVIOUS SURFACE LIMITS. Current materials/technology may lose their perviousness over time. C1:- unclear; what does “similar to” mean?
• Category 18. TRANSFER OF IMPERVIOUS CREDITS. This must be strictly controlled and applied. Again the maximum allowed should be 2500 sq. ft. Anything more flies in the face of the intent of the ordinance. Note A1 & B1 are not mutually exclusive, shouldn’t both be allowed?
• Category 19. FLEXIBLE INCENTIVES. Again, do you have to pay people to protect their drinking water resource? Some flexibility may be warranted but how much, at what price?
• Category 20. NATIVE VEGETATION & LANDSCAPING REQUIREMENTS. All vegetation management should be voluntary with education and assistance provided to include coupons from nurseries for appropriate plantings. Consider limiting lawn area particularly sloping lawns on lake abutting property or other steep slopes. Education is the key here. A1/B1:-for preserving or retaining native vegetation, would any credits be offered?
• Category 21. VEGETATION MANAGEMENT. This is extremely important and education again is the key here. Someone must be in the area during the period of time people are out in their yards – evenings, weekends, offering alternatives. The opportunities here are endless. (Blatant) disregard of labeled instructions on most herbicides and pesticides is a violation of federal law already and most limit or prohibit use close to water. C1:-Hard to monitor or enforce; Federal Govt. enforces use close to water supply, per labels; More consultation needed before making this more specific.
• Category 22. SEASONAL CONSTRUCTION LIMITS. (refers to ground disturbance only)
Seasonal limits should minimize spring impact, from 6/1 to 9/30, with a possible extension to 10/15, based on weather patterns. Add E1:-if more than 4 months are allowed, add October, not May.
• Category 23. CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES.
• Category 24. FEES/ASSESSMENTS. Some feel everyone should pay the same to fix the problem but the watershed resident are causing the problem and should pay more (LID).
• Category 25. PUBLIC WATERSHED LAND ACQUISITION IN THE WATERSHED. Numerous programs will evolve from the ongoing process of managing the lake. A funding source is absolutely necessary prior to initiating these programs. Time is also a critical factor. C2:-what is meant by “city money”? – levied & collected solely by COB?; Add F3:-Our first priority should be relocating G-P’s intake to Basin #1 (who pays?); Add G3:-All of the above (decisions on priority to be determined by WAB/City Council); D3:-If main purpose is to retain native vegetation, undisturbed, this option may be best; E3:-if lots are ‘down-zoned’, by requiring a higher minimum lot size, or TDR/TIC program is adopted, this becomes top priority; Group 3:-This whole grouping is confusing; it sets priorities w/o evaluating efficacy of alternatives.
• Category 26. ENFORCEMENT. Enforcement must be tied to education.
• Category 27. BENCHMARK/EFFECTIVENESS OF ACTIONS There will not be a one on one correlation. It is hard to measure prevention.
• Category 28. ONGOING ADVISORY/STAKEHOLDER GROUP.
IV. Recommendations Survey:
The following is provided as a synoptic list of topics covered and recommendations made by the Silver Beach Citizen’s Task Force. This summary has accumulated during the course of seven meetings of the group. Respondents should consider each topic heading in the context of meeting discussions, utilizing the reference materials provided as a resource. Recommendations are grouped by topic and variable responses. Please indicate the choice which best reflects your views by placing a check mark in the left margin adjacent the appropriate line.
[Note 1: The primary concerns, clarifications & suggested changes discussed, are annotated within the table, where applicable.]
[Note 2: Votes cast (either in person, or as a submitted proxy) & recorded during the meeting are tabulated in the √) column. Currently, voting is incomplete, due to a few absences.]
[Note 3: In some instances, more than one choice per group seemed permissible, so tally totals vary somewhat.]
√) CATEGORY & GROUP SURVEY CHOICE (pick one in each group)
(6) A1. Sufficient information exists to verify Lake Whatcom is impacted by development
(2) B1. Sufficient information exists to suggest Lake Whatcom may be impacted by development
(3) C1. Insufficient information exists to conclude the Lake is/may be impacted by development
2. PUBLIC EDUCATION
(0) A1. Public education efforts by the city/county are adequate for Lake Whatcom issues
11) B1. Public education efforts by the city/county should be improved and/or expanded
(6) A2. Public education efforts appear to have a significant influence on Lake protection efforts
(4) B2. Public education efforts appear to be insignificant with regard to Lake protection efforts
(*somewhat confusing language; does this refer to current (actual) or potential influence?)
Public education efforts should be:
11) A3. High priority
(1) B3. Medium priority
(0) C3. Low priority for the city and county
(2) A1. There should be a moratorium on virtually all watershed construction forever
(5) B1. There should be a moratorium until a Total Maximum Daily Load study is completed
(2) C1. There should be a moratorium on single family construction until ordinances are revised
(0) D1. There should be a moratorium on subdivisions only; lots of adequate size could be built
(6) E1. No moratorium is necessary, current protection efforts are underway and evolving
4. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
(1) A1. The City Comprehensive Plan currently contains sufficient policy guidance for protection
(3) B1. The City/County/District Joint Goals and Policies are adequate guidance for protection
(7) C1. Stronger and/or revised policy guidance is necessary for adequate lake protection
5. NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN (The Silverbeach Neighborhood Plan addresses permitted land uses, i.e. zoning, and density/lot size requirements)
(7) A1. The Silverbeach Neighborhood Plan should be updated to aid lake protection efforts
(0) B1. The Silverbeach Neighborhood Plan is adequate or less important than other efforts
(3) C1. Current land use designations and densities are acceptable
(7) D1. Land use designations and densities should be revised
6. DENSITY/MINIMUM LOT SIZE
(4) A1. The current density designations should be retained, ranging from 6000-20,000 S.F. /lot
(5) B1. All of Silverbeach should be downzoned to the city minimum of 1 lot/20,000sf.
(1) C1. Only areas where there would be a significant reduction in lots should be down-zoned
(1) +D1.? All of Silverbeach should be down-zoned to a minimum of 1 lot/13,333sf
(4) A2. The minimum buildable lot size should conform to minimum density requirements
(4) B2. Lots should be consolidated by appropriate means to achieve min. lot size requirements
(2) C2. Lots that are substandard should not be allowed to consolidate, unless adjacent
(1) D2. All legal lots of record should be buildable, regardless of size or sub area density
7. TRANSFER OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS (TDR’S)
(7) A1. Transfer of Development Rights (homes) out of the watershed should be permitted*
(7) B1. Transfer of Development Rights within the watershed should be considered, when it would reduce new street or utility construction and extension impacts*
(* Does not need to be an either/or choice; can have both, none or either one)
8. BUILDING SETBACKS & PARKING REQUIREMENTS
(7) A1. Front yard setbacks should be optionally reduced, to allow less driveway/impervious area
(4) B1. Reduced front yard setbacks should be required; driveways may not exceed this length
(0) C1. Rear setbacks should be increased from 10’ to require larger yard areas
(3) A2. The current, two, side-by-side, required parking spaces per lot is adequate*
(5) B2. Tandem parking, one behind the other, should be permitted*
(0) C2. Only one parking space per lot should be required
(* A2 & B2 are not mutually exclusive, could also cover C2, at owner’s option)
9. PERMITTED/CONDITIONAL USES
(4) A1. Permitted uses should be as stated in the current Silverbeach Ordinance
(4) B1. Permitted uses could be further restricted beyond those allowed in the ordinance
(3) C1. Permitted uses could be expanded
(3) D1. Permitted uses should be limited to single family dwellings & related only
(2) A2. Conditional uses should be as stated in the ordinance
(6) B2. Conditional uses could be further restricted
(3) C2. Conditional uses could be expanded*
(* especially consider remodels)
(0) A3. Livestock should be permitted outright in single family areas
(4) B3. Livestock may be permitted, if parcel size proportionate to required animal BMP’s
(3) C3. Livestock may only be permitted as a conditional use
(4) D3. Livestock should not be permitted
(5) A4. Accessory Dwelling Units should continue to be prohibited
(4) B4. Accessory Dwelling Units could be considered as a conditional use
(1) C4. Accessory Dwelling Units could be permitted in lieu of subdivision, w/restrict. covenant
(4) +D4.(?) ADU’s OK, if =/< 2000 SF
10. SUBDIVISION CODE
(8) A1. Cluster development, which allows smaller lots and larger open space, should be allowed provided there is no increase in density beyond conventional
(1) B1. Cluster should only be allowed as presently permitted in areas 1,4,5,11 & 17
11. STREET STANDARDS
(0) A1. Street right of way width should remain @ 60’ for through streets and 50’ for cul de sacs
(9) B1. Street right of way width should be narrowed below current minimums when feasible
(0) A2. Full standard through streets should remain @ 28’ wide and cul de sacs 24’ wide
10) B2. Full standard streets should be narrowed when feasible
(0) A3. Full standard streets should include sidewalks on both sides
(7) B3. A sidewalk on one side should usually be sufficient, except on arterial streets
(4) C3. Sidewalks are not really necessary on local-access-only streets
(1) A4. When required, sidewalk standards should remain @ 5’ in width
10) B4. Sidewalks should be narrowed and/or setback when feasible
Add group 5? Allow more pervious surfaces for sidewalks
12. OPERATING ORDINANCES, SEPA, CLEARING, GRADING, STORMWATER
(6) A1. SEPA Environmental Impact review should be applied the same citywide
(5) B1. SEPA review should be required for development in the watershed, except single family
(3) A2. Clearing should continue to be allowed on undeveloped land w/a permit & BMP’s
(8) B2. The Clearing Ordinance should prohibit any land clearing w/out a valid building permit
(0) A3. Fill sites should continue to be permitted on land w/out a building permit
11) B3. The Grading Ordinance should prohibit fills w/out a valid building permit
(1) A4. Single family lots should be exempt from all but erosion control stormwater regulations
10) B4. Single lots should comply with strict stormwater regulations, like treatment & detention*
(* within reason; define how determined?)
13. WETLAND & STREAM ORDINANCE
(3) A1. Wetland and stream buffers should remain @ 25’-100’ and 10’-50’ respectively
(2) B1. Wetland and stream buffers should probably be increased somewhat
(6) C1. Wetland and Stream buffers should be based on best available science for the purpose
14. SHORELINE MASTER PROGRAM
(2) A1. Residential shoreline setbacks should remain at 25’-35’ from the water’s edge
(9) B1. Residential shoreline setbacks should be increased where feasible*
(* ambiguous; how is feasibility determined? administrative flexibility, plus appeals)
(4) A2. Docks should continue to be permitted with size/length based on similar adjacent docks
(7) B2. Docks size and length should be more restricted than current patterns reflect
(2) C2. Docks should not be permitted any more
(3) A3. Bulkheads should continue to be permitted at/land-ward of the ordinary high water mark
(5) B3. Bulkheads should be further restricted, based on need for property protection
(2) C3. Bulkheads should not be permitted*
(* more discussion?)
15. IMPERVIOUS LIMITS
(7) A1. The current impervious limits of the greater of 2000 SF or 15% of parcel area are OK
(0) B1. Impervious limits should be increased w/out additional requirements
(5) C1. Impervious limits could be increased w/mitigation
(2) D1. Impervious limits should be reduced where feasible
16. ADDITIONS & REMODELS (The following applies only to new impervious additions or remodels to existing homes that already exceed impervious limits)
(1) A1. All proposed exterior footprint additions must comply with adopted impervious limits
(5) B1. Exterior additions may be considered if there is no net increase in impervious area
(5) C1. Exterior additions may be considered only if there is a net reduction in impervious area
(0) D1. Exterior additions may occur only if there is at least a 2- for 1+ impervious reduction
(1) +E1? Increased impervious area for remodels, with tighter baseline impervious %, applicable
(7) A2. Reconstruction should be allowed for damage due to fire, regardless of impervious area
(3) B2. Reconstruction due to damage must comply with adopted impervious limits*
(* only if built up to existing footprint & applicable impervious area limit; insurance issue?)
17. PERVIOUS SURFACE LIMITS
(2) A1. There should be no limit on the use of non-vegetative pervious systems, i.e. pavers etc.
(4) B1. Non-vegetated pervious systems should be limited to a minor extent
(5) C1. Non-vegetated pervious systems should be limited similar to impervious cover*
(* unclear; what does “similar to” mean?)
18. TRANSFER OF IMPERVIOUS CREDITS
(5) A1. Impervious credits should be able to be purchased or transferred from parcel to parcel*
(7) B1. Impervious credits should be able to be earned with BMP’s, mitigation or similar*
(1) C1. Impervious credits should not be purchased or earned, stay within adopted limits
(* note A1 & B1 are not mutually exclusive, shouldn’t both be allowed?)
19. FLEXIBLE INCENTIVES
(6) A1. Impervious area could be expanded by other means, such as offsite mitigation/restoration
(1) B1. Impervious area could be expanded if site design mitigates impacts demonstrably
(7) C1. Incentives that would result in greater public benefit should allow added impervious area
(2) D1. Forget flexibility, could be too difficult to monitor, be fair or administer
20. NATIVE VEGETATION & LANDSCAPE REQUIREMENTS
(2) A1. Strict native vegetation requirements should be adopted to retain or establish it*
(6) B1. There should be some native vegetation or landscape requirement for single lots*
(4) C1. All vegetation management should be voluntary with education and assistance provided
(0) D1. No requirement is necessary, most lots are landscaped to some degree anyway
(* for preserving or retaining native vegetation, would any credits be offered?)
(6) A2. Consider limiting lawn area
(4) B2. Lawns are not a significant factor or are too difficult to regulate
21. VEGETATION MANAGEMENT
(4) A1. Use of most or all pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers should be outright prohibited
(2) B1. Prohibit pesticides and herbicides, but a little fish fertilizer or manure compost is ok
(5) C1. No regulation needed, would be hard to monitor, harder to enforce or insignificant*
(* Hard to monitor or enforce; Federal Govt. enforces use close to water supply, per labels)
22. SEASONAL CONSTRUCTION LIMITS* (* refers to ground disturbance only)
(2) A1. Seasonal limits make sense and are effective, make them shorter than present
(6) B1. Seasonal limits from May 1st to September 30th, as currently enacted, are OK
(2) C1. Seasonal limits should minimize spring impact, from 6/1 to 9/30
(2) D1. Seasonal limits are too restrictive at present, should be expanded**
+E1? ** if more than 4 months are allowed, add October, not May
(5) A2. The current earthwork exemption area of 500 sq.ft. is appropriate
(3) B2. 500 sq.ft. is too much
(2) C2. 500 sq.ft. is too little
(4) A3. Reconstruction due to damage should be allowed off-season, regardless of area
(5) B3. Reconstruction due to damage off-season should be allowed with controls.
(2) C3. Reconstruction will have to wait and comply with everyone else
23. CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES
(6) A1. Construction practices with little or no probable impact should be permitted off-season
(5) B1. Even with BMP’s, construction should wait for regular season
(2) A2. Contractors that complete construction BMP course/certification can work off-season
(7) B2. No one can work off-season above exemption area thresholds.
10) A3. Certification should be required to work in season, period.
(0) B3. Certification should not be required during open months
(0) A1. Only watershed residents should pay for stormwater impact remediation in the watershed
(2) B1. All city residents should pay for stormwater impact remediation in the watershed
(8) C1. All water users should pay for stormwater impact remediation in the watershed
(2) D1. All water users should pay for remediation, w/watershed residents paying more
(2) A2. Stormwater fees should be related to impervious area
(7) B2. Stormwater fees should be a flat rate per residence
(2) C2. Stormwater fees should be reduced for low impervious area and/or BMP’s
25. PUBLIC WATERSHED LAND ACQUISITION IN THE WATERSHED (Includes land as fee simple, TDR’s, impervious credits and conservation easements)
(8) A1. Public land acquisition should be an essential part of lake management
(3) B1. Public land acquisition is helpful, but not essential
(0) C1. Public land acquisition is not the best use of public dollars
(3) A2. City money should be used for City only land purchases
(3) B2. City money should be used for City and UGA (Geneva, Brownsville) purchases
(5) C2. City money should be used anywhere that it will have significant benefit in watershed
(* what is meant by “city money”? – levied & collected solely by COB?)
(6) A3. Our first purchase priority should be land
(1) B3. Our first priority should be TDR’s
(0) C3. Our first priority should be impervious area credits
(2) D3. Our first priority should be conservation easements*
(4) E3. Our first priority should be compensation to owners not allowed to build on lots of record**
(this whole grouping is confusing; it sets priorities w/o evaluating efficacy of alternatives)
(1) +F3.? Our first priority should be relocating G-P’s intake to Basin #1 (who pays?)
(1) +G3.? All of the above (decisions on priority to be determined by WAAB/City Council)
(* if main purpose is to retain native vegetation, undisturbed, this option may be best)
(** if lots are ‘down-zoned’, by requiring a higher minimum lot size, or TDR/TIC program is adopted, this becomes top priority)
(0) A4. Funding for acquisition should come from a new land acquisition fee on water bills
(1) B4. Stormwater utility fee, normally used for improvements, maintenance and operations
(0) C4. From Greenways money, used for parks, open space, equipment
(0) D4. From grants (state & federal) & mitigation sources (private)
10) E4. All of the above
(0) F4. None of the above
(3) A1. Enforcement of the Silverbeach ordinance should be strict, literal and uniform
(1) B1. Enforcement should be phased in more gently, focussing on intent, adapting to fit
(7) C1. Enforcement should be firm, focussing on intent, and yield effective results
(* enforcement should be strongly tied to education!)
27. BENCHMARKS/EFFECTIVENESS OF ACTIONS
(8) A1. Benchmarks should be established to evaluate effectiveness of new ordinance provisions
(3) B1. Benchmarks, such as existing water quality monitoring and standards are sufficient
(0) C1. Benchmarks are not necessary; the proposed actions are likely to address quality concerns
28. ONGOING ADVISORY STAKEHOLDERS GROUP
10) A1. A stakeholders group should remain empowered to advise Council on these issues
(0) B1. There are already too many people giving advice, nobody listens anyway!
V. Wrap-up & Closing Comments by Participants:
• Observed 3 poor practices during last week, all reflecting ignorance of impacts to watershed:
1. Walk-by spraying by masked person near Electric & Alabama.
2. Yard spraying by masked person on Academy Hill.
3. Neighbor filling in a grassy swale/ditch to create a parking space on public right-of-way.
• Silver Beach Association will be emphasizing lake-friendly education frequently, including special newsletter to all watershed residents in SB. Include articles in Herald & Your City Newsletter? Enclose inserts in Your City newsletter to distribute widely and save on mailing costs?
• Would like to see progress on determining feasibility of moving G-P intake back to Basin #1, which hatchery currently uses. Potential positive impact on lake-flow patterns, reducing stagnation in Basin #1. How could this be financed?
• What is status of the study on 2-stroke engines on lake? Not only are jet-skis heavy polluters, but they are noisy and potentially dangerous. San Juan County banned them.
• COB’s proposed new Storm & Surface Water utility funding is to be a subject of discussion at the next Council meeting. Also, a Public Hearing on Watershed Land Acquisition Ordinance will be held during the evening session.
• This group has worked hard and needs to be commended for its commitment to accomplishing, and exceeding its stated task. Thanks!
Silver Beach Ordinance Citizen's Task Force