Ordinance update to expand buffer zones around wetlands

The buffer zones between new developments and their neighboring wetlands and streams are set to expand as a result of a possible update to Oak Harbor’s critical areas ordinance.

Last updated in 2005, the critical areas ordinance is designed to conserve and protect areas deemed critical by state lawmakers.

Dennis Lefevre, senior planner in Oak Harbor’s Development Services, said those areas can be separated into five main categories: wetlands; fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas; geologically hazardous areas; critical aquifer recharge areas; and frequently flooded areas.

The city already requires potential developers to have their land assessed for critical areas, so the update will simply redefine where developers can safely build.

“If anybody had a parcel of land and they wanted to come in and do a development, one of the things that we would ask them to do first is do a critical area study on that property and look for one of those five issues,” Lefevre said, adding that streams and wetlands will see the greatest changes due to extensive research in those areas over the past 12 years.

“If they did have a wetland in their property, for instance…we would ask them to hire a professional to do a complete delineation of that wetland, so we can identify what proper buffer would be necessary,” he added.

The entire update aims to remain consistent with state law, renewing Oak Harbor’s pledge to use the “best available science,” according to Lefevre.

For more information on the proposed draft ordinance and to obtain a copy of the document, visit www.oakharbor.org/news_site_view.cfm?id=238 or email dlefevre@oakharbor.org with questions.

A public hearing on the ordinance will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, in the City Hall Council Chambers, 865 SE Barrington Drive.

More in News

County seeks volunteers for annual homeless survey on Thursday, Jan. 25

Homelessness is on the rise in Island County, and the human services… Continue reading

Oak Harbor High School seniors awarded Champions of Diversity scholarships

Nine Oak Harbor High School seniors received scholarships at the 18th annual… Continue reading

WEAN wants to intervene against Wright’s Crossing

The Whidbey Environmental Action Network made a motion to intervene in support… Continue reading

Man accused of putting gun to woman’s head

A 33-year-old man is accused of putting a gun to a Clinton… Continue reading

State lawmakers re-consider eliminating statute of limitations on sex crimes

By Taylor McAvoy WNPA Olympia News Bureau A bill passed in the… Continue reading

Way of the Whales workshop Saturday

Whale enthusiasts are invited to the all-day workshop Ways of Whales from… Continue reading

Growlers movie premieres Jan. 18 at Nordic Lodge

Coupeville Community Allies is presenting the premiere of a film Thursday that… Continue reading

Audubon society seeking scholarship applicants

Whidbey Audubon Society is awarding scholarships to graduating Whidbey Island high school… Continue reading

Board seeking ideas on how to reopen pool

Commissioners for the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District are inviting the… Continue reading

Most Read