The County’s critical areas regulations (Skamania County Code Title 21A) address wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, critical aquifer recharge areas, frequently flooded areas, and geologically hazardous areas throughout the County. All critical areas must be designated and their functions and values protected using the best available scientific information – known as best available science.
Skamania County first adopted its Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) in July 1997. Minor amendments were adopted in May 2005. A review of the ordinance was completed in December 2014 which did not make any changes to the ordinance and the ordinance remains largely the same is when first adopted. The Board of Commissioners adopted a new CAO in February 2020 as part of the required GMA periodic update.
Why is the County updating its Critical Areas Ordinance now?
The Growth Management Act (GMA) sets forth various land use planning requirements for Washington's 39 counties. As a partially planning county, Skamania County is required to address critical areas and natural resource lands in its GMA planning. The County is currently undergoing its periodic review of its Critical Areas Ordinance, and is required to review, and if necessary, update its critical areas regulations by June 2019. The County completed this review in February 2020.
The Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance No. 2020-03, adopting the new Critical Areas Ordinance on February 25, 2020. The new ordinance is in effect as of March 1, 2020.
New Critical Areas Ordinance
The adopted Critical Areas Ordinance update is in effect as of March 1, 2020:
The new code is organized into the following seven chapters:
- Chapter 19.01 General Critical Area Provisions
- Chapter 19.02 Definitions
- Chapter 19.03 Wetlands
- Chapter 19.04 Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas
- Chapter 19.05 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas
- Chapter 19.06 Frequently Flooded Areas
- Chapter 19.07 Geologically Hazardous Areas
The project manager for this review is Alan Peters, Assistant Planning Director. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or concerns or if you would like to be added to a mailing list for periodic updates.