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Greetings Interested Parties,

Whatcom County and Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) are seeking comments on the County’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) periodic review and proposed SMP amendments. The joint local/state public comment period will run from March 12 through April 12, 2021, at 5 p.m. Authority for the periodic review is based on Washington’s Shoreline Management Act (Ch. 90.58 RCW) and related rules. These amendments were developed by the County to comply with WAC 173-26-090, which requires all local governments to review their SMPs on an eight-year schedule set in state law, and revise it if necessary. The review ensures the SMP keeps up with changes in state law, changes in other County plans and regulations, and other changed circumstances. The County has elected to use the optional joint review process to combine the local and Ecology comment periods, as allowed under WAC 173-26-104. No additional comment period will occur during the state review process. Comments provided to the County will be reviewed by both the County and Ecology. There is no need to send comments directly to Ecology.

Comments may be submitted to: Cliff Strong at cstrong@co.whatcom.wa.us. Comments can also be made in person (via Zoom) during the (virtual) Joint Public Hearing to be held on April 22, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. Comments are due by April 12th at 5:00 p.m. (For information on how to watch and participate in the meeting in real time, please visit the County website at: https://www.whatcomcounty.us/3436/Participate-in-Virtual-Planning-Commission.) At the conclusion of the comment period, the County will prepare a response to comments and determine whether changes are needed. Public comments and County responses will be shared with Ecology. After local adoption, the SMP amendment will be formally submitted to Ecology for final action per WAC 173-26-104 and WAC 173-26-110. Ecology will review amendments for consistency with state laws and rules. Ecology may either approve the program as adopted, or may recommend changes.

All documents are available for review at: https://www.whatcomcounty.us/3119/SMP-Update-2020-Documents. Due to Covid-19 restrictions and offices being closed, please contact Cliff Strong at the above email address if you need paper copies to review.

In addition to the SMP Update, the hearing will also address 1) PLN2019-00011, a Council directive to amend the CompPlan and codes to allow the seasonal extraction of sand and gravel from dry upland areas under certain conditions; and 2) PLN2018-00010, the addition of a Sustainable Salmon Harvest Goal policy to the CompPlan.

Thanks,

Cliff Strong
Senior Planner
Whatcom County Planning and Development Services

cstrong@co.whatcom.wa.us
Direct: 360.778.5942
Office: 360.778.5900

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311 Grand Ave. Bellingham, WA 98225
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