Title 23
FOREST PRACTICES MORATORIUM

Chapters:

23.01 General Provisions

23.02 Definitions

23.03 Administration

23.04 Moratorium Waiver

23.05 Moratorium Removal

23.06 Enforcement

Chapter 23.01
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sections:

23.01.010 Title.

23.01.020 Authority.

23.01.030 Purpose.

23.01.010 Title.

The ordinance codified in this title shall be known, and may be cited as, the interim ordinance to establish procedures to lift or waive the six-year moratorium of nonforestry use of land.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.01.020 Authority.

The 1997 Legislature adopted changes to the Washington State Forest Practices Act in Substitute Bill 5714. This new law requires local governments to regulate the conversion of forestland to nonforestry use. Local governments are required to adopt, by December 31, 2001, ordinances that equal or exceed the State Forest Practices Board's resource protection rules and regulation. The law further requires and authorizes local governments to adopt ordinances to set up a procedure to allow property owners to request a lifting or waiver of the six-year moratorium of nonforestry use of land established by RCW 76.09.060.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.01.030 Purpose.

This interim ordinance is intended to implement RCW 76.09.060(3)(b)(i)(D)'s and RCW 76.09.060(3)(b)(i)(E)'s procedures for lifting or waiving (with or without conditions) the six-year moratorium against the conversion of forestland under certain circumstances.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

Chapter 23.02
DEFINITIONS

Sections:

23.02.010 Definitions– Generally.

23.02.010 Definitions– Generally.

Whenever the following words and phrases appear in this title they shall be given the meaning attributed to them by this section. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense shall include the future; the singular shall include the plural, and the plural the singular; the word "shall" is always mandatory, and the word "may" indicates a use of discretion in making a decision.

"Applicant" means the person, party, firm, corporation or legal entity, or agent thereof, that requests a waiver or removal of the moratorium.

"Board" means the legislative authority of Skamania County, the board of county commissioners.

"Conversion" means removal of trees with the intent or effect of conversion to an actual use or condition that is incompatible with the growing of timber. Land which has been cleared is considered to be converted.

"County" means Skamania County, Washington.

"Critical areas" means the critical areas designated by the Skamania County Critical Areas Ordinance, Title 21A. Specifically, this includes: wetlands, aquifer recharge areas for potable water, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, frequently flooded areas, geologically hazardous areas, ponds and lakes, and streams, creeks and rivers.

"Department" means the Skamania County department of planning and community development.

"Development code" means any part of the Skamania County Code administered by the planning department.

"Developed property" means property which is used for purposes other than commercial forest production. Developed property includes land which has been graded, landscaped, or built upon. Any portion of property which has been altered as described herein shall be considered to be "developed property" for purposes of this title.

"Director" means, when not otherwise identified, the director of the Skamania County department of planning and community development.

"DNR" means the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

"Forest practices application" means the application required to be submitted to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the harvest of forest products.

"Hearing examiner" means an appointed official vested with the duties established by Skamania County Ordinance Number 2006-16.

"Moratorium" means the six-year moratorium against the development of forestland as prescribed in RCW 76.90.060.

"Moratorium notice" means the form prepared by the department of natural resources and required to be submitted with a forest practice application/notification for a nonconversion forest practice and required to be filed with the county assessor's office as provided in RCW 76.09.060.

"Nonforestry use" means an active use of land which is incompatible with growing timber.

"Review authority" means the director of planning and community development, Southwest Washington Health District, the fire marshal, and the building official, depending on the responsibility as determined by the respective codes, ordinances, and regulations.

"SEPA" means the State Environmental Policy Act.

"Shorelines" means the shorelines regulated by the State Shoreline Management Act and Skamania County Code Title 20.

"Timber harvest" or "harvest" means activities pertaining to the cutting and/or removal of forest product which is subject to the moratorium provisions of Chapter 76.09, RCW.

"Undeveloped property" means property which does not meet the definition of "developed property."

(Ord. 2007-02 (part): Ord. 2001-03 (part))

Chapter 23.03
ADMINISTRATION

Sections:

23.03.010 Establishment of the moratorium.

23.03.020 Recording of moratorium notices.

23.03.030 Administration of the moratorium and any request to lift or waive the moratorium.

23.03.040 Fee.

23.03.010 Establishment of the moratorium.

A. Pursuant to RCW 76.09.060, Skamania County shall deny any applications to the county for development permits or approvals on lands that are subject to the six-year moratorium prescribed in RCW 76.09. This moratorium shall apply to, but not be limited to, building permits, septic permits, mobile home or RV parks, and subdivisions approvals, unless the moratorium has been removed or waived by the county as provided by this title. Where timber harvest is pursuant to a forest practice permit approval, the land subject to the moratorium, shall be that area which is the site of the timber harvest as shown on the forest practice application. Where the timber harvest has been done without an approved application, then the land subject to the moratorium, shall be the areas harvested including small unharvested islands which would normally be mapped as part of the harvest unit on a submitted permit. The applicant shall be responsible for determining that area by a survey submitted with any application.

B. Lands on which the owner or operator failed to obtain an approved forest practice application from DNR and the DNR has determined that such an application was required, shall be subject to a moratorium as provided in this chapter for six years from the date of the discovery by the DNR or by the county, provided that, for these lands, the director shall have the authority to waive or remove the moratorium upon the application and payment of applicable fees by the property owner. The director shall waive or remove the moratorium as provided in this title on these lands only if it is shown that adverse impacts to the environment have been restored or adequate mitigation has been provided for those impacts.

(Ord. 2007-02 (part): Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.03.020 Recording of moratorium notices.

The director or his/her designee shall file with the Skamania County auditor the moratorium notice after the receipt of said notice from the DNR.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.03.030 Administration of the moratorium and any request to lift or waive the moratorium.

A. The director shall have the authority to determine whether an application is subject to the moratorium, and the application shall be denied by the director at that time. Such an administrative determination may be appealed to the Skamania County hearing examiner pursuant to the procedures and requirements contained in the Skamania County Code Chapter 21.16.

B. The director shall also have the authority, as provided in this title, to waive or lift the six-year moratorium.

(Ord. 2007-02 (part): Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.03.040 Fee.

A fee shall be established by the board from time to time to reflect the anticipated average administrative cost to process the application. The fee shall be submitted to the department along with the application and map to cover the review of the application. Checks are to be made payable to the Skamania County treasurer. Fees are not refundable.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

Chapter 23.04
MORATORIUM WAIVER
(Single Family Residences)

Sections:

23.04.010 Moratorium waiver.

23.04.020 Authority.

23.04.030 Process.

23.04.040 Permits which may be issued.

23.04.010 Moratorium waiver.

The county may waive the moratorium for some types of development permits and approvals, as provided in this chapter. The moratorium may only be waived for the purposes of constructing a single-family residence or outbuildings, or both, on a legal lot and building site. If the landowner has any outstanding forest practice violations an the subject parcel, written approval from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources stating the violations have been corrected must be submitted to the county prior to consideration of moratorium waiver.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.04.020 Authority.

The director shall have the authority to approve, approve with conditions, or deny a request for a waiver of the moratorium, pursuant to the procedures and requirements of this chapter.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.04.030 Process.

A. The request will be made to the department on the application form provided by that department and accompanied by a completed SEPA environmental checklist, any established fees, and a copy of the recorded notice of moratorium.

B. The department shall administer and make a final determination on the application as follows:

1. The applicant shall submit a completed application and fee.

2. The applicant shall submit a site plan which includes the following:

a. North arrow;

b. Scale;

c. Boundaries, dimensions, and size of subject parcel;

d. Significant terrain features or landforms;

e. Existing vegetation;

f. Watercourses/drainage;

g. Location and size of existing and proposed roads, driveways and trails;

h. Location of existing and proposed services, including water, sewage, power and telephone;

i. Location and depth of all grading and ditching.

3. The department will mail, by regular mail, notice to all adjacent property owners within three hundred feet of the subject property and publish in the local newspaper notice of the application.

4. The department will, for a period of fourteen calendar days, receive written comments relating to the proposal.

5. The director or his/her designee shall visually inspect the development area.

6. The director will then, within twenty days of the close of the comment period, issue his or her decision.

7. The applicant, or any person who has submitted comments, may then appeal the director's decision to the hearing examiner, if they have filed a written notice of appeal with the department within fourteen calendar days of the director's decision. The appealing party must also serve the applicant, personally or by mail, with the notice of appeal within the fourteen calendar day deadline.

C. Standards for Waiving the Moratorium.

1. The development area shall be no larger than two acres in size.

2. The harvest and reforestation of the remainder of the property shall be completed as specified in the approved forest practices application/notice and all other forest practices application/notice requirements shall be met.

3. There shall be no damage to a critical area or its associated vegetation area or to the shoreline area or that any damage to those areas is repairable with restoration.

4. Mitigation shall be required for impacts to critical areas and shorelines. This may require a separate application and review under the county's Critical Areas Ordinance, Chapter 21A, and Shorelines Ordinance, Chapter 20. Costs for mitigation shall at least equal or exceed the value of the timber harvested within a critical area buffer as determined by the county.

5. The proposed development shall be consistent with the county comprehensive plan and all applicable development regulations.

6. The director or his/her designee shall visually inspect the development area.

7. The development area shall remain in natural vegetation until cleared and be re-seeded with native plant seed after clearing; and dust control measures will be taken after clearing, during development, and up to completion of the project. At the time of the visual inspection required in standard six, the inspector shall determine the amount of seed/per acre to be applied taking into account slope, critical areas, visual, and shoreline issues.

8. All roads constructed for residential access shall meet applicable county residential road specifications.

C. Appeals. Any administrative determination made by the director may be appealed to the Skamania County hearing examiner pursuant to the procedures and requirements contained in the Skamania County Code Chapter 21.16.

(Ord. 2007-02 (part): Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.04.040 Permits which may be issued.

A. Permits which may be allowed under the moratorium waiver:

l. Building permits for the single-family residence and for residential outbuildings;

2. Single-family on-site septic system permit;

3. Road access permits;

4. Well or potable water permits;

5. Other approvals necessary to the development of a single-family residence and outbuildings.

B. Any permits issued under the waiver shall be conditioned, as necessary, to limit the approval to only that development consistent with the intent of this section and necessary for the establishment of a single-family dwelling or outbuildings, or both.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

Chapter 23.05
LIFTING OR REMOVAL OF MORATORIUM

Sections:

23.05.010 Moratorium removal.

23.05.020 Authority.

23.05.030 Process.

23.05.040 Permits which may be issued.

23.05.010 Moratorium removal.

The county may remove the moratorium on the property as provided in this chapter. If the landowner has any outstanding forest practice violations on the subject parcel, written approval from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources stating the violations have been corrected must be submitted to the county prior to consideration of moratorium removal.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.05.020 Authority.

The director shall have the authority to approve, approve with conditions, or deny a request for a removal of the moratorium, pursuant to the procedures and requirements of this chapter.

(Ord. 2006-04: Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.05.030 Process.

A. The request will be made to the department on the application forms provided and accompanied by a completed SEPA environmental checklist, all applicable permits for proposed development, any established fees, and a copy of the recorded notice of moratorium.

B. The department shall administer and make a final determination on the application as follows:

1. The applicant shall submit a completed application and fee.

2. The applicant shall submit a site plan which includes the following:

a. North arrow;

b. Scale;

c. Boundaries, dimensions, and size of subject parcel;

d. Significant terrain features or landforms;

e. Existing vegetation;

f. Watercourses/drainage;

g. Location and size of existing and proposed structures;

h. Location and width of existing and proposed roads, driveways and trails;

i. Location of existing and proposed services, including water, sewage, power and telephone;

j. Location and depth of all grading and ditching.

3. The department will mail, by regular mail, notice to all adjacent property owners within three hundred feet of the subject property and publish in the local newspaper notice of the application.

4. The department will, for a period of fourteen calendar days, receive written comments relating to the proposal.

5. The director or his/her designee shall visually inspect the development area.

6. The director will then, within twenty days of the close of the comment period, issue his or her decision.

7. The applicant, or any person who has submitted comments, may then appeal the director's decision to the hearing examiner, if they have filed a written notice of appeal with the department within fourteen calendar days of the director's decision. The appealing party must also serve the applicant, personally or by mail, with the notice of appeal within the fourteen-day deadline.

C. The county, and on appeal the hearing examiner, must apply the following standards and factors when deciding whether or not to remove or lift the moratorium:

1. The person requesting the removal did not attempt to avoid the county review or restrictions of a conversion forest practice application.

2. Whether all forest practices application/notice requirements have been met.

3. There will be no damage to a critical area or its associated vegetation area or to the shoreline area or that any damage to those areas may be reasonably restored through mitigation measures.

4. Whether mitigation will protect the affected critical areas and shorelines. This may include a separate application and review under the County's Critical Areas Ordinance, Chapter 21A, and Shorelines Ordinance, Chapter 20. Costs for mitigation shall at least equal or exceed the value of the timber harvested within a critical area buffer as determined by the county.

5. Whether the proposed development shall be consistent with the county comprehensive plan and all applicable development regulations.

6. Whether the development area will remain in natural vegetation until cleared and be re-seeded with native plant seed after clearing; and dust control measures could mitigate the impacts on adjoining properties and the air during the development of the project. At the time of the visual inspection, the inspector shall determine the amount of seed/per acre to be applied taking into account slope, critical areas, visual, and shoreline issues.

7. All roads constructed for residential access shall meet applicable county residential road specifications.

8. Whether the slopes or potential sliding of the property will affect adjoining properties or private or public roads.

C. Appeals. Any administrative determination made by the director may be appealed to the Skamania County hearing examiner pursuant to the procedures and requirements contained in the Skamania County Code Chapter 21.16.

(Ord. 2007-02 (part): Ord. 2001-03 (part))

23.05.040 Permits which may be issued.

Once a moratorium has been removed or lifted, any development permit or approval may be issued by the county according to the relevant Skamania County Code, ordinances or regulations, provided that such approvals may incorporate the same conditions established in the moratorium removal.

(Ord. 2001-03 (part))

Chapter 23.06
ENFORCEMENT

Section:

23.06.010 Enforcement.

23.06.010 Enforcement.

A. Any person or entity who willfully violates any provision of this title or any director's decision, or order of the hearing examiner relating to this title, may be assessed a civil penalty by the county not to exceed ten thousand dollars for each violation. No penalty may be assessed under this section unless such person or entity is given notice and an opportunity for a public hearing with respect to such violation. The county may compromise, modify, or remit, with or without conditions, any penalty imposed under this subsection, taking into consideration the nature and seriousness of the violation and the efforts of the violator to remedy the violation in a timely manner.

B. In alternative to this administrative process, the county may initiate a complaint in the Skamania County district court to collect, as civil penalties, the fines set out in this chapter.

C. In addition, or in the alternative, the county prosecutor or his designee may, at the request of the director, the hearing examiner, or on his or her own volition, institute a civil action for an injunction or other appropriate order to prevent any person or entity from utilizing lands within Skamania County that are subject to this title in violation of this title. The court may also, in addition to any equitable remedies, impose whatever civil penalties allowed under this chapter.

(Ord. 2007-02 (part): Ord. 2001-03 (part))