County Commissioners advise exclusion of 100-year floodplains from Shoreline Master Program


The Board of County Commissioners advised county staff on Monday, November 20, to remove 100-year floodplains from the purview of the county’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP).

The SMP is a collection of policies regulating the use of shorelines, but it also covers frequently flooded areas such as 100-year floodplains, which have an average 1% chance of flooding yearly. 

In earlier public comments, representatives of Nielsen Pacific Ltd. and Holroyd Company, owners of a concrete plant at the intersection of Old Pacific Highway Southeast and Durgin Road Southeast, suggested the exclusion of 100-year floodplains from the SMP.

Senior Planner Andrew Deffobis explained that the current SMP of the county goes above the state’s minimum requirements by including 100-year floodplains, as the state only requires the inclusion of floodways and contiguous floodplains 200 feet from the floodway in forming SMPs.

Deffobis added that even without the SMP, the county’s Critical Areas Ordinance already regulates these areas, creating a condition where some landowners must apply for two permits.

Washington State Department of Ecology also reviews variance and condition use permits for shoreline jurisdictions so by allowing these areas to be covered solely by the Critical Areas Ordinance, the review process would be limited to the county’s authority.

Community Planning Manager Ashley Arai added that the 100-year floodplains were added to the county’s current SMP, which was adopted in 1990, as the county did not have its Critical Areas Ordinance back then.

The board also excluded flood of record elevations currently included in the draft version of the SMP. The flood of record covers the highest elevation a flood has ever reached in an area.

The county is reviewing public comments and modifying the draft SMP before the board adopts it this December.


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