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Island County > Planning > WP19_FEMADoor2
2019 Work Plan: Annual Docket Item

FEMA Door 2
New Voluntary Standards in the Special Flood Hazard Area

Project Description SEPA Process Status
FEMA Door 2 DNS Issued

Adopted 6/11/19


June 11th Public Hearing 

The Board held a public hearing at 10 am on June 11th to consider an ordinance to adopt new voluntary standards for property owners in the Special Flood Hazard Area are being proposed. These voluntary standards provide for a more streamlined permitting option.

For more information on whether this option might work for you,

Click Here

Why is this new streamlined permitting option being offered in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?

  • On September 22, 2008, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a biological opinion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for consultations concluding with Jeopardy and Adverse Modification determinations.
  • The biological opinion outlined for FEMA, included the availability of a reasonable and prudent alternative to avoid violation of the ESA.
  • Specifically, these options are to either (1) prohibit all development in the floodway and other areas as specified by the Reasonable and Prudent Alternative, (2) enact regulations that allow development that meets the criteria specified in the biological opinion, or (3) demonstrate compliance with the ESA on a permit by permit basis using habitat assessments.
  • Island County has been historically operating under the third option, “Door 3” requiring permit applicants within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) to demonstrate compliance with the ESA through submittal of a habitat assessment.
  • Island County has implemented a new set of voluntary development standards within the SFHA, that meet the criteria specified in the biological opinion, allowing property owners to take advantage of the second option, “Door 2.”

How does this new streamlined permitting option (Door 2) work?

  • If a property owner can meet the requirements of several voluntary standards outlined in Island County Code, they can take advantage of the Door 2 process.
  • Implementing the voluntary standards means a property owner does not need to submit a Habitat Assessment.
  • Previously, Habitat Assessments were required for development in the SFHA.

What are the voluntary standards?

  • Development must make use of Low Impact Development Techniques, see the Low Impact Development Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound (January 2005) or as amended.
  • Mitigation (plantings) shall be required for improvements, repairs, or expansions of existing buildings in the Special Flood Hazard Area which exceed 10 percent of the existing footprint.
  • Development proposals are required to retain 65 percent of the existing native vegetation within the Special Flood Hazard Area.
  • Hard armoring must be replaced with soft armoring or in instances where the property does not have armoring, the natural shoreline must be left intact.
  • All storm water must be infiltrated on site, or the creation of new impervious surfaces shall not exceed 10 percent of the surface area of the portion of the lot within the Special Flood Hazard Area.
  • See the associated diagram created by Planning and Community Development to see if this option might work for you.

What is the timeline for adoption of this new streamlined permitting option?

  • The Board of Island County Commissioners adopted the new standards implementing the Door 2 option on June 11, 2019 after a public hearing
  • The new streamlined permitting option is now in effect and available for those who can make use of it.

For more information on whether this option might work for you,
Click Here

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