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Public Benefit Open Space Rating System (PBRS)

The Public Benefit Open Space Rating System is part of the Open Space Taxation Act. "The Open Space Taxation Act, enacted in 1970, allows property owners to have their open space...valued at their current use rather than at their highest and best use. The Act states that it is in the best interest of the state to maintain, preserve, conserve, and otherwise continue in existence adequate open space lands for the production of food, fiber, and forest crops and to assure the use and enjoyment of natural resources and scenic beauty for the economic and social well-being of the state and its citizens" (Washington Department of Revenue). Island County Code Chapter 3.40, in addition to state law, governs the PBRS program in Island County.

To apply to have your property enrolled in the PBRS program, fill out an application and submit, in person (along with the appropriate fee) to the Planning & Community Development Department, Coupeville campus or Camano Annex building. All applications must go before the Board of Island County Commissioners for approval. Applications are not guaranteed to be approved.

Rural Stewardship Plan

Island County's Rural Stewardship Plan is for property owners within unincorporated Island County whose residential parcel is one acre or larger. A Plan can be developed for anywhere conservation practices will protect water quality and habitat - it's not just for land affected by wetlands. In exchange, Rural Stewardship participants qualify for front-of-line permit processing, and may choose either a reduction in property tax valuation, or a lowered land use intensity rating.

The Rural Stewardship Plan is best suited for landowners who can make a long-term commitment to manage their land in accordance with their Plan's requirements, usually for a period of more than 10 years. The Plan's set conditions are specific to the affected property; officially recorded on the land's title; and binding upon both the original applicant and future landowners.

Island County's Rural Stewardship Plan offers a broad range of conservation options for single family residential properties. Some are mandatory; others may be selected from a specific list to fit the landowner's goals and the property's characteristics. There is a flat fee for processing and recording a completed Plan. When not accompanied by a development proposal, review of a Rural Stewardship Plan is usually completed within 30 days and is not subject to a public hearing.

Stewardship Plan Cover 

Click the link below to view and download photos of the protected species: 

Backyard Conservation and Wildlife Habitat Ideas

Or contact your local Conservation District:  Whidbey Island - Camano Island

Home, Shop and Garden

Staff Contact: For questions regarding the PBRS or Rural Stewardship programs, contact Jonathan Lange, Long-Range Planner, at 360.678.7821 or by j.lange@islandcountywa.gov.