EVERETT — The Snohomish County Council on Wednesday tweaked its rules for building near sensitive habitat to satisfy a state board’s ruling from earlier this year.
The change relates to critical areas regulations the county adopted in 2015. The land-use rules are intended to protect habitat and natural resources, as well as safeguard the public from natural disasters.
The Tulalip Tribes, Futurewise and the Pilchuck Audubon Society challenged the county’s new rules before a state growth board. The board dismissed most of their claims, but in February ordered the county to make corrections. To comply, the county had to identify three types of critical areas not previously included in the rules: naturally occurring ponds under 20 acres and their submerged aquatic beds; lakes, ponds, streams and rivers planted with game fish by a governmental or tribal agency; and certain natural resource areas and wildlife preserves.
The council voted 3-0 to make the changes, with two members absent.
Futurewise and Pilchuck Audubon have petitioned the Thurston County Superior Court to review the growth board’s decision, including whether the county rules provide sufficient protection for well water and safe setbacks from potential landslides.