Snohomish County is tightening and toughing regulations on private property to meet a state requirement to protect county waterways.
Here are some questions you may have about the county’s critical areas ordinance, which under the state Growth Management Act law, must be updated every seven years.
How do I know if my property is affected?
Your best bet is to head down to the county and talk with a planner, said Craig Ladiser, director of Snohomish County Planning and Development Services.
You’ll find planners on the second floor of the new county administration building, at 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett.
If I’m buying a piece of property, how do I find out what restrictions will be placed on it?
Talk to a real estate agent, Ladiser said. Look at title reports and any restrictions placed on the title itself. Look for restrictions. You can also talk with a county planner.
Why is the county doing this? State law requires that counties review critical-areas ordinances every seven years. The big change in this seven-year cycle is the requirement to use what’s called best-available science.
Who are the players?
The state made the rules, county staff is interpreting them and special interests such as builders, farmers and environmentalists are weighing in on them. The county is currently reaching out to property owners. At the end, it will be the Snohomish County Council that has the final say.
What happens next?
The county is holding public meetings to get feedback from private landowners and others. The proposal will eventually be sent through the planning commission before it heads to the County Council for a final decision. Right now that final decision is scheduled for March 2006.