365-196-475  <<  365-196-480 >>   365-196-485

WAC 365-196-480

Natural resource lands.

(1) Requirements.
(a) In the initial period following adoption of the act, and prior to the development of comprehensive plans, counties and cities planning under the act were required to designate natural resource lands of long-term commercial significance and adopt development regulations to assure their conservation. Natural resource lands include agricultural, forest, and mineral resource lands. The previous designations and development regulations shall be reviewed in connection with the comprehensive plan adoption process and, where necessary, altered to ensure consistency.
(b) Counties and cities planning under the act must review their natural resource lands designations, comprehensive plans, policies, and development regulations as part of the required periodic update under RCW 36.70A.130(1) and 36.70A.131.
(c) Counties and cities not planning under RCW 36.70A.040 must review their natural resource lands designations, and if necessary revise those designations as part of the required periodic update under RCW 36.70A.130(1) and 36.70A.131.
(d) Forest land and agricultural land located within urban growth areas shall not be designated as forest resource land or agricultural resource land unless the county or city has enacted a program authorizing transfer or purchase of development rights.
(e) Mineral lands may be designated as mineral resource lands within urban growth areas. There may be subsequent reuse of mineral resource lands when the minerals have been mined out. In cases where designated mineral resource lands are likely to be mined out and closed to further mining within the planning period, the surface mine reclamation plan and permit from the department of natural resources division of geology should be reviewed to ensure it is consistent with the adopted comprehensive land use plan.
(f) In adopting development regulations to conserve natural resource lands, counties and cities shall address the need to buffer land uses adjacent to the natural resource lands. Where buffering is used it should be on land within the adjacent development unless an alternative is mutually agreed on by adjacent landowners.
(2) Recommendations for meeting requirements.
(a) In the initial period following adoption of the act, much of the analysis which was the basis for the comprehensive plan came later than the initial identification and regulation of natural resource lands. In all cases, counties and cities must address inconsistencies between plan policies, development regulations and previously adopted natural resource land provisions.
(b) The department issued guidelines for the classification and designation of natural resource lands which are contained in chapter 365-190 WAC. In general, natural resource lands should be located beyond the boundaries of urban growth areas; and urban growth areas should avoid including designated natural resource lands. In most cases, the designated purposes of natural resource lands are incompatible with urban densities. For inclusion in the urban growth area, counties and cities must first review the natural resource lands designation and conclude the lands no longer meet the designation criteria for resource lands of long-term commercial significance.
(c) As noted in subsection (1)(f) of this section, mineral resource lands are a possible exception to the requirement that natural resource lands be designated outside the urban growth area. This guidance is based on the significant cost savings from using minerals close to their source, and the potential for reusing the mined out lands for other purposes after mining is complete. Counties and cities should consider the potential loss of access to mineral resource lands if they are not designated and conserved, and should also consider the consumptive use of mineral resources when designating specific mineral resource lands.
(d) Counties and cities may also consider retaining local agricultural lands in or near urban growth areas as part of a local strategy promoting food security, agricultural education, or in support of local food banks, schools, or other large institutions.
(e) The review of existing designations should be done on an area-wide basis, and in most cases, be limited to the question of consistency with the comprehensive plan, rather than revisiting the entire prior designation and regulation process. However, to the extent that new information is available or errors have been discovered, the review process should take this information into account. Review for consistency in this context should include whether the planned use of lands adjacent to agricultural, forest, or mineral resource lands will interfere with the continued use, in an accustomed manner and in accordance with the best management practices, of the designated lands for the production of food, agricultural products, or timber, or for the extraction of minerals.
(f) Development regulations must assure that the planned use of lands adjacent to natural resource lands will not interfere with the continued use, in the accustomed manner and in accordance with best management practices, of these designated lands. Guidance on development regulations ensuring the conservation of designated resource lands is found in WAC 365-196-815.
(g) Counties and cities are encouraged to use a coordinated program that includes nonregulatory programs and incentives to supplement development regulations to conserve natural resource lands. Guidance for addressing the designation of natural resource lands is located under WAC 365-190-040 through 365-190-070.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. WSR 10-03-085, ยง 365-196-480, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
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