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(1) This chapter classifies and designates critical areas in Clallam County and establishes controls for the protection of critical areas. The jurisdiction and applicability of this chapter includes the critical area and adjacent areas, as set forth in Table 1 below. Unless otherwise exempt by this chapter or by State statute, all alterations of the natural environment and all development activity within the jurisdictional areas of this chapter shall be conducted in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(2) The Growth Management Act, Chapter 36.70A RCW, requires the protection of the following critical areas which are classified and designated for protection under this chapter: (a) wetlands; (b) areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water; (c) aquatic and wildlife habitat conservation areas; (d) frequently flooded areas; and (e) geologically hazardous areas. Table 1 below lists the categories of critical areas regulated under this chapter.

Table 1. Categories of Critical Areas and Jurisdiction of This Chapter

Critical Area



Within 200 feet of regulated wetlands

Aquatic habitat conservation areas

(Type 1-5 waters, Shorelines of the State)

Type 1/Shorelines of the State: Equivalent to the Clallam County Shoreline Master Program

Type 2-5: Within 200 feet

Wildlife habitat conservation areas

Class 1: Within 200 feet or equivalent to critical habitat designations for threatened or endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act, or Washington State law

Class 2: Within 200 feet

Geologically hazardous areas

Within 200 feet of a landslide, erosion or seismic hazard area

Frequently flooded areas

Designated special flood hazard areas (floodway and floodplain)

Critical aquifer recharge

Designated critical aquifer recharge areas

(3) Buffers are required between those development activities specified under CCC 27.12.030 and designated wetland, aquatic habitat conservation areas, wildlife habitat conservation areas and landslide hazard areas which are further outlined in this chapter.

(4) The provisions of this chapter are in addition to the land use controls set forth by CCC Title 33, Zoning Code. While additional permits are not generally required, those activities regulated by the Zoning Code are also subject to critical area requirements such as buffers and other performance standards. The development standards and other requirements of this chapter shall be incorporated into the review or approval process for other development permits administered by Clallam County.

(5) Nonproject actions, such as rezones, code and plan adoption, and annexations shall be reviewed for consistency with this chapter.

(6) When any provision of other chapters of the Clallam County Code conflicts with this chapter, that provision which provides the most protection to the critical area shall apply.

(7) This chapter recognizes legally established, pre-existing land uses and developments. Maintenance, expansion or change to pre-existing land uses and developments shall be consistent with CCC 27.12.040.

(8) Vesting. Nothing contained in this chapter shall require any change in plans, construction, alteration, or permitted use of a structure specified in a complete application for a Clallam County development permit submitted prior to the effective date of this chapter. Improvements and uses authorized by resolution of the Board of County Commissioners, or any valid permit issued by the County or the State of Washington prior to the effective date of this chapter may be developed as set forth in said permit unless the review authority determines, based on review of changed physical or environmental conditions or catastrophes, that the prior conditions will result in a detrimental impact to the critical area and/or public interest.

Land uses that have been discontinued for eighteen (18) or more consecutive months are considered abandoned and no longer vested under this chapter; except that agriculture, which has been discontinued for five (5) consecutive years, is considered abandoned and will no longer be vested under this chapter. Subsequent uses of the property must be in conformance with this chapter and the County Code, as they apply.