Planning and Development Services

Director: Dale Pernula

Proposed changes to development regulations: Chapters 14.04, Definitions and 14.16.400 Zoning, Agricultural-Natural Resource Lands of Skagit County Code

Skagit County is proposing to amend its development regulations, more specifically Chapters 14.04, Definitions and 14.16.400 Zoning, Agricultural-Natural Resource Lands of Skagit County Code. The proposed amendments were anticipated with an interim ordinance adopted by the Skagit County Board of Commissioners on February 9, 2009 entitled An Interim Ordinance Declaring an Emergency and Adopting a Moratorium on the Acceptance of Applications for Wetland Mitigation Banks on Lands Zoned Ag-NRL declaring a moratorium on the acceptance of new special use permit applications for wetland mitigation banks on Ag-NRL lands. The moratorium is effective for six months, and will therefore expire on August 8 without additional action to renew it or adopt a permanent ordinance. The proposed amendments would prohibit private wetland mitigation banks on lands zoned Ag-NRL.

Wetland mitigation banks are currently allowed in Ag-NRL, as well as several other zones, as "habitat enhancement and/or restoration projects" as defined in Skagit County Code 14.04.020:

Habitat enhancement and/or restoration project: any project, including mitigation banks, private projects or public projects, designed to create, restore and/or enhance habitat for fish, birds and/or mammals and includes the alteration of the landscape by excavation or sculpting of soil and/or the alteration of hydrology. This does not include required on-site mitigation projects associated with permitted development activities pursuant to Chapter 14.24 SCC or projects consisting exclusively of planting vegetation.

"Mitigation bank" and "mitigation banking" are also defined in 14.04.020 and are limited by their definitions to banks that create or restore wetlands.

In Ag-NRL, habitat enhancement and/or restoration projects are Hearing Examiner Special Uses. Such projects must therefore be approved by the Hearing Examiner after a public hearing and potentially lengthy process designed to ensure public participation.

The proposed ordinance language accomplishes the goal of prohibiting private wetland mitigation banks on lands zoned Ag-NRL with minimal changes to Skagit County Code. In short, private mitigation banks would be specifically disallowed in the list of Ag-NRL uses, and a new definition of private mitigation banks would be added to distinguish from any banks owned and operated by government agencies.

Related documents: (Pdf)


Ordinance O2009006: An Ordinance Prohibiting Wetland Mitigation Banks on Lands Zoned Ag-NRL (PDF)

Planning Commission’s Recorded Motion Prohibiting WMBs on Ag-NRL


Public Hearing Comments 5/5/2009
Video: Planning Commission Public Hearing 5/5/2009
Department Responses to Comments (Pdf)

Memorandum 4-28-09
Notice of Availability
SEPA Threshold Determination
SEPA Environmental Checklist
Staff Report
Ordinance # O20090001