Critical Area Regulation

Regulating Critical Areas

The city's critical areas regulations were changed in 2007 to meet the State mandate of including best available science. This new ordinance has a new, innovative approach to critical area buffers that allows a property owner to choose between two different approaches in complying with the critical areas ordinance. The first approach is what staff calls the 'big buffer' approach. With this approach a large buffer is placed around a critical area on a site and the owner doesn't need to do anything else but make sure that the buffer is left alone.

The second approach is what is called the 'ecosystem alternative'. With the ecosystem alternative a property owner is able to buy down the big buffer, in exchange for enhancing the buffer that remains, and making sure that water quality facilities are installed on the site. The city then takes the money that the property owner pays to buy down their buffer and enhances a city restoration site within the same basin that the project site is located within.

Documents & Resources

Following are links to the City's Critical Areas Code (MVMC 15.40); along with guidebooks that have been created to help property owners, developers, and biologists, the final EIS for this code, a powerpoint presentation that was given to the City Council during the code adoption, a powerpoint presentation on the 2008 ordinance audit that the city conducted, and a stream survey that was completed in 2008.

Check out the following links that contain maps and documentation of the streams and potential wetlands in the City:

Other Resources: