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Critical Areas Ordinance

The Critical Areas Ordinance Process page is intended to assist you, the land owner, in gathering important site information as you consider or plan for development on your property.  We hope that we will explain the County's Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) and promote site improvements consistent with the goals and requirements of the CAO.

Growth Management Act
All cities and counties under the Growth Management Act (GMA) are required to classify and designate critical areas through comprehensive planning and develop regulations to protect them.  The CAO contains specific regulations to protect critical areas in Kitsap County.

As defined in the CAO, critical areas include the following categories and ecosystems:

bullet Wetlands
bullet Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas
bullet Geologically Hazardous Areas
bullet Frequently Flooded Areas
bullet Aquifer Recharge Areas

The CAO supplements development regulations outlined in the Kitsap County Zoning Ordinance (Title 17) and other County regulations.  Although the Zoning Ordinance requires development permits, the CAO requires additional review for land use activities adjacent to or in critical areas.

Avoiding Impacts on Critical Areas
The CAO emphasizes a sequence of steps during site development to protect critical areas:

Avoid impacts to critical areas on the property


Minimize impacts to critical areas that cannot be avoided as a result of development

bullet Mitigate for the impacts which may occur to critical areas on the site

Remand Index for Planning Commission Public Hearing 23 Jan 2007

Remand Memo from 19 Jan 2007

Kitsap County Critical Areas Ordinance - Proposed Revisions based on the Critical Areas Ordinance Remand

Central Puget Sound Growth Management Board 
Case No. 06-3-0012c Hood Canal), Final Decision and Order

Final Critical Areas Ordinance (Adopted December 1, 2005)
(Adobe 5 - 416Kbytes)

Comparison Chart of CAO Drafts (Adobe 5 - 998 KBytes)

Comparison Summary - Staff and Planning Commission Recommendations (Adobe 5 - 101KBytes)

Staff Draft Underline/Strikeout, November 1, 2005 (Adobe 5 - 799 KBytes)

Planning Commission Draft, November 1, 2005 (Adobe 5 - 491 KBytes)

Summary of Main Planning Commission Motions (Adobe 5 - 107 KBytes)

Second Draft Critical Areas Ordinance (May 17, 2005) (Adobe 5 - 817 KBytes)

Science Support Document for Second Draft Critical Areas Ordinance 
(May 17, 2005)

Best Available Science White Paper (May 17, 2005) (includes peer-reviewed technical references)

1998 Critical Areas Ordinance (August 9, 1999)

First Public Draft Critical Areas Ordinance (June 22, 2004)

Public Comments Matrix (July 29, 2005)

Comparison Chart of Changes Between 1998 CAO and Second Public Draft

Summary Sheet on Second Draft Critical Areas Ordinance (May 17, 2005)

Overview and Summary of Public Involvement

Overview of the Permit Process and Critical Areas Ordinance

BKAT Coverage of Critical Areas Science Panel (October 2004)

Vertical Analysis of 1998 Critical Areas Ordinance

Planning Commission Work Session Minutes

Other Documents of Interest
Proposed Kitsap County Critical Areas Ordinance Revision and Best Available Science Review

Regulation of development activities can protect critical areas for the future.  The CAO regulates land uses or development which would alter the condition of a critical area or its required buffer.  Regulated activities include but are not limited to: clearing, grading and construction, stabilization of stream banks or shorelines, construction of public or private roads or stormwater facilities; and placement of utility lines.  Some activities are prohibited in critical areas and their buffers, others are allowed with special review, and a few are allowed outright.  

For details on regulated activities, contact Patty Charnas of the Kitsap County Department of Community Development.

Last Updated:  September 23, 2014
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