Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598

Date: July 2, 2008

Patty Charnas, Manager Environmental Programs Division 

Kitsap County Shoreline Buffers Supported by Superior Court Decision

(Port Orchard)-In a decision dated June 26, 2008, Judge Craddock D. Verser of Jefferson County Superior Court upheld all aspects of the Kitsap County Critical Areas Ordinance that had been appealed by Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners.

The Superior Court decision ruled that the County’s designation of its shorelines as critical areas was appropriate and the scientific process the County used to revise and expand its shoreline buffer widths was based on “best available science.” KAPO had also claimed that the County’s CAO was an unconstitutional taking of property rights which the Court disagreed with, again pointing to the scientific information that supported protective buffer widths. 

“We are pleased to have this issue finally resolved,” noted Steve Bauer, chair of the Board of County Commissioners. “This decision removes a great deal of uncertainty in the way we conduct our environmental reviews. This helps us provide better service to our permit applicants.” 

The CAO was first updated in 2005 and then revised in 2007 as a result of an appeal by environmental organizations regarding protection of wetlands and shoreline areas. The County revised the CAO to expand wetland regulations and increase shoreline buffer widths which the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board then approved. In the fall of 2007, KAPO appealed that decision to Superior Court.

The Superior Court decision noted that “land use must be regulated to preserve the environment” and that no party had disputed that. In recognizing the debate surrounding environmental regulation of land use, Judge Verser pointed to the court’s role as insuring that agencies follow proper procedures in designating and protecting critical areas. The court concluded that the County followed a “reasoned process to address the necessity of protecting the identified functions and values” of critical areas.

For more information on Critical Areas Ordinance, contact Patty Charnas at 360.337.4558.


Last Updated:  May 27, 2014