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Ordinance 915 updating the Critical Area Code regarding existing on-going agriculture within critical areas, was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on November 22, 2016



The issue links include the following:

  Draft Ordianance Scheduled for the November 22nd Board of County Comissioners Public Hearing  



  Draft Ordianance Scheduled for the November 8th Board of County Comissioners Public Hearing  

Comparison of the Risk Assessment Table passed by Planning Commission on 9/21/16 to the one being considered by the Board of County Commissioners.

  Letter of Transmittal Recommending 6-1 to Approve CAC Updates  
  Ordinance dated Sept 15, 2016 approved by the Planning Commission at the Public Meeting on Sept. 21, 2016  
  Department of Community Development Memo and Comments  
  Best Available Science in Critical Area Code Updates for Jefferson County  
  Best Available Science in Critical Area Code Updates for Whatcom County  
  Court Cases on Critical Areas Update & Regulations Existing Ongoing Agriculture.  
  Planning Commission Public Hearing materials for September 7, 2016 hearing.  
  Jamestown Letter Dated 9-2-16  
  Draft Ordinance Dated Aug. 26, 2016  
  Makah Tribe E-Mail Dated 9-2-16  
  Draft Ordinance Dated July 27, 2016  
  DNS & SEPA Checklist issued on August 22, 2016  
  Planning Commission Workshop Packet dated July 27, 2016  

Draft Ordinance dated June 9, 2016

  Dept. Community Development Power Point Presentation for the 6-15-16 public meeting.  
  E-mail dated 5-26-16 from Clallam Conservation District  
  The existing and proposed language for the agricultural exemption and the proposed definition of existing and on-going agriculture.  
  The initial draft ordinance dated May 10, 2016 presented to the Planning Commission on March 16, 2016 and at the workshops held on May 24 & 25, 2016.  
  Existing Critical Areas Regulations.  
  History on legal issues with existing critical area exemption.  
  Background information on agriculture in Clallam County.  
  Conservation on the Farm information from the Clallam Conservation District. (see webpage link below)  


Update of Requirements for Existing and On-Going Agriculture within Wetlands, Aquatic Areas, and their Associated Buffers

Clallam County is updating the Critical Area Code (CAC) provisions related to existing and on-going agriculture (e.g., crops, pasture, and livestock) that occurs within and adjacent to critical areas such as wetlands and aquatic areas (e.g., streams). The update is in response to an Order by the state Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) that found the County’s exemption under Section 27.12.035 (7) CCC non-compliant with the state Growth Management Act (GMA).

To address the GMHB Order, the County has prepared a draft update to the CAC to maintain the right for qualifying existing and on-going agriculture to continue farming within wetlands, streams, and their associated buffers by requiring the use of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) to avoid and minimize the impact of agriculture on the functions and values (i.e. water quality, fish habitat, etc.) of wetlands and streams from further harm and degradation.  Landowners can receive technical and possibly financial assistance from the Clallam Conservation District for the implementation of these BMPs. 

The proposed updates apply to existing and on-going agriculture that meet the following criteria:

  • Has been in agriculture since June 16, 1992 (effective date of CAC)
  • Enrolled in the farm and agricultural land open space taxation program
  • Located within the Agriculture Retention Zoning District
  • Has not ceased the agricultural activity for more than five years
  • The agricultural activity is located within wetlands, streams, or their associated buffers. Current CAC buffers for most agricultural activities ranges from 25 to 100 feet based on the type of wetland and stream type.


Resources for Agricultural Operations

The Clallam Conservation District has a useful website for Conservation on the Farm that can be found at:

If you have question regarding Best Management Practices for farm and livestock owners please contact:

Clallam Conservation District

228 W. First Street Suite H

Port Angeles, WA 98362

(360) 775-3747


Clallam County WSU Extension

223 E. 4th St. Suite 15

Port Angeles, WA 98362

(360) 417-2279


Public Participation


Two workshops have been scheduled that will include presentations from Clallam Department of Community Development and the Clallam Conservation District.  There will also be opportunity to ask questions of various agencies during the open house portion of the workshop.  A formal public hearing has been scheduled before the Planning Commission on June 15, 2016. After the Planning Commission this matter will be schedule for a public meeting or hearing before the Clallam County Board of County Commissioners.  When this date is determined it will be included on this webpage and announced to the public.


How to provide comments:


  • Submit: written comments at the workshops
  • Submit: oral and/or written comments at a Planning Commission Public Hearing
  • By Email:
  • By mail:  Clallam County Department of Community Development

    RE: AG in Critical Areas Update

    223 East Fourth Street, Suite 5

    Port Angeles, WA 98362


If you have questions please contact:

Greg Ballard, Clallam County DCD at 360-565-2616

Or visit the Department of Community Development at the Clallam County Courthouse (see address above)


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Content Updated November 30, 2016