There have been several recent incidents in which property owners or their contractors have been found to be in violation of the Ocean Shores Shoreline Master Program (SMP). This has generally involved the clearing of trees and other vegetation within the 10-foot buffer zone between the owner’s property line and the waterline on any of the freshwater lakes and canals in the city. Any disturbance of native vegetation in these areas is prohibited. Some property owners have apparently been unaware of that restriction and have been sent letters of violation from the city and the Department of Ecology. The remedy for these violations is to submit a mitigation plan and to restore the disturbed area with native vegetation in order to have it eventually return to its native state.
Requiring restoration seems to be the only recourse that is available, but is a poor second to retaining the original native vegetation. Some contractors have said that they are unaware of the SMP requirements and so illegal clearing in the buffer zones has continued in certain instances.
In order to prevent these problems, which both degrade our shorelines and cause unnecessary expense and delay for the property owners, the city should publicize and make available to all property owners and contractors doing business in Ocean Shores a concise summary of the requirements and restrictions placed upon property owners along our waterways. The city should also ensure that the boundaries are properly marked and that protected areas are adequately identified by on-site inspections and confirmation that the development plan is consistent with all regulations.