After reviewing the city's response to the May 2011 FHA comments, the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Committee met in December and drafted a second round of comments that focuses on our rights under the new floating homes legislation passed in 2011 and codified as an amendment to RCW 90.58.270.
Legislation for the Long-Term
In amending and clarifying the state's position on floating homes, our legislators recognized that our homes are "an important cultural amenity," an "element of our maritime history," and "a linkage to the past." The new law was passed with the goal of "ensuring the vitality and long-term survival" of our community and allowing the "continued use, improvement, and replacement" of our homes "without undue burden." Specifically, the law states that "applicable development and shoreline master program regulations may only impose reasonable conditions and mitigation that will not effectively preclude maintenance, repair, replacement, and remodeling of existing floating homes and floating home moorages by rendering these actions impracticable."
You can read the new law at: tinyurl.com/SHB1783
In our second round of comments, submitted in December 2011, we first thanked the city for making two edits to the proposed regulations based on our first letter and for considering our requests to use the county registration system and to incorporate FHA environmental best practices. We then touched on three major objections to the current proposed regulations: DPD's definition of "float" as pertains to floating homes, language regulating the minimum distance between floating homes, and regulations that prevent floating homes from being relocated to moorage sites in public waters, including for Safe Harbor.
As we await a second response from the city to our comments, the SMP Committee will be reaching out to our city council members through emails, phone calls and meetings. In particular, we hope to meet with the new members of the City Council Committee on Planning, Land Use and Sustainability, Richard Conlin (Chair), Tim Burgess (Vice Chair), Mike O'Brien, and Sally Clark (alternate).
We have come a long way from our first days on the SMP Citizens Advisory Council where the draft regulations were developed, through lobbying the city council, studying salmon habitat in Lake Union, and lobbying our state legislators in Olympia to codify our status as a permanent part of the city's future and an important linkage to our past.
Can we count on you for emails and phone calls to city council members?
Will you be there with financial contributions if litigation is necessary to defend our community from unreasonable regulations? Protecting our homes is a big job and we cannot do it without your help.
For more information about the SMP or for an electronic copy of the FHA's comments to the city, please email Amalia Walton, firstname.lastname@example.org.