In 2015, Snohomish County updated its critical areas regulations. As part of that update the county weakened some of its regulations, for example allowing more impervious surfaces in buffers, and failed to address other issues such as adopting landslide hazard regulations sufficient to prevent another Oso tragedy.
For example, Tte regulations adopted in the critical areas update limits landslide buffers to twice the slope height. But the 2014 Oso slide, for example, had a slope height 600 feet tall but ran out for over a mile (5,500 feet), a height to runout distance of over 9 times
The critical areas update also did not address the problems Futurewise identified with the county’s 2014 update to the critical areas regulations applicable to agricultural lands, and does not require acceptable measures to protect ground water quality and quantity for new development
Futurewise filed an appeal of the 2015 critical areas update. The Tulalip Tribes also filed an appeal raising some, but not all of the issues we raised. The tribes also raised a couple of separate issues.
The photo at upper right shows an aerial view of the slide site at Oso, Washington, from March 31, 2014. Courtesy of Gordon Farquharson / UW