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PDFWAC 365-190-060

Forest resource lands.

(1) In classifying, designating and de-designating forest resource lands, counties must conduct a comprehensive countywide analysis consistent with WAC 365-190-040(10). Counties and cities should not review forest resource lands designations solely on a parcel-by-parcel basis. Counties and cities must have a program for the transfer or purchase of development rights prior to designating forest resource lands in urban growth areas. Cities are encouraged to coordinate their forest resource lands designations with their county and any adjacent jurisdictions.
(2) Lands should be designated as forest resource lands of long-term commercial significance based on three factors:
(a) The land is not already characterized by urban growth. To evaluate this factor, counties and cities should use the criteria contained in WAC 365-196-310.
(b) The land is used or capable of being used for forestry production. To evaluate this factor, counties and cities should determine whether lands are well suited for forestry use based primarily on their physical and geographic characteristics.
Lands that are currently used for forestry production and lands that are capable of such use must be evaluated for designation. The landowner's intent to either use land for forestry or to cease such use is not the controlling factor in determining if land is used or capable of being used for forestry production.
(c) The land has long-term commercial significance. When determining whether lands are used or capable of being used for forestry production, counties and cities should determine which land grade constitutes forest land of long-term commercial significance, based on local physical, biological, economic, and land use considerations. Counties and cities should use the private forest land grades of the department of revenue (WAC 458-40-530). This system incorporates consideration of growing capacity, productivity, and soil composition of the land. Forest land of long-term commercial significance will generally have a predominance of the higher private forest land grades. However, the presence of lower private forest land grades within the areas of predominantly higher grades need not preclude designation as forest land.
(3) Counties and cities may also consider secondary benefits from retaining commercial forestry operations. Benefits from retaining commercial forestry may include protecting air and water quality, maintaining adequate aquifer recharge areas, reducing forest fire risks, supporting tourism and access to recreational opportunities, providing carbon sequestration benefits, and improving wildlife habitat and connectivity for upland species. These are only potential secondary benefits from retaining commercial forestry operations, and should not be used alone as a basis for designating or de-designating forest resource lands.
(4) Counties and cities must also consider the effects of proximity to population areas and the possibility of more intense uses of the land as indicated by the following criteria as applicable:
(a) The availability of public services and facilities conducive to the conversion of forest land;
(b) The proximity of forest land to urban and suburban areas and rural settlements: Forest lands of long-term commercial significance are located outside the urban and suburban areas and rural settlements;
(c) The size of the parcels: Forest lands consist of predominantly large parcels, but may include smaller parcels if contiguous with other forest resource lands;
(d) The compatibility and intensity of adjacent and nearby land use and settlement patterns with forest lands of long-term commercial significance;
(e) Property tax classification: Property is assessed as open space or forest land pursuant to chapter 84.33 or 84.34 RCW;
(f) Local economic conditions which affect the ability to manage timberlands for long-term commercial production; and
(g) History of land development permits issued nearby.
(5) When applying the criteria in subsection (4) of this section, counties or cities should designate at least the minimum amount of forest resource lands needed to maintain economic viability for the forestry industry and to retain supporting forestry businesses, such as loggers, mills, forest product processors, equipment suppliers, and equipment maintenance and repair facilities. Economic viability in this context is that amount of designated forestry resource land needed to maintain economic viability of the forestry industry in the region over the long term.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. WSR 23-08-037, § 365-190-060, filed 3/29/23, effective 4/29/23; WSR 10-03-085, § 365-190-060, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050. WSR 91-07-041, § 365-190-060, filed 3/15/91, effective 4/15/91.]
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