Skip to main content
This section is included in your selections.

A. The following table establishes the standard width of required stream buffers (also known as riparian habitat areas):

Table 1. Table of habitat conservation area buffer widths for particular streams

Stream type

Habitat buffer width

• Snohomish River

• Pilchuck River

100 feet, provided that

1) limited public access is allowed in the 50 feet nearer the river, and

2) water-dependent and water-related uses are allowed in the 50 feet further from the river, if mitigation measures result in the uses contributing toward projects that enhance salmonid rearing habitat as identified in the Snohomish ESA Strategy and if, as further mitigation, public access is permitted across the waterfront portion of the site when such a mitigation measure is supported by the particular circumstances and the purposes of the Critical Areas Code.

• Cemetery Creek downstream of Fobes Road, Bunk Foss Creek, and any tributaries thereof containing salmonids

• All streams flowing into Blackman’s Lake, including that part of Swifty Creek above Blackman’s Lake

100 feet, provided that limited public access is allowed in the first 50 feet of buffer.

50 feet.

• Swifty Creek below Blackman’s Lake

• Myrick’s Fork in the Cemetery Creek basin

• Collins Creek in the Bunk Foss Creek basin (upstream of salmon spawning and rearing areas)

50 feet, provided that limited public access is allowed in the 25 feet of buffer.

Table 2. If the above table does not cover a particular stream, the following table shall apply:

Stream type

Standard buffer width

Type S (shorelines of the state per Shorelines Management Act)

100 feet

Type F (fish-bearing other than S)

75 feet

Type Np (non-fish, perennial)

50 feet

Type Ns (non-fish, seasonal)

35 feet

B. Widths shall be measured outward in each direction, on the horizontal plane, from the ordinary high water mark, or from the top of bank if the ordinary high water mark cannot be identified, or from the outer edge of the channel migration zone when present.

C. The City Planner may modify the buffer widths in the above tables in accordance with the following:

1. Buffer widths may be increased as necessary to fully protect riparian functions. For example, the buffer may be extended to the outer edge of the floodplain or windward into an area of high tree blow-down potential.

2. Buffer widths may be reduced in exchange for restoration of degraded areas in accordance with an approved plan, or for buffer averaging in accordance with SMC 14.255.100(G).

3. If the stream enters an underground culvert or pipe, and is unlikely to ever be restored aboveground, the City Planner may waive the buffer along the under grounded stream, provided that where the stream enters and emerges from the pipe the opposite outer edges of the buffer shall be joined by a radius equal to the buffer width, with said radius projecting over the piped stream.

D. The shoreline master program, not the Critical Areas Code, shall determine allowable uses along and setbacks from lakes, provided that the Critical Areas Code shall govern wetlands, streams, and other critical areas lying within areas of shoreline management jurisdiction. (Ord. 2083, 2005; Ord. 2092, 2006)