Monday, May 15, 2006

Snohomish County Favors Farmers in Proposed Critical Area Ordinances

HeraldNet: By Jeff Switzer Herald Writer
"'We don't want to inhibit or interrupt the progress we're making for recovery of farming in Snohomish County,' county planning director Craig Ladiser said. The County Council and Planning Commission debated the rules this week. 'In its present form, this is the most farmer-friendly critical areas ordinance of all,' said Max Albert, a former Agricultural Board member who helped come up with the proposed rules. Most of the county's farmland is in environmentally sensitive flood plains, Albert said. 'This ordinance let's you go on farming it.' That's good news, said crop farmer Joe Heineck, who has 90 acres straddling Weiser Creek in Everett. He was worried that bigger protective buffers proposed for the salmon creek would 'take a huge swath of productive farmland out of production.' The state requires the regulations to be updated every seven years. The update was due Dec. 1. Missing the deadline means the county could face state penalties."