PRRVA - Point Roberts Registered Voters' Association
The voice of the voters of Point Roberts

The information presented below is intended to inform Point Roberts’ property owners, and prospective owners, of available information and resources that may be helpful regarding land use and property development. 

  • Zoning
    • What you can do with your property is primarily determined by how it is zoned.
    • Whatcom County Code Title 20 addresses constraints for each zoning district, e.g., Rural, Rural Residential, Resort Commercial, Transition Zone, etc.
    • Topics such as permitted, accessory, administrative approval, conditional, and prohibited uses; maximum density, subdivision requirements, etc. are covered in each zoning district chapter.
    • Title 20 can be found at http://www.codepublishing.com/wa/whatcomcounty/frameless/index.pl?path=../html/whatco20/whatco20.html
    • The Point Roberts Special and Transitional Zone Districts are "overlay" zones which imposes additional controls and creates opportunities not available in the underlying zone districts to fit the needs of Point Roberts. This district is designed to protect the rural character of Point Roberts while allowing opportunities for community growth and self-reliance.
    • The Point Roberts Special District (Chapter 20.72) and the Point Roberts Transitional Zone (TZ) (Chapter 20.37) are applicable to Point Roberts as “overlays”. Click on those Chapters in Title 20 for further information.
    • Maps pertinent to Point Roberts zoning, shoreline, critical area, etc. can be found at: http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/pds/gis/gismaps/zoning.jsp
  • Critical Areas

    • Whatcom County’s Critical Areas (CAO) are environmentally sensitive natural resources that have been designated for protection and management in accordance with the requirements of the Growth Management Act. Protection and management of these areas is important to the preservation of ecological functions and values of our natural environment, as well as the protection of the public health, safety and welfare of our community. 
    • The Critical Areas Ordinance applies to geologically hazardous areas, frequently flooded areas, critical aquifer recharge areas, wetlands, and fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.
    • In response to concerns regarding rapid growth occurring in the State of Washington, the Washington State Legislature passed the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A) in 1990. The Growth Management Act (GMA) required counties and cities to adopt comprehensive land use plans and development regulations to coordinate and manage growth and development, as well as protect the State’s natural resources and critical areas. After several years of development, study and public input, the Whatcom County Council adopted the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan in May 1997 and the Whatcom County Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), WCC Chapter 16.16, in October 1997. Under the provisions of the GMA, local jurisdictions must designate and manage regulated critical areas. Development activities within, or adjacent to these critical areas, are required to comply with the provisions of local critical areas ordinances.
    • The Whatcom County PDS Department is the primary agency responsible for implementing the Whatcom County Critical Areas Ordinance. The provisions of the CAO apply to any land use or development within an area that meets the definitions and criteria for critical areas as established in the ordinance. All land use and development permit applications submitted to Whatcom County PDS are reviewed for conformance with the provisions of the CAO.
    • You can find information on Whatcom County Critical Areas at:
  • Shoreline Management Program

    • The State Legislature passed the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA) in June 1971. The SMA was overwhelmingly passed by public initiative in 1972. Under the SMA, each county and city was required to prepare a shoreline “master program” in accordance with the shoreline guidelines issued by the State Department of Ecology in 1972.
    • The Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program (SMP), WCC Title 23, is the document that implements the goals and policies of the SMA at the local level. It was adopted in 1976 in accordance with RCW 90.58. The goals and policies of the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program also constitute the shoreline component of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan.
    • Under the provisions of the SMA, all development within shorelines of the state is required to comply with the provisions of local shoreline master programs. The Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program works with other chapters of the Whatcom County Code to protect and preserve saltwater and freshwater shorelines throughout the county by managing natural resources and directing development and land use suitable for the shoreline environment.
    • Whatcom County PDS and the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) share joint authority and responsibility of the Whatcom County SMP. Whatcom County PDS is the primary agency responsible for implementation of the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program. The Washington State Department of Ecology is responsible for supervising the administration of the code, ensuring proper implementation, and assuring consistency with the SMA. Because the Whatcom County master program is approved and adopted by the Washington State DOE, it has the authority of state law.
    • You can find information on SMP at: http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/pds/naturalresources/shorelines/index.jsp
  • On-Site Sewage Systems

    • The On-site Sewage System Program has regulatory oversight for all on-site sewage systems in Whatcom County.  We perform a wide variety of activities to carry out this oversight that include:
      •     Site Application review for new, repaired or expanded OSS
      •     Permit Issuance
      •     Final Construction inspections
      •     Subdivision, Boundary Line Adjustment and Conditional Use review
      •     Complaint investigations
      •     Enforcement of OSS Codes, e.g. Whatcom County Code, WCC 24.05 and Washington Administrative Code, WAC 246-272A
      •     Survey inspections of OSS in sensitive areas
      •     Homeowner education and notification regarding proper Operation and Maintenance of their OSS
      •     Certification program for OSS Pumpers, Installers and Operation and Maintenance Specialists
    • Any onsite sewage system designer licensed in the State of Washington or any professional engineer licensed in the State of Washington may design onsite sewage systems. For more information please go to http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/health/environmental/sewage_systems/designers.jsp
    • Whatcom County Health Department On-Site Sewage System (OSS) Program http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/health/environmental/sewage_systems/sewage.jsp
  • Archaeology
    • Archaeological resources are addressed in the Point Roberts Special and Transitional Zone Districts.
    • Upon receipt of application for a development permit on properties within 500 feet of a site known to contain archaeological resources, the department shall require an archaeological resources site assessment. The site assessment shall be conducted by a professional archaeologist at the expense of the applicant or project proponent to determine the presence of significant archaeological resources.
    • Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) – Archaeology http://www.dahp.wa.gov/programs/archaeology

 

  • Please note that all italicized text is quoted directly from the pertinent website page.