Title 17E Environmental Standards
Chapter 17E.070 Wetlands Protection
On-site Density Transfer or Clustering.
For residential development proposals on lands containing potential or identified critical areas, including wetland areas and buffers, the applicant may apply for planned unit development (PUD) under chapter 17G.070 SMC. The maximum number of dwelling units (DU) for a lot or parcel that contains a wetland area and buffer is determined by the site's zoning and by the density bonus allowed in chapter 17G.070 SMC. The use of residential density transfer or clustering through the use of planned unit developments (PUDs) including bonus density is encouraged as a means to protect and preserve wetlands, wetland buffers and fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas. The provisions of chapter 17G.070 SMC shall control the use of density transfer or clustering, planned unit developments, and bonus density.
Property Tax and Income Tax Advantages.
Property Tax Relief.
The Spokane County Assessor shall consider the wetland areas and associated buffers contained within this chapter when determining the fair market value of land. Any owner of a wetland area who has dedicated a conservation easement or entered into a perpetual conservation restriction with a department of the local, state, or federal government or a nonprofit organization to permanently control some or all uses and activities within these areas may request that the Spokane County Assessor reevaluate that specific area consistent with those restrictions and provisions of open space land current use taxation (see RCW 84.40.030).
Federal Income Tax Advantages.
There are significant federal income tax advantages that can be realized by an individual or estate for gifts of real property for conservation purposes to local governments or non-profit organizations, such as land trusts. The specific rules on federal income tax deductions can be found in section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Spokane County Conservation District offers stewardship information, classes, and technical assistance to property owners. Programs include shoreline stewardship, forestry, small acreage conservation agriculture, water resources, and soil information.
Spokane County Conservation Futures program, initiated in 1994, is funded by a property tax assessed for each home in the county. This tax money is earmarked solely for the acquisition of property and development rights. These funds acquire lands or future development rights on lands for public use and enjoyment. The Conservation Areas are defined areas of undeveloped land primarily left in its natural condition. These areas may be used for passive recreational purposes, to create secluded areas, or as buffers in urban areas. Conserved lands include wetlands, farmlands, steep hillsides, river corridors, viewpoints and wildlife habitats and corridors.
Date Passed: Monday, June 19, 2017
Effective Date: Sunday, July 30, 2017
ORD C35508 Section 14