Community News

The state Supreme Court has narrowly upheld Anacortes’ shoreline protection process. The five-to-four ruling was a loss for the state Department of Ecology and several environmental groups that challenged the Anacortes process.

The court ruled  that shoreline critical areas will be protected by shoreline master plans rather than the Growth Management Act and critical areas ordinances. If shorelines were covered by the Growth Management Act, there would be extra levels of protection required for the so-called critical areas, including wildlife habitats and wetlands.

The ruling could have far-reaching impact, according to interested parties.

Department of Ecology spokesman Curt Hart told a reporter “it is a complicated decision that came down. We are still looking and analyzing the decision.”

Mayor Dean Maxwell was pleased. “We have a port, any number of boatbuilders and marinas, and the vast majority of our shoreline, absent the industrials areas, is protected with buffers.”

Furutrewise Planning Director Tim Trohimovich said the decision “will have implications statewide.” Futurewise was one of the parties in the effort to overturn the Anacortes shoreline protection process.

The state has 20 days to file for reconsideration.