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Correction: Snohomish County Flops on NGPA

Harvey Field
Published:2015-06-30 Opinion
Correction: Snohomish County Flops on NGPA    Print Snohomish Times    
Correction: Snohomish County Flops on NGPA

After further review of Snohomish County enforcement policies and conversations with code enforcement Inspector Stephanie Lyon, we have concluded that NGPA/Buffer zone enforcement is selective at best.

“NGPA signs are rarely in the right spot if the builders put them in at all,” Lyon said. “We do our best to try getting the new home builders to put up signs in the buffer zones that border the NGPA,” she said.

We found that most residents were under the impression that the Natural Growth Protected Area (NGPA) sign was THE LINE, period. In addition, as far as the buffer zone is considered, we will just say, it depends on whom you ask on which day.

In regards to the properties that we have been following and one in particular that is redeveloping their NGPA/Buffer zone area, it seems the sky is the limit. 5-6 foot retaining walls, several dump truck loads of fill dirt and the use of construction debris (broken cement) to backfill their new yard.

This is good news for the 75 other properties that border the Outlook Ridge neighborhood in Snohomish. With this new development (redesign) allowed by the County, most of the other property owners who thought they were following the law by restricting their push into the NGPA/Buffer zone are now free to create, enlarge, open up and level their back yards by any means they desire.

Up until this resent revelation on County policy, the Outlook Ridge community had stood together for 13 years respecting the value of protecting the NGPA/Buffer zone, or at least in fear of reprisal if they did not.

In fact, you can even use the NGPA/Buffer zone adjacent to, but not on, your property for holding the dump truck loads of dirt. (As in the case we are following on the 12000 block) Of course, this would need to be approved by your own HOA. We would suggest not doing that out of respect for your neighbors and the environment.

In our view the best course of action would be to review your local laws then level your yard by the least evasive methods possible. Example would be redistributing dirt on your own property before looking to bring in foreign soil to be more environmentally sound. Your neighbors will also appreciate not having to look at a fortress, as it may cause you to become alienated from your own neighborhood like the unfortunate new comers were here.

These are just our thoughts, remember, we are all in this together.

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