Senate endorses Ranker's shoreline bill limiting use of 'non-conforming' label

Waterfront property owners may be able to avoid having their home labeled "non-conforming" under legislation that is quickly gaining traction in Olympia.

Sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island, Senate Bill 5451 would remove the designation of "non-conforming use" from residential shoreline evaluations in the event that changes in local shoreline rules bring about expanded buffers along the waterfront and an existing home falls within the newly-established boundary as a result.  

On Feb. 28, SB 5451 was endorsed by the Senate, and it will be considered next by state lawmakers in the House.

“Our goal is to streamline a policy that has proven itself harmful to families up and down Washington’s coastline, and to do so without environmental degradation," Ranker said in a press release. "With this narrowly crafted legislation, we have achieved that goal.”

The label of "non-conforming" can hinder the ability of a property owner to acquire insurance for their home or to sell it, Ranker said. Such a label may lead as well to an increase in insurance premiums or a loss in market value of a home. If approved, the legislation would remove the non-conforming designation from a residential shoreline evaluation. 

Ranker said the bill is narrowly tailored out of ecological considerations and would not affect any ecological or environmental protections included in a local shoreline master program, which, he added, clearly state what cannot be done.  



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