Snohomish County considers ban on building permits in slide areas

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1997 mud slide in Woodway
Photo courtesy Department of Ecology

According the The Seattle Times, the Snohomish County council is considering a six-month moratorium on building permits in slide areas in the county, in the wake of the devastating Oso landslide. The vote was postponed for a week to allow staff time to research the issue.

The six-month moratorium would give the council time to consider whether to issue new regulations for building within a half-mile of slide-prone slopes.

It would not apply to permits already issued.

Local advocates are watching with interest to see how new regulations might affect the Point Wells development. One of the issues with the site is that the only road in and out of the site goes through residential areas in Shoreline.

There was previously a road from Point Wells which went through Woodway, but it was washed out in a landslide and the hillside deemed too unstable to rebuild the road.

As residents and train passengers know, there are frequent landslides on the bluffs between Everett and Seattle.

Woodway has experienced several slides. According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, 

"Early in the morning of January 15th, 1997, a very large landslide occurred south of Edmonds in the town of Woodway. The landslide cut fifty feet into the property above, passed over the railroad tracks, and knocked a freight train into the Sound."


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