Critical Area Ordinance

The City of Bremerton has adopted a new Critical Area Ordinance (CAO), which became effective as of March 28, 2006. The 2006 regulations, along with the Best Available Science (BAS) used for this update and the Planning Commission findings, can be downloaded from this page below. Critical Areas maps are for general guidance only. Site specific classification of a critical area must be made on a case-by-case basis according to criteria in CAO chapters. Please visit the Kitsap County website to view maps.  In May 2016, during the Comprehensive Plan update, the City updated the 2006 CAO by Ordinance No. 5301 (effective as of June 3, 2016). To assist in updating the CAO, a GAP analysis was provided that identified needed updates for the BAS, including updating to the 2014 Department of Ecology Wetland Rating System and consistency between the Shoreline Master Program and the CAO. That GAP analysis can be downloaded below. 

Please note that the Critical Area Provisions can be seen in BMC 20.14. 

Critical Areas Ordinance
The Critical Areas Ordinance, or "CAO", protects public health, safety, and private property from damage due to dangerous development in environmentally sensitive areas. The CAO also helps protect the environment. There are 5 required sections to the CAO: Wetlands; Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas; Geologically Hazardous Areas; Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas; and Frequently Flooded Areas.

CAO Update
Bremerton was required to update its critical areas ordinance to meet the requirements of State law. In 1995 The Washington State Growth Management Act was amended to require the use of Best Available Science or "BAS" when designating and protecting critical areas. All cities and counties are required to update their critical areas regulations to include BAS, or state money will be withheld. 

Update Approach

Bremerton's approach was to clarify, organize, and make only the minor updates necessary to bring its CAO in line with State requirements. Bremerton relied on quality examples that other Cities around the Puget Sound have set in successfully updating their CAOs. Bremerton has met the State agencies requirements for use of the BAS in order to provide protection to property and the environment.