Critical Areas Ordinance Update 2024


A Planning Commission Public Hearing is Scheduled for May 21st at 5:30pm.                                            See details under the "Upcoming Events" banner on the right hand side of this page. 

A preliminary draft version of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) is available for public review as of March 8, 2024. The Code Change Matrix and Proposed Code Amendments are linked below.

Public Comments

The initial public comment period on draft code amendments will run through April 26, 2024. Comments received by that date will be reviewed by staff, compiled, and summarized for the Planning Commission.

The full public comment period extends through the date of the Planning Commission public hearing, which is tentatively scheduled for May 21, 2024. Written testimony may be provided at any time up until that date to be included in the record.

Comments may be submitted using the form below, or sent to

 Comment form


The Department of Community Development is conducting a periodic review of the County's Critical Areas Ordinance, Kitsap County Code (KCC) Title 19, as required by RCW 36.70A.130. The Critical Areas Ordinance, KCC Title 19, was last reviewed and updated in 2017. Critical Areas Ordinances must be evaluated and, if needed, revised every ten years per the schedule provided in RCW 36.70A.130. The Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) will be reviewed and updated to ensure compliance with state mandates, maintain consistency with local regulations and the Comprehensive Plan, and provide predictability and clarifications.

The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires all cities and counties in Washington to adopt regulations protecting "critical areas in order to preserve the natural environment, wildlife habitats, and sources of fresh drinking water". Critical areas regulation ensures public safety by limiting development in areas prone to natural hazards like floods and landslides. The Critical Areas Ordinance will be updated with the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Update, with adoption planned for September 2024.

To learn more, view our online book below


   Phase Schedules​

Phase One Schedule

​March 20, 2023

​Project Kick Off Notification & Working Group Invitations

​​May 17, 2023

​Virtual Public Participation Meeting #1

​June 1, 2023

​Release of Best Available Science (BAS) Report

​​June 28, 2023

​​Board of County Commissioners Work Session: Best Available Science & Project Scope

​July 18, 2023

​Planning Commission Briefing & Work Session: Best Available Science & Project Scope

​Phase Two Schedule

​July 20, 2023

​Working Group Meetings Begin

​July 2023

​Community Consultation Meetings with Community Groups as Needed/Requested

​August 2023

​Project Presentations to County Community Advisory Committees

​Aug. - Mar. 2024

​Updates to BoCC & Planning Commission as Needed (TBD)

​Aug. - Mar. 2024

County Staff Preparing Draft Code Amendments

Phase Three Schedule

​March 2024

​Draft Amendments Available

​March - April 26, 2024

​Public Comment Period

April 2 & April 16, 2024

​Planning Commission Work Study Sessions

May 21, 2024

Planning Commission Public Hearing

​June 18, 2024
Planning Commission Findings of Fact
​July 24, 2024
​Board of County Commissioners Work Study

​August 26, 2024

​​Board of County Commissioners Hearing(s)

​September 2024

Target Adoption

*Tentative dates, subject to change.

Working Groups & Meeting Schedule

The CAO Update Working Groups are advisory groups only. Groups assembled to review, comment on, and make TECHNICAL recommendations related to the Critical Areas Ordinance. All recommendations developed through the Working Group will be presented to the Department of Community Development, the Kitsap County Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners, as the County works to draft an update to the CAO.

The five critical areas under review are wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, frequently flooded areas, geologically hazardous areas, and critical aquifer recharge areas. There are five working groups comprised of standing members and technical experts for each critical area. Standing members are representatives from local Tribes and community organizations with expertise in planning and critical areas. Technical experts are technical staff from appropriate state agencies with training and expertise in the critical area topic being discussed.

Each meeting will be virtual via Zoom and open to the public, however, public comment will not be taken during the meetings. Comments and questions regarding the working groups and/or the CAO update should be sent to

Written summaries for previous working group meetings are provided in the table below. Details and access links for upcoming meetings will be available in the table below as dates are confirmed.  

December 12, 2023
Fish & Wildlife Conservation Areas #2Written Summary
November 30, 2023
​Wetlands #2Written Summary
November 6, 2023
Frequently Flooded Areas #2Written Summary
October 31, 2023
Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas #2Written Summary
October 10, 2023
Geologically Hazardous Areas #2
Written Summary
July 27, 2023 
Geologically Hazardous Areas #1
Written Summary
​July 27, 2023 
Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas #1
Written Summary
July 26, 2023
​Frequently Flooded Areas #1
Written Summary
​July 25, 2023 
​Wetlands #1
Written Summary
July 20, 2023 ​
Fish & Wildlife Conservation Areas #1
Written Summary

​Get Involved!

  • Sign-up to receive text or email notifications, including project announcements, information about outreach events, surveys, and other public participation opportunities. Select "Kitsap County Code Update Announcement" from the list of topics.

  • Send us an email at to let us know what you think or contact project staff.

  • Attend a meeting, listed on the right, when there are scheduled upcoming public events.

  • If you would like the CAO Update team to give a presentation to your community, please reach out to

  • More opportunities to participate will be added throughout the process.

   Team Roles and Responsibilities





​David Kinley
​Kitsap County
​DCD Interim Director
​Program Management
​Scott Diener
​Kitsap County
​Planning Manager
​Program Management
​Mark Daniel
​Watershed Co.
​Consultant - Project Manager

​Dan Nickel
​Watershed Co.
​Consultant - Project Manager

​Colin Poff
​Kitsap County
​Planning Supervisor
​Project Management
​Kirvie Mesebeluu-Yobech
​Kitsap County
​Environmental Planning Supervisor
​Project Management
Kathlene Barnhart
​Kitsap County
​Project Lead, Public Engagement
​Jim Rogers
​Kitsap County
​Public Engagement, Events
​Brittany Gordon
​Kitsap County
​Natural Resource Coordinator
​Technical Support, Environmental Programs
​Cindy Read
​Kitsap County
​Technology Analyst
​Website, Information Services

Upcoming Events

Open House - May 21, 2024
Public Comment Solicited

Planning Commission Public Hearing - May 21, 2024

Public Comment Solicited
*Hybrid meetings allow both virtual (via Zoom) and
in-person attendance at the
Board of Commissioners Chambers, 
619 Division St., Port Orchard.

Past Events

May 14, 2024
Open House

April 16, 2024
Planning Commission Work Study #2
April 2, 2024
Planning Commission Work Study #1

March 26, 2024
Planning Commission Briefing
May 17, 2023
Public Participation Meeting #1
Critical Area Map


Department of Community Development

Planning and Environmental Programs

(360) 337-5777 (Kitsap 1)


614 Division Street - MS36
Port Orchard, WA 98366

Office Location 

619 Division Street
Port Orchard, Washington


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