Oct

7

Seattle is home to some of the most incredible sights. This is particularly true for waterfront property owners, because they get the distinct privilege of witnessing pristine water views from their home every day. Whether they’re bordering Lake Washington, Puget Sound, or one of the other gorgeous bodies of water in the greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, there’s plenty to love about owning a waterfront home here. At the same time, though, sometimes the spectacular high views are from large bluffs that require homeowner maintenance, as will be addressed in an upcoming class on something known as slope stability.

Puget Sound Slope Stability Class

Here’s what happens for some waterfront houses and their owners. You have a nice location at the top of an elevated area overlooking the water, and it happens to have a fairly steep slope on one side. Over time, this slope might erode if water runoff is not properly controlled and cause some potential hazards to your property that you should be mindful about. Because of the topography of the area, features like coastal bluffs, hills, ravines, and shorelines are all frequent features, and they all actually enhance your views. So it should be your goal, if you are a waterfront home owner in these scenarios, to prevent and maintain your slope, which will enable you to avoid issues later on.

Who the Class is For?

The class is targeted at professionals who work in fields like construction, engineering, landscape design, arboriculture, and horticulture, among others. However, it’s also a useful overview for any concerned waterfront home owners who want to ensure that they can protect their home from future slope erosion or landslides. You’ll learn a number of useful things about how water and geology interact, as well as what you can do to reduce erosion and improve slope stability. By knowing the tools and techniques that professionals use, you can either implement them yourself or use your knowledge of the topic to find someone who’s qualified to do the job right.

More Information on the Seattle Class

As for the specifics of the class, it’s being hosted by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens on December 5, 2013, from 8:15 AM through 4:00 PM. Before November 21, you can secure a spot at $125 per person, with lunch provided. It includes a variety of notable speakers, such as Bill Laprade on the subject of Geology & Hydrology of Puget Sound, and Elliot Menashe on Vegetation and Slope Stability and Vegetation in Conjunction with Engineering Solutions. For more information on the class and to find out whether it’s something you’d be interested in, just check out the specifics with UWBG.

In the end, waterfront property offers a great combination of prestige, solitude, and most importantly, views of an awe-inspiring land and seascape. By taking the time to find out what there is to know on slope stability and soil stabilization, you have the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic property without having to worry about the complications that could arise. You owe it to yourself to do what it takes to keep your waterfront home secure, and this upcoming Puget Sound class could be exactly what you need.

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Aug

13

There’s an issue being discussed by the city of Bellevue and Washington State’s Department of Ecology. At stake is Bellevue’s shoreline plan, which is a document that outlines how to protect the city’s bodies of water, including Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and Phantom Lake. While there’s nothing objectionable in the intent of the plan, which is to protect the lakes within Bellevue’s borders, it’s become a problem with waterfront property homeowners who feel that certain provisions would create an unnecessary and unfair restriction on the usage of their own property.

The Waterfront Property Shoreline Plan

What was contained in the shoreline plan that irked many owners of waterfront houses along Lake Sammamish? In an early draft of the plan, the Department of Ecology asked for clear criteria for a property owner to show that an erosion-control structure is necessary in order to protect a home. It also called for limits on a process that could exempt property owners from some regulations. The Shoreline Master Program must be approved by Ecology before it will become law, which is where the conflict is coming in. Homeowners are worried the new plan would overly complicate the process of remodeling their homes or building new features like patios and docks, as it requires new houses to be situated at least 50 feet from the water and creates a 25-feet “vegetation conservation area” where native plants must be retained or replaced as needed.

Further Conflict

While existing homes are usually grandfathered in to their existing footprints, the plan still seems too invasive and controlling for many Lake Sammamish property owners, because of the onerous restrictions on new construction. This backlash led to the proposal being rewritten by Bellevue’s Planning Commission, which shook up and reformed appointments of many waterfront property-rights advocates. The inevitable problem was that the state Department of Ecology not only didn’t agree with the changes, but actually viewed many of them as violations of state regulations and was irritated at not being kept informed of the changes as they occurred. In fact, officials cited 101 elements of the plan that they deemed out of compliance.

Communication and Compromise on the Waterfront

Ultimately, the key to a future where these bodies of water and happy waterfront real estate owners can peacefully coexist is dependent on communication and compromise. While it’s not too pressing of an issue for existing homeowners who don’t feel the need to do any major remodels or near-water construction projects, the fact remains that the proposal would put major burdens on future waterfront property buyers. Since owning property along the lake is a fixture of the Seattle community, it’s really up to the Bellevue Planning Commission and Washington’s Department of Ecology to work out a compromise that won’t alienate existing and future homeowners along the water but will still get the job of protecting the water done right. On the positive side, both the Planning Commission in Bellevue and Ecology are prepared to reinitiate communication with each other on the proposal until the issue is resolved. In the end, both sides hope it will be better for everybody, including waterfront homeowners.

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Mar

11

“Noxious” aquatic weeds are defined as non-native plants that, once established, are destructive to the local ecosystem, competitive with other plants, or difficult to control. You want to avoid these, but they get into our waterways through a thousand different avenues: bottoms of unclean boats, wind and wave movement, natural spreading, animals, etc. Common weeds in King County lakes include Eurasion water milfoil, fragrant water lily, purple loose-strife, and yellow iris.

So, what to do if you start noticing aquatic weeds taking over your lakefront shallow waters? A very good resource is the King County Noxious Weed Control Program. You can contact them for information, ask questions, and get advice on how to get your particular situation under control.

Catching an infestation early is important since large scale infestations can be expensive and time consuming to treat, plus may require a number of permits. So, preventive medicine is good. And cooperation among neighbors is also important… Weeds don’t stop at invisible property lines.

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