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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County shoreline master plan approved

Spokane County’s law protecting shorelines has been changed substantially for the first time in nearly four decades.

The state Department of Ecology approved the new shoreline master plan this week.

The rules are stricter than first proposed. Policies governing residential sewage treatment at homes near shorelines were challenged last year by environmental and neighborhood groups, who also unsuccessfully challenged other aspects of the county’s shoreline plan, the first major revision of the county’s laws on shoreline properties since 1975.

In general, septic tanks will not be allowed within 200 feet of the shoreline. Larger lots only could be developed with a septic tank more than 200 feet from the shoreline.

“This is good news for the county’s ongoing efforts to protect our waterways by working collaboratively with property owners,” John Peterson, Spokane County planning director, said in a written statement announcing the approval.

The appeal of the sewage policies was heard by the Growth Management Hearings Board, which found for the neighborhood groups on the wastewater issue in December. The county settled the appeal, promising to work with various agencies to revise its sewage policies.

Rick Eichstaedt, who represented the opponents of the shoreline plan before the hearings board, said this week his clients were satisfied with the revised policy.

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