Conversion Forestry Ordinance
On July 5, 2022, the Board of Clallam County Commissioners adopted the Conversion Forestry Ordinance 990, which establishes minimum standards and requirements for certain timber activities. Clallam County works with the Department of Natural Resources to assist landowners with the following forestry related activities:
- SEPA Threshold Determinations for Class IV General Conversion Permits
- Conversion Option Harvest Plans (COHP)s
- Enforcing or Lifting Six–Year Development Moratoriums
The Clallam County Conversion Forestry Ordinance (Title 27.11 CCC) simplifies the process for landowners to remove trees on their property and establish a home.
The Conversion Option Harvest Plan (COHP) option now offered to landowners is a less expensive and easier alternative to a Class IV-General forest practices permit or 6– year development moratorium required by the DNR.
The intent of this Ordinance is to discourage clear-cutting and to protect forest resources by re-quiring landowners to leave the brush and understory, and to maintain critical area buffers before timber harvest.
A Forest Practice Application is required for the removal of trees from parcels over 2 acres in size.
The Forest Practice Act requires a development moratorium on land where timber is removed for six years from the date of forest practice approval. This moratorium may be lifted under certain circumstances along with mitigation conditions. However, a land-owner may want to keep their options open for future development. In this case, there are two options available:
Class IV Forest– General Conversion Permits are required by the DNR for forest practices on lands that have, are being, or likely to be converted to another use, like roads or housing.
An alternative to Class IV– G Permits are Conversion Option Harvest Plans (COHP). COHPs are voluntary timber harvesting plans that are developed by a landowner. The plan must be approved by the County and must comply with Clallam County codes (including critical areas). The approved plan is submitted to the DNR as part of a Class II or III Forest Practices Application; and the six-year development moratorium will be waived. In February 2022, DNR announced that COHPs are allowed in rural areas of Clallam County.
Am I Eligible for a COHP?
The Conversion Forestry Ordinance specifies two types of COHPs.
- “Type 1” plans involve cutting less than 33% of the timber volume on-site. County fee: $150
- “Type 2” plans exceed the standards of a Type 1 and could include up to 66% of the timber volume to be removed. Type 2 COHPs require reforestation. County fee: $500
For all other conversions, the option of a Class IV General FPA through the DNR is available.
What do I need for COHP?
- COHP permit application form
- Timber harvest plan
- A site map of road locations & landings utilized for timber harvest, the limits and types of harvest, including the areas that will not be harvested, the reforestation area (if required), and the future home site and appurtenance.
- Payment of applicable fees
- A SEPA Threshold Determination if development permits (i.e. building , septic, etc.) are proposed within 3 years of the timber harvest.
Why do we have Forest Practice Rules?
In 1974 the WA State legislature wrote the Forest Practice Act (Chapter 76.09 RCW). This act is designed to protect water quality, provide fish and wildlife habitat, protect capital improvements and ensure that harvested areas are reforested. The act defines a plan to protect public resources while assuring that Washington continues to be a productive timber growing area.
While the DNR regulates most timber harvesting activities through the Forest Practice Act (WAC 222), Cities and Counties have the authority to exercise jurisdiction over certain timber harvest activities.