Fairview Lake Riparian Question

Additional email copy sent to FLPOA Board:

Recently a question was raised by FLPOA member Rick Parrish regarding whether or not anyone else had heard of any modifications to the current riparian regulations (the “riparian” is a measured buffer that requires only natural vegetation and wildlife habitat be maintained in an established area from the high water mark of Fairview Lake, inland.

Specifically, that the currently established, and documented, 35′ riparian buffer has been deemed by the city of Fairview as inaccurate stating that it should have been measured at 50′, and that their plan is to make it retroactively enforceable. The following is a narrative from Rick of what exactly he was told, and its greater impact as it relates to the rest of those Fairview Lakeside property owners within the jurisdiction of the city of Fairview.

” The City of Fairview Code enforcement officer has sent us a draft she is sending to City council this month quoting the 50′ riparian setback ordinance. They have told us we have to remove fencing, recently installed ,and raised planter beds. Some of the fencing is outside the 35′ riparian, but what would now be inside a “new” 50′ riparian.

Most disturbing to us, is when we quoted the 35′ measurement to the Code enforcement officer, Rita Humphries, and told her that 35′ measurement is on our deed, in a letter back to us, she states that our deed is in error. Our deed is in error?! Makes me chuckle, if this situation wasn’t so serious.

I guess a big issue for me is when they went through changing the riparian setbacks on Fairview and Osborn creeks a couple of years ago, Fairview lake was not included. The lake was to be handled separately and as far as we know nobody has had a chance for input. It’s just suddenly a new ordinance. A smaller issue of importance is that so much of the verbiage in the new version of the riparian ordinance seems to have numerous things added that weren’t in the last version.”
Thank you for your interest in sorting this out. I’ll keep you posted of any new developments.
Rick and Beth Parrish 503–492–6955

2 Responses to “Fairview Lake Riparian Question”

  1. avatar rickschafer Says:

    Thanks for the info. I have fencing and groomed yards approximately 35′ from the high water mark. an additional 15′ would require me to move fences and virtually have riparian setbacks at my back door.
    I would be willing to join with other concerned home owners to discuss this issue and formulate a response.

    Rick Schafer
    (925) 765 7199

  2. avatar Mark and Penny Myers Says:

    I have not seen the language of new proposed code. And, the compliance officers response sounds very suspect.

    It is not uncommon for a jurisdiction to impose new criteria that is more restrictive than previous versions. When this occurs, the new specifications are not normally imposed on existing infrastructure that does not necessarily meet the new restrictions. These existing conditions are considered “non-conforming” (not illegal). When one makes an application for new development, non-conforming conditions are normally required to be brought into compliance as a condition of approval.

    This approach generally avoids a jurisdiction’s rollout of some unwieldy enforcement action to bring everyone into compliance with new rules. In our current scenario, for the City of Fairview to take the position of broadly enforcing new riparian area distances, would not only be tremendously involved and very expensive, it might also leave them exposed to wide spread legal actions. My guess is the compliance officer was not well informed.

    Without seeing the new code language, I expect that new riparian rules would have little substantive effect on 95% of existing lake properties. There will always be the few homeowners who submit a permit application for a dock, shed, landscaping, etc and will come under the new riparian requirements. This is common, and can be avoided.

    I would be very interested in following this proposal, and am willing to draft a letter in opposition from the association. I expect however, the new code will be an administrative action, and will not require public comment or be affected by public opposition. I believe Metro’s riparian zone has been 50′ for some time, and Fairview has been under pressure to match it.

    Interestingly, I have not received any communication from the city in this regard, or heard any current discussion besides these emails.


    Dennis Caudell
    Paradise Environmental

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