A draft report regarding land use around existing pipelines in Washington state was recently published by the Roundtable Group. Two key contributors of note include the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and the Pipeline Safety Trust. The main focus of the report is to capture the types of communications necessary during the planning stages of land development when existing pipelines are located within close proximity. Some of the comments include recommendations for establishing Consultation Zone Buffers in which developers would be required to communicate with pipeline operators located within 660 feet of the planned development activity.
Before issuing any permit that involves grade modification, excavation, or additional loading of the soil on property where a transmission pipeline easement is located, or if a transmission pipeline easement is within the designated consultation zone (e.g. six hundred and sixty (660) feet), the permit applicant must submit a detailed description of the proposed activity, including a map, diagram or depiction indicating the location of the proposed development activity and all transmission pipeline easements (or rights-of-way). A complete application for any development permit within the consultation zone must include written verification from the applicant that:
- The applicant has contacted the pipeline operator and has provided the pipeline operator with documentation detailing the proposed activity.
- The pipeline operator has reviewed the documents describing the proposed activity for compatibility with safe operation of the pipeline.
Some of the recommendations in this report for affected local government authorities include:
- Include pipeline location on all zoning, building and public works maps
- Request pipeline operator input in any comprehensive plan or rezone
- Require subdivision plans to be reviewed by affected pipeline operators
- Include pipelines as part of the State Environmental Protection Act checklist
- Require proof of utility locate call before issuing building/grading permits for parcels within some range of the pipeline
- Setbacks and building code specifications
To view the report and the comments submitted, visit the following website: Round Table Associates