The following developments, activities and associated uses shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter, provided that they are otherwise consistent with the provisions of other local, state, and federal laws and requirements:
A. Emergencies. Those activities necessary to prevent an immediate threat to public health, safety, or welfare, or that pose an immediate risk of damage to private property and that require remedial or preventative action in a timeframe too short to allow for compliance with the requirements of this chapter. Emergency actions that create an impact to a critical area or its buffer shall use reasonable methods to address the emergency; in addition, they must have the least possible impact to the critical area or its buffer. Once the immediate threat has been addressed, any adverse impacts on critical areas as subject to the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to, minimizing and mitigating any impacts to critical areas.
B. Operation, Maintenance, or Repair. Operation, maintenance, or repair of existing structures, infrastructure improvements, utilities, public or private roads, dikes, levees, or drainage systems, that do not require construction permits, if the activity does not further alter or increase the impact to, or encroach further within, the critical area or buffer and there is no increased risk to life or property as a result of the proposed operation, maintenance, or repair. Operation and maintenance includes vegetation management performed in accordance with best management practices that is part of ongoing maintenance of structures, infrastructure, or utilities, provided that such management actions are part of regular and ongoing maintenance, do not expand further into the critical area, are not the result of an expansion of the structure or utility, and do not directly impact an endangered or threatened species; and
C. Passive Outdoor Activities. Recreation, education and scientific research activities that do not degrade the critical area, including fishing, hiking, and bird watching.