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Shoreline Master Program Update

Our Shoreline Master Program has rules about public access and environmental restoration.
An update of goals, policies and regulations that govern land use and activities within the Seattle Shoreline District.

What's Happening Now?

Department of Ecology Has Reviewed Seattle's Shoreline Master Program

On June 5, the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) completed its review of Seattle’s Shoreline Master Program regarding the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act and the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines. DOE recently sent a letter commending the City and Mayor Murray for developing the proposed master program update. DOE also identified specific changes necessary for their final approval. Some of the changes are required and some are recommended. See the letter and other documents linked below.

Send Us Your Comments

We co-hosted a joint informational meeting with DOE on June 30, 2014 at Seattle City Hall. At the meeting, we presented information about DOE's required and recommended changes to the Shoreline Master Program Update, and changes proposed by DPD.

We also presented a staff draft ordinance at the June 30 meeting. We prepared this draft in response to DOE's required and recommended changes. Our staff draft ordinance shows the amendments to the Shoreline Master Program, as tentatively adopted in Ordinance 124105 (table of contents for Ordinance 124105).

To help you understand the content of the staff draft ordinance, we have prepared:

We continue to make revisions based on public comments received to date, and will continue to accept comments. We are extending the comment period deadline from July 31 to August 14, 2014. Please email your recommended changes to no later that August 14, 2014.

If you want more information about Shoreline Master Programs, read the Dept. of Ecology Shoreline Master Programs Frequently Asked Questions.

Next Steps

After further work with interested parties and DOE, we will forward final recommendations to Mayor Murray in the fall. City Council review will begin after the Mayor's recommended legislation is sent to them. Keep an eye on our website for more information about the schedule.

Project Goals

The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is mandated by the state Shoreline Management Act (SMA), created by citizen referendum in 1972, and includes the goals, policies, and regulations that govern land use and activities within the Seattle Shoreline District. Seattle’s Shoreline District includes the Duwamish River, the Ship Canal, Lake Union, Lake Washington, Green Lake, Puget Sound, associated wetlands and floodplains, and all land within 200 feet of these water-bodies.

Seattle’s SMP is based on three required policy goals:

  1. Preferred Shoreline Uses: The SMA establishes a preference for uses that are water-oriented and that are appropriate for the environmental context (such as port facilities, shoreline recreational uses, and water-dependent businesses). Single-family residences are also identified as a priority use under the SMA when developed in a manner consistent with protection of the natural environment
  2. Environmental Protection: The SMA requires protections for shoreline natural resources, including “… the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the water of the state and their aquatic life …” to ensure no net loss of ecological function.
  3. Public Access: The SMA promotes public access to shorelines by mandating inclusion of a public access element in local Shoreline Master Programs and requiring provisions to ensure that new development maintains public access features.

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