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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.
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What's Happening Now?

On August 14, 2014, the comment period on the Department of Ecology’s Conditional Approval of Seattle’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) ended. We will continue to work on the SMP with interested parties and Ecology.

We received many general comments regarding the number of recommended changes in Ecology’s Conditional Approval. In response, we prepared a table that explains the source and intent of the changes. Please see Table C1 – Explanation of the source or intent of the Recommended Changes (Attachment C) from Ecology’s June 5, 2014 Conditional Approval of Seattle’s SMP.

If you have questions about our Shoreline Master Program please contact Maggie Glowacki, (206) 386-4036, margaret.glowacki@seattle.gov.

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

Next Steps

We will forward our final recommendations to Mayor Murray in the fall. City Council will review the Mayor's recommended legislation once they receive it. Keep an eye on our website for more information about the schedule.

Project Goals

The 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.

The End Result

Our updated Shoreline Master Program will:

  • Comply with Department of Ecology requirements
  • Allow appropriate use and enjoyment of our shorelines
  • Protect our shoreline ecosystem

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