Shoreline Master Program
What Is It?
The Shoreline Master Program (23.60A) regulates development in the city’s shoreline environments to:
- Protect shoreline ecosystems
- Respond to pollution discharges into bodies of water
- Encourage water-dependent uses
- Provide for maximum public use and enjoyment of the shorelines
- Preserve, enhance, and increase views of and access to the water
Our ordinance requires that you:
- Obtain a shoreline substantial development permit, or a shoreline exemption, for any development in the Shoreline District
- Obtain a master use permit for any use or change of use in the Shoreline District
- Use best management practices in the shoreline to minimize and mitigate impacts on the aquatic environment
- Obtain and display a City-issued identification number for a floating residence (learn about the Floating Residence verification and registration process)
For emergency spill response: contact Department of Ecology’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-OILS-911. To find out if the spill is also a shoreline violation, call the Seattle DCI complaint line at (206) 615-0808.
For pollution discharges into lakes, creeks, and public storm drains: contact Seattle Public Utilities. To find out if the spill is also a shoreline violation, call (206) 615-0808.
What It Isn’t
This ordinance does not cover:
Read the Code
- Tip 229, Residential Use of a Floating Home, House Barge or Vessel
- Tip 232, How to Appeal the Granting, Conditioning or Denial of Shoreline Permits
- Tip 250, Best Management Practices in Seattle's Shoreline District
- Director's Rule 7-2007, Determination of Shoreline Residential Setbacks in the Shoreline District
- Director's Rule 34-2006, Pedestrian Bridges in the Conservancy Waterway Shoreline Environment
- Director's Rule 9-2003, Exemption from Shoreline Program Permit Requirements
- Director's Rule 16-99, Nonconforming Floating Homes beyond the Lake Union Construction Limit Line
- Director's Rule 17-99, Verification of Shoreline District Boundary Line
- Director's Rule 22-96, New Dolphins Not Requiring Use or Building Permits
- Director's Rule 38-96, Exemptions from Shoreline Substantial Development Permits for Contract Purchasers
- Director's Rule 20-88, Property Located Partly within and Partly out of the Shoreline District
To help explain the permitting requirements and process for replacing a floating on water residence or house barge, SDCI has drafted Tip 229A, Shoreline Permitting Requirements for Floating on Water Residences (FOWR) and House Barges. Please see below for a link to review this document.
Additionally, SDCI is amending the definition of "vessel" in the Shoreline Master Program to address a Seattle Hearing Examiner's decision that ruled that an existing vessel with a broken engine is not a vessel. The SEPA determination for this proposed amendment is now available and links to the decision and supporting documents are included below. We're accepting public comments through July 30, 2018; see the SEPA notice for instructions on how to comment.