DPD is updating Seattle’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP). DPD will release a draft of the proposed updates to the SMP for public review on January 2011.
Mandated by the State Shoreline Management Act, created by citizen referendum in 1972, the SMP 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 Shoreline Management Act establishes three major policy goals that all SMPs are required to achieve:
- Preferred Shoreline Uses: The Shoreline Management Act 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 Act when developed in a manner consistent with protection of the natural environment
- Environmental Protection: The Act 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.
- Public Access: The Act promotes public access to shorelines by mandating inclusion of a public access element in local SMPs and requiring provisions to ensure that new development maintains public access features.
The last comprehensive update of Seattle’s SMP occurred in 1987. The SMP update process is the result of new rules governing shoreline activities and use established by the State Department of Ecology. These rules, among other things, establish new thresholds for evaluating SMPs statewide, including no further reduction in the ecological functioning of the shoreline environment.
In addition to Seattle’s revised draft SMP policies and regulations, DPD has published a Shoreline Characterization Report that describes the current condition of Seattle’s shoreline environment; a report on the citizens of Seattle’s vision for the future of the city’s shorelines; and a report of the Shoreline Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), convened by DPD, who met from May 2008 through June 2009. The CAC provided valuable commentary and observations on the policy issues identified by DPD and others to be addressed in the update of Seattle’s SMP. The CAC’s report summarizes the work of the committee and their thoughts and perspectives on the issues confronting Seattle’s Shoreline District today. The CAC’s report is also available for public review. Additionally, DPD will be conducting a cumulative impact analyses on the proposed regulations and developing a Shoreline Restoration Plan, also required by the State Department of Ecology.
To view Seattle’s draft SMP goals, policies and regulations or to view accompanying reports and learn more about DPD’s Shoreline Master Program update, please visit www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/ShorelineMasterProgramUpdate/ . To request a CD copy of the draft goals, policies and regulations or to ask for additional information, please contact: