City proposes revised shoreline regulations – first major update since 1987
Today the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development published proposed changes to Seattle’s Shoreline Master Plan. The update, which is mandated by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act, revises city regulations for Seattle’s extensive shorelines, including along the Puget Sound and Elliott Bay, Duwamish River, Lake Union/Ship Canal, Green Lake and Lake Washington, and is the first major update since 1987.
In developing the proposed changes, over the past several years City staff have worked with shoreline residents, business owners and environmental groups; convened a Citizen Advisory Committee; and held visioning workshops in the community. Guided by the Shoreline Management Act, the current regulations were revised with the following goals:
- Preferred Shoreline Uses: establish preferred uses in order to prioritize water-oriented uses and ensure that land uses are appropriate for the environmental context
- Environmental Protection: protect shoreline natural resources, including the land, vegetation, wildlife, water and aquatic life, in order to ensure no net loss of environmental function
- Public Access: promote public access to the water and require provisions to ensure that new development maintains public access features
Seattle’s existing shoreline regulations already set standards to protect the shoreline environment, and the proposed changes seek to improve and clarify those standards. The biggest change in general guidance is the goal to ensure no net loss of ecological functions. Shoreline regulations extend 200 feet inward from the shoreline, as well as applying to associated wetlands and floodplains.
Included in the proposed revised regulations:
- Prohibiting additional, new floating homes
- Continuing current regulations that allow existing floating homes to be maintained, re-built, replaced, and expanded within existing development standards
- Limiting the number of liveaboards at marinas – based on the current Port of Seattle arrangement at Shilshole Bay Marina
- Increasing shoreline setbacks for new residential development from 25 feet to 35 feet
- Prohibiting new hard shoreline bulkheads unless there is the threat of water undermining a principle structure or substantial accessory structures within three years that cannot be avoided through less intrusive methods
- Clarifying the use of shoreline environment for some non-water dependant uses when supporting water-dependant businesses
- Improving public access to the shoreline through coordinated public access planning, and employing alternative means for meeting public access requirements along Lake Union, the Central Waterfront and Duwamish shorelines through public access plans
A public meeting to discuss the proposed changes will be scheduled for early March.
Written comments are being sought through March 21, 2011. Please send your written comments to Margaret Glowacki at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the following address:
City of Seattle – DPD
700 Fifth Ave. Suite 2000
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019
For more information, including the Director’s report and proposed regulations, go to: