— Second draft of recommendations available for comment
Yesterday the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development published proposed changes to Seattle’s Shoreline Master Program. The update, which is mandated by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act, revises city regulations for Seattle’s shorelines, including Lake Washington, Lake Union/Ship Canal, Green Lake, the Duwamish River and the Puget Sound. This is the first major update of the Shoreline Master Program since 1987.
To develop the revision, over the past several years City staff have worked with residents, business owners and environmental groups, including 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 three goals in mind:
- Preferred Shoreline Uses: establishing preferred uses in order to prioritize water-oriented uses and ensure that land uses are appropriate for the environmental context.
- Environmental Protection: protecting shoreline natural resources, including the land, vegetation, wildlife, water and aquatic life, in order to ensure no net loss of ecological functions.
- Public Access: promoting public access to the water and requiring provisions to ensure that new development maintains public access features.
Seattle’s existing shoreline regulations already set standards to encourage water-dependent and water-related uses, provide for public access and to protect the shoreline environment, and the proposed changes seek to improve and clarify those standards. The biggest change is the new requirement from the state is 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 new floating homes and house barges
- Increasing shoreline setbacks for new residential development from 25feet to 35feet
- Prohibiting new hard shoreline bulkheads, such as concrete, unless there is the threat of water undermining a principle structure or substantial accessory structure within three years or the bulkhead is required for conducting water-related business activity
- Clarifying the use of shoreline environment for some non-water dependant uses when supporting water-dependant businesses
- Improving public access to the shoreline by encouraging the connection of public access
Written comments are being sought through December 6th, 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 the Shoreline Master Program Update website.