Washington State Department of Ecology - March 21, 2013

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Ecology starts review of Gig Harbor Shoreline program update, seeks public comment

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking public comment on Gig Harbor’s recently updated shoreline master program.

The proposed shoreline master program combines local plans for future development and preservation with new development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

It will guide construction and development along approximately six miles of city shoreline. These include areas along Gig Harbor Bay within city limits and a small segment on Henderson Bay.  It also pre-plans for Urban Growth Areas located on Gig Harbor Bay, Colvos Passage and the Tacoma Narrows.

Gig Harbor’s locally tailored shoreline program is designed to help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to public lands and waters.

Under Washington’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act, Ecology must review and approve Gig Harbor’s proposed shoreline program before it takes effect. About 195 cities and counties statewide are in the process or soon will be updating or crafting their master programs.

Ecology will accept public comment on Gig Harbor’s proposed shoreline program through April 22. Comments and questions should be addressed to Kim Van Zwalenburg, Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, PO Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775. Email Van Zwalenburg at kim.vanzwalenburg@ecy.wa.gov, or call 360-407-6520.

Gig Harbor’s proposed shoreline program and related documents can be reviewed at:

After the public comment period is done, Ecology may approve the proposed shoreline master program as written, reject it or direct Gig Harbor to modify specific parts. Once approved by Ecology, Gig Harbor’s shoreline program will become part of the overall state shoreline master program.

Gig Harbor’s proposed updated master program:

All of Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update their programs by December 2014. They are following regulations adopted by Ecology in 2003. The regulations resulted from a negotiated settlement among 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology and the courts.

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Media Contacts:

Linda Kent, Ecology media relations, (360) 407-6239, (360) 791-9830 (cell); linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Ecology’s website for Gig Harbor’s proposed shoreline master program (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/mycomments/gigharbor.html)

More about shoreline master programs (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/index.html)

Our Living Shorelines web portal (www.ecy.wa.gov/livingshorelines/index.html)

Ecology's social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)