Shoreline Master Program Guidelines
(Chapter 173-26 WAC, Part III)
Shoreline Management Act: Rulemaking 2015-2017
Ecology is amending rules related to local shoreline master
programs and the Shoreline Management Act (SMA).
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Background and history
The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Guidelines are state standards which
local governments must follow in drafting their shoreline master
programs. The Guidelines translate the broad policies of the Shoreline
Management Act (RCW
90.58.020) into standards for regulation of
shoreline uses. The state legislature directed Ecology in 1995 to update
the guidelines, which had not been revised since 1972 and did not
account for advancements in science and shoreline management practices
nor the recent passage of Washington’s Growth Management Act. Ecology
proposed a first draft in 1999 and adopted a substantially revised draft
in 2000 that was challenged in court.
Then-Governor Gary Locke and former Attorney General
Christine Gregoire cosponsored a year-long mediation effort in
2002 that culminated in a third draft, which was issued for
public comment in July 2002. That proposal had the endorsement
of all of the parties to the lawsuit, including the Association of Washington Business (representing a
coalition of business organizations, cities and counties), the
Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association, the Washington
Environmental Council (WEC) and other environmental
organizations – all of whom were parties to the lawsuit. The
final version was adopted December 17, 2003 and became effective
January 17, 2004.
history of the SMP guidelines
Ecology made additional amendments to the Guidelines between
2003 and 2011 in response to changes in state statute.
In 2011, Ecology amended the Guidelines in response to a 2007
43.21A.681) that directed Ecology to “adopt, by
rule” guidance on geoduck aquaculture with advice from a
Aquaculture Regulatory Committee (SARC). Ecology adopted
amendments to the Guidelines in February 2011 that include new
provisions for commercial geoduck aquaculture. Ecology also
completed additional housekeeping amendments to chapters 173-18,
20, 22, 26 and 27 WAC at that time.
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