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Shoreline Master Programs

Burlington Shoreline Master Program: Comprehensive Update

On June 10, 2013, the Department of Ecology approved City of Burlington’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. Per RCW 90.58.090, the effective date of Burlington’s shoreline program is June 25, 2013, 14 days after Ecology provided notice to the city that their shoreline program was approved.

Burlington’s comprehensive update revises the existing shoreline program, including the goals, policies, regulations, shoreline environment designations, and administrative procedures and definitions. The city originally adopted the Skagit County shoreline program on July 15, 1981. At that time, only a corner of the city abutted the Skagit River. Currently, the city has roughly three miles of river shoreline. This program update is needed to address land use changes that have occurred along the city’s shorelines over the past 32 years. This update will also provide consistency between the shoreline program and the environmental protection and land use management policies and practices of the city’s Critical Areas Ordinance, Comprehensive Plan, Flood Management Plan, and the National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinion.

On May 8, 2013, Ecology provided Burlington with required and recommended changes to the city’s proposed update submitted to Ecology in January 2013. These changes were needed to meet state law and requirements for shoreline program updates. On June 5, Ecology received notice that Burlington had accepted all the changes, which enabled Ecology to approve the update.

The changes are based on Ecology’s review of whether or not the proposed update complies with state laws and rules, and a public comment period held February 13 – March 15, 2013. Ecology used mail and email to notify those who had expressed prior interest. Ecology also issued a news release to encourage public participation and comment. Ecology received one written comment. The comment came from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. The agency suggested additional language that clarified regulatory requirements for the protection of cultural resources. The comment and city’s responses have been incorporated into Attachment A: Findings and Conclusions and Attachment B: Required Changes (below).

This approval puts the final stamp on a significant effort that increases protection and restoration of habitat and water quality, provides more certainty for development, and improves public access and recreational opportunities.

Documents related to approval

Note: All documents are PDF

Locally adopted program

Background documents

Paper copies of the above documents are available by contacting Bob Fritzen (see below), Washington State Department of Ecology.


  • Per RCW 90.58.190(2) and RCW 36.70A.290, an interested party may file an appeal with the Growth Management Hearings Board within 60 days of the publication date of Ecology’s written notice of final action.
  • Ecology plans to publish the notice of final action in the Skagit Valley Herald legal ads on June 28, 2013.

Staff contact

Bob Fritzen
Washington State Department of Ecology
Bellingham Field Office
1440 10th Street, Suite 102
Bellingham, Washington 98225
(360) 715-5207

For more information

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