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Shoreline Master Programs

Gig Harbor Shoreline Master Program: Comprehensive Update

On December 13, 2013, the Department of Ecology approved Gig Harbor’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. Ecology’s approval puts the final stamp on an effort that increases protection and restoration of habitat and water quality, provides more certainty for development and improves public access opportunities. Per RCW 90.58.090, the effective date of Gig Harbor’s shoreline program is December 27, 2013, 14 days after Ecology provided notice to the city that their shoreline program was approved.

The comprehensive update revises the existing shoreline program, including the goals, policies, regulations, shoreline environment designations, administrative procedures and definitions. Gig Harbor’s updated shoreline program will address future development and uses along the Gig Harbor Bay waterfront and the portion of Henderson Bay currently within city limits. In addition, the updated program will encourage preservation of the historic net sheds and create two unique shoreline designations that recognize the community’s origins: Historic Working Waterfront and City Waterfront.

Gig Harbor is also pre-planning for the urban growth areas located on the Tacoma Narrows, Colvos Passage and the east side of Gig Harbor Bay. The city is not pre-planning for the urban growth areas located along Henderson Bay and Burley Lagoon.

Gig Harbor’s updated program will integrate critical area regulations, encourage softer methods of shoreline stabilization, provide for setbacks and vegetation conservation areas, and encourage restoration consistent with the city’s shoreline restoration plan.

On September 20, 2013, the Department of Ecology provided the City of Gig Harbor with required and recommended changes to the city’s comprehensive update of their Shoreline Master Program (SMP). 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 March 21 – April 22, 2013.

Ecology used mail and email to notify interested parties of the public comment period. Ecology also issued a news release to encourage additional public participation and comment. We received a two letters and one email. Comments focused on a wide variety of topics including aquaculture, consistency with the Gig Harbor’s comprehensive plan, public access, critical area provisions, vegetation conservation and residential development. On May 9, 2013, Ecology sent a summary of comments to the city for their response. The public’s comments and city’s responses have been incorporated into Attachment D: Responsiveness Summary (below).

Documents related to approval

Note: All documents are PDF.

Locally adopted SMP

Background documents

Paper copies of the above documents are available by contacting  Kim Van Zwalenburg, Washington State Department of Ecology (see Staff contact, below).


  • 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 Peninsula Gateway legal ads on January 8, 2014.

Staff contact

Kim Van Zwalenburg
Washington State Department of Ecology
Southwest Regional Office
300 Desmond Drive
Lacey, Washington 98503
(360) 407-6520

For more information

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