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Shoreline Master Programs

Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program: Comprehensive Update  

Appeals are being heard regarding the constitutionality of the Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program which was approved in 2014. The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board heard case 14-2-008c and issues a final decision and order in March 2015. The board upheld the SMP as written and all contested issues were dismissed.

Petitioners then appealed the board's decision to the state Court of Appeals. The court heard case 47641-0II and in June 2017 issued an opinion that also affirmed the SMP as written; similarly all issues contested were rejected. The petitioners have appealed the appellate court decision to the state Supreme Court. The court's response is currently pending.

On February 7, 2014, the Department of Ecology approved Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. This is the first major update of Jefferson County’s shoreline master program since 1989. It represents a significant effort on the part of the county’s elected officials, staff and residents. Per RCW 90.58.090, the effective date of Jefferson County’s updated shoreline program is February 21, 2014, 14 days after Ecology provided notice to Jefferson County of the approval.

Jefferson County’s updated program will increase protection and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat and water quality, provide more certainty for development, and improve public access and recreational opportunities for over 500 miles of shoreline. County shorelines include Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and Strait of Juan de Fuca marine shorelines; Hoh, Bogachiel, Quilcene, Dosewallips, and Duckabush River freshwater shorelines; and many lake and stream shorelines. Jefferson County’s program is designed to maintain ecological functions and to support restoration activities, while allowing reasonable and appropriate development.

On January 26, 2011, Ecology provided Jefferson County with required and recommended changes to the county’s proposed update submitted to Ecology in March 2010. The changes were based on Ecology’s review of whether or not the proposed update complies with state laws and rules, and a public comment period held April 12 – May 11, 2010. One required change was to allow commercial finfish net pen aquaculture because Ecology found insufficient evidence for the county’s prohibition of this water-dependent use.

Ecology used mail and email to notify interested parties of the public comment period and held an open house and public hearing April 20, 2010 in Port Townsend. Ecology also issued a news release and legal ad to encourage public participation and comment. Approximately 250 interested parties attended the open house and hearing. Approximately 340 written or verbal comments were received by Ecology. The public’s comments and county’s responses have been incorporated into a Responsiveness Summary.


  • 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 Daily News and Jefferson County Leader legal ads on February 19, 2014.

Documents related to approval

Note: All documents are PDF

Locally adopted shoreline master program

Copies of the above documents are available by contacting Michelle McConnell, Washington Department of Ecology.

Staff contact

Michelle McConnell
Washington State Department of Ecology
Southwest Regional Office
PO Box 47775
Olympia, Washington 98504
(360) 407-6349

For more information

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