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Shoreline Master Programs

King County Shoreline Master Program: Comprehensive Update

On January 14, 2013, the Department of Ecology approved King County's Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. 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. Per RCW 90.58.090, the effective date of King County's shoreline program is January 28, 2013, 14 days after Ecology provided notice to King County that their shoreline program was approved.

King County's shoreline program has not been comprehensively updated since 1978. Shorelines in King County include nearly 2,000 miles of marine, lake, and stream shorelines. The comprehensive update revises the existing shoreline program, including the goals, policies, regulations, shoreline environment designations, and administrative procedures and definitions.

King County's updated shoreline program:

  • Creates eight shoreline classifications to fit King County's varied shorelines.
  • Protects shorelines next to existing aquatic reserves.
  • Includes a restoration plan showing where and how voluntary improvements in water and upland areas can enhance the local shoreline environment.

On September 14, 2012, the Department of Ecology provided King County with required and suggested changes to the County’s proposed update that was submitted to Ecology in December 2011. The changes were needed to meet state law and requirements for shoreline program updates. On December 27, 2012, King County notified Ecology that they were accepting all the required and suggested changes.

The changes required by Ecology are based on the state’s review of whether or not the proposed update complies with state laws and rules, and a public comment period held February 14, 2012 – March 16, 2012. 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 total of 25 individual comments from one organization and six individual citizens. Comments focused on a wide variety of topics including shoreline buffers, shoreline environment designations, water quality, and climate change.

On March 22, 2012, Ecology sent a summary of comments to the County for their response. The public comments and King County's responses may be found in Attachment D: Summary of Public Comments (below).  

Documents related to approval

Note: All documents are PDF.

Locally adopted SMP


King County Ordinance No. 16985, November 30, 2010 (10,321 KB)

Chapter 21A.25 Shorelines, December 2010 (394 KB)
Code Sections Incorporated by Reference, April 2011 (800 KB)

Shoreline Designation Maps, August 2011

Cumulative Impact Assessment, September 2010 (330 KB)
Public Access Plan, September 2010 (77 KB)
Protection and Restoration Plan, September 2010 (775 KB)
Technical Appendix Volume 1, Inventory and Characterization, May 2007 (1,685 KB)

Paper copies of the above documents are available by contacting David Radabaugh, Washington State Department of Ecology (see 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 Seattle Times legal ads on January 25, 2013.

Staff contact

David Radabaugh
Washington State Department of Ecology
Northwest Regional Office
3190 160th Avenue SE
Bellevue, Washington 98008-5452
(425) 649-7000

For more information

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