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Shoreline Master Programs

Milton Shoreline Master Program: Comprehensive Update

On December 4, 2012, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) approved Milton’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. The comprehensive update revises the existing shoreline program, including the policies, regulations, shoreline environment designations, and administrative procedures and definitions. This approval puts the final stamp on a significant effort incorporating the City’s existing Critical Area Code, providing more certainty for development, and planning for increases of public access and recreational opportunities.

This is the first update of Milton’s shoreline program since 1996. The City’s shorelines include Surprise Lake and approximately one-half mile of Hylebos Creek. The updated program incorporates the critical areas ordinance, aligns the zoning code with proposed environment designations, and complements the existing comprehensive plan. The update also provides incentives for residential and commercial uses, including reduced setbacks and increased impervious surfaces in exchange for vegetation.

On September 18, 2012, Ecology provided Milton with required and recommended changes to the City’s proposed update that was submitted to Ecology in May 2012. The changes were needed to ensure the program met state law and requirements for shoreline programs. The City responded to the changes on November 30, accepting all the required changes and most of the recommended changes.

The changes were partially based on a public comment period held June 11 through July 11, 2012. Ecology used mail and email to notify interested parties of the public comment period. Ecology also issued a news release to encourage public participation and comment. Ecology received a total of seven comments – five from an organization and two from an individual citizen. Comments focused on the jurisdictional authority of the Shoreline Management Act regarding Surprise Lake and regulations regarding archeological and historical resources. On July 16, 2012, Ecology sent a summary of comments to the City for their response. The public comments and City’s response have been incorporated into Attachment A: Findings and Conclusions for Proposed Amendments.

Effective Date

Per RCW 90.58.090, the effective date of Milton’s updated shoreline program is December 18, 2012, 14 days after Ecology provided notice to the City that their program update was approved.


  • 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 Tacoma News Tribune legal ads on December 17, 2012.

Documents related to approval

Note: All documents are PDF.

Locally approved shoreline master program, April 16, 2012 (1,486 KB)

Background documents

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

Staff contact

Sarah Lukas
Washington State Department of Ecology
Southwest Regional Office
PO Box 47775
Olympia, Washington 98504-7775
(360) 407-7459

For more information

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