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Shoreline Master Programs

Participate in your local Shoreline Master Program

Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs):

  • Are part of local land use plans and regulations.
  • Plan for shoreline use and development, protection and restoration, and public access.
  • Are tailored to local shorelines and needs – respecting that local communities are important users and stewards of their shorelines.
  • Must meet state laws and rules – ensuring shoreline management is in synch statewide, and reflects values held in common by all Washington citizens.
  • Only work well if the public helps create them.

Over 260 towns, cities and counties are required by the Shoreline Management Act to have local programs. Because many of the programs were not fully updated for over 30 years, the 2003 state legislature required local governments to fully (comprehensively) update their shoreline programs. Most updates take 2-3 years to complete. Some updates are already completed, and others are currently underway or will be soon. Check the Status of Local Shoreline Master Programs.

Local development and approval

Public participation is vital to creating good local shoreline programs. Learn how to get involved in comprehensive updates.

State approval and appeals

Ecology must review and approve both the full (comprehensive) updates of local SMPs currently underway, and occasional limited amendments. The state approval process includes a public comment period and may include a public hearing.

Persons and groups may appeal to a state hearings board if they don’t believe the local SMP meets the requirements of the SMA or SMP Guidelines. There are specific times and conditions for appeals.

For more information


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