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Shoreline Master Programs

How to get involved in local Shoreline Master Programs

Here are some ways to get involved in your local SMP. Check with Ecology, your town, city, or county to find out all your options.

Find out if your town, city or county is currently updating your local SMP

  • Check Ecology's web page: Status of Local Shoreline Master Programs.
  • Check the Local SMP update schedule to find out the legislative deadline for updating your local SMP. Some towns, cities and counties have finished, others are underway or will be soon.
  • Contact your local planning department and ask about the SMP. Get the contact information for the employee (planner) in charge of the SMP update.
    • Find the phone number in the government pages of your phone book, or visit the website. (List of city and county websites)

If your town, city or county is updating the SMP, sign up for notices

  • Ask to be added to the list of people receiving notices about the SMP.
    • Local governments use this list to send notices about changes, public meetings, review and comment periods, tours, etc.
    • This list is also used by the Washington Department of Ecology to notify the public when an updated SMP is going through final state approval. If you are on the list, you will be notified of this opportunity to review and comment on your local SMP.

Provide input in many ways

  • Below are some common ways local governments solicit public input. Check with your local planner to learn about your specific options.
    • Talk or write to the local planner and informally share what you know about local shorelines.
      • Have you observed wildlife nests or dens? Do you want to revegetate your subdivision’s waterfront? Is there a special fishing spot you’d like better access to? Do you have shoreline photos of historic uses and development?
    • Provide written comments (via letter or email) on draft reports and documents.
      • Make sure you meet the deadline and any other requirements. If you want your comments to be understood, make sure they are clear and specific to the document you are reviewing.
    • Ask about joining a technical advisory committee created by your local government.
      • Local governments seek technical advice from experts in water quality, watersheds, fish and wildlife, geology, and other fields. These experts often work for state and federal agencies – but can also work with local volunteer organizations.
    • Ask about joining a citizen advisory committee created by your local government.
      • This is a long-term, rewarding, volunteer opportunity which may last for 2-3 years. Members of advisory committees represent segments of the larger population rather than just their own interests. They should be good listeners and willing to gather input from their neighbors, businesses, and other community members.
    • Attend citizen advisory and technical committee meetings.
      • Even if you don’t have time to participate on a committee – committee meetings are open to the public and are usually where the bulk of discussion occurs. They are a great way to learn more about shoreline issues and provide input throughout the process.
    • Attend public meetings (e.g. hearings, workshops, open houses).
      • Attending public meetings is a great way to learn and provide input. These events are opportunities to talk one-on-one with the local planner and shoreline experts. Displays or other materials are usually available.

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