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Shoreline Master Programs

Phase 5: Local approval

Task 5.1: Assemble complete draft SMP | Task 5.2: Complete SEPA review and documentation | Task 5.3: Provide Growth Management Act (GMA) 60-day notice o intent to adopt | Task 5.4: Hold public hearing | Task 5.5: Prepare a responsiveness summary | Task 5.6: Approve SMP and submit to Ecology | Task 5.7: Demonstrate how Phase 5 complies with the Guidelines

Each local government developing a new Shoreline Master Program (SMP) or amending an existing one must conduct a local review and approval process as provided in the Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58) and Ecology’s procedural rules (WAC 173-26, Part II). Because the steps are the same for both new SMPs and amendments, and new SMPs are rare, the term “amendment” is used here to refer to the materials being submitted to Ecology for state approval, whether they are for establishing a new SMP or amending an existing one.

The local government must submit a locally approved SMP amendment to Ecology for state review and approval. The local SMP is not in effect until the amendment is approved by Ecology.

Local governments should work collaboratively with Ecology throughout their local SMP process. Close collaboration can improve the alignment of the local SMP with state requirements and save valuable time and resources once the SMP amendment is submitted to the state for approval.

Task 5.1: Assemble complete draft SMP

The local government must assemble a complete proposed SMP amendment and submit it to Ecology for informal review prior to local approval, together with supporting documents (Tasks 5.6 and 5.7). The amendment shall include:

  1. General goals, policies and regulations
  2. Environment designations
  3. Shoreline use and modifications policies, regulations and standards
  4. Draft administrative provisions
  5. A clear description of final SMP jurisdiction boundaries
  6. Copies of any regulations or codes adopted by reference

Local governments also must use a process to assure that proposed regulations and administrative actions do not unconstitutionally infringe on private property rights. Please refer to State of Washington, Attorney General’s Advisory Memorandum, Avoiding Unconstitutional Takings of Private Property. This process must be documented in the SMP Checklist. No other product is required by Ecology.

Task 5.2: Complete SEPA review and documentation

Local governments should conduct and document SEPA review pursuant to chapter RCW 43.21C, the State Environmental Policy Act. Most local governments submit a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) or Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS). Some local governments have prepared Environmental Impact Statements.

Task 5.3: Provide Growth Management Act (GMA) 60-day notice of intent to adopt

Upon conclusion of Tasks 5.1 and 5.2, local governments planning under the GMA must notify Ecology and the Department of Commerce of its intent to submit a locally approved SMP amendment to Ecology as least 60 days in advance of final local approval, pursuant to RCW 36.70A.106 and WAC 173-26-100(5).

Task 5.4: Hold public hearing

Local governments must hold at least one public hearing prior to local approval of the draft SMP, consistent with the requirements of WAC 173-26-100. The names and mailing addresses of all interested parties providing comment shall be compiled. Local governments must publish notice of the hearing in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the area where the hearing is to be held.

Task 5.5: Prepare a responsiveness summary

Prior to approval of the draft SMP by the local elected body (e.g. city council, county commissioners), the local government must prepare a summary responding to all comments received during the public hearing and the public comment period, discussing how the draft SMP addresses the issues identified in each comment.

Task 5.6: Approve SMP and submit to Ecology

The local elected body must approve the draft SMP. Local governments should then assemble the complete draft SMP (Task 5.1) and submit the locally-approved SMP and supporting documents to Ecology. Deliverables must include two hard copies and one digital copy in Microsoft Word format of the following, with accompanying maps:

  1. A complete, locally approved SMP including maps, with relevant supporting documentation (Tasks 5.1 and 5.7)
  2. SEPA products: checklist, MDNS or EIS; SEPA notice (Task 5.3)
  3. Evidence of compliance with GMA notice requirements (Task 5.4)
  4. Public hearing record (Task 5.5)
  5. Response to comments received (Task 5.6)

WAC 173-26-110 requires the following as part of the submittal package:

  • A signed resolution or ordinance documenting local approval of the submittal.
  • Specific text amending or replacing the existing master program.
  • Amended environment designation maps.
  • A summary of proposed amendments and explanation text, staff reports, records of hearing and other materials.
  • Evidence of compliance with SEPA.
  • Copies of all public, agency and tribal comments received and a record of names and addresses of interested parties involved in the local government process.

Task 5.7: Demonstrate how Phase 5 complies with the Guidelines

Local governments must fill in the SMP Submittal Checklist for the tasks completed under Phase 5.


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