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Shoreline Master Programs

Archives - SMP Guidelines negotiated rule adoption process 2001-2003

After the Shorelines Hearings Board invalidation order in late August 2001, State Attorney General Christine Gregoire, Ecology Director Tom Fitzsimmons, Association of Washington Business President Don Brunell and Washington Environmental Council President Jay Manning expressed interest in seeking a settlement on the guidelines. The parties also filed separate appeals to protect their legal standing in the case. 

In a brief statement, the four said: “We want to try to resolve this issue without expensive, divisive and time-consuming litigation. We believe there are some misperceptions about the guidelines that need to be clarified, and we are willing to attempt to resolve our differences over other provisions. It is in everyone’s interests to have clear, reasonable, workable guidelines in place as soon as possible that carry out Washington’s Shoreline Management Act.”

Former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Guy and Bill Ross served as consultants with the negotiation effort.

The negotiations covered proposed statutory changes to the implementation schedule, a proposal for funding, and the formal settlement language.

Early settlement discussion focused on "governing principles." The principles were intended to articulate a set of foundational concepts that underpin the guidelines, guide the development of the planning policies and regulatory provisions of master programs, and provide direction to Ecology in reviewing and approving master programs.

The primary areas the negotiators focused on were:

  • Restoration
  • Territorial jurisdiction of the guidelines
  • Cumulative impacts and full build-out scenarios
  • Adaptive management
  • Ecological functions
  • Buffers and vegetation management
  • Bulkheads and erosion control structures

The final outcome of the negotiations was a new draft of the shoreline management guidelines that Ecology is proposing for formal rule-making during the summer of 2003. In addition, all parties to the mediation jointly proposed a successful package of legislation in the 2003 session that changed implementation deadlines contained in the Shoreline Management Act, and obtained state funding, beginning with $2 million over the next two years, to help local governments update their local shoreline master programs.

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