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Shoreline Master Programs


SMP Guidelines (Chapter 173-26 WAC, Part III)

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What are the Guidelines?

The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Guidelines (Chapter 173-26 WAC, Part III) are state standards that cities and counties must meet when writing and implementing local shoreline programs. The Guidelines translate the broad policies of the Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58.020) into standards for regulation of shoreline uses (Shoreline Planners Toolbox).

The Act requires us to periodically review and update the Guidelines. Related chapters also are typically amended at the same time to improve clarity and consistency across the rules.

Guidelines History

September 2017: We amended the Guidelines and completed housekeeping amendments to chapters 173-18, 20, 22 and 27 WAC. The amendments:

  • Clarify the process to comply with the Act’s periodic review requirement (RCW 90.58.080(4)).
  • Create an optional joint public review process related to Shoreline Master Program amendments by providing a new option for a consolidated local and state comment period.
  • Ensure consistency with statutory changes and capture any administrative updates since the last rule revision.

March 2011: The Guidelines were last updated in March 2011. We amended the Guidelines in response to a 2007 statute (RCW 43.21A.681) that directed us to “adopt, by rule” guidance on geoduck aquaculture with advice from a Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee. We also completed additional housekeeping amendments to chapters 173-18, 20, 22, 26 and 27 WAC at that time.

January 2004: We completed a major overhaul of the Guidelines in 1995-2004 based on an extensive and complicated process that included a negotiated settlement agreement. The overhaul provided the foundation for comprehensive updates of Shoreline Master Programs statewide.

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