Ecology review of permits
Ecology has two duties relative to permits:
- Ecology is the repository of all locally approved and
denied shoreline permits for the entire state.
- Ecology conducts substantive review on conditional use
permits (CUPs) and variances to check for compliance with
the policies and procedural requirements of the local SMP
Shoreline Management Act (Chapter 90.58 RCW).
Mailing a permit to Ecology
After all local permit appeals are complete and the permit
documents are amended to incorporate any resulting changes,
local governments must mail the permit to the appropriate
office and the
Office of the Attorney General. Mailing must be done using
return receipt requested mail. [RCW 90.58.140]
The permit and documentation of the final local decision
should be mailed together with:
Ecology's substantive review
Ecology asks the following questions during its review of
local shoreline permits:
- Is the proposal
- Is the proposal
- What SMA water body is the proposal in, on, under, or
- What shoreline environment(s) is the proposal in?
- Is the proposal in a wetland, floodway, or 100-year
- Is the proposal in or on
Shorelines of Statewide Significance (SSWS)?
- Did the local government issue all required shoreline
permits for the proposal (SDP, CUP, VAR)?
- If the application is for a
variance, does it meet the criteria?
- Was the proposal assigned the proper Shoreline Master
Program use category or categories?
- Does the proposal comply with all applicable SMA and SMP
Twenty-one day appeal period starts with
“the date of filing"
The twenty-one appeal period is defined in
RCW 90.58.140(6) and starts with the date of filing, which
Substantial development permits (SDPs): Date that
Ecology receives the local government's decision.
Conditional use permits (CUPs) or
variances (VAR): Date that Ecology’s decision is
transmitted to the local government.
- An SDP simultaneously mailed with a CUP or VAR to
Ecology: Date is the CUP or VAR date of filing.
Appeals may be filed with the state
Hearings Board within the twenty-one day appeal period. If
none are filed, the applicant may begin the permitted activity.
Procedures at the end of the appeal process
If a shoreline permit is appealed, Ecology rules
[WAC 173-27-130(10)] require certain "housekeeping" steps at the end
of the appeal process. The following steps ensure that the local and
state files are complete and accurate, and prevent new opportunities for
- If the project has been modified during the legal review
proceeding, Ecology shall provide plans or text to
the local government that clearly indicate the final
- Ecology must be send a copy of the final order to
the local government.
- The local government must reissue the permit
accordingly and submit a copy of the reissued permit and
supporting documents to Ecology for completion of the file
on the permit.
For more information
shoreline permit reviewer serving your town, city, or county.
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