Shoreline Master Programs photo

Shoreline Master Programs

Appeals of permits

Local appeal process

Local shoreline master programs usually contain provisions for a local appeal process. The local appeal process may handle appeals of the permit action (granting, denial, rescission) and appeals of interpretations of SMP rules and policies. Local appeals must be exhausted before a permit can be accepted by Ecology and before turning to the state appeals process.

State appeal process

Any person or organization may appeal the granting, denial, or rescinding of a shoreline permit to the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB). Visit the SHB web site for detailed guidance on how to file a request for review. See especially the document "Your Right to Be Heard."

The SMA created the Shorelines Hearings Board as a "quasi-judicial body" to hear appeals by aggrieved parties on permits, and to hear local government appeals of Ecology decisions on SMPs. The Shorelines Hearings Board is composed of six members: three members of the state pollution control hearings board; one member appointed as a representative of the Association of Washington Cities; one member representing the Washington State Association of Counties; and a representative of the Commissioner of Public Lands.

The request for review must be filed within twenty-one days of the “date of receipt” as defined in RCW 43.21B.001 and RCW 90.58.140(6).

Substantial Development Permit (SDP) date of receipt is date the SDP applicant receives Ecology’s written notice that Ecology received the local SDP decision.

Conditional Use Permit and Variance (CUP & VAR) date of receipt is the date local government or permit applicant receives Ecology’s written decision on the CUP or VAR.

Appeals procedures are similar to but less formal than court actions. Ecology and the Attorney General have the right to appeal local permit decisions to the Board at their discretion; all such appeals are also heard by the Board. Ecology and the Attorney General may also intervene in any SHB case to represent the interests of the state and protect the integrity of the SMA.

The SHB may remand a permit that it has reviewed.

See Permit Housekeeping requirements for project subject to appeals.

For more information

Laws: RCW 90.58.180; RCW 90.58.210
Rules: WAC 173-220WAC 461-08

Contact Ecology's shoreline permit reviewer serving your town, city, or county.

Back to Top