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Shoreline Master Programs

Public notice of permit

The SMA gives local government discretion to structure its permit process around a set of minimum requirements established in the act and in state regulations [RCW 90.58.140 and WAC 173-27(110)]. Local administrators should generally follow the procedures for permit processing described in the local master program or permit ordinance. However, should there be a conflict between the provisions of the master program or permit ordinance and the provisions of the Act or regulations, the provisions of the Act and state regulations must be followed as a minimum. A requirement of the master program that requires more than the minimum process specified in the SMA is not in conflict with it as long as the minimum provisions are incorporated.

The SMA does not require that public hearings be held on shoreline development proposals, but many local master programs establish hearing requirements. Hearings can be used to assure that interested citizens are appraised of the development proposal and will have an opportunity to comment on it.

Following correct procedures in processing of permits cannot be overemphasized. Failure to follow the processes outlined in the SMA, state shoreline regulations and the local master program may result in the invalidation of a decision. Local planning and zoning requirements for public notice may differ from the SMA. If you are trying to combine these processes, you must be sure that you meet the SMA's requirements or the shoreline permit process could be invalidated. Far more appeals and court decisions are decided on procedural grounds than on substantive issues.

For more information

Law: RCW 90.58.140
Rule: WAC 173-27(110)

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

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