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Shoreline Master Programs

Permit revisions

Under State rules [WAC 173-27-100], a revision to an approved permits is required "whenever the applicant proposes substantive changes to the design, terms or conditions of a project from that which is approved in the permit…”

Changes must be within the scope and intent of the original permit. Revisions may be authorized after expiration of the permit as long as the proposed change does not constitute “substantial development.”

What is a "substantive change"?

"Substantive changes" are those that materially alter the project in a manner that relates to its conformance to the terms & conditions of the permit, the SMP and/or the policies & provisions of the Shoreline Management Act.

If the proposed revision is not “substantive”, a permit revision is not necessary.

What is "within the scope & intent of the original permit"?

  • No additional over-water construction except that pier, dock or float may be increased by 500 square feet or 10%
  • Ground area coverage and height may be increased 10%
  • Revision will not authorize exceeding of dimensional standards (height, lot coverage, setback) except as authorized by variance granted with original permit
  • Revised landscaping is consistent with SMP and permit conditions
  • There is no change in use from that authorized by the original permit
  • No adverse environmental impacts will occur.
If the original permit involved a CUP or variance, Ecology must also approve the revision.

If the sum of the revision and any previous revisions exceed the revision criteria, a new permit is required. See WAC 173-27-100(4).

The Shoreline Hearings Board has determined that, the "intent" of a permit relates to the type of land use authorized, while the "scope" of the permit relates to the actual substantial development(s) which may be constructed (see SHB Case No. 216). The "scope" of the original permit is defined as the development described in sufficient detail in the permit itself, in accompanying documents, or on the accompanying site plans.

Time limits on revised permits

Since a project approval and permit authorizes the finished development indefinitely, an application for permit revision may be considered at anytime, even after the five (or six) year permit expiration time, PROVIDED that the revision procedure may not be used to extend the original time limit for completing the project, but rather as a means to make modifications to the already completed project. This means that if the work necessary to accomplish the revision constitutes "substantial development" then either the original SDP must not have expired or a new SDP is required. There is no limit on the number of revisions allowed for a project, however, the sum of all of the revisions must remain "within the scope and intent of the original permit."

Submitting revised permits to Ecology

Within eight days of the final local government decision, the local government should send to Ecology and the state Attorney General the revised permit (including a revised site plan and text) and a ruling on how the revision is consistent with state rules.

Unless appealed within 21 days of receipt by Ecology, the decision by local government automatically stands.

If the original permit involved a variance or conditional use which was conditioned by Ecology, the revision must be submitted to Ecology. Ecology has fifteen (15) days from receiving the application to send to local government a decision on whether to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the revision.

Effective date and appeals

The revised permit is effective immediately upon final action by local government or, when an Ecology conditioned variance or conditional use is involved, upon final action by Ecology. See WAC 173-27-100(7).

Appeals shall be based only upon questions of noncompliance with what constitutes "within the scope and intent" of the original permit and not the merits of the original permit itself. Construction undertaken based on the revision and not authorized in the original permit is at the applicant's own risk until the expiration of the appeals deadline and until all appeals have been decided. If an appeal proves the revision was not within the scope and intent of the original permit, the decision shall have no bearing on the original permit. See WAC 173-27-100(8).

Appeals must be filed within 21 days of Ecology's receipt of the application or, if an Ecology-conditioned variance or conditional use is involved, within 21 days of the date of transmittal of Ecology's final decision to local government and the applicant.

Notification to "parties of record"

A revised permit does not require new public notice, however, parties of record in the original decision must be notified by local government of their permit action (or Ecology's decision) within eight days. If the changes are not within the original scope and intent, then a new permit application must be filed and new public notice proceedings initiated. See WAC 173-27-100(4).

For more information

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


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