Department of Planning and Development – Shoreline Master Program Update

The DPD (Department of Planning and Development) is revising the 22 year old Shoreline Master Program (SMP). From the DPD website…

The SMP constitutes the policies and regulations governing development and uses on and adjacent to marine and freshwater shorelines. This includes the waters of Puget Sound, Lake Washington, Lake Union/ Ship Canal, Duwamish River, Green Lake, as well as associated wetlands and floodplains. These policies and regulations affect land uses, structure bulk and setbacks, public access requirements, bulkheads, docks, piers, and construction practices.

These policies will directly affect the business on and around Lake Union and the Ship Canal. Development and re-development guidlines will be changing and can directly affect both businesses and residential property within the jurisdiction of the SMP. The three primary goals being targeted are listed below. From my understanding, these changes can have sweeping affects and can negatively impact certain businesses and residential properties. I strongly recommend public attendance of the Citizen Advisory Committee for those that would like to understand what is happening and to have their voices heard by the DPD. Schedules for the meetings are found in the above link.

1. Preferred Shoreline Uses: The SMA establishes preferred uses in order to prioritize water-oriented uses and ensure that land uses are appropriate for the environmental context.

2. Environmental Protection: The SMA requires protections for shoreline natural resources, including “…the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the water of the state and their aquatic life…” to ensure no net loss of environmental function.

3. Public Access: The SMA promotes public access to the water by mandating inclusion of a public access element in local SMPs and requiring provisions to ensure that new development maintains public access features.