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A Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is a combination of planning and regulatory documents. SMP documents carry out the policies of the Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58) on local shorelines. Local governments are required to prepare SMPs based on the state laws and rules. It is prepared to implement the SMA to prevent harm caused by uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the State's shoreline. Local SMPs are tailored to local geographic and environmental conditions, and existing and future planned development patterns within the shoreline.
harm caused by uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the State's shoreline
The SMP update process balances and integrates objectives and interests of local citizens. Key principles of the SMP include striking a balance among environmental protection, public access and water-oriented uses, and achieving No Net Loss of ecological functions.
No Net Loss
The Shoreline Master Program update process includes preparation of planning, policy and regulatory documents to comply with the State law. It includes the following steps:
The entire Shoreline Master Program (SMP) update process needs to be coordinated with local citizens and interest groups in order to receive input. An SMP and its regulations may impact shoreline uses and properties. Therefore, it is encouraged that property owners and citizens participate in this process to voice their opinion about the future of their shoreline.
Under the provisions of new Shoreline Master Program (SMP), existing single-family homes are grandfathered. New developments seeking to receive permit after the adoption of the SMP will have to comply with the new program and regulations.
The new environmental protection standard for updated shoreline master programs is no-net-loss of shoreline ecological functions. While restoration of degraded areas is encouraged, this does not mean all shoreline areas are required to be made pristine or returned to pre-settlement conditions. Local governments are required to inventory current shoreline conditions, including identifying existing ecological processes and functions that influence physical and biological conditions.
no-net-loss of shoreline ecological functions
When a shoreline program is adopted, existing ecological conditions on the ground must be protected while development of shoreline areas is continued in accordance with adopted regulations. This is accomplished by avoiding or minimizing the introduction of impacts to ecological functions that result from new shoreline development.