Shoreline Master Program

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Introduction and Overview

Under the Shoreline Managment Act (SMA), each city and county with "shorelines of the state" must prepare and adopt a Shoreline Master Program (SMP) that is based on state laws and rules but tailored to the specific geographic, economic and environmental needs of the community.  The SMP is essentially a combined comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance, and development permit system for shoreline spcific uses. The City of Edmonds completed a comprehensive update of its SMP in June 2017.

The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) applies to shorelines within the City and establishes development standards for shoreline development.   The shoreline areas within the City of Edmonds jurisdiction include Puget Sound, Lake Ballinger, and the tidally influenced portions of the Edmonds Marsh. Shoreline Jurisdiction also applies to upland areas within 200 feet of the shoreline edge (ordinary high water mark) and associated wetlands. 

The SMA requires each city and county to review, and if necessary, revise their SMP at least once every eight years.  The legislature set a staggered schedule that alternates with similar reviews under the Growth Managment Act.  The City of Edmonds is required to complete its SMP periodic update by June 30, 2019.

To find out more about the Shoreline Master Program Periodic Review, see the information contained within each of the tabs below.

For more information, please feel free to contact Kernen Lien via email or by phone at 425-771-0220.

SMP Periodic Review Overview

Shoreline Master Program Periodic Review

The Shoreline Managment Act requires each SMP be reviewed and revised, if needed, on an eight-year schedule established by the Legislature.  Ecology is the regulatory body in charge of overseeing the City's SMP periodic review and also provides technical support and partial funding to prepare SMP periodic reviews.  The City of Edmonds' periodic review must be compelted by June 30, 2019.  The periodic review ensures the SMP stays current with changes in laws and rules, remains consistent with other City of Edmonds' plans and regulations, and is responsive to changed circumstances, new information and improved data.  Ecology's rule outlining procedures for conducting periodic reviews are contained with WAC 173-26-090.


Periodic Review Checklist

Ecology developed a Periodic Review Checklist in order to provide some guidance to jurisdictions conducting their periodic reviews.  The checklist summarizes amendments to state law, rules and applicable updated guidance adopted between 2007 and 2017 that may trigger the need for local SMP amendments during periodic reviews.  The City of Edmonds just completed a comprehensive update of its SMP in June 2017.  This comprehensive update took many years to complete and some recent amendments to the SMA and shoreline guidelines did not get incorpoared in the City's SMP.  Staff has reviewed and completed the periodic review checklist which is available at this link.

In addition to the statutory and regulatory amendments identified in the checklist, staff added the Other Review Elements section to the end of Ecology's checklist to identify a couple of other items that may by amended with this periodic update.  Updates to the SMP may result from a site specific study of the Edmonds Marsh being undertaken by the City of Edmonds.  This study is not likely to be completed by the time the City's periodic review is due, however, it is likely that information will be available to provide an amendment to the Shoreline Inventory and Characterzation document (see the current SMP Documents tab below) with current information on the Edmonds Marsh.  Additionally, staff identified section ECDC 24.80.100 for process clarifications on how a shoreline substantial development review may move from a staff decision process (Type II) to a public hearing process (Type III).

The proposed revisions to Title 24 Edmonds Community Development Code (where the City's SMP is codified) identfied in the Preriodic Review Checklist are available for review at this link.  A draft memorandum describing the current conditions of the Edmonds Marsh prepared as an amendment to the Shoreline Inventory and Characterization is available for review at this link.


Work Program

On May 22, 2018, the Edmonds' City Council passed Resolution No. 1411 which adopted a Shoreline Master Program Work Program and Public Participation Plan for this periodic review.  The SMP Periodic Review Work Program provides a schedule of tasks associated with the periodic review to ensure completion by the June 30, 2019 deadline.  


State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Review

SEPA review of the proposed amendments to the Shoreline Master Program resulting from this periodic review is required.   The SEPA checklist for the periodic review is available at this link.  The City of Edmonds has determined that the proposed amendments will not have a significant impact and have issued a Determination of Nonsignificance.  The SEPA comments period extends through December 3, 2018 and the City's SEPA threshold determination may be appealed by December 10, 2018.  


Public Participation Plan

The Public Participation Plan describes the steps that the City of Edmonds will take to provide opportunities for public engagement and public comment, as well as City contact information and web addresses.  This plan is in addition to any other minimum requirements for public participation required by Chapter 20.06 ECDC.  This plan is a working document and will be adjusted as needed to provide for the greatest and broadest public participation.

A public hearing on the proposed SMP revisions identfied in this periodic review will be held before the Planning Board on December 12, 2018 at 7 P.M. in the Council Chambers located at 250 5th Avenue North in Edmonds.


Planning Board Review

The Planning Board will be reviewing proposed amendments identified in the Periodic Review Checklist during summer and fall of 2018.  Links to the Planning Board agendas where the SMP periodic review is being discussed will be provided below.  These Planning Board agendas contain staff memorandums on the periodic review as well as the proposed code amendments. 

Planning Board Meeting Date     Planning Board Agenda Link     Approved Minutes
June 27, 2018   Agenda   Minutes
August 8, 2018   Agenda   Minutes 


Current SMP Documents


SMP Regulations - Title 24 Edmonds Community Development Code

Title 24 of the Edmonds Community Development Code contains the regulations and standards for shoreline uses and modification within in the City's shoreline jurisdiction.  Title 24 is divided into ten parts, consistent with the material to be included within a master program as established in Chapter 173-26 WAC.  In addition to regulations for development and modifications within shoreline jurisdiction, Title 24 also contains policies for Edmonds' shoreline jurisdiction that were developed by the Citizens Technical Advisory Committee and administrative provisions for shoreline permitting.  Title 24 contains two appendices.  Appendix A contains the Shorline Jurisdiction Maps which are provided in the next section below.  Appendix B is the version of the City's critical area regulations that will apply to critical areas within the City's shoreline jurisdiction.


Shoreline Jurisdiction and Shoreline Environmental Designation Maps

The following maps show the City's shoreline jurisdiction and the shoreline environmental designations of the various shoreline areas with the City.  Local governments are required to develop and assign a land use categorization system of shoreline areas as a basis for effective Shoreline Master Programs.  The intent of designating shoreline environment is to encourage development that will enhance the present or desired character the shoreline.  To accomplish this, segments of the shoreline are given an environment designation based on existing development patterns, natural capabilities and limitations, and the aspiration of the local community.  Descriptions of the shoreline environments are contained within Part III of the regulations linked above (ECDC 24.40.000 through ECDC 24.30.080).

A major change over the shoreline jurisdiction identified in the during the SMP update, is that the tidally influenced portions of the Edmonds Marsh (roughly the western half of the marsh west of SR 104) is now considered a shoreline of the state, which means that shoreline jurisdiction extends 200 feet beyond that portion of the marsh.   As a result, a new Urban Mixed Use IV environment was created to regulate development that may occur at Harbor Square and the old UNOCAL site south of the marsh.  


Shoreline Inventory and Characterization

The purpose of the Shoreline Inventory and Characterization Report is to document baseline environmental conditions in the shoreline jurisdiction of the City of Edmonds.  This inventory and characterization provides a basis for updating the City's Shoreline Master Program.  The inventory and characterization helps the City to evaluate ecological functions and values of natural resources in its shoreline jurisdiction, and explore opportunities for conservation and restoration. 


Shoreline Restoration Plan

A significant feature of state guidelines for the SMP update is the requirement that local governments include a real and meaningful strategy to address restoration of shorelines.  Master programs must include goals, policies and actions for restoration of impaired shoreline ecological functions.  The restoration plan is not intended to directly mitigate past or future development impacts on the City's shorelines.  Restoration is intended to improve overall environmental conditions unrelated to upcoming projects planned in the shoreline environment. 


Cumulative Impacts Analysis

A final piece of the SMP is the Cumulative Impacts Analysis.  The Shoreline Master Program Guidelines requires the City to evaluate and consider the cumulative impacts of reasonably foreseeable future development on shoreline ecological functions and other shoreline functions promoted by the Shoreline Management Act.  The purpose of the cumulative impacts analysis is to ensure that the City's SMP includes shoreline policies and regulations that will achieve no net loss of shoreline ecological functions as the SMP is implemented over time. 



Shoreline Management Act Information


Shoreline Management Act

Washington's Shoreline Management Act was passed by the legislature in 1971 and affirmed by voters in 1972.  The Act governs the use and development of Washington's shorelines and creates a unique partnership between local and state government.  The Act strives to achieve responsible shoreline use and development, environmental protection, and public access.  Local governments develop master programs based on teh Act and State guidance, and the state ensures local programs consider statewide public interests. 

For more information on the Shoreline Managment Act on Shoreline Master Programs visit the Department of Ecology's Shoreline Master Programs web page at this link.


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