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Shoreline Master Program - Periodic Review

Latest News - Shoreline Master Program Update Has Been Adopted

The City Council has adopted Ordinance No. 28612 concerning the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update, as a part of the 2019 Amendment package, as recommended by the Planning Commission with input from the State Department of Ecology (DOE), on September 24, 2019.  The adopted updates to the SMP will become effective upon approval by the DOE.  Posted below is the ordinance:

  • Ordinance 28612 Shoreline Master Program Update (September 24, 2019) 
  • The City Council's reviews of the Planning Commission's recommendations included a study session on August 13, a public hearing on August 20, a post-hearing study session on August 27, the first reading of ordinances on September 17, as well as briefings to individual Council Members by Planning staff during August-September 2019.

     

    The following segment - Joint Public Hearing, May 15, 2019 - previously posted on this web page is being kept for documentation purposes, because it represents the last major milestone of the Planning Commission's review process. 

     

    Joint Public Hearing, May 15, 2019

    The City of Tacoma and the State Department of Ecology (DOE) will conduct a Joint Public Hearing on the proposed changes to the Tacoma Shoreline Master Program (SMP).

    Note that the SMP Periodic Review is one of the six applications for the 2019 Annual Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulatory Code ("2019 Amendment").  The Tacoma Planning Commission will conduct two public hearings concerning the 2019 Amendment, i.e., Public Hearing No. 1 on May 1, 2019 pertaining to one application, and Public Hearing No. 2 on May 15, 2019 pertaining to five other applications (including SMP Periodic Review).

     

    Public Hearing No. 2 (on May 15th) will be conducted in five sessions for the five respective topics, with the first session being the Joint Public Hearing with DOE for the topic of SMP Periodic Review.

     

    The notice posted above is for the Public Hearing No. 2, and the document posted above is that section of the 2019 Amendment Public Review Document pertaining to the SMP Periodic Review.  They are also posted below under "Document Library and Presentations."  For more information about the 2019 Amendment and the two public hearings, please visit 2019 Amendment.

      

     

    About the Project

    The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires a periodic review of comprehensively updated Master Programs (SMPs). Local governments must review amendments to the SMA and Ecology rules that have occurred since the master program was last amended, and determine if local amendments are needed to maintain compliance. Local governments must also review changes to the comprehensive plan and development regulations to determine if the shoreline master program policies and regulations remain consistent with them. Local governments should consider during their periodic review whether to incorporate any amendments needed to reflect changed circumstances, new information or improved data.

     

    The schedule to complete these reviews is established for every community by the Legislature. The first round of periodic reviews is due on or before June 30, 2019 for Snohomish, King and Pierce counties and their cities and towns. This will be the first Periodic Review conducted for Tacoma’s SMP since the Comprehensive Update was approved by the Department of Ecology in 2013.

     

     

     

    Document Library and Presentations

    The following documents are available for review:

    Supplemental Information: 

    Background

    The shorelines of Tacoma have great social, ecological, recreational, cultural, economic and aesthetic value. Wapato Lake, the Puyallup River and Tacoma’s marine shoreline areas provide citizens with clean water; deepwater port and industrial sites; habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife including salmon, shellfish, forage fish, and waterfowl; archaeological and historical sites; open space; and areas for boating, fishing, and other forms of recreation. However, Tacoma’s shoreline resources are also limited and irreplaceable. Use and development of shoreline areas must be carefully planned and regulated to ensure that these values are maintained over time.

     

    State Policy

    Recognizing the “inherent harm of uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines,” Washington’s Shoreline Management Act (SMA or Act) (Revised Code of Washington [RCW] 90.48) was passed by the Legislature in 1971 and adopted by the public in a 1972 referendum. The Act specifically states:

     

    “It is the policy of the State to provide for the management of the shorelines of the State by planning for and fostering all reasonable and appropriate uses. This policy is designed to insure the development of these shorelines in a manner, which, while allowing for limited reduction of rights of the public in the navigable waters, will promote and enhance the public interest. This policy contemplates protecting against adverse effects to the public health, the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the waters of the State and their aquatic life, while protecting generally public rights of navigation and corollary rights incidental thereto.”

     

    The statewide interest should be recognized and protected over the local interest in shorelines of statewide significance. To ensure that statewide interests are protected over local interests, the goals, policies and development regulations of the SMP must be consistent with RCW 90.58.020.

     

    Joint Program

    The SMP is a joint local-state regulatory program, with the Department of Ecology providing guidance on how to fully implement the policies of the SMA and local jurisdictions having the primary responsibility for undertaking the public process and tailoring a Program that is context-sensitive. To insure consistency with statewide interests, the Department of Ecology conducts a review of locally-adopted SMPs and must approve locally-adopted SMPs before they can take effect.

     

    Periodic Review

    The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires a periodic review of comprehensively updated Master Programs (SMPs). Local governments must review amendments to the SMA and Ecology rules that have occurred since the master program was last amended, and determine if local amendments are needed to maintain compliance. Local governments must also review changes to the comprehensive plan and development regulations to determine if the shoreline master program policies and regulations remain consistent with them. Local governments should consider during their periodic review whether to incorporate any amendments needed to reflect changed circumstances, new information or improved data.

     

    The schedule to complete these reviews is established for every community by the Legislature. The first round of periodic reviews is due on or before June 30, 2019 for Snohomish, King and Pierce counties and their cities and towns. This will be the first Periodic Review conducted for Tacoma’s SMP since the Comprehensive Update was approved by the Department of Ecology in 2013.

    SMP

    Staff Contact:

    Elliott Barnett

    Senior Planner

    (253) 591-5389

    Email