Shoreline Master Program Updates sent to King County Council

Committee’s proposed amendments reflect five months of work with property owners

After five months of meetings, discussion and public input, the Metropolitan King County Council’s Environment and Transportation Committee today sent to the full Council proposed updates to the King County Shoreline Master Program, the set of policies and development regulations by which King County protects its shorelines.

“The issues and concerns of the scores of people who testified or sent in written comments are reflected in the Shoreline Master Program that we have sent to the Council,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee. “This proposal is the culmination of nine hearings, including two special meetings at which members of the public were invited to testify and learn more about the proposed updates.”

The Shoreline Master Program is comprised of both policies and regulations. It guides development within the county's shoreline jurisdiction and sets policy that protects the ecological functions within the shoreline while allowing reasonable and necessary use of the shorelines to support the region's economy and provide recreational opportunities.

The Chair’s “striking amendment” modifies the proposal sent to the Council by the County Executive in November 2009. The Chair’s striker, as well as other amendments that may be proposed by Councilmembers, will be considered by the full Council at a public hearing on September 20. Final council action on the Shoreline Master Program is scheduled for September 27. Residents can continue to submit online testimony by emailing their comments to

The Shoreline Master Program was developed pursuant to requirements of the State Shoreline Management Act (“SMA”). Approved by voters in 1972, the SMA requires each county and city to adopt a Shoreline Master Program (“SMP”) and regulations to “prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state's shorelines.”

Adopted in 1978, the County's current SMP has not seen any substantial revisions in three decades. In 2003, the Washington Department of Ecology adopted revised guidelines that govern the content of local SMPs. Under state law, King County is required to adopt an updated SMP that implements the new state guidelines by December 1, 2010.

For more information on the Council’s Shoreline Master Program Update or to submit online testimony, go to:

Read more about this legislation on the King County Council’s LEGISEARCH system at and type in “2009-0609”