Seattle’s Shoreline Program OK’d

The Washington Department of Ecology has approved Seattle’s updated shoreline master program that will result in the balanced management of nearly 100 miles of marine, lake and estuarine shorelines throughout the city. 

Seattle’s locally tailored program is designed to minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to enjoy shorelines areas.

Local shoreline master programs are a cornerstone of the state’s Shoreline Management Act, approved by voters in 1971.

Seattle’s program improves stewardship of shorelines by encouraging property owners to incorporate environmental restoration when re-developing shoreline properties. For example, it limits new and replacement docks and piers to the size needed to serve moorage needs. The program also promotes soft-bank erosion control methods rather than construction of new shoreline armoring.

The program recognizes the economic importance of the city’s many maritime industries. In shoreline areas designated for industrial activities it:

  • Allows reduced buffers to accommodate water-dependent and water-related uses and to support the maritime industry;
  • Establishes special development standards to enable maritime industries to conduct water-related or water-dependent operations.