Shoreline management in King County, Washington
King County's beauty is no doubt characterized by its bounty of water bodies. King County has nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline along major lakes and rivers and Vashon-Maury Island. These shorelines provide habitat for fish and wildlife, places for public enjoyment and space for wide-ranging waterfront land uses.
2019 Shoreline Master Program Periodic Review
In fall 2018, King County began a periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP), as required by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act. This review includes evaluation of King County's current shoreline regulations, and development of recommended amendments. The County intends to adopt the updated program in 2019. See the Public Notice of Intent to Amend .
There will be public outreach and engagement throughout the process, including opportunities to comment on the update and the proposed amendments, as detailed in the Public Participation Plan . A public comment period on the draft amendments was held in November 2018. The proposal will be refined based on those public comments and transmitted to the King County Council in early 2019 for review, amendment, and adoption in spring 2019. The Council’s process will include additional public comment opportunities, including a formal public hearing on the proposed amendments. Updated information about the periodic review, including schedules and opportunities for involvement will be posted on this page.
Proposed Changes to the SMP
King County's periodic review of its SMP is not a major update of the SMP like the County adopted in 2013. Its purpose is to ensure the SMP is consistent with changes in state law. Proposed changes include:
- Updates that align the SMP with state regulations, as shown in the Washington State Department of Ecology Periodic Review Checklist ;
- Restrictions in the use of net pens in Quartermaster Harbor . This is part of the King County Executive's Clean Water, Healthy Habitat agenda.
During this process King County also would like to have a preliminary discussion with residents about how to address sea level rise risks and hazards as part of the upcoming 2020 Comprehensive Plan update. Since this is a topic of interest to many shoreline property owners, it is being included with the SMP outreach.
To learn more about the proposed changes, please explore the following links below:
- Draft Proposed Ordinance
- Plain Language Summary of the Proposed Ordinance
- Attend a public meeting on November 17 from 10 am to 12 pm at Vashon High School (9600 SW 204th St, Vashon, WA 98070 )
- Explore the interactive Storymap
Existing Shoreline Master Program
On January 14, 2013, the Washington Department of Ecology gave final approval to an update to King County’s Shoreline Master Program. The modified program is in effect as of January 28, 2013. The Shoreline Master Program consists of the following elements:
- Goals and Policies - Chapter 6 of the King County Comprehensive Plan.
- Development regulations – the majority of the new regulations have been incorporated into King County Code Chapter 21A.25.
- List of King County Shorelines (171 Kb pdf)
- Supplemental materials
About the Shoreline Master Program
- Fact sheets
- Shoreline ecology
- Public Trust Doctrine
- Public access and recreation
- Land use
- Shoreline history
- Example of historical change
- Glossary of terms
- Public survey findings
- Dept. of Local Services - Permits
- Dept. of Natural Resources and Parks
- King County Parks and Recreation
News and announcements
Oct. 26, 2019
External report, KUOW
Rising Northwest waters bring tough choice: fight or flight
Oct. 20, 2017
External article, Seattle Times
Report: Rising sea levels could flood Seattle-area homes by end of century