Pierce County Shoreline Master Program: locally initiated amendment

On Oct. 24, 2023, we provided Pierce County (County) with required and recommended changes to their proposed locally initiated amendment of their Shoreline Master Program (SMP).

The required and recommended changes are based on our review of whether or not the proposed amendment complies with the state laws and rules, and a public comment period held Feb. 28 to March 30, 2023.  We received comments from 32 different individuals and/or organizations. Comments address arguments both for and against the proposed dock restrictions; restrictions on aquaculture; and fencing regulations.

Our required and recommended changes have been sent to the county for their review and response. The county may agree to these changes or offer alternative language. Final approval will occur when we have reached agreement with the county on language that meets state requirements.


The locally initiated amendment was adopted by Pierce County Council in Dec. 2022. It addresses several separate topics, including:

  • Adding prohibition for new residential piers and docks along approximately 52 miles of marine shoreline.
  • Clarifying permitting requirements for non-commercial aquaculture intended to restore native fish and shellfish stocks.
  • Clarifying fencing allowances within shoreline buffers and setbacks.
  • Updating the SMP's incorporation of Pierce County Code Title 18E, the county's critical areas regulations, to capture the most recent amendments to those regulations and ensure that they apply to shoreline jurisdiction.

Documents for public review and comment