Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program

Appeals are being heard regarding the constitutionality of Jefferson County's shoreline master program (SMP)  approved in 2014. The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board heard case 14-2-008c and issued a final decision and order in March 2015. The board upheld the SMP as written and dismissed all contested issues.

Petitioners then appealed the board's decision to the state appellate court. The court heard case 47641-0II and issued an opinion in June 2017 also affirming the SMP as written; similarly, all contested issues were rejected. The petitioners then appealed the appellate court decision to the state Supreme Court, who denied review in February 2018. In May 2018, the petitioners filed for review with the U.S. Supreme Court. The court's response is currently pending.

We approve Jefferson County's SMP in 2014

On February 7, 2014, we approved Jefferson County’s comprehensive update to their SMP. It was the first major update of the County's SMP since 1989, representing a significant effort by county elected officials and staff, as well as residents. Under state law, the county's updated SMP took effect February 21, 2014.

Jefferson County’s updated SMP:

  • Increases protection and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat and water quality.
  • Provides more certainty for development.
  • Improves public access and recreational opportunities for more than 500 miles of county shoreline.

Jefferson County shorelines include the marine shorelines in Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and Strait of Juan de Fuca; freshwater shorelines for the Bogachiel, Dosewallips, Duckabush, Hoh, and Quilcene rivers; and many other lake and stream shorelines. The county’s SMP is designed to maintain ecological functions and to support restoration activities while allowing reasonable and appropriate development.

On January 26, 2011, we provided Jefferson County with required and recommended changes to their proposed update submitted to us in March 2010. The changes were based on our review whether or not the proposed update complies with state laws and rules. A public comment period was held from April 12 through May 11, 2010. One required change was to allow commercial marine Atlantic salmon net-pen aquaculture because we found insufficient evidence regarding the county’s prohibition.

We used mail and email to notify interested parties of the public comment period and held an open house and public hearing April 20, 2010, in Port Townsend. We also issued a news release and legal ad to encourage public participation and comment. Approximately 250 interested parties attended the open house and hearing. We received approximately 340 written or verbal comments. The public’s comments and county’s responses have been incorporated into a responsiveness summary.


Documents related to approval

Note: All documents are PDF

Locally adopted shoreline master program

Copies of the above documents are available by contacting Michelle McConnell.