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Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program

Appeals are being heard regarding the constitutionality of the Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program which was 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 all contested issues were dismissed.

Petitioners then appealed the board's decision to the state Court of Appeals. The court heard case 47641-0II and in June 2017 issued an opinion that also affirmed the SMP as written; similarly all issues contested were rejected. The petitioners have appealed the appellate court decision to the state Supreme Court. The court's response is currently pending.

On February 7, 2014, we approved Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. This is the first major update of Jefferson County’s shoreline master program since 1989. It represents a significant effort on the part of the county’s elected officials, staff and residents. Under state law, the county's updated shoreline program took effect on February 21, 2014.

Jefferson County’s updated program will:

  • Increase protection and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat and water quality.
  • Provide more certainty for development.
  • Improve public access and recreational opportunities for more than 500 miles of shoreline.

Jefferson County shorelines include the marine shorelines in Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and Strait of Juan de Fuca; freshwater shorelines for the Bogachiel, Hoh, Dosewallips, Duckabush, and Quilcene rivers; and many lake and stream shorelines. The county’s master program 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 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.

Mail and email were used 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.


  • Per RCW 90.58.190(2) and RCW 36.70A.290, an interested party may file an appeal with the Growth Management Hearings Board within 60 days of the publication date of Ecology’s written notice of final action.
  • Ecology published the notice of final action in Peninsula Daily News and Jefferson County Leader legal ads on February 19, 2014.

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.