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Pierce County Shoreline Master Program

On May 31, 2018, we provided Pierce County with required and recommended changes to the county's proposed comprehensive update of their Shoreline Master Program (SMP).

The required and recommended changes are based on our review of whether or not the proposed update complies with state laws and rules, and input received during our public comment period. Conditional approval was slowed while we worked with the county to resolve differences over proposed prohibitions on aquaculture and dredge disposal activities.

Our decision includes changes to the SMP that will help the county meet its periodic review requirement. The county is required on or before June 30, 2019, to review, and if necessary, revise their master program. Proposed changes ensure the SMP complies with laws and guidelines which have changed since the SMP was locally adopted.

Mail and email notices were used to notify interested parties of the public comment period held March 15 through April 29, 2016. We also issued a news release, posted a blog, and paid for a legal ad to encourage additional public participation and comment. An open house and public hearing were held at Pacific Lutheran University on March 30, 2016. More than 50 people attended the hearing and 26 individuals testified. We received verbal and written comments from more than 130 individuals/organizations. Comments focused on aquaculture, proposed shoreline environment designations, water access facilities, public participation, tribal treaty rights, and a variety of other topics. On May 31, 2016, we sent a summary of comments to the county for their response. The public comments and county’s responses have been incorporated into a Responsiveness Summary (Attachment D).

This is the first comprehensive update of Pierce county’s shoreline program originally adopted in 1975. The updated SMP would entirely replace the existing program including the goals, policies, regulations, shoreline environment designations, definitions, and administrative procedures. The SMP will advance shoreline habitat protection while planning for new development, public access and the continuation of existing development along more than 1,100 miles of shoreline, including all marine waters, numerous streams and lakes and associated wetlands. The proposed SMP adopts the county’s Critical Areas Ordinance (Pierce County Code Title 18E, Critical Areas) by reference to protect and manage critical areas within shoreline jurisdiction.   

Documents related to approval

Note: All documents are PDF

Locally adopted SMP

Background documents