Shoreline Master Program guidelines

Our Shoreline Master Program guidelines are the state rules guiding the development and implementation of local Shoreline Master Programs. They translate the broad policies of the state Shoreline Management Act into standards for regulating shoreline uses. They guide us and local governments in writing, adopting, and implementing local shoreline programs.

Technical assistance for local governments

We provide technical assistance to local governments who must interpret and apply the Shoreline Management Act and our Shoreline Master Program guidelines. We have developed a shoreline planners toolbox, and other resources for our local government partners. These resources are likely also useful to residents, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other interested parties seeking to better understand their local shoreline programs.

Guidelines change through time

The state Shoreline Management Act requires us to periodically review and update our guidelines, with input from local government partners, interest groups and the public. The updates reflect:

  • Changes in state laws
  • New legal decisions
  • New scientific knowledge about shorelines
  • Improvements to shoreline planning outcomes 

The most recent update took effect in September 2017. Changes to our guidelines are not retroactive. This means local government planners and citizens may find the most current version does not apply to their local shorelines or project proposal. Older versions of the guidelines are available upon request from one of our regional planners serving your town, city or county.