Richland Shoreline Master Program: Periodic Review

Public comment requested March 25 - April 24, 2024

We are seeking public comment on the City of Richland's (City) proposed amendment to its shoreline master program (SMP).

The City of Richland's comprehensive update to their SMP went into effect in 2016. The proposed amendment is needed to comply with the statutory deadline for a periodic review of the Richland SMP pursuant to RCW 90.58.080(4). The city has reviewed their SMP and has proposed amendments that will bring the SMP in compliance with requirements of the Shoreline Management Act and state rules, and reflects changes in circumstances, new information, and improved data.

The key changes the city is proposing:

  • Edits made throughout to correct typographical and/or grammatical errors and to ensure references to various code sections are correct.
  • Updates to specific terms and nomenclature throughout.
  • Updates to many sections of Chapter 26.60 to align the critical areas provisions of the SMP with the city's Critical Areas Ordinance (22.10 RMC).
  • Additions, deletions, or revisions to various term definitions.
  • Revisions to section RMC 26.60.042 to better explain riparian buffers and other required buffers and simplification of RMC 26.60.045.J so it refers to the section that explains riparian buffers.
  • Updates made to comply with recently adopted Washington State policies and laws and/or our clarifications:
    • Changes to language that allows an exemption from Shoreline Substantial Development permits for new consturction that is under a certain cost threshold so that it now refers to RCWs and WACs instead of listing a specific amount that must be perpetually updated.
    • The definition of "development" was updated.
    • There were small changes to the list of exemptions found in RMC 26.50.020.B and Section 26.50.021 was added to list exceptions to local review that would not require a shoreline exemption. These include exceptions like remedial hazardous substance cleanup actions, boatyard improvements to meet NPDES requirements, and certain WSDOT maintenance and safety projects and activities. This also moved areas and uses in federal jurisdiction from an exemption to an exception. New exemption was created to include certain projects that are for ADA.
    • Non-conforming uses or development were addressed by adding certain requirements and a definition.
    • RMC 26.01.040 added clarifications on future updates to the SMP.
    • RMC 26.60.024.B was updated to refer to the approved federal wetland delineation and manual and applicable regional supplements.

Richland originally planned to use the joint process but pivoted partially through and opted to use the standard review process for SMP amendments, pursuant to WAC 173-26-100. Richland locally adopted this amendment on Jan. 2, 2024 and submitted it to use on Jan. 8, 2024. We determined their submittal to be complete on Feb. 23, 2024. Following the comment period, we will compare the City's proposed amendments to the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act and the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines. Based on the comparison, we will decide whether to:

  • Approve the program as is.
  • Approve with recommended changes.
  • Send the proposed program back to the city with required changes to meet statutory and rule requirements. Recommended changes may also be included with the required changes.

Public comment period

Opens: March 25, 2024
Closes: April 24, 2024

All interested parties are invited to provide comment during this public comment period. There are several ways to provide comments. you only need to submit your comments once.

Submit written comments and questions to:

Chelsea Wilson
Washington Department of Ecology
Centeral REgional Office
1250 West Alder Street
Union Gap, WA 98903

Comments must be received no later than April 24, 2024.

Documents for public review and comment

Next steps: response to public comment and decision

A summary of comments will be posted here a few weeks after the comment period closes. We will also post the City's response to comments received and a notice of our decision when they become available. Please check back.