Remind your elected representatives about the Shoreline Management Act.

In their efforts to “Protect Puget Sound,” city and county planners spend a lot of time talking about vegetation buffers and consultant science, but very little time talking about state law. The Washington State Shoreline Management Act says:

“It is the policy of the state to provide for the management of the shorelines by planning for and fostering all reasonable and appropriate uses.”

“Uses shall be preferred which are… unique to or dependent upon use of the state’s shoreline.” 

“Alterations of the natural condition of the shorelines of the state… shall be given priority for single-family residences and their appurtenant structures, ports, shoreline recreational uses including but not limited to parks, marinas, piers, and other improvements facilitating public access to shorelines of the state, industrial and commercial developments which are particularly dependent on their location on or use of the shorelines of the state and other development that will provide an opportunity for substantial numbers of the people to enjoy the shorelines of the state.”

RCW 90.58.020, emphasis added.

For many of us who have been watching the Shoreline Master Program update process closely, it seems like most of the new goals, policies and regulations developed by local planners and their consultants are intended to “hinder” — not “foster” —  all reasonable and appropriate uses.

When the planning process is over, it’s up to elected officials at the City and County level to pass SMP updates and send them to the Dept. of Ecology for approval. If you think your city council members or county commissioners need a little reminder that (a) they are obliged to follow state law, and (b) voters like you are carefully watching what they are doing, take these simple steps today:

  1. Address an email to your elected representatives (click a link below).
  2. Put “Legal Requirements for SMP Update” in the subject line.
  3. Copy the RCW references above and paste them into the body of your email.
  4. Hit “Send”
Thanks! That’s all there is to it.

City of Poulsbo (
City of Bremerton (
City of Port Orchard ( please add “Attention: City Council” to the subject line.
City of Bainbridge Island (
Unincorporated Kitsap County (,,


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