Des Moines Shoreline Master Program Periodic Review 2019
The City of Des Moines is undertaking a periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires each SMP be reviewed and revised, if needed, on an eight-year schedule established by the Legislature, see WAC 173-26-090. The review ensures the SMP stays current with changes in laws and rules, remains consistent with other Des Moines plans and regulations, and is responsive to changed circumstances, new information and improved data.
Needed Updates & Revisions
The current SMP was adopted by the City in January 2011. Amendments to the SMP may be necessary due to new state laws, rules, or guidance adopted since that date. The Department of Ecology publishes a checklist of state laws, rules or other applicable documents published each year that require local governments to review their SMP for conformance. In addition, as part of this update, the City plans to simplify shoreline and critical area permitting procedures.
Public Involvement Opportunities
As part of the City’s 2019 SMP Periodic Review the City has prepared a public participation plan which describes how the public will be informed about and involved in decision making for the SMP update. Early and continuous public participation is a requirement of the Shoreline Management Act, and is also required by the Des Moines Municipal Code. The City also acknowledges that a variety of stakeholders have particular interests in the City’s SMP, such as:
- Shoreline users
- Owners of property within the shoreline jurisdiction
- Business organizations, environmental groups, and other non-governmental organizations
- Native American Tribes
- Government Agencies
The City has scheduled three opportunities for the public to engage with City staff and their consultants working on the project.
- Community Open House #1: A community open house is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14, 2018 from 5 pm-7 pm at the Des Moines Activity Center (2045 S 216th Street, Des Moines, WA 98189). Interested parties are encouraged to attend. City staff and their consultants will provide an introduction to the SMP Periodic Review process, answer questions, and accept public comments.
- Des Moines Waterfront Farmer’s Market Informational Booth: City and consultant staff working on the City’s SMP Periodic Review will have a booth at the Waterfront Farmer’s Market on Saturday, August 25, 2018 from 10 am to 2 pm.
- Community Open House #2: A second community open house is scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, 2018 from 5 pm-7 pm at the Des Moines Activity Center (2045 S 216th Street, Des Moines, WA 98189). Interested parties are encouraged to attend. City staff and their consultants will have draft SMP amendment language available for review.
For full details on ways the City plans to engage with the public on the 2019 SMP Periodic Review, view the City’s 2019 SMP Periodic Review Public Participation Plan.
The following is a general schedule for the City’s SMP Periodic Review project. The City plans to adopt an amended SMP late April 2019, with an effective date of early-mid June following approval from the Department of Ecology. Interested parties are encouraged to make public comments or reach out to the City staff contact with any questions regarding the project.
Project documents will be uploaded here as they are prepared.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Shoreline Master Program?
Shoreline Master Programs are both planning and regulatory documents. SMPs carry out the policies of the Shoreline Management Act on local shorelines. An SMP consists of a comprehensive use plan, use regulations, maps, diagrams or other descriptive material, statement of desired goals and standards for shorelines of the state [RCW 90.58.030(3)(b)]. SMPs are based on state laws and rules and tailored to local geographic and environmental conditions and existing development patterns.
What is the Shoreline Management Act?
The Shoreline Management Act (SMA), RCW 90.58, provides a statewide framework for managing, accessing and protecting shorelines. Now more than 40 years old, the SMA reflects the strong interest of the public in our shorelines and waterways for recreation, protection of natural areas, aesthetics, and commerce.
Where does the SMA and the City’s SMP apply?
The SMA applies to major water bodies and their adjacent shorelands throughout Washington State. The approximate 28,204 miles of shorelines in the State include:
- Marine waters.
- Streams over 20 cubic feet per second mean annual flow.
- Water areas and reservoirs 20 acres and greater.
- Upland areas called shorelands that are 200 feet landward of the Ordinary High Water Mark.
- All associated wetlands
Within the City of Des Moines, the SMP applies to land within 200’ of the City’s Puget Sound shoreline.
What is the periodic review of the City’s Shoreline Master Program?
The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires a periodic review of comprehensively updated SMPs. Local governments must review amendments to the SMA and Ecology rules that have occurred since the master program was last amended, and determine if local amendments are needed to maintain compliance. Local governments must also review changes to the comprehensive plan and development regulations to determine if the SMP policies and regulations remain consistent with them. Local governments should consider during their periodic review whether to incorporate any amendments needed to reflect changed circumstances, new information, or improved data. The Legislature has established a schedule for every community to complete these reviews. The first round of periodic reviews is due on or before June 30, 2019 for Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties and their cities and towns.
What laws or rules have been changed since the City’s SMP was last amended?
Ecology has prepared a checklist of all laws and rules adopted, organized by year. The checklist is accompanied by a guidance document that explains each item. The City will review its SMP and determine if gaps exist between its regulations and newly adopted laws or guidance. Amendments will be prepared that bring the SMP into conformance with these rules and laws.
When was the last time the City’s SMP was adopted?
The City’s SMP was originally adopted in 1972 and was subsequently updated and adopted in 1988. Under new shoreline master program guidelines adopted by Ecology in 2004, cities within King County were required to conduct a comprehensive update to their local shoreline master programs. The current SMP was formally adopted as a comprehensive update to its 1988 SMP on January 27, 2011. The City is now required to conduct a Periodic Review and adopt any necessary amendments to the SMP by June 30, 2019.
Is the public permitted to provide feedback on the proposed amendments to the City’s SMP?
Yes, in fact the SMA requires public participation for all amendments. Ecology rules call for a public participation plan that should include broad dissemination of informative materials, proposals and alternatives, opportunities for written comments, public meetings after effective notice, provisions for open discussion, and consideration of and responses to public comments. The plan will ensure the public knows when to comment on the scope of the review and proposed changes, and when the City Council is expected to take formal action. Comments will be accepted throughout the project, until the SMP is formally adopted. Two community open houses along with an informational booth at Farmers Market are scheduled to provide the public with opportunities to speak with City staff in person and have their voices heard as decisions are made regarding amendments to the SMP. The public will also have an opportunity to comment at the public hearing where the City Council will consider proposed amendments to the SMP.