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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.
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.
The SMA applies to major water bodies and their adjacent shorelands throughout Washington State. Within the State, there are approximately 28,204 miles of shorelines including:
Within the City of West Richland, the SMP applies to land within 200 feet of the Yakima River and any associated wetlands.
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.
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. In 2019, the City reviewed its SMP and identified potential updates that would ensure compliance with newly adopted laws or guidance. Based on this checklist, amendments will be prepared.
The last periodic update to the SMP was in 2014. The City is now required to conduct a Periodic Review and adopt any necessary amendments to the SMP by June of 2021.
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. An open house is 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.