A Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is a set of policies and regulations required by state law that has three basic principles:
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“Shorelines of the state” include rivers and streams with mean annual flow more than 20 cubic feet per second, lakes 20 acres or larger, and all marine shorelines. Shorelines of the state in Battle Ground include Salmon Creek and Morgan Creek. Shoreline jurisdiction extends 200 feet landward of the water’s edge and additionally includes associated wetlands.
The City of Battle Ground completed a comprehensive update of its Shoreline Master Program in 2012. Washington state law (WAC 173-26-090) requires jurisdictions to review and update their SMPs every eight years in accordance with the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) and its current guidelines and legislative rules to attain state approval. The City received a grant from the Washington Department of Ecology to support this update. The grant timeline calls for completing this periodic update by June 30, 2021.
This periodic update will focus on:
This periodic update will NOT:
Shoreline regulations apply to any change in land use or development activity that occurs within the shoreline jurisdiction, as defined in the SMP. Included in those modifications and uses regulated in the SMP are:
Certain land uses and development activities are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, but are not exempt from compliance with the Shoreline Master Program. Exemptions are issued in writing by the City after the submission of a complete application, including a site plan. Even though an activity is exempt from requiring a Substantial Development Permit, a conditional use or variance permit may be required. Exemptions under the SMP are different than exemptions under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
SMP regulations are not retroactive. SMP regulations apply to new development and uses. Existing uses and developments legally established may be repaired, maintained and operated. The SMP applies to proposals for expansion or alteration of existing uses and structures.
Structures and uses that were legally established in the past may become legally nonconforming due to new shoreline rules that are adopted over time. Current SMP regulations allow these previously built structures and established uses to continue as they are presently operating. Additionally, current SMP regulations allow the footprint of legally established single family homes to be excluded from a new shoreline setback or vegetation management area. Such homes can therefore avoid the nonconforming designation and are considered “conforming, expansion limited” in the current SMP.
Public access is a preferred use per the SMA. Public access can be physical access (e.g. trail) and/or visual access (e.g. view corridors). Public access standards apply to new development, not existing development. Generally, new public access is only required for private uses of certain sizes (e.g. large subdivisions, resorts, etc.) and for public uses. Public access requirements do not allow for trespass on private property.
The SMP Guidelines establish the standard of no net loss. No net loss means that over time, the Citywide existing condition of shoreline ecological functions should, at a minimum, remain the same as when the SMP is implemented. Simply stated, the no net loss standard is designed to balance the introduction of new impacts to shoreline ecological functions resulting from new development through mitigation sequencing and restoration. The City must achieve this standard through both the SMP planning process and by appropriately regulating individual developments as they are proposed in the future. Any amendments to the SMP that may occur through the periodic update process would need to comply with the no net loss standard.