Washington State mandates under its Shoreline Management Act (SMA) that local governments with shorelines considered “significant” must update their Shoreline Management Programs (SMPs) periodically. Unfortunately, the State’s SMA can be summarized by three broad and competing goals


  • Encouraging water dependent uses,

  • Protecting shoreline natural resources, and

  • Promoting public access to shorelines.

Further, the SMA directs that private property rights are to be protected and preferential accommodation will be made for single family uses.


Currently, this program has been complicated by


  • Property owner experience with the current, Bellevue shoreline regulations.

  • The fact that some jurisdictions, Bellevue being one, updated their shoreline regulations inappropriately several years ago.

  • And, the potential for further restrictions to be placed on shoreline properties (e.g. non-conforming use designations), including property deed restrictions.

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