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Shoreline Master Program

The Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA) of 1971 protects the shorelines in Washington State and promotes responsible shoreline use and development, environmental protection, and public access. Within the framework of the SMA, Ocean Shores is required to update a Shoreline Master Program (SMP) that is tailored to local conditions and based on citizen participation. The State ensures the City’s SMP safeguards statewide public interests.

The City prepared and adopted its first SMP in 1974 with the intent of balancing development and protection in the shorelines. In the years since the City’s SMP was drafted, the City’s shorelines have physically changed in many ways. In addition, state laws and rules have advanced as development and conservation practices have evolved. Because of all these changes, the City adopted an update to its SMP in August 2017, which was tailored to local conditions that considers existing and planned development within the City’s shorelines. The City’s updated SMP was prepared under a grant agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology (Grant Agreement No. G1400414).

Shoreline Mater Plan Effective February 21, 2024

Shoreline Master Plan Adopted Dec 11, 2018 

2023 Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Periodic Review


The City of Ocean Shores is performing a periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires each SMP to be reviewed and revised, if needed, on an eight-year schedule established by the Legislature, in accordance with WAC 173-26-090. The review ensures the SMP stays current with changes in laws and rules, remains consistent with other city plans and regulations, and is responsive to changed circumstances, new information, and improved data. 


Ocean Shores is proposing to update the City’s adopted Shoreline Master Program. The City and the Washington Dept. of Ecology (Ecology) are accepting comments on a periodic review in accordance with RCW 90.58.080(4) and pursuant to the joint review process set forth in 173- 26-104 WAC. The City has prepared draft Shoreline Master Program (SMP) amendments to be consistent with state law, local plans, regulations, and other changed local circumstances. Proposed amendments to the SMP are limited to changes to the Shoreline Management Act and related rules, and some limited modifications to reflect changes to local circumstances. Public comments will be accepted from April 18, 2023 through May 19, 2023 at 4 pm. Send comments to City staff contact Marshall Read (contact information provided below). Comments sent to the City will be forwarded to the Dept. of Ecology.

The current SMP was last updated in 2018. Since then, state laws, rules, and guidance have been updated which may require amendments to the SMP. 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 2022, the city's consultant, AHBL, reviewed the checklist and identified opportunities for amendments.


Early and continuous public participation is a requirement of the Shoreline Management Act. As part of the City's 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. The City also acknowledges that a variety of stakeholders and partners having particular interest in the City's SMP.  For full details, please view the City’s Public Participation Plan.


Q: What is a Shoreline Master Program (SMP)?

A:  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.

Q: What is the Shoreline Management Act?

A:  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 All associated wetlands, Marine waters, Streams over 20 cubic feet per second mean annual flow, Upland areas called shorelands that are 200 feet landward of the Ordinary High Water Mark and Water areas and reservoirs 20 acres and greater.   Within the City of Ocean Shores, the SMP applies to anything within the city’s Shoreline Jurisdiction as described in SMP Section 1.05.01.

Q: What is the periodic review of the City’s Shoreline Master Program?

A:  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.

Q: Is the public permitted to provide feedback on the proposed amendments to the City’s SMP?

A:  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. The public will also have an opportunity to comment at a public hearing where proposed amendments to the SMP will be discussed.


  • For more information, please contact Marshal Read at or (360) 940-7633

 DOCUMENTS (This section to be updated regularly as documents become available)