Shoreline Master Program (SMP)


Shoreline Master Programs (SMP) guide local land use policies and regulations and are designed to manage a variety of land uses within designated shorelines. SMPs are a requirement of the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) that was passed by Washington voters in 1972. SMPs carry out the policies of the SMA. The basic tenants of the SMP are threefold:

1) to protect natural resources now and into the future,

2) to provide public access to public shorelines (lakes and rivers),

3) to guide water-dependent uses (i.e. development and land use).
In Washington, each town, city and county that contains “shorelines of the state” must develop and adopt a unique SMP, but the Washington Department of Ecology is the entity who has final approval of the SMP. “Shorelines of the state” are larger rivers and lakes and their proximate shorelands, wetlands, and floodplains.
Okanogan County is in the process of developing a new SMP to replace the existing version that was approved in 1987 and amended in 1996. Currently, the County has passed a revised SMP version that will soon be passed on to Ecology for final review and approval.

News Archives

Shorelines Update

At MVCC’s request, the Department of Ecology recently provided us a copy of their summary of all the public comments received on Okanogan County’s SMP. Okanogan County has received the same summary; the county now has the opportunity to provide a written response demonstrating whether or not the proposed SMP addresses each of the issues raised. We will share the county’s response as soon as it becomes available.

Okanogan County Shoreline Master Program: DOE re-opens Public Comment Period from April 11 – May 11, 2016

WA Dept. of Ecology issued a release this week stating that the agency is seeking additional public comment on updates to Okanogan County’s Shoreline Master Program.
When MVCC asked why the comment period is being extended, Shoreline Planner Zack Meyer responded: “We are reopening the public comment period because we received numerous comments and wanted to give a little extra time for a more thorough public review and comment. As the Okanogan County SMP regulates a large area and impacts a number of people, we elected to give the public an extra opportunity to dissect the proposed SMP, voice their opinion and provide substantive feedback. This will help our review of the SMP and ensure all stakeholder voices are heard.”

If you have not yet commented, or find that you have more to add to your previous comments, this is your chance to do so! Comments are due May 11, 2016, by 5 p.m.

Send comments to: Lennard Jordan, WA Dept. of Ecology, 1250 W. Alder St., Union Gap, WA 98903
Questions: Lennard Jordan (509) 457-7125
Special accommodations: (509) 575-2490. Persons with hearing loss: 711. Persons with speech disability: 1-877-833-6341.

Shorelines Comments

We are so grateful for the effort everyone put forth to comment on the Okanogan County Shoreline Master Program! The Department of Ecology received numerous statements of support for our concerns and recommendations, and quite a few independently researched and very substantive comments from our members. THANK YOU. We will be sure to keep you posted as the process unfolds. Please go to our SMP Page to view our comments.

Update 3-18-16: Click here to see MVCC’s Comments on the Okanogan County Shoreline Master Program.

If you are planning to take the recommended “Easy Way” and tell DOE that you support our comments, this summary of our main concerns and recommendations, along with the Suggested Talking Points for Regular Folks document, should provide adequate material for you to review and decide.
Our actual comments may be slightly different in content, but will follow the same line of reasoning.
For a much more detailed version of these points, complete with legal arguments, please see the Futurewise comments.

Click here to send a comment letter NOW to the Department of Ecology in support of MVCC and Futurewise concerns and recommendations. Bonus points for adding a personal touch noting why you care.
If you have more time and want to write more personal comments, see below for all the resources you need.

MVCC Guide to Commenting on the SMP

You have several options:
  1. The Easiest Way: Wait until MVCC and Futurewise finish our legal review and post our comments to this website (we will alert you by email when they are ready). Send your comment stating that you support the comments of MVCC and/or Futurewise. This is not very personalized, but it can be effective if numbers of people comment in this way.
  1. A Little Harder: Use the “Informed Comments for Regular Folks” guide, and choose some or all of the comments and rationale to cut and paste into your personal comments. Bonus points for including personal examples that resonate with you to support specific comments!
  1. For Overachievers: Take the next step and provide legal justification for the changes you propose. Futurewise has made this relatively easy by using state law extensively in their June 2015 comments. We also link the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines (Chapter 173-26, Part III) if you are inspired to learn more.
  1. Go Above and Beyond! Contact local and state WDFW officials and tell them how you feel about the lack of critical fish and wildlife habitat in Okanogan County’s SMP. Encourage WDFW to take a stand on this issue. If you know Tribal representatives, ask them if they are concerned about how the Okanogan SMP could undermine their investment in habitat improvements.

Here are the links to resources that will assist you when writing your comments.

Introduction to the Shoreline Management Act

County SMP Documents For Public Review and Comments from DOE Website

SMP Guidelines

How to Influence the Process Without Working Too Hard

“Informed Comments For Regular Folks”

Futurewise Comments on the draft SMP

MVCC Comments on the draft SMP from 2015

Shorelines Hearing Update

Hearing Update June 9, 2015

Update: 6-9-15: Summary:
The SMP was not adopted at the hearing. The Board of County Commissioners will have work sessions starting on June 22 at 9:30, possibly running through the 24th to address details, with the hope of a final resolution to adopt the SMP on the 24th.

We recommend attending a work session and observing the dynamics of the discussion, who attends and how they influence the process. If you attend, give us your report!

3 MVCC Board Members and 4 Members attended the hearing, as well as Jon Wyss from Gebbers Farms/Farm Bureau and two residents from the Lake Osoyoos area. The Department of Ecology was represented by Lennard Jordan.

The session led off with Planning Director Perry Huston summarizing the history, stressing that the Shorelines Management Act (SMA) was about “managed growth, not no growth” in Shoreline areas. And that the SMA looks at things holistically in determining No Net Loss, not just site specifically. The Department of Ecology had recommended two changes, and Perry brought attorney Sandy Mackie to the table to go through them.

1. Ecology suggested dropping references to the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) since it is hung up in the stalled state budget process and may face a lack of funding for the Volunteer Stewardship Program.

2. Ecology wanted a clarification on the distinction between Setbacks and Buffers. Mackie went into a long defense of his draft, and some legal mumbo jumbo about the Vancouver SMP, but in the end said ok with the change.

Public Comments included testimony from 4 MVCC members. Phil Millam testified for the Citizens’ Council.

-Erlandson (of the surveying company) testified, and pointed out some problems of definition that would make it difficult for people.

-Jon Wyss testified, saying that there were some technical amendments needed.

-A resident from Oroville testified that boaters needed less restrictions on docks, view protections etc.

-A member of the Lake Osoyoos Association spoke in favor of restrictions on docks and boat covers.

After Public Comments, the Commissioners brought Perry back up. He appeared to encourage them to pass the SMP to Ecology, but the Commissioners wanted to ponder the suggested technical changes. They opted to continue the hearing and schedule work sessions starting on June 22.

Public Comments Needed NOW on Okanogan County Regional Shoreline Master Program (SMP)

Update 3-9-15: It is critical for Ecology staff to see that the public is interested in the SMP, concerned and willing to speak out about the possible long term consequences of the proposed SMP on rivers and lakes in the Methow Valley and throughout the county. When the proposal is adopted by the Okanogan County Commissioners, it will go to the Department of Ecology for review and eventual adoption.

Your comment does make a difference. Spread the word – and help us get the comments flowing like a river!

Public Hearing: Tuesday June 9, 2015 at 3:00pm in the Commissioners Hearing Room

Email Comments:

cc: Lennard Jordan, Department of Ecology:

Please also send a copy to mvcc (at) mvcitizens (dot) org. Comments are due by June 9.

MVCC recommends stressing the following points in your comment letter:

1. Reinstitute a public outreach program to explain the proposed plan, so the public can understand what they are commenting on. more…

MVCC supporters submit comments on Shorelines Master Program

Update 3-9-15: MVCC supporters submitted comments about the Shorelines Master Program to the Planning Commission members.


MVCC comments to the BOCC

Futurewise Comments
Okanogan County Planning Department website with links to the current version of the SMP.
Shoreline Master Program Draft dated August 26, 2010.

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