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Defending our Shorelines
Land Use
Critical Areas Ordinance Update
Shoreline Master Program Update
Safe Shipping through the Salish Sea
Endangered Species




Shoreline Master Program Update

FRIENDS' Spring 2013 SMP Primer

Click here to download the PDF.



The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is a comprehensive shoreline land-use plan ratified by the state Shoreline Management Act in 1972. To regulate shoreline development, the state law requires local governments and the Department of Ecology to mutually regulate shoreline development, use, and protection.

The Shoreline Management Act applies to lakes greater than 20 acres, marine shorelines, land within 200 feet of the ordinary high water mark of such waterbodies, and their associated wetlands.

The law has three main purposes:

Encourage reasonable and orderly development of shorelines, with an emphasis on water-dependent and related uses that control pollution and prevent damage to the natural environment.

Protect the natural character of Washington shorelines, including the land, vegetation, wildlife, and shoreline environment.

Promote public access and provide opportunities to enjoy views and recreational activities in shoreline areas.


Join us in commenting on the SMP update!

The SMP update will guide development along San Juan County’s shorelines for years to come.  And unless the County Council hears from a lot of us, they may adopt the current draft of the SMP, which proposes to eliminate protections that have been critical to keeping our community’s shorelines as healthy, natural, and beautiful as anywhere in Washington. 

Please join us in asking the Council to not roll back protections that have helped our shorelines support wildlife, views and our economy.The commenting deadline has been extended to December 8th.

Click here for a sample comment letter that you can use as you craft your own.


Written comments may be submitted by mail, delivery in person, or by email. Please deliver written comments to the Clerk of the San Juan County Council at 55 Second Street, Friday Harbor, WA, 98250 or mail to 355 Court Street, #1 Friday Harbor, WA.


Email comments to all of the contacts below:

Ingrid Gabriel (County Council Office) |

Jamie Stephens (Lopez/Shaw/Decatur) |

Bob Jarman (San Juan & Stuart) |

Rick Hughes (Orcas/Waldron/Blakely) |

Colin Maycock (the County’s staff planner) |

Bob Fritzen (WA Department of Ecology) |


Click below to see emails we have sent out detailing various SMP commenting topics:

Email 1: Protect Shoreline Vegetation

Email 2: Shoreline Designations

Email 3: Don't Roll Back Protections


Click below to view map books of feeder bluffs, forage fish spawning beaches and top priority salmon recovery shorelines in the County and the proposed Shoreline Master Program designation.

Designations and Feeder Bluffs

Designations and Forage Fish Spawn

Designations and Top Salmon Recovery


Additional questions to consider for commenting:

How and where would you like to see shoreline commercial and residential development?

What views are important to you to protect? What areas are important for public access? What access, transportation, water quality, others)?

What are your perceptions of how the county’s shorelines are currently managed?

What do you like and/or dislike about the county’s ability to enforce regulations?

What, if any, changes have you noticed over the last 5-15 years (public access, habitat, use, enforcement. etc.)?

In shoreline areas do you have specific goals or ideas for commercial development, Residential development, habitat protection/restoration, public access?



SMP Update (1.8.16):

First, the good news: You helped convince the County Council to answer community questions about the proposed Shoreline Master Program update!

Now, the not-as-good news: They just scheduled the community meetings for next week!  It’s a quick turn around, but hopefully you can make it:

San Juan Island --Tues, Jan 12, 3:00 - 5:00 PM, Legislative Hearing Room, 55 Second Street

Orcas Island -- Weds,Jan 13, 3:30 - 5:30 PM, Eastsound Fire Station, 45 Lavender Lane

Lopez Island--Thurs, Jan 14, 4:30 - 6:30 PM, Lopez Center for Community and the Arts, 204 Village Road

How to prepare? Click here to watch a video from the meeting that was conducted on January 11th to help formulate questions for the County Council.

For more information: or 

Colin Maycock, Senior Planner, SJC Dept. of Comm. Dev and Planning…
360-370-7573 or 

Washington State Department of Ecology’s Citizens Guide to Shoreline Master Programs SMP overview, frequently asked questions, publications 


PO Box 1344, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 Phone: (360) 378-2319, Fax: (360) 378-2324 © 2013


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