Clark County's Shoreline Master Program (SMP) was approved by the Department of Ecology (DOE) on August 29, 2012. Approval by Ecology culminated in an update process that lasted more than 3-1/2 years. The SMP took effect on September 12, 2012.
The shoreline goals and policies are included in the Clark County Comprehensive Plan as a new Chapter 13.
Shoreline use regulations are included in a new chapter of the Clark County Code, Chapter 40.460.
Clark County received the formal Department of Ecology approved-with-conditions letter on June 27, 2012. Through coordination with Ecology staff, the county included them in the revised SMP that went to the Clark County Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission held a hearing on June 21, 2012. The Planning Commission voted to recommend that the Board re-adopt the Clark County SMP with the additional staff and Ecology changes. The Clark County Board of Commissioners re-adopted the SMP on July 24, 2012.
For more information, please visit the Shoreline Partnership website.
The State Shoreline Management Act requires counties and cities to update their Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs). SMPs govern activities on and near lakes, streams, and rivers. Most local SMPs date from the 1970s, and must be modernized to reflect today's conditions and address new state requirements.
Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt partnered in the effort to update their respective SMPs.
SMP updates are done in six phases as recommended by the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE):
Inventory shoreline and adjacent land uses including transportation and utility facilities, critical areas, degraded areas, areas of special interest, public access sites, channel migration zones and floodplains, archaeological and historic resources. This includes a public participation plan that identifies stakeholders, specific objectives, and timelines.
Identify shoreline function, ecosystem process, public access and shoreline use, and potential protection and restoration areas.
Develop policies and regulations for all shoreline designations including natural, rural conservancy, aquatic, high intensity, urban conservancy, and shoreline residential. Policies and regulations will be developed for each designation.
Analyze cumulative impacts, demonstrate no-net-loss of ecological function, and identify ways to restore shoreline ecological functions.
Adopt individual Shoreline Master Programs for the county and each city. Jurisdictions will work together to develop policies and regulations that are as consistent as possible across boundaries.
Submit updates to the Department of Ecology for approval.
SMP updates were funded by a Department of Ecology grant that was administered through the city of Vancouver on behalf of the county and its cities. The county and its cities shared analysis data and developed consistent as possible policies and regulations across the landscape.
Clark County SMP
The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) was enacted by the Legislature in 1971. The county adopted a Shoreline Master Program (SMP) (PDF 3.3MB) in 1974, and it had not been amended until this latest effort. The Department of Ecology adopted new rules for SMPs in 2003. The Growth Management Act states that the goals and policies of the SMA are considered a fourteenth goal for purposes of the Act and the comprehensive plan.
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