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[Portal ID #1789]

Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, and Hoquiam
Shoreline Master Program Update

Summary of the project


The cities of Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, and Hoquiam are working together to update their Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs).

SMPs are the local instruments by which the three cities and the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) jointly administer the requirements of the 1971 Shoreline Management Act (SMA), Chapter 90.58 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The overarching goal of the SMA is "…to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines.”

To achieve this end, the legislation directs the three cities to focus on three main areas during their SMP updates:

  • 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.

The three cities are required by state law to update their SMPs and each city received a grant from Ecology to support that work.

The SMP requirements do not apply retroactively and they do not affect existing development. The updated SMPs only apply to development or redevelopment occurring after the SMP updates are adopted.

The SMP updates will include numerous opportunities for public involvement.

Cities of Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, and Hoquiam SMP Updates Website

The tabs on this website contain the following information:

Updates – When new materials are posted for review, meetings, hearings, or events are scheduled, website update notices will be posted here.

Overview – General information regarding the SMP updates.

Contacts – City and consultant staff to contact if you have any questions or need additional information.

Events – As meetings, hearings, and events are scheduled; information regarding their time and location will be posted here.

Library – All documents including plans and maps related to the SMP updates are posted here. The information is broken up into different categories. The library includes background information from Ecology, the current SMPs, materials supporting the SMP updates, such as the Public Participation Plan and other reports, and materials being updated, such as the map folio and the SMPs.

Links – Links to websites related to the SMP updates are posted here, including Ecology’s SMP website and the websites of the cities of Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, and Hoquiam.

What is a Shoreline Master Program (SMP)?

SMPs are comprehensive shoreline land-use plans that:

  • Protects shoreline processes;
  • Promotes public access;
  • Accommodates all appropriate shoreline uses; and
  • Balances public and private interests.

What is the geographic area covered by the SMPs?

The minimum SMP jurisdiction applies to the following shorelines of the state [RCW 90.58.030]:

  • All marine waters, such as the Grays Harbor Estuary.
  • Segments of streams where the mean annual flow is more than 20 cubic feet per second, such as the Chehalis River or Newskah Creek.
  • Lakes and reservoirs 20 acres and greater in area, such as Aberdeen Lake.
  • Shorelands adjacent to these water bodies. The minimum shoreline jurisdiction for shorelands is the greater of the following:
  • Lands extending landward 200 feet horizontally from the Ordinary High Water Mark.
  • The floodway plus the contiguous floodplain 200 feet landward of the floodway.
  • Associated wetlands and river deltas.

Within the shoreline jurisdiction, regulations in the updated SMP will govern future development, such as bulk and dimensional regulations (various levels of buffers from waterways, height limits), allowed uses, and shoreline modification regulations.

What is the purpose of the SMP updates?

The State requires SMPs to meet these goals:

  • Encourage reasonable and orderly development of shorelines,
  • Protect the natural character of Washington shorelines,
  • Provide shoreline recreational opportunities, and
  • Promote public access to shorelines.

The cities of Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, and Hoquiam must update their SMPs by June 30, 2016.

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