Shoreline Master Program
The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) includes our community's goals, policies, regulations, and programs regarding the use, development, conservation, and restoration of our shorelines. The SMP is jointly adopted and administered by the City and the Washington State Department of Ecology under the Shoreline Management Act.
SMP Master Goal
The City’s shorelines are among the most valuable and fragile of our natural resources and their use, protection, restoration, and preservation is of public interest to all residents of the City. The Island shorelines provide for a significant part of our way of life as a place of residence, recreational enjoyment, and occupation. It is the intent of this program to manage the shorelines of Bainbridge Island consistent with the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act, the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines, and the Growth Management Act, giving preference to water-dependent and water-related uses, and to encourage all reasonable and appropriate development and other activities to occur in a manner which will promote and enhance the public interest and protect environmental resources. An over-arching goal of this master program is to ensure that future use and development of the City’s shoreline maintain a balance between competing uses, results in no net loss of shoreline ecological functions, and achieves a net ecosystem improvement over time. [SMP 1.5]
Current Amendments in Process
Critical Areas Ordinance Integration and Nonconforming Regulations
On November 24, 2020, the City Council approved Ordinance No. 2020-17, amending the City's Shoreline Master Program related to critical areas regulations and nonconforming structures, uses, and lots and amending several sections of Chapter 16.12 of the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code accordingly, as specifically identified in Exhibit A to this ordinance. A copy of the submittal package sent to Ecology is available here.
On February 19, 2021, the City received notification that the Department of Ecology has approved the amendment; a copy of the final approval letter is available here, and more information about the final decision can be found here.
The SMP Amendment became effective on March 5, 2021.
A limited amendment regarding aquaculture (Ordinance 2016-06) was adopted by the City in 2016 and submitted to the Washington State Department of Ecology for approval. During this time, a precedent setting case regarding aquaculture was decided against the Pierce County SMP. Ecology could not approve the City’s proposed amendment and it was withdrawn by the City. The City intends to develop a revised aquaculture amendment during the periodic review process that will comply with the precedent set in the Pierce County SMP case.