Shoreline Master Program review completes

Changes are coming to the San Juan County Shoreline Master Program.

With updates set to take effect on Feb. 2, the Washington State Department of Ecology approved San Juan County’s Shoreline Master Program periodic review on Jan. 19. The council had adopted the review on Oct. 27, 2020, with Ordinance 08-2020.

For more information and for links to the ordinance and letters from the DOE, visit

In September 2019, the county council was informed that the county’s SMP is due for review, to be completed by June 30, 2020.

Because the county adopted its SMP in 2012, the state required its first review to be concluded in 2020 with subsequent reviews also occurring at eight-year intervals.

To view documents related to the SMP review, visit

The county received an $84,000 grant from the Department of Ecology in late 2019 to begin work on its SMP review. Included in that grant was a deadline extension from being due in 2020 to 2021.

“This is a mandatory update. … We’re required by state law to have a period review. It has a minimum scope of review,” Planning Manager Linda Kuller said to the county council at a December 2019 meeting. “Basically, we’re trying to make sure our Shoreline Master Program complies with any amendments that have been made to state law, rules or ecology guidelines that were adopted between 2007 and 2019. … And we also need to make sure it’s consistent with our [Comprehensive Plan] development regulations and other local requirements.”

The Washington Department of Ecology requires regular review of the state’s counties’ Shoreline Master Programs every eight years. The deadline for San Juan County’s review was June 30, 2020, however, the COVID pandemic allowed for a delay in submission.

The bulk of the changes are to comply with new rules and regulations and, according to Kuller, is “housekeeping type stuff — not very complex.”