Community Development

Shoreline Management & Planning

Comprehensive Plan
Unified Development Code (UDC)
Permit Information & Application Forms
Permit Database Search & Map Tools

621 Sheridan Street
Port Townsend,
WA 98368

Phone: 360.379.4450
Fax: 360.379.4451


Monday - Thursday
9:00 to 4:30                     

closed 12:00 - 1:00 for lunch

Fridays, Weekends & Holidays Closed

Note: Click on these table of contents items to skip to the section.

Page last updated: 10-20-2014

NOTE: Even when this main page has not been updated, various sub-pages may have been (i.e. SMP Comprehensive Update 2005 - 2009 and related pages).

New Items

Three appeals of the Shoreline Master Program were filed to the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office (WWGMHB):

1. 4/14/2014 Hood Canal Sand & Gravel LLC dba Thorndyke Resources

2. 4/15/2014 Olympic Stewardship Foundation, J. Eugene Farr, Wayne and Peggy King, Anne Bartow, Bill Eldridge, Bud and Val Shindler, and Ronald Holsman, Petitioners

3. 4/17/2014: CAPR: Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights, Jefferson County; Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights Legal Fund; Mats Mats Bay Trust; Jesse A. Stewart Revocable Trust; and Craig Durgan, Petitioners 

These appeals were consolidated under Case No. 14-2-0008c and information is available online at the State of Washington Growth Management Hearings Board webpage.

Final Adoption

On February 7, 2014, the Department of Ecology approved Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. This is the first major update of Jefferson County’s shoreline master program since 1989. It represents a significant effort on the part of the county’s elected officials, staff and residents. Per RCW 90.58.090, the effective date of Jefferson County’s updated shoreline program is February 21, 2014, 14 days after Ecology provided notice to Jefferson County of the approval.  The program was codified as


Jefferson County’s updated program will increase protection and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat and water quality, provide more certainty for development, and improve public access and recreational opportunities for over 500 miles of shoreline. County shorelines include Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and Strait of Juan de Fuca marine shorelines; Hoh, Bogachiel, Quilcene, Dosewallips, and Duckabush River freshwater shorelines; and many lake and stream shorelines. Jefferson County’s program is designed to maintain ecological functions and to support restoration activities, while allowing reasonable and appropriate development.  Learn more about the status of the SMP final adoption process on the state website and the State Review & Approval page.


Final Adoption Pending

In January 2011, the Washington Department of Ecology announced their conditional approval of the Locally Approved SMP pending some required changes.  The County and Ecology have agreed on the changes and final documentation is in progress.  The new SMP is in the final adoption process and is anticipated to take effect in late-2013.  Learn more about the status of the SMP final adoption process on the state website and the State Review & Approval page.

FAQ Handout

Jefferson County and WA Department of Ecology provide frequently asked question (FAQ) handouts and other resources to help educate and engage the public.  Learn more on the State Review & Approval page.

Shoreline Management Background

The Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is the local instrument by which Jefferson County and the State Department of Ecology jointly administer 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."  In Jefferson County, the SMA applies to land use and development proposals in and near all marine waters and certain streams, rivers, and lakes.

The version of the SMP currently in effect was adopted in 1989.  By statute, Jefferson County has until the end of 2011 to update its SMP under new Ecology Shoreline Master Program Guidelines, as codified in Chapter 173-26 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

According to recent amendments to the SMA and the Growth Management Act (GMA), protections for "critical areas"--such as wetlands, fish & wildlife habitat areas, and geologically hazardous areas--designated under the GMA must be integrated into updated SMPs for areas within shoreline jurisdiction.

The County is now anticipating completion of an SMP update by the end of June 2009.  Jefferson County began the first phase of the SMP update by initiating a shoreline inventory and analysis in 2003 using Coastal Zone Management (CZM) funding.

SMP Versions

Current Code:

 1989 Shoreline Master Program - Title 18.25 of the Jefferson County Code (JCC) is the SMP currently in effect.  Adopted March 7, 1989, with minor revisions made in 1993, 1996, and 1998, the SMP is implemented in conjunction with "critical areas" protections also found in JCC Title 18, the Unified Development Code (UDC) in Section 18.22. The UDC contains the standards and regulations for implementing the community vision of the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan.

Prior Revision Effort:

2000 draft SMP - DRAFT dated July 12, 2000.  Not in effect.  Draft document developed by staff, consultants and Citizen Advisory Committee prior to new Ecology guidelines.  Did not undergo formal public review.  Will be used as a foundation for current State-mandated SMP update process.

Current  Revision Effort:

The County is currently in the process of completing a comprehensive update to the Shoreline Master Program.  Learn more on the Shoreline Update page.

Shoreline Permits

All activities that occur in the shoreline area must comply with the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) whether or not the activity is preferred or exempt, or if any permit is required.  Depending on the type of shoreline use or development, there are several types of shoreline permits that may be needed, including a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit (SDP), an SDP Exemption Approval, a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), or a Shoreline Variance.

If you are interested in asking about or applying for a shoreline permit for a development proposal, visit the Permit Information & Application Forms page and contact the Development Review Division.

More Information

If you are interested in asking about what is currently allowed on your shoreline property or applying for a shoreline permit for a development proposal:

  1. Contact the DCD Planner of the Day at 360/379-4450; or
  2. Visit the Permit Information & Application Forms page and contact the Development Review Division.

For more information on the SMP Update project, visit the Shoreline Update page or contact:

Web Links

Additionally, the following are links to other sources of information about shoreline management, shoreline master program development, and coastal and marine resource planning and protection in general:






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