Ecology Starts Review Of Burien’s Shoreline Master Program; Hearing Dec. 8th


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On a day when parts of Burien’s shoreline were battered so hard by a storm that at least one house has been condemned, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) announced that it is seeking public comment on Burien’s recently updated Shoreline Master Program (SMP).

Ecology will host a community public hearing on Burien’s updated SMP on Wednesday, Dec. 8th, beginning at 6:30pm in the Burien City Council Chambers at 400 SW 152nd St., Burien.

Ecology is accepting public comment on Burien’s shoreline program update through December 17, 2010. Comments and questions should be addressed to Bob Fritzen, Department of Ecology, 1440 10th Street, Suite 102, Bellingham, WA  98225 or by email to [email protected].

Burien’s updated shoreline program was adopted by the city council after an extensive, and oftentimes heated process.

According to a statement from Ecology:

The updated master program guides construction and development along the city’s 6.7 miles of shorelines. It combines local plans for future development and preservation with new development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

Under Washington’s voter-approved Shoreline Management Act, Ecology must review and approve Burien’s shoreline program before it takes effect.

Ecology is accepting public comment on Burien’s shoreline program update through December 17, 2010. Comments and questions should be addressed to Bob Fritzen, Department of Ecology, 1440 10th Street, Suite 102, Bellingham, WA  98225 or by email to [email protected]

Burien’s proposed program and related documents are available for review at:

Ecology will host a community public hearing on the Burien shoreline program proposal on Dec. 8, 2010, in the Burien City Council Chambers at 400 SW 152nd St., Burien.  The public hearing will be at 6:30 p.m.

Ecology may approve the shoreline program as written, reject it or direct Burien to modify specific parts. Once approved by Ecology, Burien’s shoreline program will become part of the overall state shoreline master program. Ecology also will help each local jurisdiction legally defend its shoreline program if necessary.

Burien’s updated shoreline program was adopted by the city council after an extensive local process. The update began with a thorough inventory of existing land-use patterns and environmental conditions. The city then prepared policies and regulations to preserve existing shoreline areas while protecting future residential development. Burien collaborated for more than three years with waterfront property owners, builders, real estate agents, environmental interests, tribes and state agencies.

Shoreline master programs are the cornerstone of the state Shoreline Management Act passed by voters in 1972. The programs help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and reduce interference with the public’s access to public waters and shorelines.

The law requires cities and counties with lakes 20 acres in size or larger to develop and periodically update their locally tailored shoreline programs.

In 2003, Ecology adopted new guidelines that establish the basic requirements for updating local shoreline master programs. The guidelines resulted from a negotiated settlement between business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology and the courts.

Burien joins a growing number of cities, towns and counties that have updated their shoreline programs using the 2003 guidelines. The state guidelines allow each town, city and county flexibility to customize the regulations to fit its local land-use circumstances and its vision of local waterfront development.

More than 30 communities have already updated their shoreline programs, with 70 updates currently under way. Most haven’t done so comprehensively in almost 40 years.

Since 2005, the Legislature has allocated more than $15 million in state grants through Ecology to help more than 260 towns, cities and counties with regulated shorelines update their shoreline policies and regulations by December 2014. This includes $3 million earmarked by the Legislature in 2009 specifically to help municipalities throughout the Puget Sound region.

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