Shoreline Master Program Update

City of Snohomish Shoreline Master Program

The City of Snohomish is in the final stages of updating its Shoreline Master Program (SMP) which was first adopted its first SMP in 1976. The City Council will hold a public hearing to consider the final draft documents 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, at the Snohomish School District’s George Gilbertson Boardroom at 1601 Avenue D. If the Council approves the SMP it will be forwarded to the Washington State Department of Ecology for another public process and certification.

The SMP program requirements are applicable to the waters of the state and their shorelines (the area 200 feet landward of the Ordinary High Water Mark; essentially the water's edge). There are three bodies of water in Snohomish that are waters of the state, so they and their shorelands are subject to the SMP policies and regulations. Those three water bodies are:
  • Blackmans Lake
  • Pilchuck River
  • Snohomish River (which is also a Shoreline of Statewide Significance)

The Snohomish SMP establishes five "shoreline environments".  Each environment has policies and regulations specific to them.  The five environments are:

  • Aquatic Environment (the water bodies themselves)
  • Rural Utility Environment (this only includes the area around the City's wastewater treatment plant)
  • Shoreline Residential Environment
  • Historic Riverfront Environment (portion of the Historic Business District within 200 feet of the Snohomish River)
  • Urban Conservancy Environment (everything that is not in any of the other environments)

The SMP is a planning document that defines goals and policies for shoreline use and development.  It includes a set of regulations that will implement those goals and policies by governing the shoreline use and development in a manner consistent with state law.  It also includes a framework for protecting and restoring the City's shorelines over time.  The documents that comprise the SMP include:

Policy and Regulation Documents

Users Guide
Shoreline Element of the Comprehensive Plan (policies)
Chapter 14.250 of Snohomish Municipal Code - Shoreline Management (regulations)

Technical Studies

Shoreline Inventory & Characterization
Shoreline Restoration Plan
Cumulative Impacts Analysis and No Net Loss Memo

SMP and Appendices

Download the SMP and its appendices at the links below.
SMP (includes Overview, Users Guide, Policies, and Regulations)
Appendix A: Inventory & Characterization
Appendix B: Restoration Plan
Appendix C: No Net Loss Memo and Cumulative Impacts Analysis
Appendix D: City of Snohomish's current Critical Areas Ordinance
Appendix E: City of Snohomish's current Flood Hazard Area Ordinance

Public Commenting

Even though the official 30-day public comment period has ended, comments are still being accepted. Written comments may be submitted by email or by delivering them to City Hall, attention Glen Pickus, at 116 Union Ave. Comments may also be submitted at the City Council public hearings.

Shoreline Management Act

Washington's Shoreline Management Act (SMA), passed by the State Legislature in 1971, is intended "to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state's shorelines."  While protecting shoreline resources by regulating development, the SMA is also intended to provide for appropriate shoreline use by encouraging land uses that enhance and conserve shoreline functions and values.

The SMA has three broad policies:
  1. Encourage water-dependent and water-oriented uses:  "uses shall be preferred which are consistent with the control of pollution and prevention of damage to the natural environment, or are unique to or dependent upon use of the state's shorelines..."
  2. Promote public access:  "the public's opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of natural shorelines of the state shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible, consistent with the overall best interest of the state and the people generally."
  3. Protect shoreline natural resources, including:  "...the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the water of the state and their aquatic life..."

The SMA requires local governments to adopt Shoreline Management Programs (SMPs), adopted under guidelines established by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE), to implement the above policies.

Contact Us

  1. Glen Pickus, AICP

    Planning Director
    Ph: 360-282-3173

    Brooke Eidem

    Associate Planner
    Ph: 360-282-3167

    116 Union Ave.
    Snohomish, WA 98290


    Monday - Thursday
    (Excluding Holidays)
    9 a.m. - 5 p.m.