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  You Are Here: Home: Government: Departments: Community Development:
                            Planning Division: Shoreline Management


2019 SMP Update

The City is required to periodically review our Shoreline Master Program (or “SMP”) to make sure that it is compliant with changes in state law, and remains in step with legal decisions that have been made by the state courts since our current SMP was adopted in 2014. By law (RCW 90.58.080), all jurisdictions within Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties are required to conduct a periodic review of our SMP regulations to be completed by June 30, 2019.

The good news is that the regulations that the City adopted in October of 2014 remain largely compliant with state law. At the most, only a few minor ‘tweaks’ might be necessary to keep our regulations in compliance with the State’s basic requirements for an SMP. But besides just remaining compliant with state law, the City is trying to use this update effort as an opportunity to make positive and useful changes to the SMP beyond those required by the State that will better protect the Lake’s ecological health, allow for desirable development features that meet the required ‘no-net-loss’ standard, and continue to allow the community to enjoy the recreational uses that we all love.

City staff began working on this update in August 2018. The first steps taken at that time were developing a Public Participation Plan (“PPP”) and briefing the City’s Planning Commission. The City then held a public ‘kick-off’ meeting on November 1st at the Bonney Lake Senior Center and invited all property owners within the shoreline jurisdiction areas around Lake Tapps to attend. The event was well-attended, and approximately 70 interested citizens were there. The purpose of this meeting was to share and explain what the SMP regulations are, how those regulations have been impacting development on homeowners’ properties around Lake Tapps since 2014, and to provide the general public with an open forum to share their ideas and voice their opinions on what they like, what they don’t like, or what they would like to see amended in the City’s SMP regulations.

Links to informational materials about this update effort and the SMP are provided directly below. If you are interested in information about the SMP update that you do not see below, if you have questions, if you would like to provide public comments, or if you would like to discuss your ideas or thoughts on the SMP update, please contact Assistant Planner Nate Schildmeyer at He will also maintain a project-specific email update list for this effort to keep interested parties informed about what is going on, so if you would like to be added or removed from that list please send him an email with your request.

As the City moves forward with this update, this page will be kept up-to-date with informational materials, useful links, and drafts of proposed changes. Feel free to bookmark this page and check back often!

Informational links and project documents:

1. Public Participation Plan

2. Planning Commission Briefing Memo (August 30, 2018)

3. Docks Handout from kick-off meeting (November 1, 2018)

4. Shoreline Site Plan Handout from kick-off meeting (November 1, 2018)

5. Hydraulic Project Approval Information (WDFW website)

6. Shoreline Environmental Designation Map



Shoreline Management in Washington State

The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) was proposed by the Legislature in response to a citizen’s initiative and ratified by Washington voters in 1972. The SMA was intended to protect and restore the valuable natural resources that the state’s shorelines represent. In addition, the SMA was developed to plan for and foster all “reasonable and appropriate uses” that are dependent upon a waterfront location or which will offer opportunities for the public to enjoy the state shorelines: single family homes were specifically identified as a preferred shoreline use by the Legislature.

The SMA applies to approximately 230 cities and counties that have “shorelines of the state” within their jurisdictional boundaries. Lake Tapps and Fennel Creek downstream of Victor Falls are classified as shorelines of the state within the City of Bonney Lake. In addition, Lake Tapps is designated as shoreline of “statewide significance.”

The SMA also created a regulatory framework that attempts to balances the authority to regulate development on the shoreline between state and local government. Within this framework, the Department of Ecology (DOE) has the responsibility for issuing guidelines for Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs), assisting local governments in developing SMPs, and determining if local SMPs meet the policy objectives of the criteria in RCW 90.58.090 and the requirements in Chapter 173-26 WAC. The City of Bonney Lake is responsible for the preparation of a SMP that establishes the policies, goals, and regulations related to the future development and use of the shorelines that is tailored to the specific needs of the community and complies with the requirements of the established by the State.

For general information on Shoreline Management, please use the links below:

¤  Introduction to the Shoreline Management Act (PDF)

¤  WA State Department of Ecology - Shoreline Management


Bonney Lake’s Shoreline Master Program (“SMP”)

The City of Bonney Lake’s first SMP was adopted in 1975 and was never subsequently updated other than minor revisions to the administrative provisions. In 2003, the Legislature mandated comprehensive updates to all local SMPs.

In order to facilitate that update, the City was awarded a grant by the Washington Department of Ecology in 2008 and subsequently initiated the update of its 1975 SMP in 2009.  Over the next four years, staff worked with consultants, the Shoreline Advisory Committee, Cascade Water Alliance, the Department of Ecology, and the Planning Commission to develop an updated SMP that balances the environmental protections mandated by the state, private property rights, and recreational usage of the lake and shoreline. Key considerations within the SMP included conservation, public access, guidance for water-oriented recreational uses, and allowances for residential development. The City's resultant SMP became effective on October 16, 2014. 

The SMP requires that property owners either obtain a permit or letter of exemption for all development activities within the shoreline area. You may download the application form from our Forms page in the Planning forms section.

For more information, contact staff in the Planning Division.


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