Chapter 22.01


22.01.010    Authority.

22.01.020    Title.

22.01.030    Purposes.

22.01.040    Governing principles (WAC 173-26-186).

22.01.050    Findings.

22.01.060    Enactment.

22.01.070    Liberal construction.

22.01.010 Authority.

Authority for enactment and administration of this shoreline master program (SMP) is the Washington State Shoreline Management Act of 1971, Chapter 90.58 RCW, also referred to herein as “the Act” or SMA. [Ord. 2013-02-005 § 2 (Exh. 1)].

22.01.020 Title.

This title shall be known and may be cited as BMC Title 22 and referred to as “the Bellingham shoreline master program,” “the program,” or “the master program.” [Ord. 2013-02-005 § 2 (Exh. 1)].

22.01.030 Purposes.

A. Consistent with the Shoreline Management Act, this program is intended “to prevent the inherent harm of uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines.”

B. The specific purposes of this program are to implement the following laws or the applicable elements of the following:

1. Shoreline Management Act: Chapter 90.58 RCW;

2. Shoreline Guidelines: Chapter 173-26 WAC;

3. Shoreline management permit and enforcement procedures: Chapter 173-27 WAC; and to achieve consistency with the following laws or the applicable elements of the following:

4. The Growth Management Act: Chapter 36.70A RCW;

5. Bellingham comprehensive plan, 2006; and

6. Bellingham development regulations pursuant to Chapter 36.70A RCW.

C. Further, this program seeks to administer protection of critical areas within shoreline jurisdiction that is at least equal to that of the critical areas ordinance and provides for no net loss of shoreline ecological function, Chapter 16.55 BMC. (Note: This language mirrors RCW 90.58.090(4).) [Ord. 2013-02-005 § 2 (Exh. 1)].

22.01.040 Governing principles (WAC 173-26-186).

The following principles are from WAC 173-26-186:

A. The purpose and intent of these governing principles is to articulate a set of foundation concepts that underpin the Shoreline Guidelines, guide the development of the planning policies and regulatory provisions of master programs, and provide direction to the Department of Ecology in reviewing and approving master programs. These governing principles, along with the policy statement of RCW 90.58.020, other relevant provisions of the Act, the regulatory reform policies and provisions of RCW 34.05.328, and the policy goals set forth in WAC 173-26-176 and 173-26-181 should be used to assist in interpretation of any ambiguous provisions and reconciliation of any conflicting provisions of the guidelines.

1. The Shoreline Guidelines are subordinate to the Act. Any inconsistency between the guidelines and the Act must be resolved in accordance with the Act.

2. The Shoreline Guidelines are intended to reflect the policy goals of the Act, as described in WAC 173-26-175 and 173-26-180.

3. All relevant policy goals must be addressed in the planning policies of master programs.

4. The planning policies of master programs (as distinguished from the development regulations of master programs) may be achieved by a number of means, only one of which is the regulation of development. Other means, as authorized by RCW 90.58.240, include, but are not limited to: the acquisition of lands and easements within shorelines of the state by purchase, lease, or gift, either alone or in concert with other local governments and accepting grants, contributions, and appropriations from any public or private agency or individual. Additional other means may include, but are not limited to, public facility and park planning, watershed planning, voluntary salmon recovery projects and incentive programs.

5. The policy goals of the Act, implemented by the planning policies of master programs, may not be achieved by development regulations alone. Planning policies should be pursued through the regulation of development of private property only to an extent that is consistent with all relevant constitutional and other legal limitations (where applicable, statutory limitations such as those contained in Chapter 82.02 RCW and RCW 43.21C.060) on the regulation of private property.

6. The territorial jurisdiction of the master program’s planning function and regulatory function are legally distinct. The planning function may, and in some circumstances must, look beyond the territorial limits of shorelines of the state (RCW 90.58.340). The regulatory function is limited to the territorial limits of shorelines of the state, RCW 90.58.140(1) as defined in RCW 90.58.030(2).

7. The planning policies and regulatory provisions of master programs and the comprehensive plans and development regulations, adopted under RCW 36.70A.040, shall be integrated and coordinated in accordance with RCW 90.58.340, 36.70A.480, 34.05.328(1)(h) and 1995 Washington Laws Chapter 347, Section 1.

8. Through numerous references to and emphasis on the maintenance, protection, restoration, and preservation of fragile shoreline natural resources, public health, the land and its vegetation and wildlife, the waters and their aquatic life, ecology, and environment, the Act makes protection of the shoreline environment an essential statewide policy goal consistent with the other policy goals of the Act. It is recognized that shoreline ecological functions may be impaired not only by shoreline development subject to the substantial development permit requirement of the Act but also by past actions, unregulated activities, and development that is exempt from the Act’s permit requirements. The principle regarding protecting shoreline ecological systems is accomplished by these guidelines in several ways, and in the context of related topics. These include:

a. Local government is guided in its review and amendment of local master programs so that it uses a process that identifies, inventories, and ensures meaningful understanding of current and potential ecological functions provided by affected shorelines.

b. Local master programs shall include policies and regulations designed to achieve no net loss of those ecological functions.

i. Local master programs shall include regulations and mitigation standards ensuring that each permitted development will not cause a net loss of ecological functions of the shoreline; local government shall design and implement such regulations and mitigation standards in a manner consistent with all relevant constitutional and other legal limitations on the regulation of private property.

ii. Local master programs shall include regulations ensuring that exempt development in the aggregate will not cause a net loss of ecological functions of the shoreline.

c. For counties and cities containing any shorelines with impaired ecological functions, master programs shall include goals and policies that provide for restoration of such impaired ecological functions. These master program provisions shall identify existing policies and programs that contribute to planned restoration goals and identify any additional policies and programs that local government will implement to achieve its goals. These master program elements regarding restoration should make real and meaningful use of established or funded nonregulatory policies and programs that contribute to restoration of ecological functions, and should appropriately consider the direct or indirect effects of other regulatory or nonregulatory programs under other local, state, and federal laws, as well as any restoration effects that may flow indirectly from shoreline development regulations and mitigation standards.

d. Local master programs shall evaluate and consider cumulative impacts of reasonably foreseeable future development on shoreline ecological functions and other shoreline functions fostered by the policy goals of the Act. To ensure no net loss of ecological functions and protection of other shoreline functions and/or uses, master programs shall contain policies, programs, and regulations that address adverse cumulative impacts and fairly allocate the burden of addressing cumulative impacts among development opportunities. Evaluation of such cumulative impacts should consider:

i. Current circumstances affecting the shorelines and relevant natural processes; and

ii. Beneficial effects of any established regulatory programs under other local, state, and federal laws; and

iii. Reasonably foreseeable future development and use of the shoreline.

It is recognized that methods of determining reasonably foreseeable future development may vary according to local circumstances, including demographic and economic characteristics and the nature and extent of local shorelines.

e. The guidelines are not intended to limit the use of regulatory incentives, voluntary modification of development proposals, and voluntary mitigation measures that are designed to restore as well as protect shoreline ecological functions.

9. To the extent consistent with the policy and use preference of RCW 90.58.020, this chapter (Chapter 173-26 WAC) and these principles, local governments have reasonable discretion to balance the various policy goals of this chapter in light of other relevant local, state and federal regulatory and nonregulatory programs and to modify master programs to reflect changing circumstances.

10. Local governments, in adopting and amending master programs and the Department of Ecology in its review capacity shall, to the extent feasible, as required by RCW 90.58.100(1):

a. Utilize a systematic interdisciplinary approach which will insure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts;

b. Consult with and obtain the comments of any federal, state, regional or local agency having any special expertise with respect to any environmental impact;

c. Consider all plans, studies, surveys, inventories, and systems of classification made or being made by federal, state, regional, or local agencies, by private individual, or by organizations dealing with pertinent “shorelines of the state”;

d. Conduct or support such further research, studies, surveys, and interviews as are deemed necessary;

e. Utilize all available information regarding hydrology, geography, topography, ecology, economics, and other pertinent data; and

f. Employ, when feasible, all appropriate, modern scientific data processing and computer techniques to store, index, analyze, and manage the information gathered.

11. In reviewing and approving local government actions under RCW 90.58.090, the Department of Ecology shall insure that the state’s interest in shorelines is protected, including compliance with the policy and provisions of RCW 90.58.020. [Ord. 2013-02-005 § 2 (Exh. 1)].

22.01.050 Findings.

A. The Bellingham city council concurs with the State Legislature in finding that:

The shorelines of the State are among the most valuable and fragile natural resources and that there is great concern throughout the state relating to their utilization, protection, restoration, and preservation. In addition, it finds that ever increasing pressures of additional uses are being placed on the shorelines necessitating increased coordination in the management and development of the shorelines of the state. The legislature further finds that much of the shorelines of the state and the uplands adjacent thereto are in private ownership; that unrestricted construction on the privately owned or publicly owned shorelines of the state is not in the best public interest; and therefore coordinated planning is necessary in order to protect the public interest associated with the shorelines of the state while, at the same time, recognizing and protecting private property rights consistent with the public interest. There is, therefore, a clear and urgent demand for a planned, rational and concerted effort, jointly performed by federal, state and local governments, to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines. (RCW 90.58.020)

B. By ratifying Initiative 43B in the 1972 General Election, the people of the state approved the Shoreline Management Act. This law vests counties and cities with the primary responsibility for conserving certain shorelines through comprehensive planning and reasonable regulation of development and use.

C. This council deems the goals, objectives, shoreline environment designations, policies, regulations, and procedures set forth in this SMP to be essential to protection of the public health, safety and general welfare of the people of the city of Bellingham. [Ord. 2013-02-005 § 2 (Exh. 1)].

22.01.060 Enactment.

The city council of Bellingham does hereby ordain and enact into law this SMP and all sections and paragraphs of this title. [Ord. 2013-02-005 § 2 (Exh. 1)].

22.01.070 Liberal construction.

As provided for in RCW 90.58.900, the Shoreline Management Act is exempted from the rule of strict construction; the Act and this SMP shall therefore be liberally construed to give full effect to the purposes, goals, objectives, and policies for which the Act and this SMP were enacted and adopted, respectively. [Ord. 2013-02-005 § 2 (Exh. 1)].