OLYMPIA - Recent legal decisions have bolstered efforts by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) to help cities and counties across the state update their locally tailored land-use plans and development regulations for shoreline areas.
The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board upheld Whatcom County's Shoreline Master Program in response to challenges by local citizens and development interests. In a companion case, the Skagit County Superior Court also refused to invalidate Whatcom County's Shoreline Master Program. The parties have 30 days to appeal these decisions.
Whatcom County was the first county in the state to overhaul its Shoreline Master Program using guidelines Ecology put in place more than six years ago. Ecology also has approved revised Shoreline Master Programs for the cities of Chewelah, Marysville, Monroe, Orting, Port Townsend and Sultan, and the towns of Coupeville and Darrington.
Under state law, Washington's remaining 249 cities and counties with shorelines have until 2014 to update their current shoreline programs.