Contact Us:

Interested parties are encouraged to make comments on the proposed SMP amendments. Comments may be sent via email to Eric Mendenhall (see email address below) or to the City at 3100 Belmont Blvd, West Richland, 99353 (attn.: SMP UPDATE)

The primary City staff contact for the Shoreline Master Program Periodic Update is:

Eric Mendenhall
City of West Richland
Community Development Manager
Email: emendenhall@westrichland.org
Phone: (509) 967-5902

Background:

The City of West Richland is undertaking a periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires each SMP be reviewed and revised, if needed, on an eight-year schedule established by the Legislature, in accordance with WAC 173-26-090. The review ensures the SMP stays current with changes in laws and rules, remains consistent with other West Richland plans and regulations, and is responsive to changed circumstances, new information and improved data.

Needed Updates & Revisions:

The current SMP was last updated in 2014. Since then, new state laws, rules, and guidance have been updated which may require amendments to the SMP. The Department of Ecology publishes a checklist of state laws, rules or other applicable documents published each year that require local governments to review their SMP for conformance. In 2019, the city’s consultant, AHBL, reviewed the checklist and identified opportunities for amendments.

Public Involvement Opportunities:

Early and continuous public participation is a requirement of the Shoreline Management Act. As part of the City’s 2020 SMP Periodic Review the City has prepared a public participation plan which describes how the public will be informed about and involved in decision making for the SMP update. The City also acknowledges that a variety of stakeholders have particular interests in the City’s SMP, such as:

  • General public
  • Property owners
  • Owners of property within the shoreline jurisdiction
  • Business organizations, environmental groups, and other non-governmental organizations
  • Native American Tribes
  • Government Agencies
  • Utilities and Transportation

The City has scheduled the following opportunities for the public to engage with City staff and their consultants working on the project.

  • Community Open House: A community open house is scheduled for May 7, 2020 TBD beginning at 6pm at the City Council Chambers, 3100 Belmont Blvd, West Richland WA. Interested parties are encouraged to attend. City staff and their consultants will provide an introduction to the SMP Periodic Review process, answer questions, and accept public comments.
  • For full details on ways the City plans to engage with the public on the 2020 SMP Periodic Review, view the City’s 2020 SMP Periodic Review Public Participation Plan, listed below.

Project Timeline:

The following is a general schedule for the City’s SMP Periodic Review project. The City plans to adopt an amended SMP in Fall of 2020, following approval from the Department of Ecology. Interested parties are encouraged to make public comments or reach out to the City staff contact with any questions regarding the project.

Project Documents:

Project documents will be uploaded here as they are prepared.

  • Completed Review Checklist (Prepared December 2019 by AHBL)
  • 2020 SMP Periodic Review Public Participation Plan

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Shoreline Master Program?
Shoreline Master Programs are both planning and regulatory documents. SMPs carry out the policies of the Shoreline Management Act on local shorelines. An SMP consists of a comprehensive use plan, use regulations, maps, diagrams or other descriptive material, statement of desired goals and standards for shorelines of the state [RCW 90.58.030(3)(b)]. SMPs are based on state laws and rules and tailored to local geographic and environmental conditions and existing development patterns.

What is the Shoreline Management Act?
The Shoreline Management Act (SMA), RCW 90.58, provides a statewide framework for managing, accessing and protecting shorelines. Now more than 40 years old, the SMA reflects the strong interest of the public in our shorelines and waterways for recreation, protection of natural areas, aesthetics, and commerce.

Where does the SMA and the City’s SMP apply?
The SMA applies to major water bodies and their adjacent shorelands throughout Washington State. Within the State there are approximately 28,204 miles of shorelines including:

  • Marine waters.
  • Streams over 20 cubic feet per second mean annual flow.
  • Water areas and reservoirs 20 acres and greater.
  • Upland areas called shorelands that are 200 feet landward of the Ordinary High Water Mark.
  • All associated wetlands.

Within the City of West Richland, the SMP applies to land within 200’ of the Yakima River and any associated wetlands.

What is the periodic review of the City’s Shoreline Master Program?
The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires a periodic review of comprehensively updated SMPs. Local governments must review amendments to the SMA and Ecology rules that have occurred since the master program was last amended, and determine if local amendments are needed to maintain compliance. Local governments must also review changes to the comprehensive plan and development regulations to determine if the SMP policies and regulations remain consistent with them. Local governments should consider during their periodic review whether to incorporate any amendments needed to reflect changed circumstances, new information, or improved data. The Legislature has established a schedule for every community to complete these reviews.

What laws or rules have been changed since the City’s SMP was last amended?
Ecology has prepared a checklist of all laws and rules adopted, organized by year. The checklist is accompanied by a guidance document that explains each item. In 2019, the City reviewed its SMP and identified potential updates that would ensure compliance with newly adopted laws or guidance. Based on this checklist, amendments will be prepared.

When was the last time the City’s SMP was adopted?
The last periodic update to the SMP was in 2014. The City is now required to conduct a Periodic Review and adopt any necessary amendments to the SMP by June of 2021.

Is the public permitted to provide feedback on the proposed amendments to the City’s SMP?
Yes, in fact the SMA requires public participation for all amendments. Ecology rules call for a public participation plan that should include broad dissemination of informative materials, proposals and alternatives, opportunities for written comments, public meetings after effective notice, provisions for open discussion, and consideration of and responses to public comments. The plan will ensure the public knows when to comment on the scope of the review and proposed changes, and when the City Council is expected to take formal action. Comments will be accepted throughout the project, until the SMP is formally adopted. An open house is scheduled to provide the public with opportunities to speak with City staff in person and have their voices heard as decisions are made regarding amendments to the SMP. The public will also have an opportunity to comment at the public hearing where the City Council will consider proposed amendments to the SMP.