Shoreline Master Program (SMP)

Periodic Update Process

State law currently requires agencies to periodically review and update their local SMP regulations and plans. The City of Puyallup initiated this process in 2019, as mandated by state law for all jurisdictions in Pierce County. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the project was put on hold in 2020 and the City received an extension to complete the project. 

The Puyallup Planning Commission held multiple work sessions on this project in 2019 and is picking up where they left off in January 2022. Information on the public comment period and anticipated project schedule are provided below. Informational flyers on the SMP update project, as well as a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) flyer, are linked under the Periodic Update Documents section of this webpage. 

Public Comment

The City of Puyallup (City) and the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) are seeking comments on proposed amendments to the City’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The joint local/state public comment period will run from Wednesday, February 2nd through Friday, March 4th at 5 pm.

Authority for the amendment is based on Washington’s Shoreline Management Act (Ch. 90.58 RCW) and related rules. These amendments were developed by the City in compliance with WAC 173-26-090(1). The City has elected to use the optional joint review process to combine the local and Ecology comment periods, as allowed under WAC 173-26-104. No additional comment period will occur during the state review process. Comments provided to the City will be reviewed by both the City and Ecology. There is no need to send comments directly to Ecology.

The City conducted an audit based on changes to state law and guidance since the City’s SMP was last adopted in 2016.  Featured changes include amendments to the City's Critical Areas Ordinance (PMC Chapter 21.06), like exempt wetland categories and permit process changes. There are also changes to the residential development standards in the SMP, like fencing in shoreline areas and the reorganization of the residential section for greater clarity.

Comments can be emailed to Kendall Wals, Senior Planner, or mailed to Puyallup City Hall, 333 S Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371.

Comments can also be made online or in-person during the online community meeting or public hearing noted below. The online community meeting is to be held Thursday, February 10th at 6:30 pm. The joint public hearing on the proposed amendments to the SMP and Critical Areas Ordinance is to be held Wednesday, February 23rd at 6:30 pm, located at the Council Chambers on the 5th floor of City Hall. The public hearing will also include a virtual attendance option via Zoom. Zoom login information for the online community meeting and a public hearing are provided under the project schedule section below. 

Documents are available for review on this webpage using the link under the "Draft Amendments for Public Review" section of this webpage and the Permit Center, located on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

At the conclusion of the comment period, the City will prepare a response to comments and determine whether changes are needed. Public comments and City responses will be shared with Ecology. After local adoption, the SMP amendment will be formally submitted to Ecology for final action per WAC 173-26-104 and WAC 173-26-110. Ecology will review amendments for consistency with state laws and rules. Ecology may either approve the program as adopted or may recommend changes.

Anticipated Project Schedule 

  • January 12, 2022: Planning Commission overview presentation
  • February 10, 2022: Online Community Meeting on the proposed amendments; 6:30 p.m. on Zoom 
  • February 2, 2022- March 4, 2022: Joint local/state public comment period on amended SMP
  • February 23, 2022: Joint local/state Public Hearing (Planning Commission/Ecology) on Amended SMP, as well as proposed amendments to Critical Area code (no deliberation)
  • Public Hearing information - can attend in-person or virtually
    In-person Location: Council Chambers, 5th Floor City Hall, 333 S Meridian.
    Phone: 1-253-215-8782
    Online: Via Zoom 
    Meeting ID: 837 6550 9911
    Passcode: 781796
  •  April 13, 2022: Planning Commission Deliberation and Recommendation
  • April-May 2022: Ecology Initial Determination on Amended SMP
  • June 2022: City Council Public Hearing to Adopt Amended SMP
  • June 2022: Submit Adopted SMP to Ecology


Draft Amendments for Public Review

Please use the following link to access the current drafts: Draft SMP Documents.

Critical Area Code Update

Staff at the Department of Ecology (ECY) recommended specific changes to the city's critical area code as part of the review of the city's SMP update. The ECY outlined the "required changes" that relate to wetlands not currently regulated by the City of Puyallup's critical area ordinance. A draft update to the city's critical area ordinance in relation to new guidance regarding wetlands is included in the update process. Final draft amendments will be posted at the same time as the draft amendments to the SMP. 

Stay updated

Draft amendments may change during the final review process. Please sign up for updates in the following two ways: 

  • Email the city and ask to be added to the city's notification email list for the SMP update. Please email us and include "Puyallup SMP Update" in the subject line.
  • Sign up for Planning Commission and City Council email alerts online.


Current Puyallup Shoreline Master Program, Updated January, 2016

The SMP contains several main sections: an inventory of shoreline conditions; goals, policies, and regulations pertaining to shoreline activities, and administrative provisions as well as public access and restoration plans, respectively. The SMP includes development standards and use regulations for a wide range of specific uses and shoreline modifications, such as residential and commercial use, dredging, bulkheads, shoreline stabilization, etc. The content of the SMP document are as follows (updated January, 2015):

What is the Shoreline Master Program (SMP)?

Shoreline master programs (SMPs) regulate new development, land modifications and use of shorelines along larger rivers, lakes over 20 acres, and marine waterfronts. In the City of Puyallup, the only waterways covered under the Shoreline Master Program are the Puyallup River and Clark's Creek.

Shoreline in Puyallup

The Puyallup SMP defines how the shoreline areas of the City and its urban growth area will be managed. Lands within 200 feet of the Puyallup River and Clark's Creek, and their associated wetlands, are subject to the policies and regulations of the SMP. Other streams and water bodies are regulated by the city’s critical areas ordinance only. All properties must comply with the city’s zoning and comprehensive plan, and properties subject to the SMP must comply with critical areas as well. 

The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) of 1971, ratified by Washington voters in 1972, establishes the basic framework for developing local Master Programs under the basic concept that piecemeal development of the state's shoreline areas would cause irreversible harm without master planning efforts at the local level. The SMA maintains 3 core principles:

  1. Shoreline uses - What type of uses will be allowed along local shoreline areas and how will they develop?
  2. Shoreline environmental protection - How will the critical functions of the shoreline environment be protected, preserved, and restored?
  3. Shoreline public access - How will the public be provided the opportunity to see, touch, feel and experience the shoreline areas?

Shoreline Characterization & Inventory Report

The first step in the comprehensive SMP update process is development of a shoreline inventory and characterization. The inventory and characterization documents current shoreline conditions and provides a basis for updating the City's SMP goals, policies, and regulations. The characterization identifies existing conditions, evaluates existing functions and values of shoreline resources, and explores opportunities for conservation and restoration of ecological functions. After technical review by city staff, tribes, Ecology, and other state agencies, the City completed the shoreline inventory and characterization report (PDF) in July 2007.

Shoreline Restoration Plan

The SMP guidelines require that local governments develop SMP policies that promote "restoration" of damaged shoreline ecological functions and develop a "real and meaningful" strategy to implement restoration objectives. Planning for shoreline restoration includes identifying opportunities (both programmatic and site-specific), establishing goals and policies, working cooperatively with other regional entities, and supporting restoration through other regulatory and non-regulatory programs. The City completed and updated a draft shoreline restoration plan (PDF) in January, 2012.

Additional Appendices


Please direct questions to Kendall Wals, Senior Planner by email or at 253-841-5462.