Shoreline Master Program (SMP)

Draft Amendments:

Draft amendments may be found in the links below. 


Shoreline Master Program Periodic Review Checklist
Critical Areas Amendments

2019 Periodic Update Process

State law currently requires agencies to periodically review and update their local SMP regulations and plans. The City of Puyallup is initiating this process in 2019, as mandated by state law for all jurisdictions in Pierce County.

SMP Flyer FINAL Crop

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):

Draft amendments will change as review continues; please sign up for updates in two ways:

-       Email the city and ask to be added to the city’s notification email list for the SMP update: (be sure to put ‘Puyallup SMP update’ in the email line)

-       Sign up for Planning Commission and City Council email alerts:

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?

Critical Area Code Update

Staff at the Department of Ecology recommended specific changes to the city's critical area code as a part of the review of the city's SMP update. The ECY  outlined "required changes" that relate to  wetlands not currently regulated by the city of Puyallup’s critical areas ordinance. A draft update to the city's critical area ordinance in relation to new guidance regarding wetlands is included in the update process. Draft amendments can be found here:  
Periodic Review Checklist

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, Associate Planner at or 253-841-5462