Shoreline Master Program Periodic Update

Latah Creek


The City of Spokane is undertaking a periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP), as required by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA) (RCW 90.58). The Shoreline Management Act was created by citizen referendum in 1972, and includes the goals, policies, and regulations that govern land use and activities within the City limits. The Shoreline Management Act requires each Shoreline Master Program be reviewed on an eight-year schedule established by the Legislature (RCW 90.58.080). Spokane's shoreline jurisdiction includes Spokane River and Hangman Creek through the City; their associated wetlands and floodplains; and land within the 200 foot buffer zone of these water-bodies. The last Shoreline Master Program update was done in 2011. The City is scheduled to complete this latest periodic review by June 30, 2021.

Shoreline Master Program Process

Shoreline Master Program Process

Project Goals

Shoreline Master Programs are local land-use policies and regulations that guide use of Washington shorelines to protect natural resources for future generations, provide for public access to public water and shores, and plan for water-dependent uses. Washington Department of Ecology is required to maintain a checklist that includes review elements. The checklist helps counties, cities, and towns determine what to review and where each applicable issue is addressed in the Shoreline Master Program.

Our updated Shoreline Master Program will:

  • comply with Department of Ecology applicable laws and guidelines;
  • be consistent with our comprehensive plan and development regulations;
  • respond to changed circumstances, new information, or improved data; and
  • allow appropriate use and enjoyment of our shorelines and protect our shoreline ecosystem.

This periodic update will not re-evaluate the ecological baseline that was established as part of the last Shoreline Master Program update; change shoreline jurisdiction or environment designations; or result in changes to the comprehensive plan.

Public Participation

Early and continuous public participation is an important part of the review process. A public participation plan has been developed to outline the steps that we will take to provide opportunities for engagement and public comment. The plan is a working document and will be adjusted as needed to provide for the greatest and broadest public participation.

History of Spokane's Shoreline Management

  • 1966: Initiated our own intensive planning study of the Spokane River and Latah Creek waterfronts. The study culminated in the Riverfront Development Program, an ambitious commitment to recapture, over a 20 to 30-year period, the full value of an asset that had badly depreciated.
  • 1975: The Riverfront Development Program provided much of the substance for our first Shoreline Master Program, adopted in 1976 and amended in 1982.
  • 1988: Spokane City Council requested that the City Plan Commission review the Riverfront Development Program and the Shoreline Master Program and prepare updates if necessary.
  • 1994: Through a coordinated effort between the Plan Commission, a citizen committee, and City staff, our next draft Shoreline Master Program was completed in 1994, but was never adopted by the City Council.
  • 2005-2008: City Planning Services Department received a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology to update the 1976 Shoreline Master Program. This was adopted in 2008.
  • 2011: Completed our Shoreline Master Program periodic review and developed Chapter 14 Shorelines of the Comprehensive Plan.
  • 2020: Begins the process to update the Shoreline Master Program under guidance by the Washington Department of Ecology.
Hangman Creek

Related Resources

City of Spokane

Washington Department of Ecology

Trent Bridge

Contact Information

Melissa Wittstruck
Assistant Planner II

Tirrell Black, AICP
Principal Planner