City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

***Note: Many local criminal codes can now be located under Chapter 10.60 SMC while others are now cited under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which was incorporated into the municipal code in 2022. (See SMC 10.58.010). Code Enforcement, including Noise Control and Animal Regulations are located in Chapters 10.62 through 10.74.

Title 17E
Chapter 17E.060
Section 17E.060.300

Title 17E Environmental Standards

Chapter 17E.060 Shoreline Regulations

Article IV. Shoreline Permits and Exemptions

Section 17E.060.300 Uses, Modifications, and Developments Exempt or Excepted from Shoreline Substantial Development Permit Requirement
  1. Application and Interpretation of Exemptions.
    1. Exemptions shall be construed narrowly. Only those uses, modifications, or developments that meet the precise terms of one or more of the listed exemptions may be exempt from the shoreline substantial development permit process.
    1. An exemption from the shoreline substantial development permit process is not an exemption from compliance with the Shoreline Management Act or provisions of these shoreline regulations, or from any other regulatory requirements. To be authorized, all uses, modifications, and developments must be consistent with the policies and regulations of the entire SMP and the Act.
    1. Pursuant to WAC 173-27-160, a use, modification, or development that is listed as a shoreline conditional use pursuant to these shoreline regulations or is an unlisted use, must obtain a shoreline conditional use permit even though the use, modification, or development does not require a shoreline substantial development permit.
    1. When a use, modification, or development is proposed that does not comply with the bulk, dimensional and performance standards of these shoreline regulations, such use, modification, or development can only be authorized by approval of a shoreline variance pursuant to SMC 17E.060.330, Shoreline Variance Permit, and SMC 17E.060.340, Procedures.
    1. The burden of proof that a development or use is exempt from the permit process is on the applicant.
    1. If any part of a proposed use, modification, or development is not eligible for exemption, then a shoreline substantial development permit is required for the entire proposed project.
    1. All permits or statements of exemption issued for a use, modification, or development within the shoreline jurisdiction shall include written findings approved by the director, including compliance with bulk and dimensional standards and policies and regulations of the entire SMP. The director may attach conditions to the approval of exempt uses, modifications, or developments as necessary to assure consistency of the project with the Act and these shoreline regulations.
    1. The department of ecology must approve all exemptions requiring permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers section 10 permit under the Rivers and Harbors Act, and any project involving a section 404 permit under the Clean Water Act.
    1. Use, modifications, and developments proposed within the shoreline jurisdiction may require permits from other governmental agencies other than the department of ecology.
  1. Exemptions.

The following shall not be considered substantial development and are exempt from obtaining a shoreline substantial development permit from the director:

    1. Any use, modification, or development of which the total cost or fair market value, whichever is higher, does not exceed seven thousand forty seven dollars ($7,047) as of September 2, 2017 or the adjusted amount per WAC 173-27-040 determined by the office of financial management periodically for inflation, if such use, modification, or development does not materially interfere with the normal public use of the water or shorelines of the state. The total cost or fair market value of the use, modification, or development shall include the fair market value of any donated, contributed, or found labor, equipment, or materials.
    1. Normal maintenance or repair of existing structures or developments, including damage by accident, fire or elements. “Normal maintenance” means those usual acts to prevent a decline, lapse, or cessation from a lawfully established state comparable to its original condition, including but not limited to its size, shape, configuration, location, and external appearance, within twelve months after decay or partial destruction, except where repair causes substantial adverse effects to shoreline resources or environment. Replacement of a structure or development may be authorized as repair where such replacement is the common method of repair for the type of structure or development and the replacement structure or development is comparable to the original structure or development including but not limited to its size, shape, configuration, location and external appearance and the replacement does not cause substantial adverse effects to shoreline resources or environment.
    1. Construction of the normal protective bulkhead common to single-family residences. A “normal protective bulkhead” means those structural and nonstructural developments installed at or near, and parallel to, the ordinary high-water mark for the sole purpose of protecting an existing single-family residence and appurtenant structures from loss or damage by erosion. A normal protective bulkhead is not exempt if constructed for the purpose of creating dry land. When a vertical wall is being constructed or reconstructed, not more than one cubic yard of fill per one foot of wall may be used as backfill. When an existing bulkhead is being repaired by construction of a vertical wall fronting the existing wall, it shall be constructed no further waterward of the existing bulkhead than is necessary for construction of new footings. When a bulkhead has deteriorated such that an ordinary high-water mark has been established by the presence and action of water landward of the bulkhead, then the replacement bulkhead must be located at or near the actual ordinary high-water mark. Beach nourishment and bioengineered erosion control projects may be considered a normal protective bulkhead when any structural elements are consistent with the above requirements and when the project has been approved by the State department of fish and wildlife.
    1. Emergency construction necessary to protect property from damage by the elements. An emergency means an unanticipated and imminent threat to public health, safety or the environment which requires immediate action within a time too short to allow full compliance with these shoreline regulations. Emergency construction does not include development of new permanent protective structures where none previously existed. Where new protective structures are deemed by the director to be the appropriate means to address the emergency situation, upon abatement of the emergency situation the new structure shall be removed or any permit which would have been required, absent an emergency, pursuant to chapter 90.58 RCW or these shoreline regulations shall be obtained. All emergency construction shall be consistent with the policies of chapter 90.58 RCW and the entire SMP. As a general matter, flooding or other seasonal events that can be anticipated and may occur but that are not imminent are not an emergency.
    1. Construction and practices normal or necessary to maintain existing farming and irrigation activities, including agricultural service roads and utilities in the Latah Creek shoreline jurisdiction presently zoned for agricultural use.
    1. Construction or modification, by or under the authority of the coast guard or a designated port management authority, of navigational aids such as channel markers and anchor buoys.
    1. Construction on shorelands by an owner, lessee, or contract purchaser of a single-family residence for their own use or for the use of their family, which residence does not exceed a height of thirty-five feet above average grade level and which meets all requirements of the state agency having jurisdiction thereof or the City of Spokane, other than requirements imposed pursuant to chapter 90.58 RCW. “Single-family residence” means a detached dwelling designed for and occupied by one family including those structures and developments within a contiguous ownership which are normal appurtenance. An “appurtenance” is necessarily connected to the use and enjoyment of a single-family residence and is located landward of the ordinary high-water mark and the perimeter of a wetland. On a statewide basis, normal appurtenances include a garage, deck, driveway, utilities, fences, and grading which does not exceed two hundred fifty cubic yards and which does not involve placement of fill in any wetland or waterward of the ordinary high-water mark. Construction authorized under this exemption shall be located landward of the ordinary high-water mark.
    1. Construction of a dock, including a community dock, designed for pleasure craft only, for the private noncommercial use of the owner, lessee, or contract purchaser of single-family and multiple-family residences. A dock is a landing and moorage facility for watercraft and does not include recreational decks, storage facilities, or other appurtenances. This exemption applies if either:
      1. In fresh waters the fair market value of the dock does not exceed:
        1. Twenty-two thousand five hundred dollars ($22,500) for docks that are constructed to replace existing docks, are of equal or lesser square footage than the existing dock being replaced; or
        1. Eleven thousand two hundred ($11,200) dollars for all other docks constructed in fresh waters.

However, if subsequent construction occurs within five years of completion of the prior construction, and the combined fair market value of the subsequent and prior construction exceeds the amount specified above, the subsequent construction shall be considered a substantial development for the purpose of this chapter.

    1. Operation, maintenance, or construction of canals, waterways, drains, reservoirs, or other facilities that now exist or are hereafter created or developed as a part of an irrigation system for the primary purpose of making use of system waters, including return flow and artificially stored groundwater for the irrigation of lands.
    1. The marking of property lines or corners on state-owned lands, when such marking does not significantly interfere with normal public use of the surface of the water.
    1. Operation and maintenance of any system of dikes, ditches, drains, or other public facilities existing on September 8, 1975, which were created, developed, or utilized primarily as a part of an agricultural drainage or diking system.
    1. Any project with a certification from the governor pursuant to chapter 80.50 RCW.
    1. Site exploration and investigation activities that are prerequisite to preparation of an application for development authorization under these shoreline regulations if:
      1. the activity does not interfere with the normal public use of the surface waters;
      1. the activity will have no significant adverse impact on the environment, including but not limited to fish, wildlife, fish or wildlife habitat, water quality, and aesthetic values;
      1. the activity does not involve the installation of any structure and, upon the completion of the activity, the vegetation and land configuration of the site are restored to conditions existing before the activity;
      1. a private entity seeking development authorization under this section first posts a performance bond or provides other evidence of financial responsibility to the City of Spokane to ensure that the site will be restored to preexisting conditions; and
      1. the activity is not subject to the permit requirements of RCW 90.58.550.
    1. The process of removing or controlling aquatic noxious weeds, as defined in RCW 17.26.020, through the use of an herbicide or other treatment methods applicable to weed control that are recommended by a final environmental impact statement published by the department of agriculture or the department of ecology jointly with other state agencies under chapter 43.21C RCW.
    1. Watershed restoration projects as defined in chapter 17A.020 SMC and RCW 89.08.460. The City of Spokane shall review the projects for consistency with these shoreline regulations pursuant to procedures in chapter 17G.060 SMC. No fee may be charged for accepting and processing requests for exemption for watershed restoration projects as used in this section.
    1. A public or private project that is designed to improve fish or wildlife habitat or fish passage when all of the following apply:
      1. The project has been approved in writing by the department of fish and wildlife.
      1. The project has received hydraulic project approval (HPA) by the department of fish and wildlife pursuant to chapter 77.55 RCW; and
      1. The City of Spokane has determined that the project is substantially consistent with these shoreline regulations. The City shall make such determination and provide it by letter to the project proponent.
    1. All other uses, modifications, and developments exempted by WAC 173-27-040.
  1. Exceptions

Developments not required to obtain shoreline permits or local reviews. Requirements to obtain a Substantial Development Permit, Conditional Use Permit, Variance, letter of exemption, or other review to implement the Shoreline Management Act do not apply to the following:

    1. Remedial actions. Pursuant to RCW 90.58.355, any person conducting a remedial action at a facility pursuant to a consent decree, order, or agreed order issued pursuant to chapter 70.105D RCW, or to the department of ecology when it conducts a remedial action under chapter 70.105D RCW.
    1. Boatyard improvements to meet NPDES permit requirements. Pursuant to RCW 90.58.355, any person installing site improvements for storm water treatment in an existing boatyard facility to meet requirements of a national pollutant discharge elimination system storm water general permit.
    1. WSDOT facility maintenance and safety improvements. Pursuant to RCW 90.58.356, Washington State Department of Transportation projects and activities meeting the conditions of RCW 90.58.356 are not required to obtain a Substantial Development Permit, Conditional Use Permit, Variance, letter of exemption, or other local review.
    1. Projects consistent with an environmental excellence program agreement pursuant to RCW 90.58.045.
    1. Projects authorized through the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council process, pursuant to chapter 80.50 RCW.

Date Passed: Monday, April 19, 2021

Effective Date: Sunday, May 23, 2021

ORD C36034 Section 6