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.060.720

Title 17E Environmental Standards

Chapter 17E.060 Shoreline Regulations

Article VII. Shoreline Development Standards by District: Part II. Shoreline Development Standards

Section 17E.060.720 Shoreline Buffers
  1. Purpose.
    Shoreline buffers serve several purposes, including filtering pollutants and sediment from runoff, preventing shoreline erosion, preserving fish and wildlife habitat, screening noise, preserving aesthetic values, and helping to achieve no net loss of shoreline ecological functions.
  2. Standards for shoreline buffers shall ensure no net loss of shoreline ecological functions and shall preserve the existing character of the shoreline, consistent with the entire SMP.
  3. The buffer requirements for any shoreline use, modification, or development shall be in accordance with the shoreline buffer maps and official City GIS data.
  4. If there is a conflict between shoreline buffers and critical areas buffers, the most restrictive shall apply.
  5. Development may be allowed in a shoreline buffer if the proposed development is on the landward side of an existing and dedicated public street, not including alleys, running parallel to the Spokane River or Latah Creek. New streets shall not be approved to create developable lots in the shoreline buffer. Any use or development allowed in the shoreline buffer shall be consistent with these shoreline regulations.
  6. The following development activities shall not be subject to shoreline buffer requirements provided that they are constructed and maintained in a manner that minimizes adverse impacts on shoreline ecological functions and comply with these shoreline regulations and all the applicable regulations for critical areas.

    1. Those portions of approved water-dependent development that require a location waterward of the ordinary high-water mark, associated wetlands and/or within their associated buffers.

    2. Underground utilities.

    3. Modifications to an existing facility that are necessary to comply with environmental requirements of any agency, when otherwise consistent with the SMP, provided that the director determines that the:

      1. facility cannot meet the dimensional standards and accomplish the purpose for which it is intended and the facility is located, designed, and constructed to meet specified dimensional standards to the maximum extent feasible; and

      2. modification is in conformance with the provisions of SMC 17E.060.380, Nonconforming Uses and Structures.

    4. Streets and railways necessary to access approved water-dependent development and emergency services.

    5. Stairs, pathways, or trails, for the purposes of required public access, which generally run perpendicular to and intersect the shoreline not exceeding a width of ten feet.

    6. Pathways and trails shall only be allowed in the shoreline buffer to connect to and from an existing regional multi-use non-motorized trail and only when:

      1. parallel pathways and trails are located as close to the landward edge of the shoreline jurisdiction as possible or will make use of an existing constructed grade such as those formed by an abandoned rail grade, abandoned road, or utility;

      2. perpendicular pathways and trails, and river crossings, are sited in a location that has the least impact to shoreline ecological functions, consistent with SMC 17E.060.220, Mitigation Sequencing. Previously altered or disturbed locations shall be preferred.

      3. located, constructed, and maintained so as avoid, to the maximum extent possible, removal and other impacts to perennial native vegetation, including trees, standing snags, forbs, grasses, and shrubs;

      4. alternatives to impervious paving are used;

      5. width does not exceed ten feet;

      6. gravel or bare earth shoulders are not allowed; and

      7. accompanied by a habitat management plan as outlined in SMC 17E.020.090.

    7. An essential public facility or public utility, when the director determines that:

      1. no feasible alternative location will accommodate the facility;

      2. the facility cannot meet the dimensional standards and accomplish the purpose for which it is intended; and

      3. the facility is located, designed, and constructed to meet specified dimensional standards to the maximum extent feasible.

    8. New or expanded public flood protection measures, subject to the requirements in chapter 17E.030 SMC, Floodplain Management, and the approval of a federal biological assessment by the federal agency responsible for reviewing actions related to a federally listed species. The protection measures shall comply with the applicable regulations in these shoreline regulations, including the requirements in SMC 17E.060.190, Flood Hazard Reduction.

    9. In-stream structures, as defined in chapter 17A.020 SMC, if part of an approved stream or shoreline restoration project approved by the City or as permitted in Table 17E.060.690-1, Shoreline Primary Uses. The in-stream structures or features shall be designed to avoid modifying flows and water quality in ways that may adversely affect critical areas and habitat conservation areas, or degrading or eliminating habitat for aquatic life, including but not limited to: aquatic macro invertebrates, fish, amphibians and reptiles, and terrestrial wildlife for which streams and rivers are critical habitats.

    10. New or expanded wastewater treatment plant outfalls.

    11. Restoration and enhancement activities, as approved by the City; and

    12. The following accessory structures to park use, if no other feasible location exists outside of the shoreline buffer:

      1. Restrooms.

      2. Benches; and

      3. Directional and interpretive signs.

Date Passed: Monday, June 21, 2010

Effective Date: Monday, July 26, 2010

ORD C34605 Section 16