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WAC 173-26-176

General policy goals of the act and guidelines for shorelines of the state.

(1) The guidelines are designed to assist local governments in developing, adopting, and amending master programs that are consistent with the policy and provisions of the act. Thus, the policy goals of the act are the policy goals of the guidelines. The policy goals of the act are derived from the policy statement of RCW 90.58.020 and the description of the elements to be included in master programs under RCW 90.58.100.
(2) The policy goals for the management of shorelines harbor potential for conflict. The act recognizes that the shorelines and the waters they encompass are "among the most valuable and fragile" of the state's natural resources. They are valuable for economically productive industrial and commercial uses, recreation, navigation, residential amenity, scientific research and education. They are fragile because they depend upon balanced physical, biological, and chemical systems that may be adversely altered by natural forces (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, storms, droughts, floods) and human conduct (industrial, commercial, residential, recreation, navigational). Unbridled use of shorelines ultimately could destroy their utility and value. The prohibition of all use of shorelines also could eliminate their human utility and value. Thus, the policy goals of the act relate both to utilization and protection of the extremely valuable and vulnerable shoreline resources of the state. The act calls for the accommodation of "all reasonable and appropriate uses" consistent with "protecting against adverse effects to the public health, the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the waters of the state and their aquatic life" and consistent with "public rights of navigation." The act's policy of achieving both shoreline utilization and protection is reflected in the provision that "permitted uses in the shorelines of the state shall be designed and conducted in a manner to minimize, in so far as practical, any resultant damage to the ecology and environment of the shoreline area and the public's use of the water." RCW 90.58.020.
(3) The act's policy of protecting ecological functions, fostering reasonable utilization and maintaining the public right of navigation and corollary uses encompasses the following general policy goals for shorelines of the state. The statement of each policy goal is followed by the statutory language from which the policy goal is derived.
(a) The utilization of shorelines for economically productive uses that are particularly dependent on shoreline location or use.
"The legislature finds that the shorelines of the state are among the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources and that there is great concern throughout the state relating to their utilization, protection, restoration and preservation."
"It is the policy of the state to provide for the management of the shorelines by planning for and fostering all reasonable and appropriate uses."
"Uses shall be preferred which are. . .unique to or dependent upon use of the state's shoreline."
"Alterations of the natural condition of the shorelines of the state, in those limited instances when authorized, shall be given priority for single-family residences and their appurtenant structures, ports, shoreline recreational uses including but not limited to parks, marinas, piers, and other improvements facilitating public access to shorelines of the state, industrial and commercial developments which are particularly dependent on their location on or use of the shorelines of the state and other development that will provide an opportunity for substantial numbers of the people to enjoy the shorelines of the state."
"(2) The master programs shall include, when appropriate, the following:
(a) An economic development element for the location and design of industries, transportation facilities, port facilities, tourist facilities, commerce and other developments that are particularly dependent on their location on or use of the shorelines of the state;. . .
(d) A circulation element consisting of the general location and extent of existing and proposed major thoroughfares, transportation routes, terminals, and other public utilities and facilities, all correlated with the shorelines use element.
(e) A use element which considers the proposed general distribution and general location and extent of the use on shorelines and adjacent land areas for housing, business, industry, transportation, agriculture, natural resources, recreation, education, public buildings and grounds, and other categories of public and private uses of the land;. . ."
(b) The utilization of shorelines and the waters they encompass for public access and recreation.
"The public's opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of natural shorelines of the state shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible consistent with the overall best interest of the state and the people generally."
"Alterations of the natural conditions of the shorelines of the state, in those limited instances when authorized, shall be given priority for. . .development that will provide an opportunity for substantial numbers of people to enjoy the shorelines of the state."
"(2) The master programs shall include, when appropriate, the following:
(b) A public access element making provisions for public access to publicly owned areas;
(c) A recreational element for the preservation and enlargement of recreational opportunities, including but not limited to parks, tidelands, beaches, and recreational areas;. . ."
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"(4) Master programs will reflect that state-owned shorelines of the state are particularly adapted to providing wilderness beaches, ecological study areas, and other recreational activities for the public and will give appropriate special consideration to same."
(c) Protection and restoration of the ecological functions of shoreline natural resources.
"The legislature finds that the shorelines of the state are among the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources and that there is great concern throughout the state relating to their utilization protection, restoration, and preservation."
"This policy contemplates protecting against adverse effects to the public health, the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the waters of the state and their aquatic life. . ."
"To this end uses shall be preferred which are consistent with the control of pollution and prevention of damage to the natural environment."
"Permitted uses in the shorelines of the state shall be designed and conducted in a manner to minimize, insofar as practical, any resultant damage to the ecology and environment of the shoreline area. . ."
"(2) The master programs shall include, when appropriate, the following:
(f) A conservation element for the preservation of natural resources, including but not limited to scenic vistas, aesthetics, and vital estuarine areas for fisheries and wildlife protection;
(g) An historic, cultural, scientific, and educational element for the protection and restoration of buildings, sites, and areas having historic, cultural, scientific, or educational values;. . ."
(d) Protection of the public right of navigation and corollary uses of waters of the state.
"This policy contemplates protecting. . .generally public rights of navigation and corollary rights incidental thereto."
"Permitted uses in the shorelines of the state shall be designed and conducted in a manner to minimize, insofar as practical,. . .any interference with the public's use of the water."
(e) The protection and restoration of buildings and sites having historic, cultural and educational value.
"(2) The master programs shall include, when appropriate, the following:
(g) An historic, cultural, scientific, and educational element for the protection and restoration of buildings, sites, and areas having historic, cultural, scientific, or educational values;. . ."
(f) Planning for public facilities and utilities correlated with other shorelines uses.
"(2) The master programs shall include, when appropriate, the following:
(d) A circulation element consisting of the general location and extent of existing and proposed major thoroughfares, transportation routes, terminals, and other public utilities and facilities, all correlated with the shoreline use element."
(g) Prevention and minimization of flood damages.
"(2) The master programs shall include, when appropriate, the following:
(h) An element that gives consideration to the statewide interest in the prevention and minimization of flood damages."
(h) Recognizing and protecting private property rights.
"The legislature further finds that much of the shorelines of the state and the uplands adjacent thereto are in private ownership;. . .and, therefore coordinated planning is necessary. . .while, at the same time, recognizing and protecting private rights consistent with the public interest."
(i) Preferential accommodation of single-family uses.
"Alterations of the natural condition of the shorelines of the state, in those limited instances when authorized, shall be given priority for single-family residences and their appurtenant structures. . ."
"(6) Each master program shall contain standards governing the protection of single-family residences and appurtenant structures against damage or loss due to shoreline erosion. The standards shall govern the issuance of substantial development permits for shoreline protection, including structural methods such as construction of bulkheads, and nonstructural methods of protection. The standards shall provide for methods which achieve effective and timely protection against loss or damage to single-family residences and appurtenant structures due to shoreline erosion. The standards shall provide a preference for permit issuance for measures to protect single-family residences occupied prior to January 1, 1992, where the proposed measure is designed to minimize harm to the shoreline natural environment."
(j) Coordination of shoreline management with other relevant local, state, and federal programs.
"In addition. . ." the legislature ". . .finds that ever increasing pressures of additional uses are being placed on the shorelines necessitating increased coordination in the management and development of the shorelines of the state."
". . .and therefore, coordinated planning is necessary in order to protect the public interest associated with the shorelines of the state. . ."
"There is, therefor, a clear and urgent demand for a planned, rational, and concerted effort, jointly performed by federal, state, and local governments, to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state's shorelines."
"In preparing the master programs, and any amendments thereto, the department and local governments shall to the extent feasible:
(a) Utilize a systematic interdisciplinary approach which will insure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts;
(b) Consult with and obtain the comments of any federal, state, regional, or local agency having any special expertise with respect to any environmental impact;
(c) Consider all plans, studies, surveys, inventories, and systems of classification made or being made by federal, state, regional, or local agencies, by private individuals, or by organizations dealing with pertinent shorelines of the state;
(d) Conduct or support such further research, studies, surveys, and interviews as are deemed necessary;
(e) Utilize all available information regarding hydrology, geography, topography, ecology, economics, and other pertinent data;
(f) Employ, when feasible, all appropriate modern scientific data processing and computer techniques to store, index, analyze, and manage the information gathered."
[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.58.060 and 90.58.200. WSR 04-01-117 (Order 03-02), § 173-26-176, filed 12/17/03, effective 1/17/04.]
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