Shoreline Master Program (SMP)

Olympia adopted its first Shoreline Master Program in 1976. The current version of the Olympia Shoreline Master Program including development regulations can be found here. As described below, a major update of the Program is nearing its conclusion and is now being reviewed by the Department of Ecology.

Department of Ecology Review Process

Under Washington's 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act, Ecology must review and approve Olympia's proposed shoreline program before the program takes effect. Ecology hosted an open house followed by a public hearing on Thursday, July 31, 2014, and designated the deadline for comment submittals as September 8, 2014.

Olympia's proposed shoreline program and related documents can be reviewed at:

  • Ecology's Southwest Regional Office, 300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, Washington
  • City of Olympia, Community Planning & Development, 601 4th Avenue E., Olympia, Washington

Taking public comments into consideration, Ecology may approve the proposed shoreline program as written, reject it, or identify specific modification to meet the Shoreline Management Act and applicable state regulations.

Questions about the Ecology's process may be directed to Chrissy Bailey, Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, P.O. Box 47775, Olympia, Washington 98504, email to or call (360) 407-0290.



Background:  SMP Document Approved

Olympia City Council Submittal to State Department of Ecology

On October 1, 2013, the Olympia City Council adopted a Resolution approving the Shoreline Master Program update for submittal to and review by the State Department of Ecology (DOE).  In the Resolution, the Council also stated its intent to adopt the Shoreline Master Program after review by DOE. 

View the staff report, resolution, and other attachments included with the Council's October 1, 2013 agenda.

View the current 1990 Olympia Shoreline Master Program (PDF).



Comments Summary Table

About this table ...

This Comments Summary Table has been compiled to provide a quick reference to the major points made by the individuals and organizations who have commented on the Draft Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The City received a total of 102 individual comments on the SMP. Including attachments, the comments record totals nearly 700 pages.

Each comment has been reviewed, and the Comments Summary Table contains several columns that represent subject areas that have generated comments and discussion throughout the development of the SMP. If for example, you are looking to see which comments included something about public access, or sea level rise, simply go to that column on the Table. If there is a checkmark in the box for that subject area, then the commenter had something to say about that subject.

While we have attempted to reflect the key points of every commenter, some comments were too extensive to be neatly summarized. For those more extensive comments, we have mentioned a few key points but have also alerted the reader to the fact that the comments should be reviewed in their entirety to get a complete representation of the comments.

Background - January 2013 Public Hearing

The Council held a public hearing on proposed amendments to the SMP on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. Written statements were submitted to the Olympia Community Planning and Development Department by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 5, 2013. View the Public Comments.

Informational Meetings

Informational meetings about the draft SMP were held at Olympia City Hall on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 and Thursday, June 20, 2013. At both sessions City staff offered a general overview of the draft SMP, and a staff panel responded to general questions about intent of the draft SMP.

Citizens submitted questions by email in advance of the meetings. View those questions with staff responses - SMP Questions Received by 5:00 p.m. June 14, 2013, along with Water-dependent Definitions and Development Standards, and two Powerpoint presentations - Urban Waterfronts of the Pacific Northwest and an Overview of the Shoreline Master Program Update

Videos of 2013 Informational Meetings:

Wednesday, June 19

Thursday, June 20

Cumulative Impacts Assessment Report.

The Cumulative Impacts Assessment report assesses the cumulative impacts of development in the shoreline that would result from development and activities over time under the provisions contained in the Draft Shoreline Master Program dated January 22, 2013. 

The Cumulative Impacts Assessment and City Council discussions often refer to "reaches" of the shoreline. These reaches are segments of the shoreline that were first identified in the Inventory and Characterization Report, and which have been further divided for discussion purposes.

Olympia Visualization - Videos

The purpose of the Downtown Olympia 3D Visualization project is to develop a platform for visualizing current and proposed policy and land use scenarios, with a particular interest in view analysis and ground-level urban form experience. Mithun was contracted by the City of Olympia to build a 3D model from existing City data to be used in the future as supplemental information to help inform planning and policy decisions. The intent of the effort is to focus on the downtown sub-area and selected shoreline areas. The model includes the existing conditions, and potential scenarios based on current zoning code. It is intended to be used by City staff to help visualize various regulations and policies. The project deliverables are not intended to suggest urban design or policy solutions or proposals; however, the 3D model provides a robust platform for the City to conduct design exercises, studies, and analysis in the future.