Shoreline Master Program (SMP)

During the remainder of 2021, the City will be updating its Shoreline Master Program (SMP) more commonly referred to as a “periodic review.”

2021 Update

The SMP is the document that regulates development along the City’s shorelines or, “shorelines of the state.” The City’s shorelines of the state are Bellingham Bay, Lake Whatcom and Lake Padden, Chuckanut, Whatcom and Squalicum Creeks and Padden Creek upstream to McKenzie Avenue. The City’s SMP was last updated in 2013 and is codified in Title 22 of our Municipal Code (BMC Title 22, Shorelines). SMP’s are required to be updated every eight years. The Washington State Department of Ecology engages in the update along the way and is the state agency solely responsible for issuing final approval of an SMP update.


On June 24, 2021 at 7:00 PM – at a virtual work session – the Planning and Community Development Department (PCDD) will introduce the Planning Commission to the City’s update of its SMP.

This work-session intends to achieve two objectives. First, the introduction will include a description of the scope of the update itself. Generally, identification of the required elements and the topic areas that are intended to be updated will be outlined. Second, and more importantly, PCDD staff will provide an introduction to the existing SMP itself. Think of it as an “SMP 101” very short course. Staff believes that the commissioners need to be educated on the intent and mechanics of the SMP and how it implements the Washington State Shoreline Management Act at the local level BEFORE reviewing any proposed revisions.

The Planning Commission work session materials can be found here: City of Bellingham – Meetings – OnBase Agenda Online ( Click on the “Upcoming” tab and then find the agenda and agenda packet (which contains the materials) for the 6/24/2021 Planning Commission date. Additional information including a “Quick Poll” and “Guestbook” can be found on the Engage Bellingham website.

SMP Update Materials

Other Relevant Resources


Staff Contact: Steve Sundin in the City’s Planning and Community Development Department at 360-778-8359 or email: ssundin