To address changes in the shoreline environment, comply with the mandates of the Shoreline Management Act, and enable the City to plan for emerging issues, the City has initiated an extensive update of its Shoreline Master Program. The new program is intended to respond to current conditions and the community’s vision for the future.
The largely built out character of the shoreline, as well as the increasing protections under state and federal law for shoreline habitat are two factors that have strongly influenced the Update’s direction. In updating the program, the City’s primary objectives are to:
•Enable current and future generations to enjoy an attractive, healthy and safe waterfront.
•Protect the quality of water and shoreline natural resources to preserve fish and wildlife.
•Protect the City’s investments, as well as those of property owners along and near the shoreline.
•Produce an updated Shoreline Master Program (SMP) that is supported by Mercer Island’s elected and appointed officials, citizens, property owners, the State of Washington, and other key groups with an interest in the shoreline.
•Fairly allocate the responsibilities for increased shoreline protection among new development and redevelopment.
•Assure that regulatory or administrative actions do not unconstitutionally infringe upon private property rights
The City of Mercer Island, through adoption of the Shoreline Master Program, intends to implement the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58) and its policies, including protecting the State’s shorelines and their associated natural resources, planning for and fostering all reasonable and appropriate uses, and providing opportunities for the general public to have access to and enjoy shorelines.
The City of Mercer Island’s Shoreline Master Program represents the City’s participation in a coordinated planning effort to protect the public interest associated with the shorelines of the State while, at the same time, recognizing and protecting private property rights consistent with the public interest. The Program preserves the public’s opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of shorelines of the State and protects the functions of shorelines so that, at a minimum, the City achieves a ‘no net loss’ of ecological functions, as evaluated under the Final Shoreline Analysis Report issued in July 2009. The Program also promotes restoration of ecological functions where such functions are found to have been impaired, enabling functions to improve over time.
The goals and policies of the SMA constitute one of the goals for growth management as set forth in RCW 36.70A.020 and, as a result, the goals and policies of this SMP serve as an element of Mercer Island’s Comprehensive Plan and should be consistent with other elements of the Comprehensive Plan. In addition, other portions of the SMP adopted under chapter 90.58 RCW, including use regulations, are considered a part of the city’s development regulations.