Comments sought on Grays Harbor Co. shoreline master program revisions

The State Department of Ecology is seeking public comments about significant revisions Grays Harbor County is seeking to make to its shoreline master program.

The shoreline master program is the locally tailored set of land-use policies and regulations designed to protect and guide how the county will develop, restore and preserve more than 1,200 miles of marine and freshwater shorelines in and around the Grays Harbor estuary; Pacific Ocean coastline; numerous rivers and streams including the Chehalis, Hoquiam, Humptulips, North, Satsop and Wynoochee rivers; and six lakes including Wynoochee Lake.

Grays Harbor County last amended its shoreline master program in 1991, according to Ecology. The proposed updated master program is designed to:

• Prioritize water-oriented uses and development in Grays Harbor County

• Provide for public access to public waters and shorelines

• Support restoration actions consistent with the county’s shoreline restoration plan
• Incorporate critical area regulations to ensure environmentally-sensitive areas within the county’s shoreline jurisdiction are protected

The draft documents currently out for review and comment are available online at Paper copies are also available for review, by appointment, at Ecology’s Southwest Regional Office, 300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98504. To arrange a time, please contact Ecology’s Kim Van Zwalenburg at 360-407-6520.

The documents are also available by appointment at the county Department of Public Services — Planning and Building Division, 100 West Broadway, Suite 31 in Montesano. To schedule an appointment, please contact Jane Hewitt at 360-249-4222.

Comments only need to be provided once before the Dec. 3 deadline. Online comments are preferred at, but will also be accepted by mail addressed to Kim Van Zwalenburg, Washington Department of Ecology, Southwest Regional Office, PO Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775.

After the public comment period closes Dec. 3, Ecology will compare Grays Harbor’s proposed plan to the requirements of the state Shoreline Management Act and Shoreline Master Program Guidelines. Based on the comparison, Ecology will decide whether to approve Grays Harbor County’s proposed plan as is, approve the revised plan with recommended changes, or send the proposed plan back to the county with required changes to meet statutory and rule requirements. Recommended changes may also be included with the required changes.