Shoreline Master Program
The Clallam County SMP is a comprehensive use plan for shoreline areas that includes goals and policies consistent with State law (RCW 90.58.020); maps, diagrams and charts or other descriptive material and text; use and development regulations; and administrative procedures for the shoreline permitting process. The SMP is based on the State SMP guidelines (Chapter 173-26 WAC), but tailored to the specific conditions and needs of Clallam County. Please contact the Clallam County Planning Department for further information on how this program impacts your property or planned project.
Shorelines within the County are designated with one or more of the following Shoreline Environment Designations. These designations were assigned based upon an analysis of the ecological functions and processes, the existing development patterns, and the planned land use as indicated by Clallam County’s Comprehensive Plan. The designation of a particular property can be found within the County Code or on the Shoreline Master Program Map.
Shoreline Environmental Designation
All shoreline waters as described in CCC 35.05.060 waterward of the ordinary high water mark together with their underlying lands and their water column. For purposes of Program administration, the marine waters shall be classified Aquatic – Straits (for the Strait of Juan de Fuca) and Aquatic – Pacific Ocean (for the Pacific Ocean), including harbors, bays, estuaries and inlets.
Shoreline areas landward of the ordinary high water mark located outside of County forest lands of long-term commercial significance designated pursuant to RCW 36.70A.170 and are ecologically intact, unable to support new use or development without significant adverse impacts to ecological functions or risk to human safety, or have particular scientific or educational interest.
Shoreline areas landward of the ordinary high water mark located outside a UGA within or bordering forest lands of long-term commercial significance designated under the Clallam County Comprehensive Plan, CCC Title 31, pursuant to RCW 36.70A.170, and zoned Commercial Forest (CF), Commercial Forest/Mixed Use 20 (CFM20), and Commercial Forest/Mixed Use 5 (CFM5) on the Clallam County Comprehensive Plan Land Use and Zoning Maps.
Shoreline areas landward of the ordinary high water mark in areas designated as rural lands under the County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Zoning Map that are generally characterized by adjacent low intensity and density land uses and where ecological functions are not substantially degraded. These areas also include some limited areas of unincorporated Urban Growth Areas that are similar in character. These shorelines generally support a mixture of existing residential uses with densities generally less than one unit per acre and less than one unit per 20 acres, including some platted lands with moderate potential for future development because of zoning, lot size, and location relative to infrastructure and amenities.
Shoreline areas landward of the ordinary high water mark that are characterized as having moderate to high density shoreline residential use.
Shoreline areas landward of the ordinary high water mark found along portions of the Clallam Bay-Sekiu Urban Growth Area marine waterfront and at existing isolated, rural and resource land locations characterized as moderately to mostly developed with existing intensive, marine water-oriented commercial or recreational uses or transportation uses.
Buffers shall be established and maintained to protect all regulated Shorelines and Critical Areas. Reports prepared by an approved consultant may be required prior to any land disturbing activities. Please contact the Planning Department for further information.
A buffer is the area abutting to a shoreline or critical area that separates and protects the area from adverse impacts associated with adjacent land uses. The Shoreline Environmental Designations have different buffer widths based on the size of the parcel and the development taking place. Please reference the table below.
|Shoreline Buffer Widths|
Shoreline Environment Designation
Standard Shoreline Buffer Width (feet) based Upon Type of Development and Lot Dimension (Measured from the ordinary high water mark – OHWM)
Minor New Development on existing lots with < 200 ft. of depth from OHWM to rear lot line
Minor New Development on existing lots with ≥ 200 ft. of depth from OHWM to rear lot line
Major New Development, including all Land Divisions
Shoreline Residential – Intensive
Shoreline Residential – Conservancy
Critical Areas with Shoreline Jurisdiction
Critical areas, including critical saltwater and critical freshwater habitats, within shoreline jurisdiction shall be regulated according to this Program and not Chapter 27.12 CCC. Critical areas outside of shoreline jurisdiction shall be regulated by Chapter 27.12 CCC and not this Program. Pursuant to CCC 35.05.080, the shoreline jurisdiction extends to include all lands necessary for buffers to protect critical areas that are overlapping or otherwise coincident with the shoreline jurisdiction.
Regulated wetlands are those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Regulated wetlands generally include, but are not limited to, swamps, marshes, bogs, ponds, including their submerged aquatic beds and similar areas. Wetlands shall be classed by an approved consultant prior to development. The Class of wetland, size of the parcel, and the intensity of development will determine the buffer size (shown in tables below).
Wetland buffers shall be retained in a natural condition or may be improved to enhance buffer functions and values. Buffers shall be maintained in a predominantly well vegetated and undisturbed condition defined as an average density of at least 150 trees and/or shrubs per acre or 55 percent areal cover of woody vegetation, whichever is greater. Below are consolidated buffer tables from CCC 35.35.050.
|Categories of Proposed Land Uses|
Level of Impact from Proposed Change in Land Use
Land Use Types
| • Commercial, industrial, and institutional uses|
• Multifamily residential
• Residential (more than one unit per acre)
• Conversion to high intensity agriculture (e.g., dairies, nurseries, greenhouses, animal and livestock, and growing and harvesting crops requiring annual tilling)
• High intensity recreation (golf courses, sport fields, playgrounds, etc.)
• Other uses not listed in the moderate or low impact Class, or similar expected level of impacts to such uses
• Single-family residential (parcel size one acre or greater)
• Forest management
|Wetland Buffers for Low Impact Land Uses|
Buffer Width (Dependent on Wetland Characteristics)
|Wetland Buffers for Moderate Impact Land Uses|
Buffer Width (Dependent on Wetland Characteristics)
75- 225 feet
|Wetland Buffers for High Impact Land Uses|
Buffer Width (Dependent on Wetland Characteristics)
This section pertains to the subset of fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas that are aquatic areas including Type S, F, Np, and Ns waters. These stream types correspond to the current water typing system used in the State Forest Practices Act.
|Aquatic Habitat Conservation Designation||Criteria|
Type S (shoreline)
Streams (or segments of) and water bodies that are designated “shorelines of the State” under this Program.
Type F (fish)
Streams (or segments of) and water bodies that are known to be used by fish, or meet the physical criteria to be potentially used by fish. Fish streams may or may not have flowing water all year; they may be perennial or seasonal.
Type Np (non-fish perennial)
Streams (or segments of) that have flow year round and may have spatially intermittent dry reaches downstream of perennial flow, but do not meet the physical criteria of a Type “F” water.
Type Ns (non-fish seasonal)
Streams (or stream segments) that do not have surface flow during at least some portion of the year, and do not meet the physical criteria of a Type F stream.
Buffers shall be established and maintained to protect regulated aquatic habitat conservation areas. Buffer distances shall be measured from the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) or from the top of the bank where the OHWM cannot be identified unless otherwise specified by this Program. The standard width of the buffer zone for shorelines of the State (Type S waters) are shown the Shoreline Buffer Table above and the requirements for shoreline buffers and vegetation conservation are found in Chapter 35.30 CCC. Aquatic habitat conservation area buffers shall be retained in a natural condition or may be improved to enhance buffer functions and values. Buffers shall be maintained in a predominantly well vegetated and undisturbed condition defined as an average density of at least 150 trees and shrubs per acre or 55 percent areal cover of woody vegetation, whichever is greater.
|Aquatic Habitat Conservation Area||Standard Buffer Width|
See Shoreline Buffer Width Table (above)
Lands classified as landslide, erosion or seismic hazards are hereby designated as geologically hazardous areas and are subject to the procedures and standards of this chapter and Program.
|Geological Hazard Designation||Criteria|
Erosion Hazard Area
Areas likely to become unstable, such as bluffs, steep slopes, and areas with unconsolidated soils. Erosion hazard areas may also include coastal and riverine erosion areas.
Seismic Hazard Area
Areas subject to severe risk of damage as a result of earthquake-induced ground shaking, slope failure, settlement, soil liquefaction, surface faulting, or tsunamis.
Landslide Hazard Area
Lands potentially subject to mass movement because of any combination of bedrock, soil, slope (gradient), slope aspect, structure, hydrology, or other factors.
Landslide Hazard Area Sub-Types
Any marine bluff or cliff active erosion and/or mass wasting which periodically supplies moderate volumes of sediment input with a longer recurrence interval than feeder bluff exceptional segments. The bluff face typically has vegetation indicative of disturbance with evidence of landslides and toe erosion.
Feeder Bluff Talus
A feeder bluff characterized by coastal bluffs/sea cliffs that are actively receding and have a history of erosion/landslides but are primarily found within areas mapped as bedrock. These areas function as bedrock sediment sources (typically marine sedimentary units such as sandstone and conglomerate). These bluffs likely recede/erode at a slower rate than typical feeder bluffs and therefore are distinctively different from the unconsolidated, glacially deposited bluffs that the term “feeder bluffs” typically represents.
Feeder Bluff Exceptional
A feeder bluff with active erosion and/or mass wasting which periodically supplies substantial volumes of sediment input to the nearshore in greater quantities with a shorter recurrence interval than feeder bluffs. The bluff face typically has little to no vegetation with active landslides and toe erosion, and may include colluvium and toppled large woody debris.
Channel Migration Zone
The area along a river or stream within which the channel can reasonably be expected to migrate over time as a result of normally occurring hydrological and related processes when considered with the characteristics of the river and its surroundings.
New uses and developments shall maintain minimum buffers from the top, toe, and all edges of the landslide hazard areas as shown in the table below. Buffers shall be maintained in a predominantly well vegetated and undisturbed condition. Alterations to the buffer that are not associated with an allowed use or development shall be prohibited.
|Landslide Hazard Area||Standard Buffer Width|
Marine Bluff – Feeder Bluff Exceptional
Marine Bluff – Feeder Bluff or Feeder Bluff Talus
Other Landslide Hazard Areas (non-CMZ)
Channel Migration Zone Protection Standards
Applicants that propose new shoreline uses and development in the mapped potential CMZ within the shoreline jurisdiction shall submit a completed CMZ checklist available from the Administrator with their shoreline application. If required by the Administrator, the CMZ assessment report shall be prepared by a geologist, engineering geologist, professional engineer licensed in the State of Washington following the standards of Chapter 35.35.140(10)(c). Based on the results and recommendations of the channel migration zone assessment, the Administrator shall prohibit or limit use or development within a channel migration zone when such uses or development would likely be subject to channel migration or when it would be reasonably foreseeable that the use or development would require shoreline stabilization or interrupt the process of channel migration. In addition, based on the findings and recommendations of the CMZ assessment report, or a habitat management plan required by this Program, the Administrator may require a buffer of undisturbed natural vegetation from the edge of the channel migration zone to retain both a safety and habitat buffer if and when the channel migrates to the channel migration zone edge.