Streams, wetlands, and landslide hazard areas are just a few of the natural areas that the City of Shoreline regulates for the benefit of public health, safety, and welfare. The City is required to regulate these areas under the State Growth Management Act

The City Council adopted updates to the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), on December 7, 2015, (Ordinance No. 723). Related amendments to Title 20 Development Code were also adopted (Ordinance No. 724).

The update of the CAO was intended to meet these goals for the City:

  1. Update the regulations for consistency with Best Available Science as required by the State;
  2. Provide predictability and clarity by adding standard for critical area report submittals; and
  3. Modify problematic and unclear sections of the code.


Why regulate Critical Areas?

Critical areas include:

  • Geologically hazardous areas - landslide, erosion, seismic hazards
  • Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas - priority and endangered species and habitats
  • Wetlands and streams
  • Frequently flooded areas
  • Aquifer recharge areas (no designated areas in Shoreline)

The City of Shoreline regulates these areas for the benefit and protection of our residents:

  • To protect the public health, safety, and welfare
  • To allow for reasonable uses
  • To maintain beneficial functions and values of critical areas such as:
    • Water quality protection
    • Fish and wildlife habitat
    • Flooding reduction
    • Erosion control
    • Recreation
    • Natural beauty
    • Air quality protection
  • To reduce cumulative adverse impacts
  • And because the State Growth Management Act (GMA) requires it

Meeting Documents:

May 5 Critical Areas Conversations Meeting:

    May 21 Planning Commission Meeting:

    June 4 Planning Commission Meeting:

    June 18 Planning Commission Meeting:

    July 16 Planning Commission Meeting:

    August 20 Planning Commission Meeting:

    • Public Comment Submitted on August 17 (after Staff Report Published):

    September 17th Planning Commission Meeting:

    October 1 Planning Commission Meeting:

    • Critical Areas Ordinance Update:

    Proposed Ordinances:

    Ordinance 723 - Critical Areas; Chapter 20.80:
    Attachment A1 - Clean: http://shorelinewa.gov/home/showdocument?id=21892
    Attachment A2 - Legislative Format: http://shorelinewa.gov/home/showdocument?id=21898

    Ordinance 724 - Title 20 Development Code:
    Attachment B1 - Clean: http://shorelinewa.gov/home/showdocument?id=21894
    Attachment B2 - Legislative Format: http://shorelinewa.gov/home/showdocument?id=21900

    Ordinance 725 - Shoreline Master Plan:
    Attachment C1 - Clean: http://shorelinewa.gov/home/showdocument?id=21896
    Attachment C2 - Legislative Format: http://shorelinewa.gov/home/showdocument?id=21902

    October 26 City Council Meeting:

    November 2, City Council Meeting:

    December 7, City Council Meeting:

    Learn More

    City of Shoreline - Online Interactive Mapping Site - use the layers tool in the upper right corner to turn the critical areas layers (including percent slope). More detail is visible the closer you are zoomed into an area of Shoreline.

    Critical Areas in Parks - Table summarizing the types of critical areas that have been identified in each of the City's Parks.

    WA Department of Ecology - Wetlands