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Information for Shoreline

Intro to Planning 101

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Planning Roadmap

Have you ever wondered how the City determines land use designations or makes the rules that govern building height and design? How about how the City creates priorities for public investments in parks or transportation systems?

All of the City's land use and public infrastructure decisions occur within a framework of state, regional and local laws. The most tangible and visible part of this decision-making process are the specific capital projects (i.e., roads and parks), or private projects (i.e., new homes or stores) that you see around the city.

To understand the where, how and why of a project, you need to trace the decision-making process "upstream."

Every project requires a permit, which must comply with the requirements of the City's Development Code. The Development Code governs specific project details such as location, height, setback, parking and building design. The Development Code, in turn, must be consistent with the provisions of the City's Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan), a community wide "blueprint" for where and how the City should grow in the coming decades.

The Comprehensive Plan speaks in broad and even aspirational terms, painting a picture of a desired future Shoreline. A major component of the Comp Plan is the section containing the Vision/ Framework Goals, which was updated in 2009 after an extensive community outreach effort. Community members came together and shared their ideas about what Shoreline looks like today and how they want it to look in 20 years.

The adopted Vision 2029 also incorporated the major policies contained in earlier adopted Strategic Plans for Economic Development, Environmental Sustainability, and Housing.

Finally, the Comp Plan is subject to many specific goals and requirements of the Growth Management Act (GMA), including population and employment targets assigned to the City by county-wide planning policies. The GMA requires countywide planning to avoid uncoordinated and unplanned growth.

For more information, contact Shoreline Planning & Community Development Director Rachael Markle at (206) 801-2531 or


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