City of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, Washington, Whidbey Island's Premier Waterfront Community

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865 SE Barrington Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-279-4500
Fax: 360-279-4507

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Shoreline Master Program - Update info





  • Shoreline Master Program Under Review By Ecology.  The Draft Shoreline Master Program is currently under review by the Department of Ecology. The Department of Ecology is currently asking for comments on the Draft SMP in a 30-day comment period, which ends on April 8, 2013.
  • Shoreline Master Program Approved! On November 20, 2012, the City Council approved the City's new Shoreline Master Program. 


  • To submit comments or questions on this project, please e-mail Ethan Spoo, Senior Planner at



The City of Oak Harbor is located in one of the most picturesque settings in the Northwest.  The City is bordered by Oak and Crescent Harbors to the south with the Cascades as a backdrop. Oak Harbor citizens take pride in the beautiful views and the recreational opportunities that the City's shoreline provides.

Maintaining the City’s shoreline resources, recreational opportunities, and beautiful views takes planning. In 1972, the City adopted its first Shoreline Master Program (SMP), a document that directs development within the City’s regulated shoreline area (the shoreline is generally 200 feet from the ordinary high water mark). Since that time, the document has been updated several times the last time being 1999.

It’s time to update the SMP once again. The State of Washington is requiring that the City update it’s Shoreline Master Program by December 1, 2012. The update process is highly involved. The City will reach out to a variety of different stakeholders during the process including citizens, shoreline property owners, recreational users, environmental advocates, and many others all of whom have a stake in what happens in the City’s shorelines.

This website is dedicated to keeping you informed about the Shoreline Master Program update, its status, work products, and how you can be involved. If you don’t find the answer to your question here, please call Ethan Spoo, Senior Planner and project manager for the City’s Shoreline Master Program update at 360-279-4513.


The project has five phases. The table below shows progress for each phase and the work products for each phase of the project. The explanation of phases and products is below the table.


  • Phase 1: Determine the preliminary shoreline jurisdiction and create a public involvement plan. In this phase, the City determines the boundaries of its shoreline jurisdiction by looking at available data from the Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, the Navy and other sources. Generally speaking, the City’s shoreline jurisdiction falls within 200 feet of Oak Harbor and Crescent Harbor, but also includes adjacent wetland areas such as Freund and Crescent Marshes. The City also created a public participation plan which will guide the public involvement throughout the project.
    • Work Products: (1) Preliminary Shoreline Jurisdiction Map (2) Public Participation Plan. Please see "Documents" section of this website.
    • Status: Complete.


  • Phase 2: Shoreline Inventory and Characterization. In this phase, the City performed a detailed inventory of the shoreline, looking at the shoreline environment (plants and animals) and land uses (residential, commercial, parks, roads, utilities, etc.) within it.
    • Work Products: (1) Shoreline Inventory and Characterization Report. Please see the "Documents" section of this website for draft work products.
    • Status: Complete


  •  Phase 3: Complete Draft SMP and Cumulative Impacts Analysis. The City is in the process of drafting policies and regulations concerning the use and development of the shoreline. A Cumulative Impacts Analysis will be performed to look at the impacts of the proposed shoreline regulations on the long-term health of the environment. The policy, and regulation drafting will occur through the Shoreline Advisory Committee.
    • Work Products: (1) Draft Shoreline Master Program with maps. (2) Preliminary Cumulative Impacts Analysis.
    • Status: Complete.


  • Phase 4: Restoration Planning. In this phase, the City will look for opportunities to restore damaged areas of the shoreline.
    • Work Products: (1) Restoration Plan (2) Revised Shoreline Master Program (3) Revised Cumulative Impacts Analysis (4) No net loss report.
    • Status: 90% Complete


  •  Phase 5: Local Adoption.  It all comes together in Phase 5. The new shoreline goals, policies, and regulations will be considered for adoption by the City Council in this phase.
    • Work Products: (1) Final Council-approved Shoreline Master Program (2) SEPA documentation (3) responsiveness summary
    • Status: Complete

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