Olympia’s waterfront is one of the most beautiful locations in the Pacific Northwest. That beauty is one of our most valuable assets and Olympia’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) protects 66 percent of the shoreline as publicly owned open space. It also provides for the city to coordinate a continuous waterfront trail that captures the natural beauty and the urban activity of Olympia.
The SMP lays the groundwork for the revitalization of our waterfront. It prioritizes public access and the health of our waterways while creating flexibility for creativity in development projects.
Setbacks on our downtown waterfront have been zero for a long time and this SMP establishes larger waterfront setbacks ranging from 30-200 feet. Under specific conditions, setbacks may become less than 30 feet for water oriented uses that prescribe to many conditions including shoreline restoration and providing for a public trail.
Olympia’s draft SMP is only one tool in our toolbox. Through local planning, we will address sea-level rise in a coordinated way. In fact, Olympia is a leader on planning for sea-level rise and soon we will have a plan to protect property and infrastructure around Budd Inlet.
The SMP is not perfect and we are asking for your input on creating a healthy and vibrant Olympia waterfront. My colleagues and I are doing our best to balance the environmental, social and economic needs of Olympia. Please provide written comment on the draft SMP before July 23 at 5 p.m.