Burien’s waterfront property owners vociferously expressed concerns about the Department of Ecology’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP), and the Burien City Council correspondingly rejected the Program and sent it back to DOE. The Council said it could agree to most of DOE’s requests, but did not agree with four provisions:

  • Buffers and Setbacks: For new construction or building upgrades, the new 50 foot buffer + 15 foot setback would have made development in many Burien waterfront lots unattainable. Burien responded with their plan to keep the existing 20 foot buffer with no additional setback.
  • Watercraft on Lake Burien: Burien wanted to maintain the ban on watercraft access on Lake Burien from any future public access areas.
  • Rebuilding: DOE wanted to make rebuilding a destroyed waterfront home more restrictive, which Burien disagreed with.
  • Shoreline Variances: DOE wanted to enforce a need for shoreline variances to reduce critical area buffers in geologically hazardous areas and wetlands, which Burien disagreed with.
  • This will be interesting to see how it plays out, since Burien and DOE will now each have to give and take to meet the state mandated requirements of having an update Shoreline Master Program.

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