Regulations, definitions, information and applications for the most common shoreline developments.
The shoreline regulations, SJCC 18.50, apply landward 200’ of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM), as well as in all aquatic areas.
The interactive Polaris map (to the right ---> ) offers parcel information. Check the "Comprehensive Plan" box (left side of page) in the "Map Contents" layer of Polaris Parcel Map to see the designation and density.
of the main islands (linked directly below) show shoreline “designations” as capital letters:
Rural Residential RR
Rural Farm Forest RFF
Polaris Parcel Map
San Juan Comprehensive Plan Land Use and Shoreline Master Program Map
Lopez Comprehensive Plan Land Use and Shoreline Master Program Map
Orcas Comprehensive Plan Land Use and Shoreline Master Program Map
The most common shoreline development is “residential development.” Developing a site to build or remodel a home is addressed in SJCC 18.50.330. Owners or prospective owners may obtain advance approval of a site plan for residential development by submitting the RPA Application Form. Most single family residential construction is exempt from a shoreline permit, though a building permit is required.
In addition to the shoreline regulations, all shorelines are also subject to the “Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas” (FWHCA) section of the Critical Area regulations, SJCC 18.35.110-140. SJCC Table 18.35.130-3 indicates whether a project is allowable in aquatic FWHCAs and its buffers. An allowable project may also require land use or building permits.
Docks, boat ramps, mooring buoys and marine railways are “Boating Facilities” addressed in SJCC 18.50.190.
In addition to the shoreline regulations, the FWHCA regulations of SJCC 18.35.130.G.1-3 apply to docks and shoreline modifications.
- Building a new dock usually requires a “shoreline permit” ( Shoreline Permit Application and Checklist for Application.)
- Reconfiguring an existing dock may also require a shoreline permit or in some cases, revision of an existing permit may be allowed.
- Repairing an existing dock usually requires approval of an “exemption from shoreline permit” (Exemption Application).
- Mooring buoys are usually subject to approval of an exemption (Exemption Application)
Eroding, slumping banks and shifting beaches are geologic processes which can effect residential development. Changing those dynamic processes with stabilization measures that alter the shape and composition of the shore (using armoring, rockeries, jetties, rock walls, retaining walls and the like) can cause long-term issues for the public.