Public comment sought on updated Ruston shoreline master program

The Washington Department of Ecology is seeking public comment on Ruston’s recently updated shoreline master program.

The proposed updated shoreline master program will guide construction and development along the city’s Commencement Bay shoreline. It combines local plans for future development and preservation with new development ordinances and related permitting requirements. Ruston’s locally tailored shoreline program aims to help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to public lands and waters.

Under Washington’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act, the Department of Ecology must review and approve Ruston’s proposed shoreline program before it takes effect. About 200 cities and counties statewide are in the process or soon will be updating or crafting their master programs.

The Department of Ecology Ecology will accept public comment on Ruston’s proposed shoreline program through Feb. 6. Comments and questions should be addressed to Kim Van Zwalenburg, Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, PO Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775. E-mail Van Zwalenburg at, or call (360) 407-6520.

Ruston‘s proposed shoreline program and related documents can be reviewed at the following locations:

After the public comment period is done, Ecology may approve the proposed shoreline master program as written, reject it or direct Ruston to modify specific parts. Once approved by Ecology, Ruston’s shoreline program will become part of the overall state shoreline master program.

Ruston’s proposed updated master program provides shoreline regulations that are integrated with the city’s growth management planning and zoning ordinances as part of a unified development code; establishes protective setbacks of 50 to 100 feet, with the flexibility to reduce these setbacks based on individual property circumstances; recognizes the need to protect the integrity of the cap on the ASARCO superfund cleanup site and to avoid recontamination; includes a restoration plan showing where and how voluntary improvements in the water and on land can enhance the local shoreline environment; and helps support the broader initiative to protect and restore Puget Sound.

All of Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update their programs by December 2014. They are following regulations adopted by Ecology in 2003. The regulations resulted from a negotiated settlement among 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, the Department of Ecology and the courts.

Additional information is available online here:

The Department of Ecology’s Web site for Ruston’s proposed shoreline master program;

Shoreline master programs;

Our Living Shorelines Web portal.