Most of Snohomish County’s prime farmlands lie near large waterways and within the jurisdiction of the state's Shorelines Management Act. The county’s Shorelines Management Master Program implements this law through regulation of agricultural and development activities along “waters of the state” including larger lakes, river deltas, floodplains; and, associated wetlands.
There are several types of shorelines permits depending on the type of activity being proposed. Some agricultural activities are exempt from shorelines permit requirements.
This guide is intended as a quick reference to give farm operators an idea of the code requirements involved to accomplish their proposed activity. It is important to keep in mind that even if an activity is exempt from the substantial development provisions of the state Shorelines Management Act, it must still be carried out in compliance with the act and the county's Shoreline Master Program.
Because every property and situation is different, and because the code is written in fairly general terms, it is best to consult with planning and development services to get a reliable answer. Please email or call our Flood Hazard Planning at 425-388-3311.
- Check the Regulatory Boundary Maps for Agriculture to see if your property is in an area covered by shorelines regulations. Note also if it is in a flood hazard zone. If it is you will need to find out about whether or not you also need that permit.
- Click on the regulatory report feature within the map to obtain the allowable uses for shorelines designations. Check to see if your intended activity is listed. Remember even if an activity is exempt (allowable) from the substantial development permit provisions of the state Shorelines Management Act, it must still be carried out in compliance with the act and the county’s Shorelines Master Program.
- (Optional) If you would like to view the complete language of the Shoreline Management Permit Ordinance, click on this phrase and type “Title 30.44” in the search box.
- Learn about the three types of shorelines permits.
- Review Grading Code Exemptions (PDF) (from SCC 30.63B.020) for more information.
|If your activity occurs within 200 feet of the “Ordinary High Water Mark” of a designated shoreline, or occurs within the flood hazard zone of a designated shoreline, and your agricultural activity or development costs more than $5,000 in materials and labor.|
See Note 1: Definitions (PDF).
Next steps if a permit is needed.
|If your property is not located within a designated Shoreline area (see Regulatory Boundary Map), or if your property is located within a designated shoreline area, your agricultural activity consists of construction and practices normal or necessary for farming, irrigation, and ranching activities…but not including feedlots, processing plants, or other commercial type activities, nor any significant grading or filling activities.|
Alteration of the contour of wetlands by leveling or filling other than that which results from ongoing cultivation, shall not be considered normal or necessary for farming or ranching activities.
See Note 2: Exemptions (PDF).