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Quality of Life

Welcome to the Community Development department. We promote community and environmental quality through land use planning and permit review.

Manhattan Village Subarea Plan Sketch

Long-Range Planning

The Community Development Department develops, coordinates, and implements long-range planning with guidance from the Planning Commission and City Council. This includes:

  • Updating the City’s Comprehensive Plan
  • Implementing specific project, strategic, or master plans as directed by the City Council
  • Drafting and implementing legislation and researching and analyzing areas of concern – assignments include grant writing, population projections and census projection enumerations; electronic and non-electronic mapping for the city, and other assigned tasks and related activities
  • Identifying issues, projects needs, and assisting in establishing policies to achieve declared goals
  • Drafting Municipal Code amendments and helping to implement the Growth Management Act (GMA), State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and the State Shoreline Management Act (SMA)

Comprehensive Plan Amending Process

  • The Growth Management Act requires all municipalities to adopt comprehensive plans and review them on a regular basis, under chapter 36.70A RCW.
  • The comprehensive plan can be amended no more than once a year.
  • A private party or a city staff member may initiate a comprehensive plan amendment.
  • Proposed amendments are included on an annotated list referred to as a docket. The docketing process usually occurs in January of each year.
  • All proposed amendments are outlined on the docket and then brought before Planning Commission to approve as is or to modify.
  • Once the docket is set, staff works to address any items on the docket that may be hot button issues for the community and provides notice for necessary elements of the amendment process.

The 2020 docket included the comprehensive plan amendments of a future land use map designation update for two areas and the addition of an economic development element. The Planning Commission recommended approval of administrative docket items 1 – Vision Statement, 2 – Economic Development Element, 5 – Land Use Element, 6 – Environmental Element and 7 – Capital Facilities Element and recommended denial of items 3 and 4, both the proposed future land use map amendment areas and the concurrent rezones.

The recommendations next advance to the City Council for its decision. The City Council may choose to follow the recommendation of the Planning Commission or not. If it does not follow the Planning Commission’s recommendations, then an additional public hearing will be required.

Public Involvement

Public notice for all open houses, public meetings, public hearings and application of type II, III and IV permits are posted on the city website, in City Hall, and on notice boards throughout the city, as well as published in the Seattle Times. Notices are also mailed to property owners located within 300ft when an application is site specific.


Environment & Critical Areas

Shoreline Master Program (SMP) and Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO)

In 2019, the City of Normandy Park underwent a periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP), as required by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA). The SMA requires that each SMP be reviewed and revised, if needed, on an eight-year schedule established by the State Legislature. This review ensures that the City’s SMP stays current with changes in state laws and rules, remains consistent with the City of Normandy Park’s Comprehensive Plan and regulations, and is responsive to changed circumstances, new information, and improved data.

The City adopted its previous SMP in 2014. The focus of the 2019 periodic review was on consistency with changes to state law made since its adoption in 2014. The City also undertook an update of its Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), incorporated by reference into the revised SMP.


    There are 9 zoning districts within the City of Normandy Park:

    • R-5 Low Density Multifamily Residential
    • R-7.2 High Density Single-Family Residential
    • R-15 Low Density Single-Family Residential
    • R-20 Low Density Single-Family Residential
    • RM-1800 High Density Multifamily Residential
    • RM-2400 Medium Density Multifamily Residential
    • MU Mixed Use
    • NC Neighborhood Center

    For a list of the allowed uses in each zoning district, please see the Land use chart (NPMC 18.10.060).

    The general development requirements for primary use buildings (required setbacks, height limits, GFAR, etc.) can be found in the Chart of dimensional requirements for primary use (NPMC 18.15.020).

    The development requirements for accessory use buildings can be found in NPMC 18.32.100

    Check out the City of Normandy Park’s current Zoning Map to see where each zoning district can be found throughout the city.

      Services Provided by Community Development 

      The Community Development Department provides current planning, zoning, and land use permitting. The Community Development Department is the first stop for citizens, developers, real estate agents, architects, surveyors, engineers, attorneys, and private sector planners and environmental science professionals who wish to know more about how property can or cannot be used.

      The Community Development Department manages permit review for land use and development and so the quality of life and general health safety and welfare for all Normandy Park citizens is protected.

      If you have questions relating to any of the above information, please contact the Permit Center at (206) 248-8260 or in person at City Hall, 801 SW 174th St between 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

      Development Services staff support the Normandy Park City Council, Planning Commission, and the Hearing Examiner. Additional duties of this division include carrying out the following functions:

      • Development Review
      • Code Enforcement
      • Lot Line Adjustments
      • Shoreline Permits
      • Variances
      • Rezones
      • Sign Permits
      • Short Plats
      • SEPA Review
      • Grading and Filling Permits
      • Design Review
      • Public Information
      • Zoning Administration
      • Subdivisions
      • Critical Areas Review
      • Landscape Review
      • Code Revisions


      Nicholas K. Matz AICP
      Community Development Director
      (206) 248-8253

      Iris Moore
      Assistant Planner
      (206) 248-8260


      Brad Pihlstorm
      Building Inspector
      (206) 812-4729

      Dan Cruz
      Electrical Inspector
      (206) 439-3157

      Steven Blake
      Building Official
      (206) 248-5523

      Common Questions

      What is a Shoreline Master Program (SMP)

      A Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is a set of policies and regulations required by state law that has three basic principles:

      1. Encourages reasonable and appropriate development of shorelines with an emphasis on water dependent uses, which when developed are consistent with the control of pollution and prevention of damage to the natural environment, such as docks, marinas, and recreational facilities, or industries and commercial uses that require a shoreline location and support economic development; and,
      2. Protects the natural resources and character of the shorelines, the land, vegetation, wildlife, water, and aquatic life within shoreline environment; and,
      3. Promotes public access and provides opportunities to enjoy the aesthetic qualities of the natural shorelines and recreational activities in shoreline areas.


      Where does the Shoreline Master Program apply

      “Shorelines of the state” are special water bodies that meet certain size or flow criteria in the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA). These shorelines of the state include rivers and streams with mean annual flow more than 20 cubic feet per second and lakes 20 acres or larger. The shoreline jurisdiction extends 200 feet landward of the water’s edge and additionally includes associated wetlands, floodways, and up to 200 feet of floodplain contiguous to the floodway.

      What is a periodic update of the SMP

      The City of Normandy Park completed a comprehensive update to its Shoreline Master Program in 2016. Washington state law requires jurisdictions to review and update their SMPs every eight years in accordance with the SMA and its current guidelines and legislative rules to attain state approval. This periodic update will focus on:

      • Reviewing relevant legislative updates since 2013 and incorporating any applicable amendments; and
      • Ensuring consistency with recently adopted regulations for critical areas and flood hazard areas. 

      This periodic update will NOT:

      • Re-evaluate the ecological baseline that was established as part of the 2013 comprehensive update;
      • Extensively assess no net loss criteria other than to ensure that proposed amendments do not result in degradation of the baseline condition; or
      • Change shoreline jurisdiction or environment designations.
      What activities do shoreline regulations apply to

      Shoreline regulations apply to any land use activity that occurs within the shoreline jurisdiction as defined in the SMP. Included in those structures and uses regulated in the SMP are:

      • New or expanded structures, such as houses, sheds, and decks;
      • New or expanded in-water and over-water structures, such as docks, buoys, and boat launches;
      • Land development and alteration, such as clearing, grading, dredging, or filling; and
      • Other activities along the shorelines, including restoration (e.g., riparian planting, bank stabilization), trail construction, and public access.


      What is a Shoreline Exemption

      Certain land uses and development activities are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, but are not exempt from compliance with the Shoreline Master Program. Exemptions must be narrowly construed and all activities that are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Shoreline Substantial Development permit are still required to comply with the SMP. Exemptions are issued in writing by the City after the submission of a complete application, including a site plan. Even though an activity is exempt from requiring a Substantial Development Permit, a conditional use or variance permit may be required. Exemptions under the SMP are different than exemptions under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).


      Does the SMP affect existing uses and development

      SMP regulations are not retroactive. SMP regulations apply to new development and uses. Existing uses and developments legally established may be repaired, maintained and operated. The SMP applies to proposals for expansion or alteration of existing uses and structures.

      Structures and uses that were legally established in the past may become legally nonconforming due to new shoreline rules that are adopted over time. Current SMP regulations allow these previously built structures and established uses to continue as they are presently operating.

      Recent amendments to the SMA especially recognize existing residences that were built consistent with shoreline regulations in effect at the time of construction. Residential structures that were legally established and are used for a conforming use, but that do not meet current SMP standards (e.g. height, buffers, setbacks, etc.), may be considered a conforming structure. The City’s SMP may allow redevelopment, expansion, or replacement of the residential structure if it is consistent with the current SMP. As part of this periodic review and update the City will be looking at the existing SMP and opportunities consistent with state law to clarify how redevelopment, expansion, or replacement of legally established single-family homes within the shoreline jurisdiction may occur with mitigation and demonstrating there is no net loss of the shoreline ecological functions.

      What is public access to shorelines

      Public access is a preferred use per the SMA. Public access can be physical access (e.g. trail) and/or visual access (e.g. view corridors). Public access standards apply to new development, not existing development. Generally, new public access is only required for private uses of certain sizes (e.g. large subdivisions, resorts, etc.) and are required for public uses. Public access requirements do not allow for trespass on private property.


      What is No Net Loss for SMP

      The SMP Guidelines establish the standard of no net loss. No net loss means that over time, the aggregate existing condition of shoreline ecological functions should remain the same as when the SMP is implemented. Simply stated, the no net loss standard is designed to balance the introduction of new impacts to shoreline ecological functions resulting from new development through mitigation sequencing and restoration. The City must achieve this standard through both the SMP planning process and by appropriately regulating individual developments as they are proposed in the future. Any amendments to the SMP that may occur through the periodic update process would need to comply with the no net loss standard.