How should Bellevue's shoreline management change?

What would you change about how Bellevue manages shorelines and what would you have stay the same? These are among many questions we invite you to discuss in Shorelines, a conversation about how we in Bellevue might better use, protect and restore our lakeshore and wetlands.

Bellevue is in the process of revising the
Shoreline Master Program, and we are launching this blog, where comments are welcome, to facilitate the free flow of ideas. Whether you boat or fish in Bellevue's lakes and streams, play on its beaches, own shoreline property or just care about environmental protection and water quality, your input is wanted.

I am Michael Paine, a planning manager with the Development Services Department. My colleague Heidi Bedwell and I are managing the shoreline update project, but we hope to be less managers here than facilitators, raising questions to draw you into conversations with your fellow citizens about how we all use and protect our shorelines. This can be a place where citizens can share ideas, raise issues and learn from one another about Bellevue’s shorelines.

In 1971, the state Legislature passed the
Shoreline Management Act to put a halt to “uncoordinated and piecemeal development” of the state’s shorelines without sufficient concern for the resource or the public interest. Bellevue’s Shoreline Master Program, policies and land use rules that govern waterfront development, was drafted based on requirements and guidelines in the Act.

In 2003 the state revised its shoreline management guidelines to emphasize ecologically appropriate development. Bellevue and other cities must, in turn, update their shoreline rules. The underlying idea is to combine the community’s vision for its shoreline with the Shoreline Management Act’s three key policies:

· Provide natural resource protection
· Support “reasonable and appropriate,” water-dependent uses
· Promote public access

To put things in perspective, we’d like to ask you to think about what life might be like on Bellevue’s shorelines in 20 years. What do you think is special and unique about the shoreline environment? What do you enjoy about Bellevue’s shorelines?

Recognizing the goals of the Shoreline Act detailed above, how should the shoreline areas, both publicly and privately owned, be used? What things should change? What should stay the same? Where do things like businesses, people and wildlife and wildlife habitat fit into this future vision? Use your imagination and tell us what interests you.


  1. Having lived here for 4 years the parts of the shoreline I have seen are the Newcastle Beach, Enatai boat facility and the Meydenbauer Beach. I had not been aware of them before moving here, so they are wonderful "finds". All the parks here are wonderful, but I give special kudos for those on the shore of Lake Washington!

  2. One of the most important aspects is public access to the lake/water/shoreline. Bellevue has a long shoreline, but most of it is restricted (=private property). The city should acquire lands and open up parks for public beach access, as well as guest boat access (similar to Kirkland).
    Public access AND private ownership CAN work together if properly managed, without reducing the value of adjacent properties.
    I am a boat owner, and although I strongly support bullet 1; "Provide natural resource protection", it is sort of funny to look at that when we have a lake that is jam packed with (grossly polluting) power boats and less able boaters. Better awareness and educating of boaters as wel las the genral public would go a long way, longer than updating a dock so it can't provide a hiding spot for "agressive predator fish".
    It is sort of like driving 5 miles in the car to drop off a few wine bottles just so they can be properly be recycled... Good deed gone bad.

  3. This is a great new blog! As a Bellevue resident with a young child, we especially love the shore access parks, particularly those that are family friendly (children's toys, lifeguards, nice grass areas). Though it's a shame there is little to no access to the west shore of Lake Sammamish.

  4. What an awesome idea to start a blog on this topic. Let's face it. Much of the shoreline is privately owned. On top of that, there are roads like W. Lake Samm. Pkwy that needlessly cut off whole neighborhoods from the lakes. In lieu of access, the city should ensure that views of the water are protected, within reason. In my neighborhood hundreds of homes have lost their Lake Samm. views over the last 20 years due to tree growth at shoreline lots. Between the trees and the parkway there is no longer a connection to Lake Samm. Astounding that you can live 100 yards from such an amazing and huge lake and not even be able to see it or walk to it. View corridors ensure avian habitat and allow thousands of Bellevue homes to ensure beautiful views and lift home values (and tax base).

  5. Do you consider the Mercer Slough as within scope of this shoreline blog? If not, any help would be appreciated to the right Bellevue agencies concerned about the impact of the Light Rail plans for the stretch planned north along it from the S Bellevue P&R

    Al Vaskas

  6. Yes, Mercer Slough falls within shoreline jurisdiction. Sound Transit is conducting a detailed environmental review of a number of light rail alignments, two of which pass near or through the Slough. Their preferred route, subject to evaluation, passes along the east side of Bellevue Way abutting the Slough. If you have further questions about the light rail project, please refer to

    As we work to update the Shoreline Master Program, light rail is just one of the uses for which controls and guidelines will be considered.


Your comments to Bellevue blogs are welcome. To ensure that the city can benefit from your input, staff will only post comments that meet the city's guidelines ( Essentially, comments should be on-topic and free of profanity.

To help ensure that comments are civil, we ask that you log in when you submit one. If you already have an online profile with any of several online services including Google, you can use that. If not, you can register a new profile with one of these services.