The Shoreline Master Program is essentially a shoreline comprehensive plan with a distinct environmental orientation applicable to shoreline areas and customized to local circumstances. Collectively, the local master programs comprise the State Shoreline Master Program. The SMP update process was carried out in compliance with the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA) and adopted state shoreline management guidelines found in WAC 173-26.

Harbor Resource Management Plan
The Harbor Resource Management Plan during the Shoreline Master Program update process, the Port Angeles Harbor Resource Management Plan was also updated. The Harbor Resource Management Plan (HRMP) is a guidance document, based on a vision developed by citizens and stakeholders of Port Angeles. The HRMP is intended to provide a coordinated plan for the future utilization of the Port Angeles Harbor that allocates the water and shoreline areas of the harbor to those public and private sector uses which best benefit the Port Angeles community for the long term. The plan proposes specific actions, identifies goals for harbor uses, and will guide development along the shoreline and in the harbor.

With the help of a grant from the Department of Ecology, the city hired MAKERS architecture - planning - urban design to aid with producing a draft SMP. An early action taken in the SMP update process was to form a harbor planning group which was established to guide the planning process. The group was comprised of representatives of the primary agencies with interest in the Port Angeles Harbor and shoreline uses. Those agencies include the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Port of Port Angeles, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Clallam County, and the City of Port Angeles. Representatives from Washington State Department of Ecology and the Puget Sound Partnership sat on the committee as ex-officio members.

Three harbor planning focus groups were formed to discuss specific areas of interest relevant to the shoreline. Those groups looked at economics and land use, the environment, culture, and recreation and public access issues. Several outreach and public meeting events were held to gain citizens' perspectives on shoreline issues and uses. A public internet survey was developed to gain additional ideas and measure preferences.

Resulting Action
As a result of these efforts, several supporting documents were developed to create a framework and baseline from which the SMP was developed and define how the SMP will work to impact the future of the shoreline. Those documents included an "Inventory, Characterization, and Analysis Report", a "Cumulative Impacts Analysis", and a "Restoration Plan".

Work sessions and public hearing were held by both the Planning Commission and the City Council. Additional minor changes resulted from these meetings. After two years of meetings, work sessions, draft revisions, and public hearings, the Port Angeles City Council passed a resolution on June 19, 2012, to locally approve a draft Shoreline Master Program. The action was done by resolution to indicate the intent to adopt the SMP once approve by DOE. The draft SMP was forwarded to the Washington State Department of Ecology for a required 60-day review. The Department of Ecology identified several items as needing to be changed in the draft document. Recent edits were based on those recommendations from the Department of Ecology and a thorough analysis of the "Characterization, Inventory and Analysis ", and existing conditions of the Port Angeles shoreline.

Local Adoption of SMP Prior to final adoption, the SMP document must be reviewed and accepted by both the City of Port Angeles and the Washington State Department of Ecology.