Experience Ocean Shores



Located on a six mile long peninsula in the state of Washington with Pacific Ocean on one side and Grays Harbor on the other, Ocean Shores is largely a quiet  retirement community with strong tourism base.  With both Seattle and Portland two and a half hours away, and lengthy beaches within walking distance from home, Ocean Shores provides the convenience and quality of life of a small rural community, with access to the cultural amenities of two major metropolitian centers.  From raging winter storms to lazy summer beach activities, Ocean Shores is at the center of both beauty and raw power of the coastal natural elements.  Fishing , hunting, biking, hiking, and clamming are just a few of the outdoor activities residents enjoy all year in this temperage climate.  The City's 26 miles of interconnected lakes and canals provide boating and kayaking throughout the year, as well as fishing and bird-watching.  The Ocean Shores PGA 18 Hole Golf Course winds through the city and is open year - round.

Ocean Shores


The City has adopted a Comprehensive Plan and is zoned.  This imposes limitations on land use, not unlike those in any other Washington city.  Both the Comprehensive Plan General Land Use Map and the Zoning Map are posted at the Permit Office for public access.

Restrictive land use covenants contained in the plats of the City are matters of private concern among property owners.  The City is not involved in their enforcement.


Recreational Vehicles and tents

The Municipal Code regulates the use and storage of recreational vehicles (RV’s) and the use of tents on vacant lots in Ocean Shores.  A Camping Permit issued by the Police Department is required to park an RV or erect a tent on a vacant lot, and must be posted at the street line next to the driveway.  Tent camping is permitted only in conjunction with a self-contained RV or an RV attached to an approved sanitary system.  An RV/tent may only be used as living quarters for a maximum of 90 days in any calendar year, regardless of the number of lots owned, and may not be stored on a vacant lot.  There are also limitations on the number of RV’s/tents per lot, setback requirements, sanitation requirements, etc.  These regulations are available at the Police Department, City Hall, Permit Office.

A self-service registration box is also available at the Police Department.


Nightly rentals

The Municipal Code regulates the use of private residences as overnight rental properties (“transient rentals”).  A citizen voted initiative was passed in May of 1993 which had the effect of:  1) prohibiting any new overnight rentals in residentially zoned areas of Ocean Shores and: 2) the phasing out of existing overnight rental permits.  Please also be advised that transient rental permits are not transferable when properties are sold.  In February 2003, a citizen voted initiative failed to allow rentals of less that thirty days in areas zoned for commercial and multi-family use in the City of Ocean Shores.


Non-accessory Structures

City ordinances allow the construction of non-accessory structures (one shed-type structure, boat dock, steps, detached fence, or other minor construction), which are independent of any principal structure, on undeveloped real property.  The request must go through the SEPA process and there is a $75.00 SEPA fee.  Standards and application procedures are available at the Permit Office.


Residential Water Rates

5/8” meter (developed lots)    $12.56 p/month

Usage    $.04901 p/cubic ft.


For purposes of this section (water), a “developed” lot is one with a water meter, driveway, etc.  The rate quoted is for a lot with 5/8” meter.  The base charge increases with meter size, and applies regardless of usage or whether the meter is turned on or off.  The charge to install a 5/8” main tap meter is $710.  A drop-in 5/8”meter installation is $295. The system development charge (SDC) for a lot with a 5/8" water meter is $1,549.  Both the “base” and “usage” water rates are reviewed by the City Council for adequacy in providing revenue to operate and maintain the water utility.  Further information on water rates is available from the City of Ocean Shores Utility Billing Office.


Residential Sanitary Sewer Rates

Developed Lots    $21.90 p/mo

Note: Other commercial rates may apply.


For purposes of this section (sanitary sewer), a “developed” lot is one with sanitary sewer service available and connected.  The charge applies to all such lots, regardless of water usage or whether the water is turned on or off.  Connection to the sewer system requires payment of a $500 sewer connection fee.  The system development charge (SDC) for a lot with a 5/8" water meter is $510.


All sewer rates for connected properties are reviewed by the City Council. Further information on sanitary sewer rates is available from the City of Ocean Shores Utility Billing Office.


Residential/Vacant Lot Storm Drainage Rates

All Lots    .000325/sq.ft. p/month


The charge applies to all such lots, regardless of water usage or whether an existing water meter is turned on or off. There are no connection or installation charges for storm drainage.


This storm drainage charge helps maintain the city’s storm drainage facilities and the quality of its fresh waterways.


Storm drain rates are reviewed by the City Council as part of the budget development process for adequacy and providing revenue to operate and maintain the storm drainage facilities.  Further information on storm drainage rates is available from the City of Ocean Shores Utility Billing Office.


Residential Garbage Collection

The City of Ocean Shores has mandatory garbage collection for all residents and businesses.  The fee includes recycling for a voluntary one tote curbside collection for all recyclables except glass.  There is a glass receptacle located next to the animal control facility in Ocean Shores.  Further information can be obtained from LeMay - Harbor Disposal - in Aberdeen.
Campers may purchase large Ocean Shores logo bags at the Police Deparment and Permit Office on weekdays and the Visitor Information Center on weekends, which allow for disposal of trash in the dumpster behind Bowling Alley on Chance ala Mer.

Residential Building Permits

Ocean Shores has adopted the International Building Code.  Charges for building permits are based on Building Valuation Data as published by the International Code Council OSMC 15.08.040.  A 2,000 square foot home valued at $194,000 would aggregate an estimated $3,200 Building Permit Fee.  This is in addition to the water and sewer fees discussed herein.  The Building Department has information for people interested in new construction or remodeling their homes.


Business Licenses and B&O Taxes

For persons interested in opening a business in Ocean Shores, including home occupations, a business license is required. The annual fee for all business licenses is $50.  An additional $50 is required for any necessary Fire Department inspection. Any business grossing $5,000 or more in a quarterly period is required to pay a .0020% B&O tax on gross receipts.  Further information on Business Licenses and B&O taxes is available at City Hall Utility Billing Office.


Unpaid LID and PUD Assessment

Many properties in Ocean Shores carry unpaid LID and/or PUD assessments.  Prospective buyers are encouraged to check the existence and status of such assessments with Public Finance, Inc. (LID’s) and Grays Harbor Public Utility District (PUD assessments).  You will need the Division, Block and Lot numbers of the property to check this information.


Pets in Ocean Shores

No livestock, poultry, or exotic animals shall be raised or kept within the City.  A maximum number of three animals (pets) per household are permitted in Ocean Shores. All cats and dogs shall be licensed and registered annually, within thirty days of acquisition by the owner, or within thirty days of being moved into the City.  Animals will be subject to a licensing fee and licenses will be issued through Ocean Shores Utility Billing.  For more information contact the Ocean Shores Utility Billing Department at 289.2487.