Chapter 19.15
ADMINISTRATION Revised 6/17

Sections:

19.15.010    General procedures. Revised 6/17

19.15.020    Permit review procedures. Revised 6/17

19.15.030    Enforcement.

19.15.040    Design commission. Revised 6/17

19.15.050    Comprehensive plan amendments.

19.15.010 General procedures. Revised 6/17

A. Purpose. Administration of the development code is intended to be expedient and effective. The purpose of this chapter is to identify the processes, authorities and timing for administration of development permits. Public noticing and hearing procedures, decision criteria, appeal procedures, dispute resolution and code interpretation issues are also described.

B. Objectives. Guide customers confidently through the permit process; process permits equitably and expediently; balance the needs of permit applicants with neighbors; allow for an appropriate level of public notice and involvement; make decisions quickly and at the earliest possible time; allow for administrative decision-making, except for those decisions requiring the exercise of discretion which are reserved for appointed decision makers; ensure that decisions are made consistently and predictably; and resolve conflicts at the earliest possible time.

C. Roles and Responsibilities. The roles and responsibilities for carrying out the provisions of the development code are shared by appointed boards and commissions, elected officials and city staff. The authorities of each of these bodies are set forth below.

1. City Council. The city council is responsible for establishing policy and legislation affecting land use within the city. The city council acts on recommendations of the planning commission and hearing examiner in legislative and quasi-judicial matters.

2. Planning Commission. The role of the planning commission in administering the development code is governed by Chapter 3.46 MICC. In general, the planning commission is the designated planning agency for the city (see Chapter 35A.63 RCW). The planning commission makes recommendations to the city council on land use legislation, comprehensive plan amendments and quasi-judicial matters.

3. Design Commission. The role of the design commission in administering the development code is governed by Chapter 3.34 MICC and MICC 19.15.040. In general, the design commission is responsible for maintaining the city’s design standards and action on sign, commercial and multiple-family design applications.

4. Development Services Group. The responsible officials in the development services group act upon ministerial and administrative permits.

a. The code official is responsible for administration, interpretation and enforcement of the development code.

b. The building official is responsible for administration and interpretation of the building code, except for the International Fire Code.

c. The city engineer is responsible for the administration and interpretation of engineering standards.

d. The environmental official is responsible for the administration of the State Environmental Policy Act and shoreline master program.

e. The fire code official is responsible for administration and interpretation of the International Fire Code.

5. Hearing Examiner. The role of the hearing examiner in administering the development code is governed by Chapter 3.40 MICC.

D. Actions. There are four categories of actions or permits that are reviewed under the provisions of the development code.

1. Ministerial Actions. Ministerial actions are based on clear, objective and nondiscretionary standards or standards that require the application of professional expertise on technical issues.

2. Administrative Actions. Administrative actions are based on objective and subjective standards that require the exercise of discretion about nontechnical issues.

3. Discretionary Actions. Discretionary actions are based on standards that require substantial discretion and may be actions of broad public interest. Discretionary actions are only taken after an open record hearing.

4. Legislative Actions. Legislative actions involve the creation, amendment or implementation of policy or law by ordinance. In contrast to the other types of actions, legislative actions apply to large geographic areas and are of interest to many property owners and citizens. Legislative actions are only taken after an open record hearing.

E. Summary of Actions and Authorities. The following is a nonexclusive list of the actions that the city may take under the development code, the criteria upon which those decisions are to be based, and which boards, commissions, elected officials, or city staff have authority to make the decisions and to hear appeals of those decisions.

ACTION

DECISION AUTHORITY

CRITERIA

APPEAL AUTHORITY

Ministerial Actions

Right-of-Way Permit

City engineer

Chapter 19.09 MICC

Hearing examiner

Home Business Permit

Code official

MICC 19.02.010

Hearing examiner

Special Needs Group Housing Safety Determination

Police chief

MICC 19.06.080(A)

Hearing examiner

Lot Line Revision

Code official

Chapter 19.08 MICC

Hearing examiner

Design Review – Minor Exterior Modification Outside Town Center

Code official

MICC 19.15.040, Chapters 19.11 and 19.12 MICC

Design commission

Design Review – Minor Exterior Modification in Town Center with a Construction Valuation (as defined by MICC 17.14.010) Less Than $100,000

Code official

Chapters 19.11 and 19.12 MICC, MICC 19.15.040

Design commission

Design Review – Minor Exterior Modification in Town Center with a Construction Valuation (as defined by MICC 17.14.010) $100,000 or Greater

Design commission

Chapters 19.11 and 19.12 MICC, MICC 19.15.040

Hearing examiner

Final Short Plat Approval

Code official

Chapter 19.08 MICC

Superior court

Seasonal Development Limitation Waiver

Building official or city arborist

MICC 19.10.030, 19.07.060(D)(4)

Hearing examiner

Shoreline Exemption

Code official

MICC 19.07.110 and 19.15.020(G)(6)(c)(i)

Hearing examiner1

Major Single-Family Dwelling Building Permit

Code official

Chapter 19.02 MICC but not MICC Title 15 or 17

Hearing examiner

Administrative Actions

Accessory Dwelling Unit Permit

Code official

MICC 19.02.030

Hearing examiner

Preliminary Short Plat

Code official

Chapter 19.08 MICC

Hearing examiner

Deviation

Code official

MICC 19.15.020(G), 19.01.070, 19.02.050(F), 19.02.020(C)(4) and (D)(3)

Hearing examiner

Critical Areas Determination

Code official

Chapter 19.07 MICC

Hearing examiner

Shoreline – Substantial Development Permit

Code official

MICC 19.07.110 and 19.15.020(G)(6)

Shoreline hearings board

SEPA Threshold Determination

Code official

MICC 19.07.120

Hearing examiner

Short Plat Alteration and Vacations

Code official

MICC 19.08.010(G)

Hearing examiner

Long Plat Alteration and Vacations

City council via hearing examiner

MICC 19.08.010(F)

Superior court

Temporary Encampment

Code official

MICC 19.06.090

Superior court

Wireless Communications Facility

Code official

MICC 19.06.040

Hearing examiner

Wireless Communications Facility Height Variance

Code official

MICC 19.01.070, 19.06.040(H) and 19.15.020(G)

Hearing examiner

Minimum Parking Requirement Variances for MF, PBZ, C-O, B and P Zones

Code official via design commission and city engineer

MICC 19.01.070, 19.03.020(B)(4), 19.04.040(B)(9), 19.05.020(B)(9) and 19.15.020(G)

Hearing examiner

Development Code Interpretations

Code official

MICC 19.15.020(L)

Hearing examiner

Discretionary Actions

Conditional Use Permit

Hearing examiner

MICC 19.11.150(B), 19.15.020(G)

Superior court

Reclassification (Rezone)

City council via planning commission2

MICC 19.15.020(G)

Superior court

Design Review – Major New Construction

Design commission

MICC 19.15.040, Chapters 19.11 and 19.12 MICC

Hearing examiner

Preliminary Long Plat Approval

City council via hearing examiner

Chapter 19.08 MICC

Superior court

Final Long Plat Approval

City council via code official

Chapter 19.08 MICC

Superior court

Variance

Hearing examiner

MICC 19.15.020(G), 19.01.070

Superior court

Variance from Short Plat Acreage Limitation

Code official

MICC 19.08.020

Hearing examiner

Critical Areas Reasonable Use Exception

Hearing examiner

MICC 19.07.030(B)

Superior court

Street Vacation

City council via planning commission2

MICC 19.09.070

Superior court

Shoreline Conditional Use Permit

Code official and Department of Ecology3

MICC 19.15.020(G)(6)

State Shorelines Hearings Board

Shoreline Variance

Code official and Department of Ecology3

MICC 19.15.020(G)(6)

State Shorelines Hearings Board

Impervious Surface Variance

Hearing examiner

MICC 19.02.020(D)(4)

Superior court

Legislative Actions

Code Amendment

City council via planning commission2

MICC 19.15.020(G)

Growth management hearings board

Comprehensive Plan Amendment

City council via planning commission2

MICC 19.15.020(G)

Growth management hearings board

1Final rulings granting or denying an exemption under MICC 19.15.020(G)(6) are not appealable to the shoreline hearings board (SHB No. 98-60).

2The original action is by the planning commission or hearing examiner which holds a public hearing and makes recommendations to the city council which holds a public meeting and makes the final decision.

3Must be approved by the city of Mercer Island prior to review by DOE per WAC 173-27-200 and RCW 90.58.140(10).

(Ord. 17C-12 § 10; Ord. 13C-12 § 5; Ord. 11C-05 § 2; Ord. 11C-04 § 2; Ord. 10C-06 § 5; Ord. 10C-01 § 5; Ord. 08C-01 § 8; Ord. 06C-06 § 2; Ord. 06C-05 § 2; Ord. 05C-12 § 9; Ord. 04C-12 § 16; Ord. 04C-08 § 3; Ord. 03C-08 §§ 9, 10; Ord. 02C-04 § 5; Ord. 02C-01 § 6; Ord. 99C-13 § 1).

19.15.020 Permit review procedures. Revised 6/17

The following are general requirements for processing a permit application under the development code. Additional or alternative requirements may exist for actions under specific code sections (see MICC 19.07.080, 19.07.110, and 19.08.020).

A. Preapplication. Applicants for development permits are encouraged to participate in informal meetings with city staff and property owners in the neighborhood of the project site. Meetings with the staff provide an opportunity to discuss the proposal in concept terms, identify the applicable city requirements and the project review process. Meetings or correspondence with the neighborhood serve the purpose of informing the neighborhood of the project proposal prior to the formal notice provided by the city.

B. Application.

1. All applications for permits or actions by the city shall be submitted on forms provided by the development services group. An application shall contain all information deemed necessary by the code official to determine if the proposed permit or action will comply with the requirements of the applicable development regulations.

2. All applications for permits or actions by the city shall be accompanied by a filing fee in an amount established by city ordinance.

C. Determination of Completeness.

1. The city will not accept an incomplete application. An application is complete only when all information required on the application form and all submittal items required by code have been provided to the satisfaction of the code official.

2. Within 28 days after receiving a development permit application, the city shall mail or provide in person a written determination to the applicant, stating either that the application is complete or that the application is incomplete and what is necessary to make the application complete. An application shall be deemed complete if the city does not provide a written determination to the applicant stating that the application is incomplete.

3. Within 14 days after an applicant has submitted all additional information identified as being necessary for a complete application, the city shall notify the applicant whether the application is complete or what additional information is necessary.

4. If the applicant fails to provide the required information within 90 days of the determination of incompleteness, the application shall lapse. The applicant may request a refund of the application fee minus the city’s cost of determining the completeness of the application.

D. Notice of Application.

1. Within 14 days of the determination of completeness, the city shall issue a notice of application for all administrative, discretionary, and legislative actions listed in MICC 19.15.010(E) and major single-family dwelling building permits.

2. The notice of application shall include the following information:

a. The dates of the application, the determination of completeness, and the notice of application;

b. The name of the applicant;

c. The location and description of the project;

d. The requested actions and/or required studies;

e. The date, time, and place of the open record hearing, if one has been scheduled;

f. Identification of environmental documents, if any;

g. A statement of the public comment period, which shall be not less than 30 days following the date of notice of application; and a statement of the rights of individuals to comment on the application, receive notice and participate in any hearings, request a copy of the decision once made and any appeal rights. The city shall accept public comments at any time prior to the closing of the record of an open record predecision hearing, if any, or, if no open record predecision hearing is provided, prior to the decision on the project permit;

h. The city staff contact and contact information;

i. The identification of other permits not included in the application to the extent known by the city;

j. A description of those development regulations used in determining consistency of the project with the city’s comprehensive plan;

k. A link to a website where additional information about the project can be found; and

l. Any other information that the city determines appropriate.

3. Open Record Hearing. If an open record hearing is required on the permit, the city shall:

a. Provide the notice of application at least 30 days prior to the hearing; and

b. Issue any threshold determination required under MICC 19.07.120 at least 30 days prior to the hearing.

4. Notice shall be provided in the bi-weekly DSG bulletin, posted at City Hall and made available to the general public upon request.

5. All comments received on the notice of application must be received by the development services group by 5 pm on the last day of the comment period.

6. Except for a determination of significance, the city shall not issue a threshold determination under MICC 19.07.110 or issue a decision on an application until the expiration of the public comment period on the notice of application.

7. A notice of application is not required for the following actions; provided, the action is either categorically exempt from SEPA or an environmental review of the action in accordance with SEPA has been completed:

a. Building permit other than a major single-family dwelling building permit;

b. Lot line revision;

c. Right-of-way permit;

d. Storm drainage permit;

e. Home occupation permit;

f. Design review – minor new construction;

g. Final plat approval;

h. Shoreline exemption permit; and

i. Seasonal development limitation waiver.

E. Public Notice and Information Availability.

1. In addition to the notice of application, a public notice is required for all administrative, discretionary, and legislative actions listed in MICC 19.15.010(E) and major single-family dwelling building permits.

2. Public notice shall be provided at least 30 days prior to any required open record hearing. If no such hearing is required, public notice shall be provided 14 days prior to the decision on the application.

3. The public notice shall include the following:

a. A general description of the proposed project and the action to be taken by the city;

b. A nonlegal description of the property, vicinity map or sketch;

c. The time, date and location of any required open record hearing;

d. A contact name and number where additional information may be obtained;

e. A statement that only those persons who submit written comments or testify at the open record hearing will be parties of record; and only parties of record will receive a notice of the decision and have the right to appeal;

f. A description of the deadline for submitting public comments; and

g. A link to a website where additional information about the project can be found.

4. Public notice shall be provided in the following manner:

a. Administrative and Discretionary Actions and Major Single-Family Dwelling Building Permits. Notice shall be mailed to parties of record, all property owners within 300 feet of the property and posted on the site in a location that is visible to the public right-of-way.

b. Legislative Action. Notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the city.

5. Every complete development permit application for which notice is to be provided under subsection (D)(1) of this section together with all information provided by the applicant for consideration by the decision authority shall be posted by the city to a website accessible without charge to the public. Information shall be posted at the time the city issues the notice of application under subsection (D)(1) of this section and shall be updated as needed and in any event within seven days after additional information is received from the applicant. The provisions of this subsection (E)(5) shall only apply to development permit applications filed on or after May 29, 2017.

F. Open Record Hearing.

1. Only one open record hearing shall be required prior to action on all discretionary and legislative actions except design review and street vacations.

2. Open record hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the hearing body’s rules of procedures. In conducting an open record hearing, the hearing body’s chair shall, in general, observe the following sequence:

a. Staff presentation, including the submittal of any additional information or correspondence. Members of the hearing body may ask questions of staff.

b. Applicant and/or applicant representative’s presentation. Members of the hearing body may ask questions of the applicant.

c. Testimony by the public. Questions directed to the staff, the applicant or members of the hearing body shall be posed by the chairperson at his/her discretion.

d. Rebuttal, response or clarifying statements by the applicant and/or the staff.

e. The public comment portion of the hearing is closed and the hearing body shall deliberate on the action before it.

3. Following the hearing procedure described above, the hearing body shall:

a. Approve;

b. Conditionally approve;

c. Continue the hearing; or

d. Deny the application.

G. Decision Criteria. Decisions shall be based on the criteria specified in the Mercer Island City Code for the specific action. A reference to the code sections that set out the criteria and standards for decisions appears in MICC 19.15.010(E). For those actions that do not otherwise have criteria specified in other sections of the code, the following are the required criteria for decision:

1. Comprehensive Plan Amendment.

a. The amendment is consistent with the Growth Management Act, the county-wide planning policies, and the other provisions of the comprehensive plan and city policies; and:

i. There exists obvious technical error in the information contained in the comprehensive plan; or

ii. The amendment addresses changing circumstances of the city as a whole.

b. If the amendment is directed at a specific property, the following additional findings shall be determined:

i. The amendment is compatible with the adjacent land use and development pattern;

ii. The property is suitable for development in conformance with the standards under the potential zoning; and

iii. The amendment will benefit the community as a whole and will not adversely affect community facilities or the public health, safety, and general welfare.

2. Reclassification of Property (Rezones).

a. The proposed reclassification is consistent with the policies and provisions of the Mercer Island comprehensive plan;

b. The proposed reclassification is consistent with the purpose of the Mercer Island development code as set forth in MICC 19.01.010;

c. The proposed reclassification is an extension of an existing zone, or a logical transition between zones;

d. The proposed reclassification does not constitute a “spot” zone;

e. The proposed reclassification is compatible with surrounding zones and land uses; and

f. The proposed reclassification does not adversely affect public health, safety and welfare.

3. Conditional Use Permit.

a. The permit is consistent with the regulations applicable to the zone in which the lot is located;

b. The proposed use is determined to be acceptable in terms of size and location of site, nature of the proposed uses, character of surrounding development, traffic capacities of adjacent streets, environmental factors, size of proposed buildings, and density;

c. The use is consistent with policies and provisions of the comprehensive plan; and

d. Conditions shall be attached to the permit assuring that the use is compatible with other existing and potential uses within the same general area and that the use shall not constitute a nuisance.

4. Variances.

a. No use variance shall be allowed;

b. There are special circumstances applicable to the particular lot such as the size, shape, topography, or location of the lot; the trees, groundcover, or other physical conditions of the lot and its surroundings; or factors necessary for the successful installation of a solar energy system such as a particular orientation of a building for the purposes of providing solar access;

c. The granting of the variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and zone in which the property is situated;

d. The granting of the variance will not alter the character of the neighborhood, nor impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property; and

e. The variance is consistent with the policies and provisions of the comprehensive plan and the development code.

5. Deviation.

a. No use deviation shall be allowed;

b. The granting of the deviation will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and zone in which the property is situated;

c. The granting of the deviation will not alter the character of the neighborhood, nor impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property; and

d. The deviation is consistent with the policies and provisions of the comprehensive plan and the development code.

6. Shoreline Permits Administration and Procedures.

a. Administrative Responsibility. Except as otherwise stated in this section, the code official is responsible for:

i. Administering shoreline permits.

ii. Approving, approving with conditions or denying shoreline exemption permits, substantial development permits, shoreline conditional use permits, shoreline variances and permit revisions in accordance with applicable provisions.

iii. Determining compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act.

iv. No development shall be undertaken within the shorelands without first obtaining a shoreline exemption permit, substantial development permit, conditional use permit, and/or a variance permit in accordance with all applicable procedures unless it qualifies under a categorical exemption. In addition, such permit shall be in compliance with permit requirements of all other agencies having jurisdiction within the shorelands. Compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations is also required.

b. Shoreline Categorical Exemption Decision Criteria and Process. Any development that qualifies as being a shoreline categorical exemption, as specified in MICC 19.07.110, shall not require a shoreline permit, but must still meet all requirements of the Mercer Island Unified Land Development Code.

c. Shoreline Exemption Permit Decision Criteria and Process.

i. Shoreline Exemption Permit Application Criteria. A shoreline exemption permit may be granted to the following development as long as such development is in compliance with all applicable requirements of the Mercer Island Unified Land Development Code and any of the following:

(A) Any development of which the total cost or fair market value, whichever is higher, does not exceed $6,416 or as periodically revised by the Washington State Office of Financial Management, if such development does not materially interfere with the normal public use of the water or shorelines of the state; or

(B) Normal maintenance or repair of existing structures or developments, including damage by accident, fire or elements. “Normal maintenance” includes those usual acts established to prevent a decline, lapse, or cessation from a lawfully established condition. “Normal repair” means to restore a development to a state comparable to its original condition within a reasonable period after decay or partial destruction, including complete replacement of legally existing structures. Normal maintenance of single-family dwellings is categorically exempt as stated above; or

(C) Construction of the normal protective bulkhead common to single-family dwellings. A “normal protective” bulkhead is constructed at or near the ordinary high water mark to protect a single-family dwelling and is for protecting land from erosion, not for the purpose of creating land. Where an existing bulkhead is being replaced, it shall be constructed no further waterward of the existing bulkhead than is necessary for construction of new footings; or

(D) Emergency construction necessary to protect property from damage by the elements. An “emergency” is an unanticipated and imminent threat to public health, safety, or the environment which requires immediate action within a time too short to allow full compliance with this section; or

(E) Construction or modification of navigational aids such as channel markers and anchor buoys; or

(F) Construction of a dock, designed for pleasure craft only, for the private noncommercial use of the owners, lessee, or contract purchaser of a single-family dwelling, for which the cost or fair market value, whichever is higher, does not exceed $10,000; or

(G) Any project with a certification from the governor pursuant to Chapter 80.50 RCW; or

(H) Projects for the restoration of ecological functions.

ii. Shoreline Exemption Permit Application Process. The city shall issue or deny the shoreline exemption permit within 10 calendar days of receiving a complete application, or 10 days after issuance of a DNS, MDNS or EIS if SEPA review is required. The city shall send the shoreline permit decisions to the applicant and all applicable local, state, or federal agencies as required by state or federal law.

d. Substantial Development Permit Application Decision Criteria and Process. A substantial development permit (SDP) is required for any development within shorelands not qualifying as being subject to a categorical exemption or shoreline exemption permit. Requirements and procedures for securing a substantial development permit are established below.

i. SDP Application Decision Criteria. All requirements of the Mercer Island Unified Land Development Code shall apply to the approval of a shoreline development permit.

ii. SDP Application Process. The applicant shall attend a preapplication meeting prior to submittal of a substantial development permit. Upon completion of the preapplication meeting, a complete application, filing fees and SEPA checklist, if applicable, shall be filed with the city on approved forms to ensure compliance with development codes and standards.

(A) Once a complete application has been submitted, public notice of an application for a substantial development permit shall be made in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Mercer Island Uniform Land Development Code for administrative actions; provided, such notice shall be given at least 30 days before the date of final action by the city. The notices shall include a statement that any person desiring to submit written comments concerning an application, or desiring to receive notification of the final decision concerning an application as expeditiously as possible after the issuance of the decision, may submit the comments or request a copy of the decision(s) to the city within 30 days from the last date the notice is published. If a hearing is to be held on an application, notices of such hearing shall include a statement that any person may submit oral or written comments on an application at the hearing.

(B) Within 30 days of the final publication, posting or mailing of the notice, whichever comes last, any interested person may submit written comments on the proposed application. The city will not make a decision on the permit until after the end of the comment period. An open record hearing before the code official, as set out in subsection F of this section, shall be conducted on the shoreline substantial development permits when the following factors exist:

(1) The proposed development has broad public significance; or

(2) Within the 30-day comment period, 10 or more interested citizens file a written request for a public hearing; or

(3) At the discretion of the code official.

(C) The technical review of shoreline substantial development permits must ensure that the proposal complies with the criteria of the Shoreline Management Act policies and all requirements of the city of Mercer Island Unified Land Development Code.

(D) The city’s action in approving, approving with conditions, or denying any substantial development permit or shoreline exemption is final unless an appeal is filed in accordance with applicable laws. The city shall send the shoreline permit decisions to the applicant, the Department of Ecology, the Washington State Attorney General and to all other applicable local, state, or federal agencies.

(E) The applicant shall not begin construction until after 21 days from the date of receipt by the Department of Ecology and Attorney General and/or any appeals are concluded. The applicant shall also comply with all applicable federal, state and city standards for construction.

e. Shoreline Conditional Use Permit Application Decision Criteria and Process. The purpose of a shoreline conditional use permit is to provide a system which allows flexibility in the application of use regulations in a manner consistent with the policies of RCW 90.58.020. In authorizing a shoreline conditional use, special conditions may be attached to the permit by the city of Mercer Island or the Department of Ecology to prevent undesirable effects of the proposed use and/or to assure consistency of the project with the Shoreline Management Act and the applicable city regulations.

i. Shoreline Conditional Use Permit Application Decision Criteria. All requirements of the Mercer Island Unified Land Development Code shall apply to the approval of a shoreline conditional use permit. Uses that require a shoreline conditional use permit may be authorized; provided, that the applicant demonstrates all of the following:

(A) That the proposed use is consistent with the policies of RCW 90.58.020 and the Mercer Island Uniform Land Development Code;

(B) That the proposed use will not detrimentally interfere with the normal public use of shorelands within the “urban park environment” shoreline environment designation;

(C) That the proposed use of the site and design of the project is compatible with other authorized uses within the area and with uses allowed for the area by the Mercer Island Uniform Land Development Code;

(D) That the proposed use will cause no significant adverse effects to the shoreline environment in which it is to be located; and

(E) That the public interest suffers no substantial detrimental effect.

(F) In applying the above criteria when reviewing shoreline conditional use applications, consideration shall be given to the cumulative impact of additional requests for like actions in the area. For example, if shoreline conditional use permits were granted for other developments in the area where similar circumstances exist, the total of the shoreline conditional uses shall also remain consistent with the policies of RCW 90.58.020 and shall not produce substantial adverse effects to the shoreline environment.

ii. Shoreline Conditional Use Permit Application Process. The applicant shall attend a preapplication meeting prior to submittal of a shoreline conditional use permit. Upon completion of the preapplication meeting, a complete application, filing fees and SEPA checklist, if applicable, shall be filed with the city on approved forms to ensure compliance with development codes and standards.

(A) Once a complete application has been submitted, public notice of an application for a shoreline conditional use permit shall be made in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Mercer Island Uniform Land Development Code for discretionary actions; provided, such notice shall be given at least 30 days before the date of decision by the city.

The notices shall include a statement that any person desiring to submit written comments concerning the application, receive notice of and participate in any hearings, or desiring to receive notification of the final decision concerning the application as expeditiously as possible after the issuance of the decision may submit the comments or request a copy of the decision(s) to the city within 30 days of the last date the notice is published, and any appeal rights.

If a hearing is to be held on an application, notices of such a hearing shall include a statement that any person may submit oral or written comments on an application at the hearing.

(B) Within 30 days of the final publication, posting or mailing of the notice, whichever comes last, any interested person may submit written comments on the proposed application. The city will not make a decision on the permit until after the end of the comment period.

(C) The technical review of shoreline conditional use permit must ensure that the proposal complies with the criteria of the Shoreline Management Act policies and all requirements of the city of Mercer Island Unified Land Development Code. An open record hearing before the code official, as set out in subsection F of this section, shall be conducted on the shoreline conditional use permits when the following factors exist:

(1) The proposed development has broad public significance; or

(2) Within the 30-day comment period, 10 or more interested citizens file a written request for a public hearing; or

(3) At the discretion of the code official.

(D) The final decision in approving, approving with conditions, or denying a shoreline conditional use permit is rendered by the Department of Ecology in accordance with WAC 173-27-200, and all other applicable local, state, or federal laws. The city shall send the shoreline permit decision to the applicant, the Department of Ecology, the Washington State Attorney General and to all other applicable local, state, or federal agencies.

(E) The applicant shall not begin construction until after 21 days from the date of receipt by the Department of Ecology and Attorney General and/or any appeals are concluded. The applicant shall also comply with all applicable federal, state and city standards for construction.

f. Shoreline Variance Permit Decision Criteria and Process.

i. Shoreline Variance Criteria. Shoreline variances are strictly limited to granting relief from specific bulk, dimensional or performance standards set forth in the applicable regulations where there are extraordinary circumstances relating to the physical character or configuration of property such that the strict implementation of the regulations will impose unnecessary hardships on the applicant or thwarting of the policy enumerated in RCW 90.58.020. Shoreline variances for use regulations are prohibited. In addition, in all instances the applicant for a shoreline variance shall demonstrate strict compliance with all variance criteria set out in subsection (G)(4) of this section and the following additional criteria:

(A) In the granting of all shoreline variance permits, consideration shall be given to the cumulative impact of additional requests for like actions in the area. For example, if shoreline variances were granted to other developments in the area where similar circumstances exist, the total of the shoreline variances shall also remain consistent with the policies of RCW 90.58.020 and shall not produce substantial adverse effects to the shoreline environment.

(B) Shoreline variance permits for development that will be located landward of the ordinary high water mark, and/or landward of any associated wetland, may be authorized; provided, the applicant can demonstrate all of the following:

(1) That the strict application of the bulk, dimensional or performance standards set forth in the applicable regulations precludes or significantly interferes with reasonable use of the property not otherwise prohibited;

(2) That the hardship in this subsection (G)(6)(f)(i) is specifically related to the property, and is the result of unique conditions such as irregular lot shape, size, or natural features and the application of the applicable regulations, and not, for example, from deed restrictions or the applicant’s own actions;

(3) That the design of the project is compatible with other authorized uses in the area and will not cause adverse effects to adjacent properties or the shoreline environment;

(4) That the requested shoreline variance does not constitute a grant of special privilege not enjoyed by the other properties in the area, and is the minimum necessary to afford relief; and

(5) That the public interest will suffer no substantial detrimental effect.

(C) Shoreline variance permits for development that will be located waterward of the ordinary high water mark or within any associated wetland may be authorized; provided, the applicant can demonstrate all of the following:

(1) That the strict application of the bulk, dimensional or performance standards set forth in the applicable regulations precludes reasonable use of the property;

(2) That the proposal is consistent with the criteria established under subsections (G)(6)(f)(i)(B)(1) through (5) of this section; and

(3) That the public rights of navigation and use of the shorelines will not be adversely affected.

ii. Shoreline Variance Permit Application Process. The applicant shall attend a preapplication meeting prior to submittal of a shoreline variance. Upon completion of the preapplication meeting, a complete application, filing fees and SEPA checklist, if applicable, shall be filed with the city on approved forms to ensure compliance with development codes and standards.

(A) Once a complete application has been submitted, public notice of an application for a shoreline variance shall be made in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Mercer Island Uniform Land Development Code for discretionary actions; provided, such notice shall be given at least 30 days before the date of decision by the city.

The notices shall include a statement that any person desiring to submit written comments concerning the application, receive notice of and participate in any hearings, or desiring to receive notification of the final decision concerning the application as expeditiously as possible after the issuance of the decision may submit the comments or request a copy of the decision(s) to the city within 30 days of the last date the notice is published, and any appeal rights.

If a hearing is to be held on an application, notices of such a hearing shall include a statement that any person may submit oral or written comments on an application at the hearing.

(B) Within 30 days of the final publication, posting or mailing of the notice, whichever comes last, any interested person may submit written comments on the proposed application. The city will not make a decision on the permit until after the end of the comment period.

(C) The technical review of shoreline variance permit must ensure that the proposal complies with the criteria of the Shoreline Management Act policies and all requirements of the city of Mercer Island Unified Land Development Code. An open record hearing before the code official, as set out in subsection F of this section, shall be conducted on the shoreline variance permits when the following factors exist:

(1) The proposed development has broad public significance; or

(2) Within the 30-day comment period, 10 or more interested citizens file a written request for a public hearing; or

(3) At the discretion of the code official.

(D) The final decision in approving, approving with conditions, or denying a shoreline conditional use permit is rendered by the Department of Ecology in accordance with WAC 173-27-200, and all other applicable local, state, or federal agencies. The city shall send the shoreline permit decision to the applicant, the Department of Ecology, the Washington State Attorney General and to all other applicable local, state, or federal agencies.

(E) The applicant shall not begin construction until after 21 days from the date of receipt by the Department of Ecology and Attorney General and/or any appeals are concluded. The applicant shall also comply with all applicable federal, state and city standards for construction.

iii. The reasonable use exemption provided in MICC 19.07.030(B) does not apply in the shorelands. The provision of reasonable use in the shorelands shall be accomplished through a shoreline variance.

g. Time Limits of Permits. The following time limits shall apply to all shoreline exemption, substantial development, shoreline conditional use permits and shoreline variance permits:

i. Construction or substantial progress toward construction of a development for which a permit has been granted must be undertaken within two years of the effective date of a shoreline permit. Where no construction activities are involved, the use or activity shall be commenced within two years of the effective date of a substantial development permit. The effective date of a shoreline permit shall be the date of the last action required on the shoreline permit and all other government permits and approvals that authorize the development to proceed, including all administrative and legal actions on any such permit or approval.

ii. A single extension before the end of the time limit, with prior notice to parties of record, for up to one year, based on reasonable factors may be granted, if a request for extension has been filed before the expiration date and notice of the proposed extension is given to parties of record and to the Department of Ecology.

h. Appeals. Appeals to any shoreline permit decision, except shoreline exemption permits, shall be in accordance with RCW 90.58.180. Appeals to shoreline exemptions permits shall be filed in accordance with subsection J of this section.

i. Suspension of Permits. The city may suspend any shoreline exemption permit, substantial development permit, shoreline conditional use permit, or shoreline variance permit when the permittee has not complied with the conditions of the permit. Such noncompliance may be considered a public nuisance. The enforcement shall be in conformance with the procedures set forth in MICC 19.15.030, Enforcement.

j. Revisions. When an applicant seeks to revise a substantial development permit, shoreline conditional use permit and/or shoreline variance permit, the requirement of WAC 173-27-100, as amended, shall be met.

H. Notice of Decision.

1. Unless the city and applicant have mutually agreed in writing to an extension of time, project review shall be completed within 120 days from the date the application is determined to be complete. Time required for the submittal of additional information, preparation of environmental impact statement, and hearing of appeals shall be excluded from this 120-day period.

2. Written notice of the decision shall be provided to the applicant and all parties of record. Notice of decision shall also be provided in the biweekly DSG bulletin.

I. Optional Consolidated Permit Processing.

1. An application that involves two or more permits may be processed concurrently and the decision consolidated at the request of the project applicant. If an applicant elects the consolidated permit processing, the code official shall determine the appropriate application and review procedures for the project.

2. If a project requires action from more than one hearing body, the decision authority in the consolidated permit review shall be by the decision body with the broadest discretionary powers.

J. Administrative Appeals.

1. Any party of record on a decision that may be administratively appealed may file a letter of appeal on the decision. Administrative appeals shall be filed with the city clerk within 14 days after the notice of decision, if a notice of decision is required, or after the effective date of the decision subject to appeal if no notice of decision is required. The term “party of record,” for the purposes of this chapter, shall mean any of the following:

a. The applicant and/or property owner;

b. Any person who testified at the open record public hearing on the application;

c. Any person who individually submits written comments concerning the application for the open record public hearing, or to the code official prior to a decision on the project permit if there is no open record public hearing. Persons who have only signed petitions are not parties of record;

d. The city of Mercer Island.

2. Appeals shall include the following information:

a. The decision being appealed;

b. The name and address of the appellant and his/her interest in the matter;

c. The specific reasons why the appellant believes the decision to be wrong. The burden of proof is on the appellant to demonstrate that there has been substantial error, or the proceedings were materially affected by irregularities in procedure, or the decision was unsupported by evidence in the record, or that the decision is in conflict with the standards for review of the particular action;

d. The desired outcome or changes to the decision; and

e. The appeals fee, if required.

3. Authority for appeals is specified in MICC 19.15.010(E).

4. Public notice of an appeal shall be provided in the manner specified in subsection E of this section.

5. The rules of procedure for appeal hearings shall be as follows:

a. For development proposals that have been subject to an open record hearing, the appeal hearing shall be a closed record appeal, based on the record before the decision body, and no new evidence may be presented.

b. For development proposals that have not been subject to an open record hearing, the appeal hearing shall be an open record appeal and new information may be presented.

c. If the hearing body finds that there has been substantial error, or the proceedings were materially affected by irregularities in procedure, or the decision was unsupported by material and substantial evidence in view of the entire record, or the decision is in conflict with the city’s applicable decision criteria, it may:

i. Reverse the decision.

ii. Modify the decision and approve it as modified.

iii. Remand the decision back to the decision maker for further consideration.

d. If the hearing body finds that none of the procedural or factual bases listed above exist and that there has been no substantial error, the hearing body may adopt the findings and/or conclusions of the decision body, concur with the decision of the decision body and approve the development proposal as originally approved, with or without modifications.

e. Final decision on the appeal shall be made within 30 days from the last day of the appeal hearing.

f. The city’s final decision on a development proposal may be appealed by a party of record with standing to file a land use petition in King County superior court. Such petition must be filed within 21 days of the issuance of the decision.

6. When an applicant has opted for consolidated permit processing pursuant to subsection I of this section, administrative appeals of ministerial, administrative or discretionary actions listed in MICC 19.15.010(E) for a single project shall be consolidated and heard together in a single appeal by the hearing examiner.

K. Expiration of Approvals. Except for building permits or unless otherwise conditioned in the approval process, permits shall expire one year from the date of notice of decision if the activity approved by the permit is not exercised. Responsibility for knowledge of the expiration date shall be with the applicant.

L. Code Interpretations. Upon request or as determined necessary, the code official shall interpret the meaning or application of provisions of the development code. The code official may also bring any issue of interpretation before the planning commission for determination. Anyone in disagreement with an interpretation by the code official may also request a review of the code official’s interpretation by the planning commission. (Ord. 17C-12 § 10; Ord. 16C-13 § 1; amended during 3/15 supplement; Ord. 13C-12 § 6; Ord. 10C-06 § 6; Ord. 08C-01 § 8; Ord. 02C-04 § 7; Ord. 02C-01 § 6; Ord. 99C-13 § 1).

19.15.030 Enforcement.

A. Violations.

1. It is a violation of the development code, MICC Title 19, for any person to initiate or maintain or cause to be initiated or maintained the use of any structure, land or real property within the city of Mercer Island without first obtaining proper permits or authorizations required for the use by the development code.

2. It is a violation of the development code for any person to use, construct, locate, demolish or cause to be used, constructed, located, or demolished any structure, land or property within the city of Mercer Island in any manner that is not permitted by the terms of any permit or authorization issued pursuant to the development code or previous codes.

3. It is a violation of the development code to misrepresent any material fact in any application, plans or other information submitted to obtain any land use authorization.

4. It is a violation of the development code for anyone to fail to comply with the requirements of the development code, as set out in the specific sections of the code.

B. Duty to Enforce.

1. It shall be the duty of the director of the development services group to enforce the development code. The director may call upon the police, fire, health or other appropriate city departments to assist in enforcement.

2. Upon presentation of proper credentials, the director or duly authorized representative of the director may, with the consent of the owner or occupier of a building or premises, or pursuant to a lawfully issued inspection warrant, enter at reasonable times any building or premises subject to the consent or warrant to perform the duties imposed by the development code.

3. The development code shall be enforced for the benefit of the health, safety and welfare of the general public, and not for the benefit of any particular person or class of persons.

4. It is the intent of the development code to place the obligation of complying with its requirements upon the owner, occupier or other person responsible for the condition of the land and buildings within the scope of this code.

5. No provisions or term used in this code is intended to impose any duty upon the city or any of its officers or employees, which would subject them to damages in a civil action.

C. Investigation.

1. The director or his/her designee, shall investigate any structure or use which the director reasonably believes does not comply with the standards and requirements of this development code.

2. If, after investigation, the director determines that the standards or requirements have been violated, the director shall serve a notice of violation upon the owner, tenant or other person responsible for the condition. The notice of violation shall state separately each standard or requirement violated; shall state what corrective action, if any, is necessary to comply with the standards or requirements; and shall set a reasonable time for compliance. The notice shall state that any further violation may result in criminal prosecution and civil penalties.

3. The notice shall be served upon the owner, tenant or other person responsible for the condition by personal service, registered mail, or certified mail with return receipt requested addressed to the last known address of such person. If, after a reasonable search and reasonable efforts are made to obtain service, the whereabouts of the person or persons is unknown or service cannot be accomplished and the director makes an affidavit to that effect, then service of the notice upon such person or persons may be made by publication and mailing to the last known address.

D. Stop Work/Emergency Orders.

1. Stop Work Order. Whenever a continuing violation of the development code will materially impair the director’s ability to secure compliance with this code, or when the continuing violation threatens the health or safety of the public, the director may issue a stop work order specifying the violation and prohibiting any work or other activity at the site. A failure to comply with a stop work order shall constitute a violation of this development code.

2. Emergency Order. Whenever any use or activity in violation of this code threatens the health and safety of the occupants of the premises or any member of the public, the director may issue an emergency order directing that the use or activity be discontinued and the condition causing the threat to the public health and safety be corrected. The emergency order shall specify the time for compliance and shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the property, if posting is physically possible. A failure to comply with an emergency order shall constitute a violation of this development code.

3. Any condition described in the emergency order which is not corrected within the time specified is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and the director is authorized to abate such nuisance summarily by such means as may be available. If the city declines to bring an abatement action, then such action may be brought by any person who owns or resides on property within 300 feet of the structure or whose use and enjoyment of property is impaired by the structure or use complained of.

E. Extension of Compliance Date.

1. The director may grant a reasonable extension of time for compliance with any notice or order, whether pending or final, upon the director’s finding that substantial progress toward compliance has been made and that the public will not be adversely affected by the extension. Such extension of time shall not exceed 180 days.

2. An extension of time may be revoked by the director if it is shown that the conditions at the time the extension was granted have changed, the director determines that a party is not performing corrective actions as agreed, or if the extension creates an adverse effect on the public. The date of revocation shall then be considered as the compliance date.

F. Civil Penalty.

1. In addition to any other sanction or remedial procedure which may be available, any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of the development code, stop work order or emergency order shall be subject to a cumulative monetary penalty. Each separate day of noncompliance shall be a separate and distinct violation of the development code and shall be subject to a separate notice of civil infraction. The penalty shall be:

a. Fifty dollars ($50) for the first day of noncompliance after the compliance date set in the notice.

b. Seventy-five dollars ($75) for the second day of noncompliance after the compliance date set in the notice.

c. One hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each following additional day of noncompliance after the compliance date set in the notice.

2. The penalty imposed by this section shall be collected by notice of civil infraction, as authorized by Chapter 7.80 RCW.

3. The director of development services, and his/her designees, are the authorized enforcement officers for purposes of issuing a notice of infraction for violation of the development code.

4. A notice of infraction issued under this section represents a determination that a civil infraction has been committed, and the determination is final unless contested.

5. The city’s notice of infraction shall include the following:

a. A statement that the notice represents a determination that a civil infraction has been committed by the person named and the determination is final unless contested.

b. A statement that a civil infraction is a noncriminal offense for which imprisonment may not be imposed.

c. A statement of the specific violation of the development code for which the notice is issued.

d. A statement of the monetary penalty for the violation.

e. A statement of the options available for responding to the notice of infraction and the procedures necessary to exercise those options.

f. A statement that at the hearing to contest the notice the city has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the civil infraction was committed and that the person may subpoena witnesses, including the enforcement officer issuing the notice.

g. A statement that at any hearing requested to explain mitigating circumstances surrounding the commission of the civil infraction, the person will be deemed to have committed the infraction and may not subpoena witnesses.

h. A statement that the person must respond to the notice within 14 days.

i. A statement that failure to respond to the notice or to appear at a hearing, if requested, will result in a default judgment in the amount of the penalty and may be referred for criminal prosecution for failure to appear.

j. A statement, which the person shall sign, that the person promises to respond to the notice of civil infraction in one of the ways set forth in this section.

6. Any person who receives a notice of infraction for violation of the development code shall respond to the notice as provided in this section within 14 days of the date of the notice.

a. If the person does not contest the determination, he/she shall respond by completing the appropriate portion of the notice and sending it, with a check or money order in the amount of the penalty, to the court specified on the notice.

b. If the person wishes to contest the civil infraction, the person shall complete the portion of the notice requesting a hearing and submit it to the court specified on the notice. The court shall notify the person of the time and place of the hearing.

c. If the person does not contest the violation but wishes to explain mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation, the person shall complete the portion of notice requesting a hearing for that purpose and submit it to the court specified on the notice. The court shall notify the person of the time and place of the hearing.

d. The court shall enter a default judgment for the amount of the penalty for the civil infraction if a person fails to respond within 15 days or to appear at the hearing.

7. The violator may show as full or partial mitigation of the infraction:

a. That the violation giving rise to the action was caused by the willful act, or neglect, or abuse of another; or

b. That correction of the violation was commenced promptly upon receipt of the notice thereof, but that full compliance within the time specified was prevented by inability to obtain necessary materials or labor, inability to gain access to the subject structure, or other condition or circumstance beyond the control of the defendant.

8. Failure to respond to a civil citation within 14 days or to appear for a requested hearing is a misdemeanor, punishable by fine or imprisonment in jail.

G. Criminal Penalties. Any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this development code shall be subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $1,000 or be imprisoned in the city jail for a term not exceeding 90 days or be both fined and imprisoned. Each day of noncompliance with any of the provisions of this development code shall constitute a separate offense. However, the aggregate penalty for all days of noncompliance shall not exceed $5,000 or one year in the city jail.

H. Additional Relief. The director may seek legal or equitable relief to enjoin any actions or practices and abate any condition which constitutes or will constitute a violation of this development code when civil or criminal penalties are inadequate to effect compliance. (Ord. 99C-13 § 1).

19.15.040 Design commission. Revised 6/17

A. Intent and Purpose. These regulations are intended to implement and further the comprehensive plan of the city and are adopted for the following purposes:

1. To promote the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the city.

2. To recognize that land use regulations aimed at the orderliness of community growth, the protection and enhancement of property values, the minimization of discordant and unsightly surroundings, the avoidance of inappropriateness and poor quality of design and other environmental and aesthetic objectives provide not only for the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens, but also for their comfort and prosperity and the beauty and balance of the community, and as such, are the proper and necessary concerns of local government.

3. To protect, preserve and enhance the social, cultural, economic, environmental, aesthetic, and natural values that have established the desirable quality and unique character of Mercer Island.

4. To promote and enhance construction and maintenance practices that will tend to promote visual quality throughout Mercer Island.

5. To recognize environmental and aesthetic design as an integral part of the planning process.

B. Creation of Design Commission. A design commission is established as provided for in Chapter 3.34 MICC.

C. Rules and Records.

1. The design commission shall adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its business, subject to the approval of the city council.

2. A majority of the membership shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. Action by the design commission shall be by majority vote of the members constituting the quorum. A tie vote on a motion to approve shall constitute a failure of the motion and a denial of the application.

3. The code official shall serve as executive secretary of the design commission and shall be responsible for all records. All meetings of the design commission shall be open to the public. The design commission shall keep minutes of its proceedings and such minutes and a copy of its rules shall be kept on file in the office of the city clerk and open to inspection by the public.

D. Powers of the Commission.

1. No building permit or other required permit shall be issued by the city for any major new construction or minor exterior modification of any regulated improvement without prior approval of the design commission or code official as authorized pursuant to MICC 19.15.010(E).

2. The design commission or code official may require a bond or assignment of funds as set out in MICC 19.01.060(C) to secure the installation and maintenance of landscaping, screens, and other similar site improvements.

3. When the city council deems it necessary to retain consultants for a proposed capital improvement, the council shall seek recommendations from the design commission as to the selection of consultants to provide design services.

4. Consultants or city officials charged with the design responsibility for a major capital improvement shall hold preliminary discussions on the proposed project with the design commission to obtain its preliminary recommendations as to aesthetic, environmental and design principles and objectives. In addition, the design commission shall review major capital improvements at the completion of the design development phase. A capital improvement approved by the city council after review and recommendations by the design commission may be implemented on a phasing basis without further review so long as the improvement is developed in substantial conformity with the reviewed plan. Significant deviations from an approved plan shall be submitted to the design commission for its further review and recommendations.

5. The design commission or code official shall complete its review and make its decision and/or recommendations pursuant to the process set forth in subsection F of this section, and the review an decision and/or recommendations shall be based upon the design objectives and standards set forth in subsection G of this section, with such amendments as may be made from time to time.

E. Additional Functions.

1. The design commission may assist any person, group, or agency who requests design advice on matters not requiring formal commission action.

2. The design commission shall consult and cooperate with the planning commission and other governmental bodies on matters affecting the appearance of the Island. The design commission may offer recommendations to the appropriate city agencies and officials on legislation to promote aesthetic and environmental values.

3. The design commission shall act as the appeal authority for design review decisions made by the code official for minor exterior modifications.

F. Design Review Procedure.

1. General.

a. Intent. The intent of the design review process is to ensure that regulated development in all land use zones complies with design objectives and standards established in Chapters 19.11 and 19.12 MICC.

b. Scope. No building permit or other required permit shall be issued by the city for any major new construction or minor exterior modification of any regulated improvement without prior approval of the design commission or code official as authorized pursuant to MICC 19.15.010(E). Deviations from a plan approved by the design commission or code official shall be permitted only upon the filing and approval of an amended plan. In no instance shall the design commission’s or code official’s action conflict with the city’s development code or other applicable city ordinances or with state or federal requirements.

c. Review Authority.

i. Major New Construction. The design commission shall conduct the design review and make compliance determinations regarding major new construction.

ii. Minor Exterior Modifications. The design commission or the code official shall conduct the design review and make compliance determinations regarding minor exterior modifications to existing structures and sites.

d. Process.

i. Time Frame and Procedure. Design review shall be conducted in accordance with the timelines and procedures set forth in MICC 19.15.020, Permit review procedures. Design review is not subject to the one open record hearing requirement or consolidated permit review processing.

ii. Written Recommendations. All decisions of the design commission and code official shall be reduced to writing and shall include findings of fact and conclusions that support the decisions.

iii. Expiration of Approvals. If the applicant has not submitted a complete application for a building permit within two years from the date of the notice of the final design review decision, or within two years from the decision on appeal from the final design review decision, design review approval shall expire. The design commission or code official may grant an extension for no longer than 12 months, for good cause shown, if a written request is submitted at least 30 days prior to the expiration date. The applicant is responsible for knowledge of the expiration date.

2. Review Process for Major New Construction.

a. Scope of Review. Design review of major new construction shall include new structures, new additions, remodeled structures, and site plan layout, and other improvements such as paving and landscaping when they are made in conjunction with changes to a structure.

b. Presubmittal Concept Review.

i. Required: Predesign Meeting. A predesign meeting must be scheduled with staff from the development services group (DSG) prior to formal project development and application. The applicant may present schematic sketches and a general outline of the proposed project. This meeting will allow city staff to acquaint the applicant with the design standards, submittal requirements, and the application procedures and provide early input on the proposed project.

ii. Optional: Study Session. In addition to the predesign meeting, an applicant may meet with the design commission or code official in a study session to discuss project concepts before the plans are fully developed. At this session, which will be open to the public, the applicant should provide information regarding its site, the intended mix of uses, and how it will fit into the focus area objectives. The commission may provide feedback to be considered in the design of the project.

c. Preliminary Design Review Submittal.

i. Preapplication Meeting. A complete application on forms provided by the development services group (DSG) and all materials pertaining to the project shall be submitted at a formal preapplication meeting with DSG staff. A preapplication meeting shall not be required if the applicant is only seeking an exemption from formal design review pursuant to MICC 19.15.040(F)(3)(a).

ii. Materials. All applications for preliminary design review shall contain all information and materials deemed necessary by DSG staff to determine if the proposal complies with this chapter. Such materials may include a site survey; site plans; elevations; sections; architectural plans; roof plans; renderings and/or models; landscaping plan; parking plan; color and materials board; vicinity maps; site photographs; SEPA checklist; traffic study; pedestrian and vehicle circulation plans; and written narrative describing the project proposal and detailing how the project is meeting the applicable design objectives and standards established in Chapters 19.11 or 19.12 MICC. Submittal of lighting and sign master plans may be deferred to final design review.

iii. Acceptance. DSG staff shall determine if the required materials have been provided for preliminary design review. If so, the application will be accepted and the process for determination of completeness and review set forth in MICC 19.15.020 shall commence.

d. SEPA Determination. The city environmental official will review the SEPA environmental checklist (if one is required), the project proposal and other information required for a complete application to assess the project’s probable environmental impacts and issue a determination pursuant to MICC 19.07.120. Any SEPA appeal shall be pursuant to MICC 19.07.120. The design commission’s decision on the preliminary plans shall represent an action on the proposal for SEPA appeal purposes.

e. Preliminary Design Commission Review.

i. Public Meeting. The design commission shall hold a public meeting to consider the completed preliminary design review application. The design commission may approve, approve with conditions or deny an application or continue the meeting. The commission may identify additional submittal items required for the final design review.

ii. Additional Requirements. If additional submittal items are required, or the preliminary design application is approved with conditions, the conditions must be addressed and any additional items must be submitted at least 21 days prior to the final design commission review.

f. Final Design Commission Review.

i. Submittal of Final Plan. All materials pertaining to the final plan shall be submitted a minimum of 37 days prior to the design commission final review hearing date. The final plans shall be in substantial conformity with approved preliminary plans.

ii. Open Record Hearing. The design commission shall hold an open record hearing to consider the final proposal, at the conclusion of which it may approve, approve with conditions, deny the proposed final plans, or continue the hearing.

g. Appeal. Only the final design commission review decision may be appealed, in a closed record appeal to the hearing examiner, pursuant to MICC 19.15.020(J).

3. Review Process for Minor Exterior Modification.

a. Scope of Review. Design review of minor exterior modifications shall include review of exterior modifications to any existing structures including paint, material, minor roof or facade changes, new additions, landscaping changes, and site plan modifications that do not qualify as major new construction or are undertaken independently from modification of an existing structure, and new or modified signs.

The code official shall have the authority to determine if a minor exterior modification is not significant, and therefore does not require formal design review, based on factors such as the scope, location, context and visibility of the change or modification. The code official may determine that formal design review is not required for minor exterior modifications including, but not limited to: repainting structures to similar colors; relocating, modifying or adding mechanical equipment; reorganization of portions of parking lots involving less than five spaces; modifications to existing signs pertaining to sign locations or minor changes to color or text; modifications to locations of existing lighting; or minor changes to existing, approved landscaping. There shall be a rebuttable presumption of nonsignificance, and therefore no requirement of a formal design review, if all of the following conditions are met: (1) the cost of the work does not exceed 15 percent of the structure’s current King County assessed value as of the time the initial application for the work is submitted, (2) there is no additional structure or parking lot, or any enlargement of or addition to an existing structure or parking lot, (3) the work does not cause the landscape area to fall below or further below the minimum landscape area requirements in MICC 19.12.040(B)(4), (4) the work does not remove or diminish an existing perimeter landscape screen, (5) the work does not include new or additional service or mechanical areas referred to in MICC 19.12.060, and (6) the work does not include additional exterior lighting or a new or enlarged exterior sign. If there is no current King County assessed value for a structure, a current appraisal of the structure, which shall be provided by the applicant and acceptable to the code official, shall be used as the value point of reference.

b. Application Submittal. A development application, accompanied by supporting materials, shall be submitted to the city, on a form provided by the development services group (DSG), for any proposed minor exterior modification. DSG staff shall meet with the applicant prior to submission of the application to determine, depending on the scope of the project, what supporting materials are required. Such materials may include site survey; site plans; elevations; sections; architectural plans; roof plans; renderings and/or models; landscaping plan; lighting plan, sign master plan, parking plan; color and material samples; vicinity maps; site photographs; SEPA checklist; traffic study; pedestrian and vehicle circulation plans; and written narrative describing the project proposal and detailing how the project is meeting the applicable design objectives and standards set forth in subsection G of this section. No applicant shall be required to provide materials unless they are both necessary for design review and reflect a change in, or consequence of a change in, the existing development. For the purpose of making a determination of nonsignificance under MICC 19.15.040(F)(3)(a) under circumstances where the project is presumed to be nonsignificant as therein provided, the code official shall only require the submittal of materials demonstrating the entitlement to the presumption and the absence of other material impacts.

c. Review. The designated DSG staff shall determine administratively if the proposal is in compliance with the requirements of this chapter and may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application. Staff has the discretion to send any minor exterior modification proposal to the design commission for review and decision at an open record hearing.

d. Appeal. The code official’s decision on an application for minor exterior modification is final unless appealed to the design commission pursuant to MICC 19.15.020(J). The design commission’s decision on an application (not an appeal) for minor exterior modification is final unless appealed to the hearing examiner pursuant to MICC 19.15.020(J).

4. Criteria for Design Review Decisions. Following the applicable review process above, the design commission or code official shall deny an application if it finds that all the following criteria have not been met, or approve an application, or approve it with conditions, based on finding that all the following criteria have been met:

a. The proposal conforms with the applicable design objectives and standards of the design requirements for the zone in which the improvement is located, as set forth in subsection G of this section:

i. In the Town Center, particular attention shall be given to whether:

(A) The proposal meets the requirements for additional building height, if the proposal is for a building greater than two stories; and

(B) The proposal adheres to the required parking standards and a parking plan has been provided that demonstrates that the proposal meets the objectives of MICC 19.11.130.

b. The proposal is consistent with the comprehensive plan.

c. The proposal does not increase the project’s degree of nonconformity.

G. Design Objectives and Standards.

1. Town Center. Design objectives and standards for regulated improvements within the Town Center are set forth in Chapter 19.11 MICC.

2. Zones Outside Town Center. Design objectives and standards for regulated improvements in all zones outside the Town Center are set forth in Chapter 19.12 MICC.

H. Appeals. Appeals shall be consistent with the appeal procedures specified in MICC 19.15.020(J). (Ord. 17C-12 § 10; amended during 3/15 supplement; Ord. 11C-04 § 3; Ord. 04C-08 § 4; Ord. 03C-10 § 6; Ord. 03C-06 § 4; Ord. 02C-04 § 4; Ord. 99C-13 § 1).

19.15.050 Comprehensive plan amendments.

A. Purpose. The Growth Management Act (GMA), Chapter 36.70A RCW, requires that the city include within its development regulations a procedure for any interested person to suggest plan amendments. The suggested amendments will be docketed for consideration. The purpose of this section is to establish a procedure for amending the city’s comprehensive plan text and maps. Amendments to the comprehensive plan are the means by which the city may modify its 20-year plan for land use, development or growth policies in response to changing city needs or circumstances. All plan amendments will be reviewed in accordance with the GMA and other applicable state laws, the countywide planning policies, the adopted city of Mercer Island comprehensive plan, and applicable capital facilities plans.

B. Application Requirements. Proposed amendment requests may be submitted by the public, city manager, city department directors or by majority vote of the city council, planning commission or other city board or commission. Proposed amendments submitted by the public shall be accompanied by application forms required by this title and by the code official and the filing fees established by resolution. All application forms for amendments to the comprehensive plan shall include a detailed description of the proposed amendment in nontechnical terms.

C. Frequency of Amendments.

1. Periodic Review. The comprehensive plan shall be subject to continuing review and evaluation by the city (“periodic review”). The city shall take legislative action to review and, if needed, revise its comprehensive plan to ensure the plan complies with the requirements of the GMA according to the deadlines established in RCW 36.70A.130.

2. Annual Amendment Cycle. Updates, proposed amendments, or revisions to the comprehensive plan may be considered by the city council no more frequently than once every calendar year as established in this section (the “annual amendment cycle”). During a year when periodic review of the comprehensive plan is required under RCW 36.70A.130, the annual amendment cycle and the periodic review shall be combined.

3. More frequent amendments may be allowed under the circumstances set forth within RCW 36.70A.130(2). Amendments processed outside of the annual amendment cycle under RCW 36.70A.130(2) may be initiated by action of the city council. The city council shall specify the scope of the amendment, identify the projected completion date, and identify and, if necessary, fund resources necessary to accomplish the work. Amendments allowed to be processed outside of the annual amendment cycle are not subject to the docketing process outlined within subsection D of this section.

D. Docketing of Proposed Amendments. For purpose of this section, docketing refers to compiling and maintaining a list of suggested changes to the comprehensive plan in a manner that will ensure such suggested changes will be considered by the city and will be available for review by the public. The following process will be used to create the docket:

1. Preliminary Docket Review. By September 1, the city will issue notice of the annual comprehensive plan amendment cycle for the following calendar year. The amendment request deadline is October 1. Proposed amendment requests received after October 1 will not be considered for the following year’s comprehensive plan amendment process but will be held for the next eligible comprehensive plan amendment process.

a. The code official shall compile and maintain for public review a list of suggested amendments and identified deficiencies as received throughout the year.

b. The code official shall review all complete and timely filed applications proposing amendments to the comprehensive plan and place these applications on the preliminary docket along with other city-initiated amendments to the comprehensive plan.

c. The planning commission shall review the preliminary docket at a public meeting and make a recommendation on the preliminary docket to the city council each year.

d. The city council shall review the preliminary docket at a public meeting. By December 31, the city council shall establish the final docket based on the criteria in subsection E of this section. Once approved, the final docket defines the work plan and resource needs for the following year’s comprehensive plan amendments.

2. Final Docket Review.

a. Placement on the final docket does not mean a proposed amendment will be approved. The purpose of the final docket is to allow for further analysis and consideration by the city.

b. All items on the final docket shall be considered concurrently so that the cumulative effect of the various proposals can be ascertained. Proposed amendments may be considered at separate meetings or hearings, so long as the final action taken considers the cumulative effect of all proposed amendments to the comprehensive plan.

c. The code official shall review and assess the items placed on the final docket and prepare a staff report including recommendations for each proposed amendment. The code official shall be responsible for developing an environmental review of the combined impacts of all proposed amendments on the final docket, except that applicants seeking a site-specific amendment shall be responsible for submittal of a SEPA environmental checklist and supporting information. The code official may require an applicant to pay for peer review and/or additional resources needed to review the proposal. The code official shall set a date for consideration of the final docket by the planning commission and timely transmit the staff report(s) prior to the scheduled date.

d. The planning commission shall review the proposed amendments contained in the final docket based on the criteria set forth in MICC 19.15.020(G)(1). The planning commission shall hold at least one public hearing on the proposed amendments. The planning commission shall make a recommendation on the proposed amendments and transmit the recommendation to the city council.

e. After issuance of the planning commission’s recommendation, the code official shall set a date for consideration of the final docket by the city council. The city council shall review the proposed amendments taking into consideration the recommendations of the planning commission and code official. The city council may deny, approve, or modify the planning commission’s recommendations consistent with the criteria set forth in MICC 19.15.020(G)(1). The city council’s establishment of a final docket of proposed amendments is not appealable.

f. The planning commission and the city council may hold additional public hearings, meetings, or workshops as warranted by the proposed amendments.

E. Docketing Criteria. The following criteria shall be used to determine whether a proposed amendment is added to the final docket in subsection D of this section:

1. The request has been filed in a timely manner, and either:

a. State law requires, or a decision of a court or administrative agency has directed, such a change; or

b. All of the following criteria are met:

i. The proposed amendment presents a matter appropriately addressed through the comprehensive plan;

ii. The city can provide the resources, including staff and budget, necessary to review the proposal, or resources can be provided by an applicant for an amendment;

iii. The proposal does not raise policy or land use issues that are more appropriately addressed by an ongoing work program item approved by the city council;

iv. The proposal will serve the public interest by implementing specifically identified goals of the comprehensive plan or a new approach supporting the city’s vision; and

v. The essential elements of the proposal and proposed outcome have not been considered by the city council in the last three years. This time limit may be waived by the city council if the proponent establishes that there exists a change in circumstances that justifies the need for the amendment.

F. Combined Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Rezone. In cases where both a comprehensive plan amendment and a rezone are required, both shall be considered together, and all public notice must reflect the dual nature of the request.

G. Expansion of Land Use Map Amendment. The city may propose to expand the geographic scope of an amendment to the comprehensive plan land use map to allow for consideration of adjacent property, similarly situated property, or area-wide impacts. The following criteria shall be used in determining whether to expand the geographic scope of a proposed land use map amendment:

1. The effect of the proposed amendment on the surrounding area or city;

2. The effect of the proposed amendment on the land use and circulation pattern of the surrounding area or city; and

3. The effect of the proposed amendment on the future development of the surrounding area or city. (Ord. 16C-13 § 2).