Chapter 30.43F
FOREST PRACTICES

Sections:

PART 000 - GENERAL PURPOSE AND APPLICABILITY

30.43F.010    Authority and purpose.

30.43F.020    Definitions.

30.43F.030    Applicability.

30.43F.040    Exemptions.

30.43F.050    Relationship to other regulatory requirements.

30.43F.060    Administration and enforcement.

30.43F.070    Right of entry.

30.43F.080    Notification to the Washington State Department of Revenue.

PART 100 - PERMIT AND CONVERSION OPTION HARVEST PLAN

30.43F.100    Class IV-General forest practices - permit required.

30.43F.110    Conversion option harvest plan (COHP).

PART 200 - IMPOSITION, LIFT, AND WAIVER OF THE SIX-YEAR DEVELOPMENT MORATORIUM

30.43F.220    Six-year development moratorium.

30.43F.230    Lift of the six-year development moratorium.

30.43F.240    Request for single-family dwelling moratorium waiver.

PART 000 - GENERAL PURPOSE AND APPLICABILITY

30.43F.010 Authority and purpose.

This chapter is established pursuant to the Forest Practices Act, chapter 76.09 RCW, which provides for the county’s regulation and enforcement of certain forest practices on lands intended for conversion to nonforestry uses within the county’s jurisdictional boundaries. This chapter also sets forth procedures and criteria for the department’s review of conversion option harvest plans (COHPs) and the department’s imposition, lift, and waiver of the six-year development moratorium described in SCC 30.43F.220.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.020 Definitions.

The definitions contained in RCW 76.09.020 of the Forest Practices Act and in WAC 222-16-010 and 222-16-050 of the Forest Practices Act’s implementing regulations shall apply to all terms used in this chapter, provided that the definitions contained in this Title 30 SCC shall be applicable where not in conflict with the above-referenced Forest Practices Act and the Forest Practices Act’s implementing regulations. In the event of any conflict between the definitions, the definitions in chapter 222-16 WAC shall prevail.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.030 Applicability.

This chapter applies to the following:

(1) The following forest practices on lands within the county’s jurisdiction:

(a) Forest practices classified as Class I, II, III, IV-General, and IV-Special that are conducted within urban growth areas designated under RCW 36.70A.110, except for forest practices on contiguous forest lands equal to or greater than 20 acres where the applicant provides to the department and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources a written statement of intent, signed by the forest landowner, not to convert to a use other than growing commercial timber for 10 years; and

(b) Forest practices classified as Class IV-General that are conducted outside urban growth areas designated under RCW 36.70A.110 and involve either timber harvest, road construction, or both on:

(i) Forest lands that are being converted to another use; or

(ii) Lands, and the associated subject site, that the applicant has declared will not be reforested under RCW 76.09.070 because of the likelihood of future conversion to urban development.

(2) Review of conversion option harvest plans (COHPs).

(3) The imposition, lift, and waiver of the six-year development moratorium described in SCC 30.43F.220.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.040 Exemptions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

(1) Forest practices regulated exclusively by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources pursuant to chapter 76.09 RCW;

(2) The removal of less than 5,000 board feet of timber (including live, dead, and down material) for personal use in any 12-month period;

(3) The removal of trees which have been grown to be sold as Christmas trees or used in landscaping such as trees sold by commercial nurseries;

(4) The abatement of an emergency, such as the removal of trees necessary to protect the safety of persons or property from clear and imminent danger;

(5) Landscape maintenance or pruning which does not impair the health or survival of trees required to be retained or planted pursuant to this chapter; and

(6) The removal of trees in the public right-of-way as required by the county engineer for the purpose of public safety or for the maintenance of existing public roads and existing facilities, consistent with chapter 76.09 RCW.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.050 Relationship to other regulatory requirements.

(1) Compliance with federal and state regulations. Applications filed pursuant to this chapter shall comply with all applicable federal and state regulations, including but not limited to chapter 76.09 RCW and title 222 WAC. Where other agencies or entities have concurrent jurisdiction over the proposed forest practice or development, and the department determines that the permit conditions imposed by such agencies or entities satisfy the requirements of this chapter, then those permit conditions may be relied upon for the purpose of determining compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

(2) Compliance with other provisions of the Snohomish County Code. Applications and plans filed pursuant to this chapter shall comply with all applicable provisions of the Snohomish County Code.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.060 Administration and enforcement.

(1) Permit, recording, and review fees associated with this chapter shall be in accordance with the schedule of fees in chapter 30.86 SCC.

(2) The enforcement of this chapter shall be under chapter 30.85 SCC.

(3) Failure to comply with the requirements of this chapter may result in the imposition of a six-year development moratorium described in SCC 30.43F.220.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.070 Right of entry.

By submitting an application under this chapter, the applicant consents to entry upon the subject site by the department during regular business hours for the purposes of making reasonable inspections to verify information provided by the applicant and to verify that work is being performed in accordance with the approved plans and permits and the requirements of this chapter.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.080 Notification to the Washington State Department of Revenue.

The department shall notify the Washington State Department of Revenue within 60 days of approving a forest practices permit issued under this chapter. Such notification shall include the following information:

(1) Landowner’s legal name, address, and telephone number;

(2) Decision date of permit; and

(3) Parcel number and legal description (section, township, and range) of the subject site.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

PART 100 - PERMIT AND CONVERSION OPTION HARVEST PLAN

30.43F.100 Class IV-General forest practices - permit required.

(1) Permit required for Class IV-General forest practices. An approved Class IV-General forest practices permit shall be obtained from the department prior to conducting any forest practices described in SCC 30.43F.030(1).

(2) Procedure. The department shall process a Class IV-General forest practices permit application according to the procedures for a Type 1 administrative decision under chapter 30.71 SCC unless submitted concurrently with a Type 2 application under chapter 30.72 SCC, in which case the Class IV-General forest practices permit application shall be consolidated and processed as a Type 2 permit application. Applications for Class IV-General forest practices permits shall be submitted in compliance with the requirements in SCC 30.70.030, and may be processed concurrently with other development applications.

(3) General requirements. The department shall not issue a Class IV-General forest practices permit unless the following requirements are met:

(a) The applicant submits a completed State Environmental Policy Act checklist;

(b) The applicant has either obtained a land disturbing activity (LDA) permit under chapter 30.63B SCC, or has obtained a determination from the department that an LDA permit is not required; and

(c) The applicant provides verification from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources that the subject site is not and has not been subject to a notice of conversion to nonforestry use under RCW 76.09.060 during the six-year period prior to the submission of the permit application.

(4) Time limitation of application. An application for a Class IV-General forest practices permit shall expire pursuant to SCC 30.70.140.

(5) Compliance with other conditions. If a Class IV-General forest practices permit is issued in association with any other development permits or approvals, the applicant shall comply with any conditions of approval established in those associated development permits or approvals.

(6) Permit expiration and extension.

A Class IV-General forest practices permit approval shall expire pursuant to SCC 30.70.140.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015; Amended by Amended Ord. 16-004, Mar. 16, 2016, Eff date Apr. 1, 2016)

30.43F.110 Conversion option harvest plan (COHP).

(1) Optional process. As an alternative to applying for a Class IV-General forest practices permit under SCC 30.43F.100, an applicant may choose to submit an application for a conversion option harvest plan (COHP), as defined in SCC 30.91C.296, that, if approved, may preserve the landowner’s option to convert forest land to a non-commercial forest use without subjecting the site to the six-year development moratorium in SCC 30.43F.220.

(2) General requirements for an application for a COHP approval to the department.

(a) An application for a COHP approval shall be submitted in compliance with the submittal requirements in SCC 30.70.030.

(b) An application for a COHP approval shall be submitted prior to submittal of an application for development, and prior to conducting forest practices on the subject site.

(3) The department’s review and approval process.

(a) The department shall review applications for COHP approvals for consistency with applicable county regulations and policies, and may inspect the subject site prior to rendering a decision.

(b) The applicant has the burden of proving that the application for COHP approval complies with all applicable laws.

(c) The department may approve, approve with conditions, or deny an application for a COHP approval.

(d) The department’s approval of a COHP shall not release the applicant from the requirement to reforest a site under chapter 222-34 WAC.

(e) An appeal of the department’s decision on an application for COHP approval must state the basis for the appeal and be submitted in writing to the director within 30 days of the department’s decision date. The director shall issue a written decision on the appeal to the landowner and to the appellant within 30 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.

(4) Recording obligation. After the department has approved the COHP, the applicant shall record it with the county auditor. The COHP shall be binding upon the landowner and the landowner’s successors in interest.

(5) Duration of a COHP approved by the department. The department-approved COHP shall be valid for a period of two years from the date of approval by the department.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

PART 200 - IMPOSITION, LIFT, AND WAIVER OF THE SIX-YEAR DEVELOPMENT MORATORIUM

30.43F.220 Six-year development moratorium.

(1) Applicability. The department shall impose a six-year development moratorium on a site when any of the following occurs:

(a) The department receives from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources a notice of conversion to a nonforestry use under RCW 76.09.060.

(b) The department discovers a violation of a Class IV-General forest practices permit.

(c) The department becomes aware that a landowner converted his or her land to a nonforestry use without the proper permits or approvals that are required under this chapter.

(d) The department discovers that any condition of a conversion option harvest plan (COHP) approved by the department has been significantly violated.

(i) For the purposes of this subsection, a significant violation of a COHP means exceeding the conditions of the COHP such as, but not limited to:

(A) Enlarging the area approved to be harvested, or increasing the volume of timber approved to be harvested; or

(B) Engaging in forest practices within a critical area or a critical area buffer as defined in chapters 30.62A and 30.62B SCC.

(ii) If the department discovers that any condition of a COHP is significantly violated, a six-year development moratorium shall be recorded from the date the associated forest practice approval became effective.

(2) Duration of the six-year development moratorium. Unless relief is granted under this chapter, the department shall deny any application for permits or approvals, including building permits and subdivision approvals, relating to nonforestry uses of land that is subject to the six-year development moratorium:

(a) For a period of six years from the approval date of the applicable forest practices application or notification issued by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, or the date that either the department or the Washington State Department of Natural Resources discovered the unauthorized harvest activities; or

(b) Until the following activities are completed for the subject site:

(i) Full compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (chapter 43.21C RCW), if applicable;

(ii) The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has notified the department that any outstanding final orders or decisions it has issued concerning the site have been resolved; and

(iii) The department makes a determination that the subject site is in full compliance with the Snohomish County Code. If full compliance is not found, the landowner must submit to the department a mitigation plan to address the violations. Required mitigation plans must be prepared by the landowner and approved by the department. Once approved, the mitigation plan must be implemented by the landowner.

(3) Notification to the landowner of imposition of the six-year development moratorium.

(a) The department shall notify the landowner when the following occurs:

(i) The department receives a notice of conversion to a nonforestry use from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources for the subject site; or

(ii) The department has identified a violation of this chapter as described in subsection (1) of this section.

(b) The notification shall contain the following:

(i) Name of landowner and tax parcel number;

(ii) Basis for the moratorium;

(iii) The effective date of the moratorium; and

(iv) Description of the appeal process.

(4) Extent of application of the six-year development moratorium. The six-year development moratorium imposed by the department shall apply to an entire site, unless the applicant can demonstrate that the area subject to forest practices activities complies with all provisions of the Snohomish County Code. Where such compliance is demonstrated, the moratorium shall only apply to those portions of the site that were subject to the actions described in subsection (1) of this section.

(5) Appeals.

(a) Appeals of a notice of conversion to a nonforestry use issued by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources can be appealed to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board under chapter 43.21B RCW.

(b) Appeals of the department’s imposition of the six-year development moratorium resulting from actions described in subsections (1)(b), (c), and (d) of this section, can be appealed under the procedures in SCC 30.71.050.

(6) Recording of the six-year development moratorium. The department shall record the six-year development moratorium with the county auditor after the appeal deadline to challenge the moratorium has expired, or after all appeals have been resolved if any appeals have been filed.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.230 Lift of the six-year development moratorium.

(1) An applicant may apply for a lift of a moratorium for a site subject to the six-year development moratorium described in SCC 30.43F.220. A moratorium lift is the mechanism by which the six-year development moratorium is removed from the entire site to which it was applied.

(2) Applications.

(a) An application to lift the six-year development moratorium shall be processed as a Type 1 permit application under chapter 30.71 SCC unless submitted concurrently with a Type 2 application under chapter 30.72 SCC, in which case the application to lift the moratorium shall be consolidated and processed as a Type 2 permit application.

(b) The applicant shall submit an application in compliance with the submittal requirements in SCC 30.70.030.

(c) The applicant shall submit a completed State Environmental Policy Act checklist.

(d) If there are any outstanding forest practice violations on the subject site, written approval from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources stating that the outstanding final order, decisions, or violations have been corrected must be submitted by the applicant to the department prior to the department’s consideration of the application to lift the moratorium.

(e) An applicant may request a pre-application meeting pursuant to SCC 30.70.020 to obtain a preliminary analysis of how the requirements of this chapter apply to a proposed project.

(f) Notice of the application shall be provided pursuant to chapter 30.71 SCC and shall contain the following the text: "Attention: The proposed application is on land regulated by the Washington State Forest Practices Act. This Act imposes a moratorium that is enforced by Snohomish County on conversions of land to nonforestry uses. Snohomish County may lift the moratorium if it finds that the proposed application complies with the criteria in SCC 30.43F.230(3)."

(3) Review criteria. Lifting of a six-year development moratorium imposed under this chapter shall be granted when all of the following criteria are met:

(a) The forest practices conducted on the site meet the standards set forth in chapter 76.09 RCW; and

(b) Corrective actions are completed which would bring the forest practices into compliance with all applicable provisions of the Snohomish County Code.

(4) Appeal. If the application to lift the moratorium was processed as a Type 1 permit, then the process to appeal a decision regarding a moratorium lift is pursuant to SCC 30.71.050. If an application was processed as a Type 2 permit, then the process to appeal a decision regarding a moratorium lift is pursuant to SCC 30.72.070.

(5) Recording the lift of the six-year development moratorium. The applicant shall record the lifting of the six-year development moratorium with the county auditor after the appeal deadline to challenge the lifting of the moratorium has expired, or after all appeals have been resolved if any appeals have been filed.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)

30.43F.240 Request for single-family dwelling moratorium waiver.

(1) An applicant may apply for a waiver of a six-year development moratorium for up to two acres of a site subject to the six-year development moratorium described in SCC 30.43F.220. A moratorium waiver is the mechanism by which the six-year development moratorium is removed from a portion of a site, not to exceed two acres, solely for the construction of one single-family dwelling, permitted accessory structures, lawn and landscaped area, and access road, together with site development activities necessary to construct the dwelling, subject to the procedures and conditions described in this section SCC 30.43F.240. If the waiver is granted, the six-year development moratorium shall remain in effect for the remainder of the subject site.

(2) Applications.

(a) An applicant shall submit an application for a single-family dwelling moratorium waiver in compliance with the submittal requirements in SCC 30.70.030.

(b) A binding written commitment must be submitted to and approved by the department, and recorded by the applicant with the county auditor, so as to run with the subject parcel(s) which:

(i) Contains a site plan depicting the building site area, any critical areas within the building site area, and access roads;

(ii) Affirms that critical areas or critical area buffers have not been damaged or damage to critical areas or critical area buffers have been restored, pursuant to chapter 30.62A SCC; and

(iii) Commits the applicant to complete the reforestation in accordance with applicable forest practices reforestation requirements for areas other than the building site area.

(3) Review Criteria. The department may approve an application for a single-family dwelling moratorium waiver on land subject to a development moratorium if all of the following criteria are satisfied:

(a) The parcel has legal lot status;

(b) The building site area proposed for development shall not exceed two acres in size;

(c) Aside from the actions described in SCC 30.43F.220(1) that triggered imposition of the six-year development moratorium, the site is in compliance with all applicable provisions of the Snohomish County Code;

(d) The single-family waiver of the six-year development moratorium will not be detrimental to the public health, safety, and general welfare;

(e) The single-family waiver of the six-year development moratorium will not be injurious to the property or improvements adjacent to and in the vicinity of the proposal; and

(f) The single-family waiver of the six-year development moratorium will not result in significant adverse environmental impacts.

(4) Appeal. An appeal of the department’s decision on an application for a waiver from the six-year development moratorium must state the basis for the appeal and be submitted in writing to the director within 30 days of the decision date. The director shall issue a written decision on the appeal to the landowner and to the appellant within 30 calendar days of receipt of the appeal request. The director’s decision constitutes a final decision.

(Added by Amended Ord. 15-033, June 3, 2015, Eff date June 19, 2015)