Chapter 20.15
COMMERCIAL MUSHROOM SUBSTRATE PRODUCTION FACILITIES

Sections:

20.15.010    Purpose.

20.15.020    Definitions.

20.15.030    Applicability.

20.15.040    Nonconforming uses and structures.

20.15.050    Permits and zoning.

20.15.060    Prohibited locations.

20.15.065    Repealed.

20.15.070    Buffer and setback requirements.

20.15.080    Design, development, and operational requirements.

20.15.090    Reserved.

20.15.100    Reserved.

20.15.110    Compliance with land use permit.

20.15.120    Permit submittal requirements.

20.15.130    Criteria for issuance of land use permit.

20.15.140    Reserved.

20.15.150    Reserved.

20.15.160    Closure of facility.

20.15.170    Appeals.

20.15.180    Severability.

20.15.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish procedures and limitations governing the placement and permitting of commercial mushroom substrate production facilities.

The production of mushroom substrate is a manufacturing activity which is not dependent upon agricultural or any other soils. To conserve those agricultural soils, commercial mushroom substrate production facilities are not permitted on agricultural lands.

In addition, commercial mushroom substrate production facilities should not be located contiguous to areas that have or are expected to have residential development at rural or urban densities.

Where applicable, the permit review, approval process, and oversight of the operation shall be coordinated with the Whatcom County health department. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.020 Definitions.

(1) “Active area” means any part of a facility where mushroom substrate production activities are conducted, including but not limited to related areas of feedstock (only excluding straw) storage, leachate and emission collection and treatment devices, and impervious surfaces.

(2) “Commercial mushroom substrate production facility” means a facility producing any mushroom substrate for off-site commercial export.

(3) “Expansion,” as it pertains to facilities existing at the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, means an increase in monthly mushroom substrate production over the average production of the three months prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

(4) “Facility” means all contiguous land (including buffers and setbacks) and structures, other appurtenances, and improvements on the land.

(5) “Finished substrate” means substrate that has completed the fermentation process and is ready for pasteurization.

(6) “Mushroom substrate” means a highly specific, nutrient-rich product prepared from selective organic and inorganic material for the purpose of cultivating mushrooms. “Mushroom substrate,” for the purposes of this chapter, does not include substrate prepared for the cultivation of wood-inhabiting species of specialty mushrooms, such as shiitake, enoki, or oyster mushrooms, that is produced with sawdust and grains, such as rye, millet or wheat bran, without any addition of manure, and with no generation of excessive process odor. “Excessive process odor” is defined in WCC 24.12.020 and means any odor generated from the production or use of substrate that is demonstrated to unreasonably interfere with public health.

(7) “Mushroom substrate production” means any stage of a process where the ingredients necessary for the production of mushroom substrate are assembled, blended, stored or fermented.

(8) “Mushroom substrate production facilities” means “commercial mushroom substrate production facilities” and/or “on-farm mushroom substrate production facilities.”

(9) “On-farm mushroom substrate production facility” means a facility producing mushroom substrate which is used exclusively on the same parcel or adjoining parcels to grow and harvest mushrooms in compliance with best management practices. Limited off-site shipment may be allowed if such shipment is conducted as authorized under WCC 24.12.060(B)(1)(d).

(10) “Well head protection area” means the area (surface and subsurface), designated by the Whatcom County health department, managed to protect ground-water-based public water supplies.

(11) “Unfinished substrate” means feedstock that has been pre-wet, but is not yet finished substrate. (Ord. 2010-052 Exh. A, 2010; Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.030 Applicability.

The requirements of this chapter shall apply to new commercial mushroom substrate production facilities and to the expansion of existing commercial mushroom substrate production facilities. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.040 Nonconforming uses and structures.

Commercial mushroom substrate production facilities in operation as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, including vested applications for such facilities, that do not conform to the requirements of this chapter are hereby declared nonconforming uses and shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 20.83 WCC governing nonconforming uses. Any determination made under Chapter 20.83 WCC shall be governed by the definition of “expansion” in WCC 20.15.020(3) and all applicable requirements of this chapter; provided, that in the event of any conflict between provisions, the more stringent standard shall apply. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.050 Permits and zoning.

All new facilities and facility expansions shall be located and permitted according to the following table.

(1) Commercial mushroom substrate production facility:

Permitted Use

Administrative Use

Conditional Use

 

HII

 

(Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.060 Prohibited locations.

When reviewing applications for new commercial mushroom substrate production facilities, the approving authority shall not locate mushroom substrate production facilities in the Water Resource Protection Overlay District, Stormwater Special Districts, the Recreation and Open Space District, wellhead protection areas, nor within the 100-year floodplain. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.065 Prohibited operations.

Repealed by Ord. 2006-031. (Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.070 Buffer and setback requirements.

(1) The commercial substrate production facility’s active area shall meet the following minimum buffer requirements:

(a) Two thousand six hundred forty feet from the following zoning districts: Urban Residential, Rural Residential, Residential-Island, Rural, Commercial, Gateway Industrial, Light Impact Industrial, Point Roberts Special District, and Point Roberts Transitional Zoning.

(b) One thousand feet from parcels located in the Rural Forestry district.

(2) The facility’s active area shall meet the following minimum setback requirements:

(a) One thousand feet from property lines. The minimum 1,000-foot setback requirement may be reduced or eliminated for substrate production facilities proposed for the HII zoning district if it can be demonstrated that such additional setback is not required to mitigate adverse impacts on adjacent land uses.

(3) Where applicable, the facility shall provide buffers in accordance with the Whatcom County critical areas ordinance.

(4) The facility shall be designed to include any other conditions determined necessary during the review process. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.080 Design, development, and operational requirements.

New commercial mushroom substrate production facilities and the expansion of existing commercial mushroom substrate production facilities shall be designed, developed, and operated in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 24.12 WCC, Mushroom Substrate Production Facility Rules. These are minimum requirements and shall be in addition to any other requirements, including those imposed in a project review process, which apply in the district where the facility is located.

In the event of a conflict between a provision of this chapter and a general requirement of this title, a provision of Chapter 24.12 WCC, or a requirement imposed during the project review process, the more stringent provision shall govern.

The following requirements shall also be met:

(1) The facility shall be designed, built and operated to meet the stormwater and drainage provisions of WCC 20.80.630 and 20.80.634.

(2) The facility shall be designed, built and operated in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal ordinances and laws, including but not limited to WCC Title 24 and Whatcom County’s SEPA ordinance.

(3) The applicant shall show evidence of adequate water availability to support the proposed facility.

(4) The facility shall be designed, located and operated subject to any other conditions determined necessary to mitigate potential adverse impacts identified during the review process.

Nothing herein shall limit the county’s enforcement authority or remedies set forth in this title or elsewhere in law or equity for violations of this chapter or land permits issued pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.090 Reserved.

(Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.100 Reserved.

(Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.110 Compliance with land use permit.

If a commercial mushroom substrate production facility is operating in violation of its land use permit conditions and the owner/operator does not resolve the violation within 30 days, or other timeframe approved by the hearing examiner, the land use permit may be suspended or revoked.

To avoid the suspension or revocation of the facility’s land use permit, the owner/operator must demonstrate compliance with this chapter, the land use permit itself, and all other permits and approvals, including but not limited to the following:

(1) Chapter 24.12 WCC, Mushroom Substrate Production Facility Rules; and

(2) Local and state air quality and noise level requirements. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.120 Permit submittal requirements.

(1) Prospective applicants for commercial mushroom substrate production facilities described in this chapter are required to comply with Chapter 24.12 WCC, Mushroom Substrate Production Facility Rules, and obtain a health department permit. A joint pre-application consultation with Whatcom County planning and development services land use division and Whatcom County health department staff is required prior to formal submittal of the land use application. The purpose of the pre-application consultation is for the applicant to provide the county with an overview of the project proposal and for the county to explain the steps involved in the review process and general permit submittal requirements for both the land use and health department permits.

(2) The following items shall be submitted to Whatcom County planning and development services for any new application or application for expansion of a commercial mushroom substrate production facility before a land use permit is issued:

(a) A complete land use permit application. The permit application shall include:

(i) An engineering report/plan and specifications that address the design and operational standards of Chapter 24.12 WCC, Mushroom Substrate Production Facility Rules.

(ii) A vicinity map having a minimum scale of 1:24,000 showing the area within one mile of the property boundaries of the facility in terms of existing and proposed manmade or natural features that may impact or be affected by the operation of the facility and the location of any identified critical areas.

(iii) A site plan which includes, at a minimum, a scale drawing of the facility showing property lines, required buffers and setbacks, critical areas, site topography and existing drainage patterns, the locations and sizes of the straw and feedstock storage areas, all other active areas, material processing areas, fixed equipment, buildings with function identified, stormwater and leachate collection devices, access roads, and other specifications determined during the review process.

(b) A complete SEPA checklist.

(3) If deemed necessary by the land use administrator, additional information may be required following a review of the initial permit application submittal. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.130 Criteria for issuance of land use permit.

In addition to all other requirements set forth in this chapter and title, and any other controlling laws and ordinances, new applications or applications for expansion of an existing commercial mushroom substrate production facility must show verification by the Whatcom County health department that the proposal complies with Chapter 24.12 WCC, Mushroom Substrate Production Facility Rules, as evidenced by verification of either an approved or approvable health department permit, before a land use permit is issued. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.140 Reserved.

(Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.150 Reserved.

(Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.160 Closure of facility.

The owner/operator of a commercial mushroom substrate production facility shall notify the Whatcom County planning and development services director by certified U.S. Mail at least 60 days in advance of abandonment or discontinuation of operation. The owner/operator shall comply with the closure plan approved by the Whatcom County health department. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.170 Appeals.

The hearing examiner shall have the authority to decide, in conformity with this chapter, appeals from any order, requirement, permit decision or determination made by an administrative official in the administration or enforcement of this chapter where more than one interpretation is possible; provided, that such appeal shall be filed within 14 days of the action being appealed. The hearing examiner shall hear appeals under this chapter in the same manner as those appeals he has authority to hear under WCC 20.92.210(1).

Any such appeal shall be reviewed de novo by the hearing examiner as to the scope of review and the standard of review. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).

20.15.180 Severability.

Should any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this regulation be declared unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this regulation. (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006; Ord. 2005-057 Exh. A, 2005).