Chapter 18.175


18.175.010    Purpose of this part and adoption by reference.

18.175.020    Critical areas.

18.175.030    Fees.

18.175.010 Purpose of this part and adoption by reference.

This section contains rules for agency compliance with SEPA, including rules for charging fees under the SEPA process, designating categorical exemptions that do not apply within critical areas, listing agencies with environmental expertise, selecting the lead agency, and applying these rules to current agency activities. The city adopts the following sections of Chapter 197-11 WAC by reference:

    WAC 197-11-900    Purpose of this part.

    -902    Agency SEPA policies.

    -916    Application to ongoing actions.

    -920    Agencies with environmental expertise.

    -922    Lead agency rules.

    -924    Determining the lead agency.

    -926    Lead agency for governmental proposals.

    -928    Lead agency for public and private proposals.

    -930    Lead agency for private projects with one agency with jurisdiction.

    -932    Lead agency for private projects requiring licenses from more than one agency, when one of the agencies is a county/city.

    -934    Lead agency for private projects requiring licenses from a local agency, not a county/city, and one or more state agencies.

    -936    Lead agency for private projects requiring licenses from more than one state agency.

    -938    Lead agencies for specific proposals.

    -940    Transfer of lead agency status to a state agency.

    -942    Agreements on lead agency status.

    -944    Agreements on division of lead agency duties.

    -946    DOE resolution of lead agency disputes.

    -948    Assumption of lead agency status.

(Ord. 00-015 § 2 (part), 2000)

18.175.020 Critical areas.

A.    The city has selected certain categorical exemptions that will not apply in one or more critical areas identified in the critical areas ordinances required under RCW 36.70A.060. For each critical area listed below, the exemptions within WAC 197-11-800 that are inapplicable for that area are:

1.    Minor New Construction - Flexible Thresholds.

a.    The exemptions in this subsection apply to all licenses required to undertake the construction in question, except when a rezone or any license governing emissions to the air or discharges to water is required. To be exempt under this subsection, the project must be equal to or smaller than the exempt level. For a specific proposal, the exempt level in subsection (A)(1)(b) of this section shall control, unless the city/county in which the project is located establishes an exempt level under subsection (A)(1)(c) of this section.

b.    The following types of construction shall be exempt, except when undertaken wholly or partly on lands covered by water:

i.    The construction or location of any residential structures of four dwelling units;

ii.    The construction of a barn, loafing sheds, farm equipment storage building, produce storage or packing structure, or similar agricultural structure, covering ten thousand square feet, and to be used only by the property owner or his or her agent in the conduct of farming the property. This exemption shall not apply to feed lots;

iii.    The construction of an office, school, commercial, recreational, service or storage building with four thousand square feet of gross floor area, and with associated parking facilities designed for twenty automobiles;

iv.    The construction of a parking lot designed for twenty automobiles;

v.    Any landfill or excavation of one hundred cubic yards throughout the total lifetime of the fill or excavation; and any fill or excavation classified as a Class I, II, or III forest practice under RCW 76.09.050 or regulations thereunder.

c.    Cities, towns or counties may raise the exempt levels to the maximum specified below by implementing ordinance or resolution. Such levels shall be specified in the agency’s SEPA procedures (WAC 197-11-904) and sent to the Department of Ecology. A newly established exempt level shall be supported by local conditions, including zoning or other land use plans or regulations. An agency may adopt a system of several exempt levels (such as different levels for different geographic areas). The maximum exempt level for the exemptions in subsection (A)(1)(b) of this section shall be, respectively:

i.    Twenty dwelling units;

ii.    Thirty thousand square feet;

iii.    Twelve thousand square feet; forty automobiles;

iv.    Forty automobiles;

v.    Five hundred cubic yards.

2.    Other Minor New Construction. The following types of construction shall be exempt except where undertaken wholly or in part on lands covered by water (unless specifically exempted in this subsection); the exemptions provided by this section shall apply to all licenses required to undertake the construction in question, except where a rezone or any license governing emissions to the air or discharges to water is required:

a.    The construction or designation of bus stops, loading zone, shelters, access facilities and pull-out lanes for taxicabs, transit and school vehicles;

b.    The construction and/or installation of commercial on-premises signs, and public signs and signals;

c.    The construction or installation of minor road and street improvements such as pavement marking, freeway surveillance and control systems, railroad protective devices (not including grade-separated crossings), grooving, glare screen, safety barriers, energy attenuators, transportation corridor landscaping (including the application of Washington State Department of Agriculture approved herbicides by licensed personnel for right-of-way weed control as long as this is not within watersheds controlled for the purpose of drinking water quality in accordance with WAC 248-54-660), temporary traffic controls and detours, correction of substandard curves and intersections within existing rights-of-way, widening of a highway by less than a single land width where capacity is not significantly increased and no new right-of-way is required, channelization and elimination of sight restrictions at intersections, street lighting, guard rails and barricade installation, installation of catch basins and culverts, and reconstruction of existing roadbed (existing curb-to-curb in urban locations), including adding or widening of shoulders, addition of bicycle lanes, paths and facilities, and pedestrian walks and paths, but not including additional automobile lanes;

d.    Grading, excavating, filling, septic tank installations, and landscaping necessary for any building or facility exempted by subsections (A)(1) and (2) of this section, as well as fencing and the construction of small structures and minor facilities accessory thereto;

e.    Additions or modifications to or replacement of any building or facility exempted by subsections (A)(1) and (2) of this section when such addition, modification or replacement will not change the character of the building or facility in a way that would remove it from an exempt class;

f.    The demolition of any structure or facility, the construction of which would be exempted by subsections (A)(1) and (2) of this section, except for structures or facilities with recognized historical significance;

g.    The installation of impervious underground tanks, having a capacity of ten thousand gallons or less;

h.    The vacation of streets or roads.

3.    Repair, Remodeling and Maintenance Activities. The following activities shall be categorically exempt: The repair, remodeling, maintenance, or minor alteration of existing private or public structures, facilities or equipment, including utilities, involving no material expansions or changes in use beyond that previously existing; except that, where undertaken wholly or in part on lands covered by water or buffers as required by the Battle Ground wetland protection ordinance, only minor repair or replacement of structures may be exempt (examples include repair or replacement of piling, ramps, floats, or mooring buoys, or minor repair, alteration, or maintenance of docks). The following maintenance activities shall not be considered exempt under this subsection:

a.    Dredging; or

b.    Reconstruction/maintenance of groins and similar shoreline protection structures; or

c.    Replacement of utility cables that must be buried under the surface of bedlands. Repair/rebuilding of major dams, dikes, and reservoirs shall also not be considered exempt under this subsection.

4.    Purchase or Sale of Real Property. The following real property transactions by an agency shall be exempt:

a.    The purchase or acquisition of any right to real property;

b.    The sale, transfer or exchange of any publicly owned real property, but only if the property is not subject to an authorized public use;

c.    The lease of real property when the use of the property for the term of the lease will remain essentially the same as the existing use, or when the use under the lease is otherwise exempted by this chapter.

5.    Minor Land Use Decisions. The following land use decisions shall be exempt:

a.    Except upon lands covered by water, the approval of short plats or short subdivisions pursuant to the procedures required by RCW 58.17.060, but not including further short subdivisions or short platting within a plat or subdivision previously exempted under this subsection.

6.    Business and Other Regulatory Licenses. The following business and other regulatory licenses are exempt:

a.    All licenses to operate or engage in amusement devices and rides and entertainment activities, including but not limited to cabarets, carnivals, circuses and other traveling shows, dances, music machines, golf courses, and theaters, including approval of the use of public facilities for temporary civic celebrations, but not including licenses or permits required for permanent construction of any of the above.

7.    Utilities. The utility-related actions listed below shall be exempt, except for installation, construction or alteration on lands covered by water. The exemption includes installation and construction, relocation when required by other governmental bodies, repair, replacement, maintenance, operation or alteration that does not change the action from an exempt class:

a.    All communication lines, including cable TV, but not including communication towers or relay stations;

b.    All storm water, water and sewer facilities, lines, equipment, hookups or appurtenances including, utilizing or related to lines eight inches or less in diameter;

c.    All electric facilities, lines, equipment or appurtenances, not including substations, with an associated voltage of fifty-five thousand volts or less; and the over- building of existing distribution lines (fifty-five thousand volts or less) with transmission lines (more than fifty-five thousand volts); and the undergrounding of all electric facilities, lines, equipment or appurtenances;

d.    All natural gas distribution (as opposed to transmission) lines and necessary appurtenant facilities and hookups;

e.    All developments within the confines of any existing electric substation, reservoir, pump station or well: provided, that additional appropriations of water are not exempted by this subsection;

f.    Periodic use of chemical or mechanical means to maintain a utility or transportation right-of-way in its design condition: provided, that chemicals used are approved by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and applied by licensed personnel. This exemption shall not apply to the use of chemicals within watersheds that are controlled for the purpose of drinking water quality in accordance with WAC 248-54-660;

g.    All grants of rights-of-way by agencies to utilities for use for distribution (as opposed to transmission) purposes.

8.    Natural Resources Management. In addition to the other exemptions contained in this section, the following natural resources management activities shall be exempt:

a.    Issuance of agricultural leases covering one hundred sixty contiguous acres or less;

b.    Issuance of leases for school sites;

c.    Development of recreational sites not specifically designed for all-terrain vehicles and not including more than twelve campsites. Periodic use of chemical or mechanical means to maintain public park and recreational land: provided, that chemicals used are approved by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and applied by licensed personnel. This exemption shall not apply to the use of chemicals within watersheds that are controlled for the purpose of drinking water quality in accordance with WAC 248-54-660.

B.    The scope of environmental review of actions within these areas shall be limited to:

1.    Documenting whether the proposal is consistent with the requirements of the critical areas ordinance; and

2.    Evaluating potentially significant impacts on the critical areas resources not adequately addressed by GMA planning documents and development regulations, if any, including any additional mitigation measures needed to protect the critical areas in order to achieve consistency with SEPA and with other applicable environmental review laws.

C.    All categorical exemptions not listed in subsection (A)(1) of this section apply whether or not the proposal will be located in a critical area. (Ord. 00-015 § 2 (part), 2000)

18.175.030 Fees.

A.    The city shall require the following fees for its activities in accordance with the provisions of this title:

1.    Threshold Determination. For every environmental checklist the city will review when it is lead agency, the city shall collect a fee of an amount as determined by city council from the proponent of the proposal prior to undertaking the threshold determination. The time periods provided by this title for making a threshold determination shall not begin to run until payment of the fee.

2.    Environmental Impact Statement. For preparation of an EIS, the city shall recover all costs incurred as established by city council.

B.    When the city is the lead agency for a proposal requiring an EIS and the responsible official determines that the EIS shall be prepared by employees of the city, the city may charge and collect a reasonable fee from any applicant to cover costs incurred by the city in preparing the EIS. The responsible official shall advise the applicant(s) of the projected costs for the EIS prior to actual preparation; the applicant shall post bond or otherwise ensure payment of such costs.

C.    The responsible official may determine that the city will contract directly with a consultant for preparation of an EIS, or a portion of the EIS, for activities initiated by some persons or entity other than the city and may bill such costs and expenses directly to the applicant. The city may require the applicant to post bond or otherwise ensure payment of such costs. Such consultants shall be selected by mutual agreement of the city and applicant after a call for proposals.

D.    If a proposal is modified so that an EIS is no longer required, the responsible official shall refund any fees collected under subsection A of this section which remain after incurred costs are paid.

E.    The city may collect a reasonable fee from an applicant to cover the cost of meeting the public notice requirements of this title relating to the applicant’s proposal.

F.    The city shall not collect a fee for performing its duties as a consulted agency.

G.    The city may charge any person for copies of any document prepared under this title, and for mailing the document, in a manner provided by Chapter 42.17 RCW. (Ord. 00-015 § 2 (part), 2000)