Chapter 18.257


18.257.010    Purpose.

18.257.020    Authority.

18.257.030    Definitions.

18.257.040    General provisions.

18.257.050    Exemptions.

18.257.060    Specific requirements.

18.257.070    Submittal requirements.

18.257.080    Time limits.

18.257.090    Review process.

18.257.100    Fees.

18.257.110    Enforcement.

18.257.120    Geotechnical report conflicts.

*    Code reviser’s note: Ord. 05-018 § 1 provides as follows: “In the case of conflict between the provisions of Appendix J of the International Building Code and the provisions of this ordinance, this ordinance shall govern.”

18.257.010 Purpose.

This chapter provides uniform procedures authorizing and regulating clearing and grading activities within the city of Battle Ground. While not intended to duplicate other regulations, these regulations are designed to aid in controlling erosion incident to clearing and grading activity, and to protect public health, safety, and welfare through the adoption and enforcement of provisions designed to:

A.    Minimize adverse impacts associated with the clearing and grading of land;

B.    Protect water quality from the adverse impacts associated with erosion and sedimentation;

C.    Ensure prompt development, restoration, replanting, and effective sedimentation and erosion control of property during and after grading activities;

D.    Establish administrative procedures for the issuance of permits, approval of plans, and inspection of grading operations; and

E.    Allow for the reasonable development of land in the city of Battle Ground. (Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.020 Authority.

The city engineer shall administer, interpret, and enforce this chapter. The city engineer shall have the authority to issue permits and to perform, or cause to be performed, inspections and take such actions as may be required to enforce the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 16-16 § 3 (part), 2016: Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

“Agricultural activities” means those activities conducted on lands defined in RCW 84.34.020(2) as agricultural lands and those activities involved in the production of crops or livestock, including but not limited to operation and maintenance of existing fields, farms, and stock ponds, or drainage systems, irrigation systems, changes between agricultural activities, and maintenance or repair of existing serviceable structures and facilities. Such activities should conform to accepted agricultural best management practices (BMPs) based upon a published and scientifically based source, such as the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Field Office Technical Guide. Activities that would significantly impact a previously undisturbed area are not part of an ongoing activity. An activity ceases to be ongoing when the area on which it was conducted has been converted to a nonagricultural use.

“Applicant” means a property owner or any person or entity authorized or named in writing by the property owner to be the applicant, in an application for a development proposal permit.

“Bench” means a relatively level step excavated into earth material on which fill is to be placed.

“City engineer” means the city of Battle Ground city engineer or his/her designee.

“Civil engineer” means a professional engineer registered in the state of Washington to practice in the field of civil engineering.

“Clearing” means the act of destroying or removing vegetation by mechanical or chemical means.

“Compaction” means the increase of density of a soil or rock fill by mechanical means.

Cut. See “Excavation.”

“Department” means the public works department of the city of Battle Ground.

“Down drain” means a device for collecting water from a swale or ditch located on or above a slope, and safely delivering it to an approved drainage facility.

“Engineering geologist” means a geologist who, by reason of his or her knowledge of engineering geology, acquired by education and practical experience, is qualified to engage in the practice of engineering geology, has met the qualifications in engineering geology established under Chapter 18.220 RCW, and has been issued a license in engineering geology by the geologist licensing board of the state of Washington.

“Engineering geology” means a specialty of geology affecting the planning, design, operation, and maintenance of engineering works and other human activities where geological factors and conditions impact the public welfare or the safeguarding of life, health, property, and the environment.

“Excavation” means the removal of naturally occurring earth materials by mechanical means and includes the conditions resulting from doing so.

“Existing grade” is the grade prior to grading.

“Fill” means the deposit of soil, rock, or other materials placed by mechanical means and includes the conditions resulting from doing so.

“Finished grade” is the final grade of the site that conforms to an approved plan.

“Geologist” means a person who, by reason of his or her knowledge of geology, mathematics, the environment, and the supporting physical and life sciences, acquired by education and practical experience, has met the qualifications established under Chapter 18.220 RCW, and has been issued a certificate of licensing as a geologist by the geologist licensing board of the state of Washington.

“Geology” means the science that includes: treatment of the earth and its origin and history, in general; the investigation of the earth’s constituent rocks, minerals, solids, fluids, including surface and underground waters, gases, and other materials; and the study of the natural agents, forces, and processes that cause changes in the earth.

“Grade” means the elevation of the ground surface.

“Grading” means excavation, filling, or any combination thereof.

“Key” means a compacted fill placed in a trench excavated in earth material beneath the toe of a slope.

“Officer” means the person(s) designated by the city engineer for work in the public right-of-way or the planning director for work on private property to enforce this chapter.

“Planning director” means that employee of the city of Battle Ground charged with the responsibility of administering and enforcing land development regulations in the city or his/her designee.

“Slope” means an inclined surface, the inclination of which is expressed as a ratio of horizontal distance to vertical distance.

“Terrace” means a relatively level step constructed in the face of a graded slope for drainage and maintenance purposes. (Ord. 16-16 § 3 (part), 2016: Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.040 General provisions.

The rules prescribed in this chapter shall apply to all lands within the city limits of the city of Battle Ground.

A.    Compliance. Unless exempted under BGMC 18.257.050, no person shall perform any clearing or grading without having first obtained a permit from the department. Exemption from the permit process shall not relieve any person of the requirement for installation of appropriate erosion control, pursuant to Chapter 18.255 BGMC, or from any other applicable regulations.

B.    SEPA. The SEPA review process must be completed prior to issuance of a permit pursuant to Chapter 18.145 BGMC unless exempted by Chapter 18.165 BGMC.

C.    Other Agencies. Clearing or grading activities may require state and/or federal permits. The issuance of a permit by the city of Battle Ground under this chapter does not eliminate the need for compliance with other local, state, or federal regulations.

D.    Liability Disclaimer. The issuance of a permit by the city of Battle Ground under this chapter constitutes a determination that the applicant has met the minimum requirements for the city’s regulatory purposes. Issuance of a permit does not relieve the permit holder from any responsibilities or liabilities that clearing or grading activities may create if third parties are damaged or injured by such actions.

E.    Approval. The issuance of a clearing and grading permit is for the work specified only. It does not give approval for the construction of utility trenches, the placement of utility lines, and other such work, which may be approved via another city permit.

F.    Grading Quantities. When calculating cut and fill quantities anywhere in this chapter, where the cut material will be used as fill on the same site it shall only be counted once for quantity purposes. (Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.050 Exemptions.

The following activities are exempt from the permit requirements of this chapter. However, this exemption does not release the person performing the work from the construction standards listed in this chapter. Materials from exempted excavations may require a separate permit for placement as fill:

A.    Excavation (cut) or fill that combined totals less than fifty cubic yards per project or site per calendar year unless located in a critical area as defined in BGMC 18.260.050;

B.    Clearing of less than half of an acre of land per project or site per calendar year unless located in a critical area as defined in BGMC 18.260.050;

C.    Work done as part of approved engineering plans, a public works project, building permit, or right-of-way permit (work had to be proposed and approved on said plan or permit);

D.    Agricultural activities as defined in BGMC 18.257.030;

E.    Forest practices regulated under WAC Title 222 and Chapter 76.09 RCW;

F.    Fish enhancement projects that are sponsored or endorsed by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board, or other state or federally recognized agencies;

G.    Refuse disposal sites controlled by other regulations;

H.    Excavations for wells or trenches for utilities;

I.    Mining, quarrying, excavating, processing, or stockpiling rock, sand, gravel, aggregate, or clay controlled by other regulations, provided such operations do not affect the lateral support of, or significantly increase stresses in, soil on adjoining properties;

J.    Exploratory excavations performed under the direction of a registered design professional;

K.    Emergency actions, as determined by the city engineer, which must be undertaken immediately or for which there is insufficient time for full compliance with this chapter when it is necessary to:

1.    Prevent an imminent threat to public health or safety;

2.    Prevent imminent danger to public or private property; or

3.    Prevent an imminent threat of serious environmental degradation; or

L.    Reconstruction of stormwater facilities. (Ord. 19-24 § 2 (part), 2019: Ord. 16-16 § 3 (part), 2016: Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.060 Specific requirements.

Unless otherwise recommended in the approved soils engineering or engineering geology report, grading shall conform to the following standards:

A.    Erosion Control. Appropriate erosion control measures shall be in place prior to start of clearing and grading and must follow all regulations in Chapter 18.255 BGMC.

B.    Existing Utilities. No clearing or grading will be permitted over an existing public storm drain, sanitary sewer, or water line unless it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the city engineer that the proposed work will not be detrimental to the anticipated service life, operation, and maintenance of the existing utility.

C.    Compaction. All fills shall be compacted to a minimum of ninety percent of maximum density as determined by ASTM D1557, Modified Proctor, unless no structure, road, or sidewalk will rest upon the fill or unless otherwise approved by the city engineer.

D.    Slopes. The slope of cut and fill surfaces shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use, and shall be no steeper than two horizontal to one vertical unless the applicant furnishes a geotechnical report justifying the steeper slope.

E.    Ground Preparation. The ground surface shall be prepared to receive fill by removing vegetation, topsoil, and other unsuitable materials, and scarifying the ground to provide a bond with the fill material.

F.    Fill Placement. Fill shall be constructed in layers. The loose thickness of each layer of fill material before compaction shall not exceed twelve inches, unless a geotechnical report says otherwise. Fill material shall not include organic, frozen, rock or other similar irreducible material with a maximum dimension greater than six inches, or other deleterious materials.

G.    Benching. Where existing grade is at a slope steeper than five horizontal to one vertical and the depth of the fill exceeds five feet, benching shall be provided in a minimum of ten-foot-wide sections. A key shall be provided which is at least ten feet in width and two feet in depth.

H.    Setbacks. All cut and fill shall be set back H/5, where H is the height of the cut or fill, from the property line, provided there is a two-foot minimum setback and the setback need not exceed twenty feet at the toe of a slope and ten feet at the top of a slope. Where required to protect adjacent properties at the toe of a slope from adverse effects of the grading, additional protection, approved by the city engineer, shall be included. Such protection may include but shall not be limited to:

1.    Setbacks greater than those listed in the BGMC.

2.    Provisions for retaining walls or similar construction.

3.    Erosion protection of the fill slopes.

4.    Provision for the control of surface waters.

I.    Terracing. Where the slope of the ground is steeper than three horizontal to one vertical and the elevation change from the toe of the slope to the top of the slope is greater than thirty feet, terraces at least six feet in width shall be established at not more than thirty-foot vertical intervals on all cut or fill slopes to control surface drainage and debris. Where more than two terraces are required, one terrace, located at approximately mid-height, shall be at least twelve feet in width. Swales shall be provided in order to drain terraces. They shall have a minimum gradient of one vertical in twenty horizontal and shall be paved with concrete not less than three inches in thickness, or with other materials suitable to the application. They shall have a depth not less than twelve inches and a width not less than five feet. A single run of swale shall not collect runoff from a tributary area exceeding ten thousand square feet without discharging into a down drain.

J.    Interceptor Drains. Interceptor drains shall be installed along the top of cut slopes receiving drainage from a tributary width greater than forty feet, measured horizontally. They shall have a minimum width of three feet. The slope shall be approved by the city engineer, but shall be not less than one vertical in fifty horizontal. The drain shall be paved with concrete not less than three inches in thickness, or by other materials suitable to the application. Discharge from the drain shall be accomplished in a manner to prevent erosion and shall be approved by the city engineer.

K.    Special Inspections. Where deemed necessary by the city engineer, the applicant shall provide inspection by engineering geologists for certifying and approving methods of construction.

L.    Completion. Within thirty calendar days in any area where grading is complete, the area shall be replaced to a state where erosion control measures are no longer required if no further construction will occur. If further construction will occur, then appropriate erosion control per Chapter 18.255 BGMC shall be provided.

M.    Geotechnical Report. A geotechnical report prepared by an engineering geologist shall identify the nature and distribution of existing soils; conclusions and recommendations for grading procedures; soil design criteria for any structures or embankments required to accomplish the proposed grading; and, where necessary, slope stability studies, and recommendations and conclusions regarding site geology.

N.    Clearing and Grading Plan. The clearing and grading plan shall meet the requirements listed above and include the following information:

1.    North arrow;

2.    Existing utilities;

3.    Critical areas pursuant to Chapters 18.260 through 18.310 BGMC;

4.    Existing grade in contour intervals of one foot or less;

5.    Proposed final grade in contour intervals of one foot or less;

6.    Existing grade of abutting properties in sufficient detail in order to determine any possible impacts to that property; and

7.    Quantities of cut and fill and/or clearing area. (Ord. 16-16 § 3 (part), 2016: Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.070 Submittal requirements.

The following items need to be submitted in order for an application to be complete:

A.    A complete application form available from the city;

B.    Three full-size (twenty-four-inch-by-thirty-six-inch) copies of the clearing and/or grading plan, per BGMC 18.257.060, stamped by a civil engineer. Plans associated with less than five hundred cubic yards and one foot in thickness of grading and less than one acre of clearing per project or site per calendar year do not need to be stamped by a registered civil engineer;

C.    Three full-size (twenty-four-inch-by-thirty-six-inch) copies of the erosion control plan per the requirements of Chapter 18.255 BGMC;

D.    The appropriate fee(s);

E.    A completed SEPA checklist, if required;

F.    Any reports or information required by the critical areas ordinance pursuant to Chapters 18.260 through 18.310 BGMC, if required; and

G.    A geotechnical report completed by an engineering geologist, if required by the city engineer. A geotechnical report would generally be required when clearing and grading will occur on a slope or other unstable soil conditions. However, nothing precludes the city engineer from asking for a geotechnical report for other reasons. (Ord. 19-24 § 2 (part), 2019; Ord. 16-16 § 3 (part), 2016: Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.080 Time limits.

The following time limits shall apply to a clearing and grading permit:

A.    Original Approval. The approval of a clearing and grading permit shall be for six months.

B.    Extensions. A clearing and grading permit may be extended for a period of six months, twice; provided, that the applicant requests an extension in writing seven calendar days prior to the permit expiring.

C.    Noncompletion. If all the permit work required is not completed within the time limit specified in subsections A and B of this section, no further work shall be done without renewing the permit. A written request for renewal shall be submitted to the city engineer who may require a new application and fees depending on the time between the expiration date and the renewal request, revisions in city regulations, or changed circumstances in the immediate area. Any revised plan shall be submitted to the city engineer for review and any costs related thereto shall be at the applicant’s expense. (Ord. 16-16 § 3 (part), 2016: Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.090 Review process.

An application will follow the review time frames listed in Chapter 17.200 BGMC as follows:

A.    An application not required to complete a SEPA checklist will be processed as a Type I application.

B.    An application required to complete a SEPA checklist will be processed as a Type II application. (Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.100 Fees.

Fees for administering the provisions of this chapter shall be as set by the city council and located in the city of Battle Ground fee schedule. (Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.110 Enforcement.

Enforcement of any section of this chapter shall be made pursuant to BGMC Title 20. (Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)

18.257.120 Geotechnical report conflicts.

Where conflicts occur between the technical requirements of this chapter and the geotechnical report, the geotechnical report shall govern. (Ord. 05-018 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)