Chapter 15.20


15.20.010    Introduction and purpose.

15.20.020    Grading and/or filling permit required.

15.20.030    Definitions.

15.20.040    Applicability – Exemptions.

15.20.050    Design criteria.

15.20.060    Variations.

15.20.070    Repealed.

15.20.080    Review coordination.

15.20.090    Financial guarantees.

15.20.100    Repealed.

15.20.110    Permits.

15.20.120    Application for a permit.

15.20.130    Plan requirements.

15.20.140    Repealed.

15.20.150    Repealed.

15.20.160    Repealed.

15.20.170    Engineering standards.

15.20.180    Excavation standards.

15.20.190    Fill standards.

15.20.200    Impervious surfaces.

15.20.210    Repealed.

15.20.220    Erosion control.

15.20.230    Wetland areas.

15.20.240    Special flood hazard area.

15.20.250    Archaeological sites.

15.20.260    Approval and inspection process.

15.20.270    Obligations of engineer.

15.20.280    Notification of completion.

15.20.290    City inspection.

15.20.300    Repealed.

15.20.310    Repealed.

15.20.320    Repealed.

15.20.330    Repealed.

15.20.340    Repealed.

15.20.350    Repealed.

15.20.010 Introduction and purpose.

The regulations described in this chapter establish minimum requirements for grading or earthwork construction, including excavating and filling, the creation of impervious areas and procedures for review of applications, collection of fees, issuance of permits, approval of plans and enforcement action. They are intended to promote the general health, safety and welfare of the public and require an applicant to follow sound land use and development procedures.

The purpose of this chapter is to attempt to identify and, in certain instances, mitigate, minimize or eliminate any impact caused by grading, excavating, filling or creation of impervious area on public and private property, drainage systems, drainage courses, wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas.

It is not the intent of these regulations to make Bonney Lake a guarantor or protector of public or private property in regard to land development activity.

This chapter may be used as development guidelines or requirements in the administration of other Bonney Lake ordinances or regulations. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.00, 1987).

15.20.020 Grading and/or filling permit required.

Unless exempt from this chapter, no person, party, firm, corporation or entity shall do any grading, filling, clearing, tree removal, excavating, ditching or create any impervious surface, unless the work is in accordance with a valid grading and/or filling permit from the city issued pursuant to the provision of this chapter. Each site shall require a separate permit. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.01, 1987).

15.20.030 Definitions.

The following definitions are used in this chapter:

1. “Applicant” means the person, party, firm, corporation or other legal entity or agent thereof that proposes to do grading work, clear property, excavate or fill, or create impervious areas in the city. The applicant shall in each instance include the owner of the subject property.

2. “Area of special flood hazard” means land in a floodplain area subject to a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year as designated by the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program or as adopted by the city.

3. “Bench” means a relatively level step excavated into natural earth or fill material.

4. “Certification” means a written engineering opinion, stamped, signed and dated by a professional civil engineer, concerning the progress or completion of work.

5. “City” means the city of Bonney Lake, Washington.

6. “City official” means an authorized representative of the city who is authorized to review proposals, render judgments, enforce code compliance and issue permits by the Bonney Lake Municipal Code.

7. “Clearing/clear-cutting” means the removal of timber, brush, grass, groundcover or other vegetative matter from a site, which exposes the earth’s surface of the site. Removal of trees on undeveloped lots is controlled by the urban forestry code – BLMC Title 16, Division IV.

8. “Compaction” means the densification of a fill by mechanical means.

9. “Drainage course” means any flow of water through a natural drainage system, manmade conveyance system or overland drainage in sheet flow condition.

10. “Earth/earth material” means naturally occurring rock, soil, stone, dirt or combination thereof.

11. “Earthwork” means any operation involving the excavation, grading or filling of earth materials.

12. “Engineer” means a professional civil engineer, licensed by the state of Washington, and retained and acting on behalf of the applicant.

13. “Environmentally sensitive area” means wetlands, critical habitat areas or areas supporting an endangered species, fish-bearing waters, historic or archaeological sites, steep slopes or two to one slopes (greater than two horizontal and one vertical), unstable slopes, or other areas determined to be sensitive by the Bonney Lake environmental official.

14. “Erosion” means the wearing away of the earth’s surface as a result of the movement of wind, water or ice.

15. “Excavation” means the mechanical removal of earth material.

16. “Fill/fill material” means a deposit of earth material placed by mechanical means.

17. “Filling” means the act of transporting or placing (by any manner or mechanism) fill material from, to or on any soil surface or fill material including temporary stockpiling of fill material.

18. “Grading” means any excavation, filling or creation of impervious surfaces or any combination thereof.

19. “Grading permit/permit” means the permit required by this chapter.

20. “Impervious surface” means compacted gravel, asphalt concrete, portland cement concrete, bituminous surface, oilmat or other finished surface or ground which is impenetrable or nearly impenetrable by water.

21. “Minerals” means coal, clay, stone and gravel, metallic ore or any other similar solid material or substance occurring from natural deposits on or in the earth.

22. “Mining” means the removal of minerals from deposits on or in the earth.

23. “Natural buffer area (NBA)” means a parcel or strip of land that is designated to permanently remain in an undisturbed and untouched condition. No building, clearing, filling or grading is permitted within this area, except for minor firewood harvest and watercourse maintenance when applicable.

24. “Parcel/original tract” means a legally created unit of land that the applicant holds the controlling ownership thereof, under single or unified ownership, or controls through a leasehold agreement.

25. “Permanent erosion control” means continuous on-site and off-site control measures that are needed to control conveyance and/or deposition of earth, turbidity or pollutants after construction or development.

26. “Property owner” means the person or persons, corporation, partnership, contract-purchaser or other legal entity, which has or asserts ownership or control of the property now and in the future.

27. “Site” means any parcel or combination of contiguous parcels where grading, filling, clearing or creation of an impervious surface is proposed, and which may be controlled by more than one property owner.

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

29. “Soils engineer” means a professional civil engineer, licensed by the state of Washington, with demonstrated experience and knowledge in soils engineering.

30. “Stockpiling” means the placement of material with the intent to remove at a later date.

31. “Temporary erosion control” means on-site and off-site control measures that are needed to control conveyance or deposition of earth, turbidity or pollutants during construction or development, but may not be needed when the project is completed or when ground conditions have been stabilized by permanent erosion control measures.

32. Repealed by Ord. 1643.

33. “Wetland” means an area that is inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support and under normal circumstances does support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.

34. “WSDOT specifications” means the requirements or standards of the latest edition of the Washington State Department of Transportation Standard Plans and/or Specifications. (Ord. 1643 § 19, 2020; Ord. 1635 § 4, 2020; Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.02, 1987).

15.20.040 Applicability – Exemptions.

This chapter governs all grading, filling, excavating and/or covering of ground with an impervious surface for all property in the city. The following work is exempt from the requirements of this chapter, except the excavation and fill standards (BLMC 15.20.180 and 15.20.190), unless it involves a drainage course, wetlands, environmentally sensitive areas, areas of special flood hazard or archaeological sites:

A. Construction or maintenance of public roads when done by a public agency or private entity when the project has a completed environmental checklist, has been approved by the city, and the work is in an existing or future public right-of-way;

B. Excavations less than five feet in vertical depth or fills less than three feet in vertical depth and involving the removal, or deposit of not more than a total of 250 cubic yards of material from its existing condition throughout the life of the project;

C. The broadcasting of less than 100 cubic yards of topsoil, peat, sawdust, mulch, bark, chips or solid nutrients on a lot, tract or parcel of land, or the broadcasting of any amount of the above material to a maximum depth of six inches;

D. The creation of impervious surfaces which are less than 5,000 square feet in area;

E. The installation of utilities in accordance with a valid permit, franchise or road construction plan from Bonney Lake, well drilling activities or excavation for soil logs;

F. Emergency sandbagging, diking, ditching, and filling or similar work during or after periods of extreme weather conditions when done to protect life or property. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.03, 1987).

15.20.050 Design criteria.

All work must be designed to a standard as required by the city and will follow standards of good engineering practices and principles. The engineer will be responsible for providing a design that is based on good engineering practices, is environmentally acceptable and, when constructed, a facility that can be easily maintained by the property owner. If circumstances create a hazard to life, endanger or adversely affect the use or stability of a public way or drainage course, the city may impose additional or greater requirements to fulfill the intent of this chapter. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.04, 1987).

15.20.060 Variations.

Variation from engineering standards may be authorized only by the planning and community development director upon submittal and approval of additional information, plans or design data only by the engineer, which indicates that the requested variation is based on sound engineering judgment, that requirements for safety, environmental considerations, function, appearance and maintainability are fully met, and the variation is in the best interest of the public. All variations must be approved prior to the start of construction or in the event changes become necessary during construction before the actual changes are made. Requests for a variation on a project which has been previously reviewed by other agencies shall be sent to them for re-review before approval or denial of the variation. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.05, 1987).

15.20.070 Environmental consideration.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.06, 1987).

15.20.080 Review coordination.

A. A grading permit will not be granted by the city until other public or governmental agencies approvals, if required, are received by Bonney Lake and/or any appeals are concluded. Conditions imposed by other governmental agencies affecting the permit must be incorporated into the project’s design and implemented by the applicant.

B. Issuance of a grading permit for the purpose of project site preparation shall be withheld until all applicable permits or approval for the proposed project are obtained by the applicant.

C. When development is proposed on a site affected by issuance of a grading permit, work allowed by the grading permit shall be subordinate to site development conditions or requirements, and shall be withheld until all applicable permits or approvals for the proposed project are obtained from the applicant.

D. The issuance of a grading permit shall not relieve the applicant from complying with other applicable city zoning or land use regulations. (Ord. 1078 § 1, 2004; Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.07, 1987).

15.20.090 Financial guarantees.

A. Guarantee Required. Prior to issuance of a permit, the applicant will be required to submit a financial guarantee to the city to assure compliance with the provisions of this chapter, the permit and approved plans. Improvements and facilities that must be guaranteed by the applicant are, but not limited to, temporary and permanent erosion and sedimentation control work, drainage control work and restoration work.

B. General. Financial guarantees shall be in a form acceptable to the city and will not be released by the city until all work is completed in accordance with the approved plans and conditions of the permit. All work must be completed within the time limits as noted on the permit or the approved plan for the project. If not completed, the city may use the financial guarantee to complete the work as outlined in the permit or approved plans, or complete those items of work that would safeguard adjacent or downstream property owners or may deposit the financial guarantee in a designated account as contribution toward the cost of completing the work. Collection of the financial guarantee does not relieve the applicant of the responsibility to complete the work and Bonney Lake may act as necessary to insure completion of the work.

All financial guarantees shall run continuously until released by the city and shall not be subject to an expiration or cancellation date.

An engineer’s estimate for the work to be accomplished, based on current construction costs, must be submitted to the city for review and approval. The city will establish the minimum financial guarantee at 125 percent of the estimate to allow for inflation, engineering expenses and administrative costs should the city have to complete the work. The city shall retain from the funds all costs associated with administration, collection of the funds and completion of the guaranteed work.

Work placed under a financial guarantee as required by another city ordinance need not be reguaranteed for this chapter.

C. Release. Upon receipt of an acceptable letter of completion from the engineer, the city will release the applicable financial guarantee. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.08, 1987).

15.20.100 Fees.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 789 § 2, Exh. A, 1999; Ord. 590 § 1.11, 1987).

15.20.110 Permits.

The applicant, by applying for a grading permit, agrees to accept sole responsibility and liability for compliance with all state, federal and local rules, requirements, laws, ordinances and regulations. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 2.00, 1987).

15.20.120 Application for a permit.

A. An application for a permit shall be made and filed with the Bonney Lake community development department and will be valid for 210 days. The applications for permits shall be on a form approved by the director in accordance with Chapter 15.36 BLMC.

B. When work occurs on a site not under the control or ownership of the applicant, the property owner shall also sign the application and shall be responsible for all work that occurs on the property.

C. The applicant may provide additional information, as appropriate, to identify the scope of work.

D. Comments regarding the application and requirements for additional studies, plans, information or reports will be made by the city to the applicant within 30 days after proper submittal is made to the Bonney Lake planning/building department. (Ord. 1432 § 4, 2012; Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 2.01, 1987).

15.20.130 Plan requirements.

A. Plans and Specifications. When required, the engineer shall submit two sets of plans with associated specifications, reports and other supporting data to correctly analyze, study and evaluate the proposed work. All drainage plans, construction drawings, erosion control plans or other engineering plans submitted to the city shall be signed and stamped by the engineer.

B. Information on Plans. Plans shall be drawn to scale on 11-inch by 17-inch or 24-inch by 36-inch paper or drafting film and shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the nature and extent of the proposed work. The first sheet of each set of plans shall give the location of the site, name, address and telephone number of the applicant, his agent (if applicable), and the engineer.

The plans with associated specifications, reports or data shall include or address the following information:

1. General vicinity map delineating the proposed site, access to the site, existing roads drawn to a scale of four inches equals one mile, parcel number, and section, township and range;

2. A comprehensive stormwater drainage plan done in accordance with Pierce County storm drainage standards as adopted by Bonney Lake, for all projects affecting stormwater drainage;

3. Finished contour lines at two-foot intervals or five-foot intervals, if they are adequate to accurately describe the completed project distinguishable from existing contour lines, existing and proposed drainage courses or system, related construction improvements, property limits and access details;

4. Location of any buildings or structures on the site and the location of any buildings or structures on adjacent property which may be affected by the proposed work;

5. Existing soils information and groundwater conditions;

6. Information concerning construction methods, fill material specifications, source of fill material, compaction information, haul routes and other construction information when known and applicable to the proposed work;

7. Information concerning wetlands, environmentally sensitive areas and similar applicable information;

8. Erosion and sedimentation control plan;

9. Landscape and restoration plan when applicable.

C. Soil Engineering – Geology Report. When on-site conditions or the proposed work involves slide prone or unstable soils, the city shall require a soils engineer to prepare a report that includes data regarding the nature, slide potential, soil-bearing capacity and slope stability of existing soils, conclusions and recommendations covering adequacy of sites to be developed. Recommendations in the report shall be incorporated in the proposed plans or specifications. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 2.02, 1987).

15.20.140 Permit issuance.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 2.03, 1987).

15.20.150 Changed conditions, stop work order and permit revocation.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 2.04, 1987).

15.20.160 Permit time limit.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 2.05, 1987).

15.20.170 Engineering standards.

Engineering standards are set forth in BLMC 15.20.180 through 15.20.250. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 3.00, 1987).

15.20.180 Excavation standards.

A. Cut Slopes. Slopes shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use and shall not be steeper than two horizontal to one vertical, or as recommended by a soils engineer.

B. The catch point of the top of the slope shall be set back from the site boundary line in accordance with the following table, unless a retaining wall is designed by the engineer and constructed for the project.

Cut Depth

Setback Distance

Under 5 feet

2 feet

5 – 20 feet


Over 20 feet

10 feet

(Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 3.01, 1987).

15.20.190 Fill standards.

A. General. Fills, which are intended for building sites, shall be constructed in conformance with the requirements of the latest edition of the UBC. As adopted by the city and an assignment of allowable soil-bearing pressures will be under the jurisdiction of the Bonney Lake building official in accordance with the UBC.

B. Fill Location. Slopes shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use and shall not be steeper than one and one-half horizontal to one vertical, or as recommended by a soils engineer. Fill sites must be approved by the engineer as suitable locations for the proposed fill.

C. Preparation of Ground. The ground surface for fills over five feet in height shall be prepared by removing vegetation, noncomplying fill, topsoil and other unsuitable materials, scarifying to provide a bond with the new fill, and, where existing slopes are steeper than five horizontal to one vertical, by benching into competent material as determined by the engineer. The bench under the toe of a fill on a slope steeper than five horizontal to one vertical shall be at least 10 feet wide, or as recommended by a soils engineer.

D. Fill Material. Except as permitted by the city, no material other than earth material shall be buried or placed in fills. Placement of other than earth material is regulated by state statutes or federal laws and additional permits may be required.

E. Slope Stability. Fills shall be constructed using earth materials, compaction methods and construction techniques, so that stable fills are created.

F. Setback from Property Lines. The toe or catch point of fill slopes shall be set back from the site boundary line in accordance with the following table, unless a retaining wall is designed by the engineer and constructed for the project.

Fill Depth

Setback Distance

Under 5 feet

2 feet

5 – 40 feet


Over 40 feet

20 feet

G. Notice of Grading or Filling. The city may cause a notice to be recorded as a public record containing provisions, which will include the nature and extent of the filling which has occurred on the parcel. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 3.02, 1987).

15.20.200 Impervious surfaces.

The creation of an impervious surface whose total area exceeds 5,000 square feet shall come under the jurisdiction of and be in compliance with the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 3.03, 1987).

15.20.210 Drainage requirements.

Repealed by Ord. 702. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 639 § 1, 1991; Ord. 590 § 3.04, 1987).

15.20.220 Erosion control.

Erosion control requirements shall be implemented by the applicant prior to site grading or clearing.

A. Slopes. Slopes shall be prepared and maintained to control erosion. Slope protection shall be installed immediately upon achieving final grade or as soon as weather permits and prior to approval by the engineer. Where cut slopes are not subject to erosion, due to the nature of the materials, such protection may be omitted.

B. Other Devices. Where necessary, check dams, silt fences, cribbing, riprap, natural buffer areas or other devices or methods shall be employed to control erosion. Where natural buffer areas are required, no building, clearing, filling, grading, or ditching is permitted within that area except for minor firewood harvest and watercourse maintenance when applicable. The natural buffer area as delineated or described shall be preserved and maintained in its natural undisturbed state for erosion and drainage control. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 3.05, 1987).

15.20.230 Wetland areas.

Grading, filling or clearing within 200 feet of a wetland or any grading, filling or clearing that could affect a wetland shall comply with Chapter 16.20 BLMC and permit for such may be denied. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 639 § 2, 1991; Ord. 590 § 3.06, 1987).

15.20.240 Special flood hazard area.

Grading, filling or clearing in an area of special flood hazard shall be done in accordance with the latest version of the Bonney Lake floodplain management ordinance (Chapter 15.12 BLMC) or this chapter, whichever has the more stringent development regulations. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 3.07, 1987).

15.20.250 Archaeological sites.

Grading, filling or clearing of archaeological sites shall be done in accordance with Chapter 25-48 WAC, as now adopted or as may be amended, or other applicable state or federal law. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 3.08, 1987).

15.20.260 Approval and inspection process.

The approval and inspection process is set forth in BLMC 15.20.270 through 15.20.290. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 4.00, 1987).

15.20.270 Obligations of engineer.

The engineer shall be responsible for the inspection and approval of all work on private property as shown on the approved plan. This shall include, but is not limited to, all grading work, drainage facilities and erosion and sedimentation control facilities or other work approved for the project. The engineer shall act as the coordinator and liaison between the applicant and the city. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 4.01, 1987).

15.20.280 Notification of completion.

The engineer shall submit a letter to the city certifying that the completed project conforms to the conditions of the permit and approved plans and all grading work, drainage facilities, erosion control measures, etc., have been completed in accordance with the issued permit. The report shall be stamped and signed by the engineer and shall be worded as follows:

I have inspected the project and find that the work substantially conforms to the terms and conditions of the permit and the intended design for the project.

Minor alterations to the system must be listed in the approval letter or noted on reproducible as-built drawings, which must be submitted with the approval letter. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 4.02, 1987).

15.20.290 City inspection.

After receipt of the notification of completion the city shall make a final inspection of the project. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 4.03, 1987).

15.20.300 Appeals.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.09, 1987).

15.20.310 Penalties and enforcement.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.10, 1987).

15.20.320 Inspections – Entry authorized.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.10A, 1987).

15.20.330 Illegal fill material – Removal.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.10B, 1987).

15.20.340 Violation – Civil infraction.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.10C, 1987).

15.20.350 Violation – Nuisance.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 881 § 1, 2001; Ord. 590 § 1.10D, 1987).