Division I. State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Code

Chapter 16.02


16.02.010    Title.

16.02.020    Authority.

16.02.030    General Policy.

16.02.040    Designation and duties of SEPA responsible official.

16.02.050    Lead agency determination and responsibilities.

16.02.060    Environmental checklist.

16.02.070    Substantive authority.

16.02.080    SEPA/Growth Management Act integration.

16.02.090    SEPA/Model Toxics Control Act integration.

16.02.100    Appeals.

16.02.110    Fees.

16.02.010 Title.

Chapters 16.02 through 16.16 BLMC shall be known as the “SEPA code.” (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.020 Authority.

A. The city of Bonney Lake adopts this chapter as authorized under RCW 43.21C.120 and WAC 197-11-904 and 197-11-906.

B. Chapter 43.21C RCW and Chapter 197-11 WAC must be used in conjunction with the SEPA code. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.030 General policy.

A. The city’s general SEPA policies and goals are set forth below:

1. The city shall use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of state policy, to improve and coordinate plans, functions, programs, and resources to:

a. Fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations; and

b. Encourage public involvement in decisions that significantly affect environmental quality; and

c. Assure for all people of Washington safe, healthy, productive, and aesthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings; and

d. Attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences; and

e. Preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of the city’s and state’s heritage; and

f. Maintain, wherever possible, an environment which supports diversity and variety of individual choice; and

g. Achieve a balance between population and resource use which will permit high standards of living and a wide sharing of life’s amenities; and

h. Enhance the quality of renewable resources and approach the maximum attainable recycling of depletable resources.

2. The city recognizes that each person has a fundamental and inalienable right to a healthy environment and to that end will utilize a health equity lens when evaluating environmental impacts.

3. The city recognizes that Bonney Lake and the surrounding area has been the traditional territory and home of the Puyallup Tribe and the Muckleshoot Tribe, which are sovereign nations with recognized governmental to governmental relationships and an inherent right to preserve and protect their cultural and historical resources.

4. The city recognizes that the historic Naches Trail, which bisects the city, was utilized by several tribes to travel from eastern Washington to western Washington.

5. The city recognizes that each person has a responsibility to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the environment.

6. The city recognizes that the SEPA process is a tool for decision makers and the public to concisely and clearly identify environmental impacts associated with proposals to evaluate and require reasonable mitigation measures to address adverse environmental impacts of those proposed actions.

7. The city recognizes that the SEPA code was intended to promote certainty regarding the requirements of SEPA and integrate the requirements of SEPA with existing agency planning and licensing procedures and practices, so that such procedures run concurrently rather than consecutively.

B. It shall be the policy of the city that proposed development that is adjacent to previous development or adjacent to land on which development is pending shall not be exempt if the adjacent developments share any improvements or access easements, and the development together exceeds exemption levels. In such cases, the proposed development will be considered physically or functionally related regardless of ownership.

C. In addition to the policies in subsection A of this section, the city designates and adopts by reference the goals and policies from the following documents and incorporates them into the city’s SEPA policy:

1. The Bonney Lake Municipal Code.

2. The Bonney Lake comprehensive plan.

3. The Bonney Lake shoreline master program.

4. Eastown subarea plan.

5. Bonney Lake centers.

6. Fennel Creek Trail plan.

7. The public works development policies and design standards.

8. Comprehensive water system plan.

9. Comprehensive sewer system plan.

10. The Pierce County countywide policies.

11. The Pierce County shoreline management master program.

12. Pierce County stormwater management and site development manual.

13. Vision 2050. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.040 Designation and duties of SEPA responsible official.

A. For those proposals for which the city is the lead agency, the SEPA responsible official, hereinafter the “SEPA official,” shall be the director or designee.

B. For all proposals for which the city is the lead agency, the SEPA official shall determine if an action is exempt from review under SEPA, make a threshold determination, supervise scoping and preparation of any required environmental documents, and perform any other functions assigned to the “lead agency” or “responsible official” by Chapter 43.21C RCW and Chapter 197-11 WAC.

C. The SEPA official shall be responsible for the preparation of written comments in response to environmental documents issued under SEPA by other agencies consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-550.

D. The SEPA official is authorized to develop operating procedures that will ensure compliance with both the letter and spirit of Chapter 43.21C RCW, Chapter 197-11 WAC, and the SEPA code. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.050 Lead agency determination and responsibilities.

A. The SEPA official shall review actions that are not categorically exempt under Chapter 16.08 BLMC and shall determine if the city is the lead agency for that proposal consistent with the provisions of WAC 197-11-050 and 197-11-922 through 197-11-938; unless the lead agency has been previously determined or the SEPA official is aware that another agency is in the process of determining the lead agency.

B. When the city is not the lead agency for a proposal, the city shall use and consider, as appropriate, either the DNS or the final EIS of the lead agency in making decisions on the proposal consistent with the provisions of Chapter 16.14 BLMC.

C. If the city receives a lead agency determination made by another agency that appears to be inconsistent with the criteria established in WAC 197-11-922 through 197-11-940, the SEPA official may object to the determination. Any objection must be made to the agency originally making the determination and resolved within seven days of receipt of the original determination. If the objection is not resolved within seven days, the SEPA official shall petition the Department of Ecology for a lead agency determination under WAC 197-11-946 within 15 days of receipt of the original determination.

D. The SEPA official is authorized to make agreements as to lead agency status and/or shared lead agency duties for a proposal under WAC 197-11-942 and 197-11-944. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.060 Environmental checklist.

A. A completed environmental checklist or copy, in the form provided in WAC 197-11-960, shall be filed at the same time as an application for a permit, license, certificate, or other approval not specifically exempted under Chapter 16.08 BLMC; except, a checklist is not needed if the city and applicant agree an EIS is required, SEPA compliance has been completed, or SEPA compliance has been initiated by another agency.

B. The city shall use the environmental checklist to determine the lead agency.

C. For private proposals, the city will require the applicant to complete the environmental checklist, aiding as necessary.

D. For city proposals, the department initiating the proposal shall complete the environmental checklist for that proposal. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.070 Substantive authority.

A. The policies and goals set forth in BLMC 16.02.030 are formally designated as the basis for the exercise of the substantive authority granted to the city under RCW 43.21C.060 and WAC 197-11-660.

B. The city may condition or deny any proposal that is not exempt under Chapter 16.08 BLMC to mitigate the environmental impacts.

C. If a proposal is conditioned or denied based on the goals and policies set forth in the documents identified in BLMC 16.02.030(C), the city shall make the document available to the public after the city issues its decision, except in the case of an EIS. In the case of an EIS the documents shall be readily available to the public and shall be available to the applicants prior to preparing a draft EIS.

D. Before conditioning or denying a proposal under the city’s substantive authority, the SEPA official shall consider whether local, state, or federal requirements and enforcement would mitigate an identified significant impact as provided in BLMC 16.10.020(E).

E. Conditions imposed under the city’s substantive authority shall be:

1. Necessary to mitigate specific probable adverse environmental impacts identified in the environmental documents prepared to ensure compliance with the SEPA code; provided, that mitigation measures adopted need not be identical to those discussed in the environmental document; and

2. Reasonable and capable of being accomplished; and

3. Based on one or more goals and/or policies in the documents adopted in BLMC 16.02.030, which shall be specifically identified in the written decision; and

4. Documented in writing in the environmental document issued under the SEPA code; provided, that if the mitigation measure is issued as part of an EIS, the EIS shall briefly indicate the intended environmental benefits of the mitigation measures required to address identified significant adverse environmental impacts; and

5. Imposed upon an applicant only to the extent attributable to the identified significant adverse environmental impacts of the applicant’s proposal. Voluntary additional mitigation may occur.

F. The city may deny a permit or approval for a proposal under SEPA; provided, that:

1. A finding is made that approving the proposal would result in significant adverse environmental impacts that are identified in an EIS or SEIS prepared pursuant to the SEPA code; and

2. A finding is made that there are no reasonable mitigation measures capable of being accomplished that are sufficient to mitigate the identified impact; and

3. The denial is based on one or more policies identified in BLMC 16.02.030 and identified in writing in the decision document. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.080 SEPA/Growth Management Act integration.

The city adopts the provisions of WAC 197-11-210 through 197-11-238 by reference. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.090 SEPA/Model Toxics Control Act integration.

A. The city adopts the provisions of WAC 197-11-250 through 197-11-268 by reference.

B. When the city is lead agency for a MTCA remedial action, the Department of Ecology shall be provided an opportunity under WAC 197-11-253(5) to review the environmental documents prior to the public notice being provided. If the SEPA and MTCA documents are issued together with one public comment period under WAC 197-11-253(6), the city shall decide jointly with DOE who receives the comment letters and how copies of the comment letters will be distributed to other agencies. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.100 Appeals.

The city establishes the following administrative appeal process:

A. All appeals shall be consistent with the requirements of RCW 43.21C.075 and WAC 197-11-680.

B. The appeal of a decision of the SEPA official, to include the decision of the SEPA official to require mitigation under BLMC 16.02.070, shall be appealed to the Bonney Lake hearing examiner consistent with the requirements of BLMC 14.120.020.

C. The decision issued by the SEPA official shall carry substantial weight in any appeal proceeding.

D. All decisions issued by the SEPA official shall provide notice that the decision is appealable. The notice shall be consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-680(5). (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).

16.02.110 Fees.

A. Threshold Determination. For every environmental checklist the city will review when it is lead agency, the city shall collect a fee in accordance with Chapter 3.68 BLMC from the proponent of the proposal prior to undertaking the threshold determination. The time periods required for making a threshold determination shall not begin to run until payment of the fee.

B. Environmental Impact Statement.

1. When the city is the lead agency for a proposal requiring an EIS and the SEPA 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 SEPA 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.

2. The SEPA 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.

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

E. The city shall collect the fee as established in BLMC 3.68.050 from the applicant to cover the cost of complying with the public notice requirements of the SEPA code.

F. Unless the project is a cross-jurisdictional project with applications for development in Bonney Lake, the city shall not collect a fee for performing its duties as a consulting agency.

G. The city shall collect fees, as established in Chapter 3.90 BLMC, from any person for copies of any document prepared under this chapter, and for mailing the document, in a manner provided by Chapter 42.56 RCW. (Ord. 1701 § 4, 2023).