Chapter 16.06
PUBLIC NOTICE AND COMMENTS

Sections:

16.06.010    Authority and limitation.

16.06.020    Environmental document availability and cost.

16.06.030    Inviting comments.

16.06.040    Public notice.

16.06.050    Effect of no comment.

16.06.060    Response to comments.

16.06.010 Authority and limitation.

The provisions of this chapter are established by WAC 197-11-500 through 197-11-570 and may not be changed, except as authorized in the above referenced WAC or as necessary to be grammatically incorporated into the SEPA code pursuant to WAC 197-11-906(3)(b). (Ord. 1701 § 6, 2023).

16.06.020 Environmental document availability and cost.

A. The city shall retain all documents required by Chapter 197-11 WAC and make them available in accordance with Chapters 42.17 and 42.56 RCW.

B. The city shall make copies of any environmental document available in accordance with Chapters 42.17A and 42.56 RCW upon payment of the fees required pursuant to Chapter 3.90 BLMC; provided, that no charge shall be levied for circulation of documents to other agencies as required by the SEPA code and/or Chapter 197-11 WAC. (Ord. 1701 § 6, 2023).

16.06.030 Inviting comments.

A. The city’s efforts to involve other agencies, affected tribes, and the public in the SEPA process shall be commensurate with the type and scope of the environmental document.

B. Within 28 days of receipt a of complete application for review under SEPA, the SEPA official shall make an informed decision as to whether the proposal will likely have significant adverse environmental impacts. If the SEPA official is unable to determine that possible significant adverse environmental impacts are unlikely, the SEPA official shall invite public comment as provided in BLMC 16.06.040. If the SEPA official determines that possible significant adverse environmental impacts are unlikely, the city shall utilize the optional DNS process by combining the comment period on the notice of application and the threshold determination for the proposal consistent with the requirements of Chapter 14.50 BLMC and the following requirements:

1. State on the first page of the notice of application that the city expects to issue a DNS for the proposal, and that:

a. The optional DNS process is being used; and

b. This may be the only opportunity to comment on the environmental impacts of the proposal; and

c. The proposal may include mitigation measures under applicable codes, and the project review process may incorporate or require mitigation measures regardless of whether an EIS is prepared; and

d. A copy of the subsequent threshold determination for the specific proposal may be obtained upon request.

2. List in the notice of application the conditions being considered to mitigate environmental impacts if a mitigated DNS is expected.

C. When the optional DNS method is utilized to obtain comments, the city shall:

1. Distribute the notice of application and optional DNS and environmental checklist as provided in BLMC 16.06.040(C).

2. Consider timely comments on the notice of application and either:

a. Issue a DNS or mitigated DNS with no comment period; or

b. Issue a DNS or mitigated DNS with a comment period, if the city determines a comment period is necessary; or

c. Issue a DS; or

d. Require additional information or studies prior to making a threshold determination. (Ord. 1701 § 6, 2023).

16.06.040 Public notice.

A. The public notice for all threshold determinations not utilizing the optional DNS process shall contain the following information:

1. Identify whether a DNS, MDNS, or DS has been issued.

2. Name of the applicant(s).

3. Location of the project.

4. Project description (summary).

5. Duration of the public comment period.

6. Identification of existing environmental documents available for review, if any.

7. City staff contact information.

8. Method for providing comments.

9. The scoping procedure consistent with BLMC 16.12.050 for the proposal when a DS threshold determination is issued.

10. Date, time, and place of the public hearing, if a public hearing has been deemed necessary by the SEPA official to assist the city in meeting the city’s responsibilities under SEPA. The notice shall be published 10 days prior to the hearing in the city’s official newspaper established pursuant to BLMC 1.20.020.

11. Other information as the SEPA official deems necessary.

B. The public comment period for a DNS or MDNS shall be a minimum of 14 days; provided, that the comment period is not required if the optional DNS process is utilized.

C. Public notice for a threshold determination shall be:

1. Mailed to all owners of property within 300 feet of any portion of the proposed action according to the current county assessor’s records, exclusive of public rights-of-way, of the property that is the subject of the application, including any property that is contiguous and under the same or common ownership and control.

2. Mailed or emailed to:

a. Agencies with jurisdiction, DOE, affected tribes, and each local agency or political subdivision whose public services would be changed because of the proposal; and

b. Anyone requesting a copy of the environmental checklist for the specific proposal and agencies and individuals contained on the city’s general planning notification list.

3. Posted at the justice and municipal center, post office, Bonney Lake library, and Bonney Lake website.

4. Provided on public notification signs as required under BLMC 14.50.030(E).

5. Provided to public or private groups which have expressed interest in a certain proposal or in the type of proposal being considered.

D. Public notice for projects that qualify as planned actions shall be:

1. Required only if the underlying permit requires the issuance of a public notice as established by BLMC 14.30.020; and

2. State that the project has qualified as a planned action and no further review under SEPA is required.

E. A notice of the availability for a DEIS or a DSEIS shall comply with the following:

1. The notice shall contain a statement regarding the availability of the environmental document and the information identified in subsection A of this section.

2. The notice shall be provided as required in subsection C of this section.

F. The SEPA official may provide notice more broadly or by additional means than stated herein if a greater level of public awareness is deemed necessary. (Ord. 1701 § 6, 2023).

16.06.050 Effect of no comment.

A. If a consulted agency does not respond with written comments within the time periods for commenting on environmental documents, the city shall assume that the consulted agency has no information relating to the potential impact of the proposal as it relates to the consulted agency’s jurisdiction or special expertise.

B. Any consulted agency that fails to submit substantive information to the city in response to a DEIS is thereafter barred from alleging any defects in the city’s compliance with Chapter 43.21C RCW, Chapter 197-11 WAC, and/or the SEPA code.

C. Lack of comment by other agencies, tribes, municipal or county governments or members of the public on environmental documents, within the time periods specified by BLMC 16.06.040, shall be construed as lack of objection to the environmental analysis, provided that the requirements of BLMC 16.06.030 and 16.06.040 were met. (Ord. 1701 § 6, 2023).

16.06.060 Response to comments.

A. The city shall prepare a comment matrix documenting the comments received and the city’s response following the comment period associated with a DNS, MDNS, optional DNS notice, or planned action notice.

B. Comments received following the issuance of a DEIS or DSEIS shall comply with the following requirements:

1. The city shall prepare a FEIS or FSEIS whenever a DEIS or DSEIS has been prepared unless the proposal is withdrawn or indefinitely postponed. The city shall consider comments on the proposal and shall respond by one or more of the means listed below, including its response in the FEIS or FSEIS. Possible responses include:

a. Modifying alternatives including the proposed action.

b. Developing and evaluating alternatives not previously given detailed consideration by the city.

c. Supplementing, improving, or modifying the analysis.

d. Making factual corrections.

e. Explaining why the comments do not warrant further city response, citing the sources, authorities, or reasons that support the city’s response and, if appropriate, indicating those circumstances that would trigger city reappraisal or further response.

2. All substantive comments received on the DEIS or DSEIS shall be appended to the FEIS or FSEIS or summarized in a table when comments are repetitive or voluminous. If a summary of the comments is used, the names of the commenters shall be included.

C. In complying with the requirements of subsection (B)(1) of this section, the city may respond to each comment individually, respond to a group of comments, cross-reference comments and corresponding changes in the EIS, and/or use other reasonable means to indicate an appropriate response to the comment.

D. If the city does not receive any comments critical of the scope or content of the DEIS or DSEIS, the city may so state in an updated fact sheet (WAC 197-11-440(2)), which shall be circulated under BLMC 16.12.090. The FEIS or FSEIS shall consist of the DEIS or DSEIS and updated fact sheet.

E. If changes in response to comments are minor and are largely confined to the responses described in subsections (B)(1)(d) and (e) of this section, the city may prepare and attach an addendum, which shall consist of the comments, the responses, the changes, and an updated fact sheet. The FEIS or FSEIS, consisting of the DEIS or DSEIS and the addendum, shall be issued under BLMC 16.12.090, except that only the addendum shall be sent to anyone who received the DEIS or DSEIS.

F. A FEIS or FSEIS shall be issued and circulated under BLMC 16.12.090. (Ord. 1701 § 6, 2023).