Chapter 16.14


16.14.010    Use of existing environmental documents.

16.14.020    Adopting existing environmental documents.

16.14.030    NEPA.

16.14.040    Combining documents.

16.14.010 Use of existing environmental documents.

A. The city may use environmental documents that have previously been prepared to evaluate proposed actions, alternatives, or environmental impacts. The proposals may be the same as, or different than, those analyzed in the existing documents.

B. The city acting on the same proposal shall use an environmental document unchanged, except in the following cases:

1. For DNSs, the city is dissatisfied with the DNS, in which case it may assume lead agency.

2. For DNSs and EISs, preparation of a new threshold determination or supplemental EIS is required if there are:

a. Substantial changes to a proposal so that the proposal is likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts (or lack of significant adverse impacts, if a DS is being withdrawn); or

b. New information indicating a proposal’s probable significant adverse environmental impacts. This includes discovery of misrepresentation or lack of material disclosure. A new threshold determination or SEIS is not required if probable significant adverse environmental impacts are covered by the range of alternatives and impacts analyzed in the existing environmental documents.

3. For EISs, the city concludes that its written comments on the DEIS warrant additional discussion for purposes of its action than that found in the lead agency’s FEIS, in which case the city may prepare a supplemental EIS at its own expense.

C. Existing documents may be used for a proposal by employing one or more of the following methods:

1. Utilizing the adoption procedures provided in BLMC 16.14.020 to adopt all or part of an existing environmental document to meet the city’s responsibilities under SEPA.

2. Incorporating by reference all or part of an existing document when the city is preparing new environmental document consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-635, which are adopted by reference.

3. Issuing an addendum consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-625, which are adopted by reference, to add analyses or information about a proposal but does not substantially change the analysis of significant environmental impacts and alternatives in the existing environmental document.

4. Preparation of a SEIS if there are:

a. Substantial changes so that the proposal is likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts; or

b. New information indicating a proposal’s probable significant adverse environmental impacts.

D. If a proposal is substantially similar to one covered in an existing EIS, that EIS may be adopted; additional information may be provided in an addendum or SEIS. (Ord. 1701 § 10, 2023).

16.14.020 Adopting existing environmental documents.

A. The city shall independently review the content of the document and determine that it meets the city’s environmental review standards and needs for the proposal prior to adopting an existing environmental document; provided, that the environmental document is not required to meet the city’s procedures for the preparation of environmental documents, such as circulation, commenting, and hearing requirements, to be adopted.

B. The city shall adopt an environmental document by identifying the document and stating why it is being adopted, using the adoption form as provided in WAC 197-11-965.

C. The city shall ensure that the adopted document is readily available to agencies and the public by:

1. Sending a copy to agencies with jurisdiction that have not received the document, as shown by the distribution list for the adopted document; and

2. Placing copies in libraries and other public offices, or by distributing copies to those who request one.

D. If the city adopts an existing EIS and:

1. A supplemental environmental impact statement or addendum is not being prepared, the city shall:

a. Circulate its statement of adoption to the Department of Ecology, to agencies with jurisdiction, to cities/counties in which the proposal will be implemented, and to local agencies or political subdivisions whose public services would be changed because of implementation of the proposal.

b. Take no action on the proposal until seven days after the official date of issuance of the statement of adoption.

2. A SEIS is being prepared, the city shall include the statement of adoption in the SEIS; or

3. An addendum is being prepared, the city shall include the statement of adoption with the addendum and circulate both as required by subsection (D)(1)(a) of this section.

E. A copy of the adopted document must accompany the current proposal to the decision maker; the statement of adoption may be included.

F. If known, the city shall disclose in its adoption notice when the adopted document or proposal it addresses is the subject of a pending appeal or has been found inadequate on appeal.

G. If the SEPA official determines that the city is acting on the same underlying proposal evaluated under previously prepared environmental documents issued by the city and that there are no new significant environmental impacts, the city will not issue a new threshold determination or a formal notice of adoption. (Ord. 1701 § 10, 2023).

16.14.030 NEPA.

The city may utilize an environmental analysis prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to comply with the requirements of the SEPA code by utilizing the provisions in WAC 197-11-610, which are adopted by reference. (Ord. 1701 § 10, 2023).

16.14.040 Combining documents.

The SEPA process shall be combined with the existing planning, review, and project approval processes being used by each agency with jurisdiction. When environmental documents are required, they shall accompany a proposal through the city’s review processes. Any environmental document in compliance with SEPA may be combined with any other agency documents to reduce duplication and paperwork and improve decision making. The page limits in these rules shall be met, or the combined document shall contain, at or near the beginning of the document, a separate summary of environmental considerations, as specified by WAC 197-11-440(4). SEPA page limits need not be met for joint state-federal EISs prepared under both SEPA and NEPA, in which case the NEPA page restrictions (40 C.F.R. 1502.7) shall apply. (Ord. 1701 § 10, 2023).