40.570.020    General Requirements

A.    Purpose of This Chapter and Adoption by Reference.

    This section contains the basic requirements that apply to the SEPA process. The county adopts the following sections of the SEPA Rules by reference, as supplemented by this section:


197-11-030    Policy

197-11-040    Definitions

197-11-050    Lead agency

197-11-055    Timing of the SEPA process

197-11-060    Content of environmental review

197-11-070    Limitations on actions during SEPA process

197-11-080    Incomplete or unavailable information

197-11-090    Supporting documents

197-11-100    Information required of applicants

197-11-158    GMA project review – Reliance on existing plans and regulations

197-11-164    Planned actions – Definitions and criteria

197-11-168    Ordinances or resolutions designating planned actions – Procedures for adoption

197-11-172    Planned actions – Project review

197-11-910    Designation of responsible official

197-11-912    Procedures on consulted agencies

197-11-210    SEPA/GMA integration

197-11-220    SEPA/GMA definitions

197-11-228    Overall SEPA/GMA integration procedures

197-11-230    Timing of an integrated GMA/SEPA process

197-11-232    SEPA/GMA integration procedures for preliminary planning, environmental analysis, and expanded scoping

197-11-235    Documents

197-11-238    Monitoring

197-11-250    SEPA/Model Toxics Control Act integration

197-11-253    SEPA lead agency for MTCA actions

197-11-256    Preliminary evaluation

197-11-259    Determination of nonsignificance for MTCA remedial actions

197-11-262    Determination of significance and EIS for MTCA remedial actions

197-11-265    Early scoping for MTCA remedial actions

197-11-268    MTCA interim actions

B.    Designation of Responsible Official for the Purposes of SEPA.

1.    For public proposals, the head (administrative official) of the lead department or division making the proposal shall be the responsible official. Whenever possible, agency people carrying out SEPA procedures should be different from agency people making the proposal (WAC 197-11-926(2)).

2.    For private proposals, the head (administrative official) of the department or division with primary responsibility for approving or processing the permits and licenses for the proposal shall be the responsible official. When multiple officials have permitting authority, the assignment of responsibility shall be reached by agreement.

3.    For all proposals for which the county is the lead agency, the responsible official shall evaluate the environmental impacts of the proposal, make the threshold determination, supervise scoping and preparation of any required environmental impact statement (EIS), and perform any other functions assigned to the “lead agency” or “responsible official” by those sections of the SEPA Rules adopted by reference in Section 40.570.020(A), including consulted agency responsibilities under WAC 197-11-912 when the county is not the lead agency.

4.    Departments of the county are authorized to make agreements as to lead agency status or shared lead agency duties for a proposal under WAC 197-11-942 and 197-11-944; provided, that the responsible official and any department that will incur responsibilities as the result of such agreement approve the agreement.

5.    The county shall retain all documents required by the SEPA Rules (Chapter 197-11 WAC) and make them available in accordance with Chapter 42.17 RCW.

C.    Additional SEPA Timing Considerations.

1.    The following time limits (expressed in calendar days) shall apply when the county processes licenses for all private projects and those governmental proposals submitted to the county by other agencies requesting the county to perform lead agency functions:

a.    The county should complete threshold determinations that can be based solely upon review of the environmental checklist for the proposal within fifteen (15) calendar days of determining that an application is fully complete pursuant to Section 40.510.020(C) for Type II decisions or Section 40.510.030(C) for Type III decisions, but no sooner than the end of the comment period on any notice of application required pursuant to Section 40.510.020(E) for Type II decisions or Section 40.510.030(E) for Type III decisions.

b.    When the responsible official requires further information from the applicant or consultation with other agencies with jurisdiction:

(1)    The county should request such further information within fifteen (15) calendar days of determining that an application is fully complete;

(2)    The county shall wait no longer than thirty (30) days for a consulted agency to respond;

(3)    The responsible official should complete the threshold determination within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving the requested information from the applicant or the consulted agency; provided, that a threshold determination shall not be issued until the expiration of the comment period on the notice of application, and shall be issued at least fifteen (15) calendar days prior to any open record pre-decision hearing required pursuant to Section 40.510.030(C).

c.    When the county must initiate further studies, including field investigations, to obtain the information to make the threshold determination, the county should complete the studies within thirty (30) days of determining that the application is fully complete.

2.    For nonexempt proposals, the determination of nonsignificance (DNS) or final EIS for the proposal shall be combined with the county’s staff recommendation to any appropriate advisory or decision-making body, such as the planning commission, hearing examiner, or council.

3.    If the county’s only action on a proposal is a decision on a building permit or other license that requires detailed project plans and specifications, the applicant may request in writing that the county conduct environmental review prior to submission of the detailed plans and specifications. The point at which environmental review may be initiated for specific permits or other licenses requiring detailed project plans and specifications is upon filing of a fully complete application, including an environmental checklist, and preliminary or conceptual site development plans.

(Amended: Ord. 2019-05-07)

D.    SEPA/GMA Integration.

    The county endorses the amended procedures of WAC 197-11-210 through 197-11-235 regarding the optional integration of SEPA review with actions being considered for adoption under the Growth Management Act and, when used, shall supersede the SEPA process requirements that would otherwise apply.

E.    GMA Project Review – Reliance on Existing Plans and Regulations.

    The county endorses the amended procedures of WAC 197-11-158 regarding reliance on existing plans, laws, and regulations for environmental review and any supplement provisions adopted pursuant to this part, and shall apply such procedures to the review of project proposal where appropriate.

F.    Planned Actions.

1.    Procedure and Criteria for Evaluating and Determining Projects as Planned Actions. The responsible official shall determine that the probable significant adverse environmental impacts for the proposed developments have been adequately addressed in the Highway 99 SEIS and that it is consistent with the Highway 99 Sub-Area Plan.

2.    Planned Action Designated. Land uses and activities described in the Highway 99 Final SEIS dated December 2, 2008, and the Highway 99 Sub-Area Plan adopted by Ordinance 2008-12-16 may be designated as planned actions.

3.    Planned Action Review Criteria. The responsible official may designate as a planned action, pursuant to RCW 43.21C.031(2), a proposed project which meets all of the following conditions, as demonstrated by the application for the project:

a.    The application proposes that the project be located within the geographical area of the Highway 99 Overlay district;

b.    The application proposes uses and activities that are consistent with those described in the Highway 99 Final SEIS;

c.    The significant adverse environmental impacts of the proposed project have been identified in the Highway 99 Final SEIS;

d.    The significant adverse impacts of the proposed project have been mitigated by application of the measures identified in this title;

e.    The application demonstrates compliance with all applicable local, state and/or federal laws and regulations, and the responsible official determines that these constitute adequate mitigation; and

f.    The proposal is not for an essential public facility as defined in RCW 36.70.200.

4.    Pre-Application Review. Pre-application review under the provisions of Chapter 40.510 shall be required for all proposed projects that may qualify as planned action projects.

5.    Submittal Requirements. A development application for a project that may qualify as a planned action shall be subject to the submittal requirements for counter-complete status as governed by Chapter 40.510 and shall include:

a.    A SEPA checklist or other project review form as specified in WAC 197-11-315 and Section 40.570.040(B) is required and exempt from Table 6.110A.010(X)(I);

b.    If an archaeological predetermination is required under Section 40.570.080(C)(3)(k), a letter from the Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation shall be submitted stating that DAHP has reviewed the predetermination and concurs that no further archaeological work is required; and

c.    A signed Planned Action Application Form.

6.    Threshold Determination for Planned Actions. No threshold determination need be issued for planned action projects; provided, that a planned action project may be conditioned to mitigate any adverse environmental impacts which are reasonably likely to result from the project action.

7.    When a Project Is Not a Planned Action. Where the responsible official determines that the application proposed does not qualify as a planned action under Section 40.570.020(F), a threshold determination is required. The application shall be reviewed, processed, and subject to appeal under the decision-making procedures otherwise applicable under this chapter, and the application shall be reviewed under the county’s SEPA regulations as governed by this chapter. When reviewed under this chapter, the applicant may use or incorporate relevant elements of the Highway 99 Final SEIS and Highway 99 Sub-Area Plan adopted for the planned action area.

8.    Notice of Decision. Any notice of decision issued under Section 40.570.020(F) shall contain:

a.    A statement of findings supporting the conclusions that the application proposal meets the criteria for designation as a planned action, that the project will implement the Highway 99 Sub-Area Plan, and that the application is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan;

b.    A statement of the requirements, standards, and mitigation measures conditioned or required pursuant to all applicable local, state, and/or federal laws and regulations;

c.    A statement that the probable significant adverse environmental impacts of the application proposal have been adequately addressed and mitigated.

9.    Public Notice Requirements. No public notice is required for a planned action.

(Amended: Ord. 2010-07-16; Ord. 2012-07-03)