40.570.060    Notification and Commenting

A.    Purpose of This Section and Adoption by Reference.

    This section contains the rules for accommodating agency and public awareness of environmental documents and determinations, including procedures for input and response. The county adopts the following sections of the SEPA Rules by reference, as supplemented in this section:


197-11-500    Purpose of this part

197-11-502    Inviting comment

197-11-504    Availability and cost of environmental documents

197-11-508    SEPA register

197-11-510    Public notice

197-11-535    Public hearings and meetings

197-11-545    Effect of no comment

197-11-550    Specificity of comments

197-11-560    FEIS response to comments

197-11-570    Consulted agency costs to assist lead agency

B.    Filing of Environmental Documents.

1.    The county shall submit the following documents in a timely manner to the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) for publication in the SEPA Register:

a.    All determinations of nonsignificance (DNS’s), except those involving proposals for which there is no other agency with jurisdiction; provided, that DNS’s for clearing or grading permits, demolition permits and GMA actions shall be submitted to DOE regardless of jurisdictional agencies;

b.    All mitigated DNS’s;

c.    All determinations of significance (DS/scoping notices);

d.    All environmental impact statements (EIS’s), including draft (DEIS), final (FEIS), and supplemental (SEIS) documents, and notices of adoption of EIS’s or EIS addenda; and

e.    All notices of action published under the optional provisions of RCW 43.21C.080.

2.    SEPA documents not listed in Section 40.570.060(B)(1) involve no statutory comment or response period, and are limited to certain EIS addenda (WAC 197-11-625) and DNS documents on proposals for which the county is the only agency with jurisdiction. These documents may, but are not required to, be circulated for agency and public review or comment.

C.    Public Notification.

1.    A notice of action may be publicized in the manner prescribed by RCW 43.21C.080. Whenever the county issues any other document listed in Section 40.570.060(B)(1), public notice shall be given as follows:

a.    If public notice is required for a nonexempt license, the notice may state whether a DNS, DS or EIS has been issued and, if applicable, when comments are due.

b.    If no public notice is required or given pursuant to Section 40.570.060(C)(1)(a), the county shall give notice of the DNS, DS or EIS availability by the following methods:

(1)    Notifying the applicable neighborhood association in whose area the property in question is situated, based on the list of neighborhood associations kept by the responsible official and known interest groups;

(2)    Notifying owners of property within a radius of three hundred (300) feet of the property that is the subject of the application if the subject property is inside the urban growth boundary, or to owners of property within a radius of five hundred (500) feet of the property if the subject property is outside the urban growth boundary;

(3)    Publishing notice in agency newsletters and/or sending notice via agency e-mail, provided the agency has consented to e-mail notice, or regular mailing. A sworn certificate of mailing executed by the person who did the mailing shall be the evidence that notice was e-mailed or mailed to agencies referenced in the certificate; and

(4)    Posting notice on the county web page.

2.    Whenever possible, the county shall integrate the public notice required under this section with existing notice procedures for the county’s nonexempt permit(s) or approval(s) required for the proposal.

3.    The county may require an applicant to complete the public notice requirements for the applicant’s proposal at his or her expense.

(Amended: Ord. 2007-06-05)

D.    Comments and Responses.

1.    The county shall use reasonable methods to inform agencies and the public of environmental determinations, document availability, and review or comment opportunities. In particular, the county shall invite written comments on the environmental aspects of any nonexempt proposal to be submitted within the prescribed time limits, which are:

a.    Fourteen (14) calendar days from the date of issuance of any DNS under Section 40.570.060(B)(1);

b.    Twenty-one (21) days from the date of issuance of any DS/scoping notice under WAC 197-11-408(2)(a); and

c.    Thirty (30) days from the date of issuance of any draft EIS, unless an extension is granted under WAC 197-11-455(7).

2.    Written comments on environmental documents submitted by any person or agency should be as specific as possible. The county shall consider and may respond to comments as deemed appropriate:

a.    Comments on a DNS may be used in reevaluating the threshold determination and in considering mitigation measures, but will normally involve no written response;

b.    Comments on a DS will be used in determining the scope of an EIS; and

c.    Comments on a draft EIS will be evaluated for response in the FEIS, with primary consideration given to substantive comments.