Chapter 14.30


14.30.010    Purpose.

14.30.020    Classification of permit decision types.

14.30.030    Determination of proper decision type.

14.30.040    Decision types.

14.30.050    Requirements by decision type.

14.30.060    Legislative actions.

14.30.070    Administrative interpretations.

14.30.010 Purpose.

The purpose of Chapters 14.30, 14.35, 14.40 and 14.45 CMC is to establish standard procedures for land use permit applications, public notice, hearings and appeals in the City. These procedures are designed to promote timely and informed public participation in discretionary land use decisions; eliminate redundancy in the application, permit review, hearing and appeal processes; provide for uniformity in public notice procedures; minimize delay and expense; and result in development approvals that implement the policies of the comprehensive plan. These procedures also provide for an integrated and consolidated land use permit and environmental review process. (Ord. 02-09 § 2)

14.30.020 Classification of permit decision types.

Decisions on permit applications shall be classified as either Type 1, 2, 3 or 4, based on the amount of discretion associated with each decision. Procedures for the four different types are distinguished according to who makes the decision, whether public notice is required, whether a public hearing is required before a decision is made, and whether an administrative appeal process is provided. The types of decisions are set forth in CMC 14.30.040 and the requirements for each type are set forth in CMC 14.30.050. (Ord. 02-09 § 2)

14.30.030 Determination of proper decision type.

(1) Determination by Director. The Director shall determine the proper procedure for all permit applications. If there is a question as to the appropriate type of process, the Director shall resolve it in favor of the higher type number.

(2) Optional Consolidated Permit Processing. An application that involves two or more procedures may be processed collectively under the highest numbered procedure required for any part of the application or processed individually under each of the procedures identified by the code. The applicant may determine whether the application shall be processed collectively or individually. If the application is processed under the individual procedures option, the highest numbered type procedure must be processed prior to the subsequent lower numbered procedure. If the individual procedure option is chosen, the applicant will be eligible for any fee reduction contained in the current fee resolution.

(3) SEPA Review. SEPA review shall be conducted concurrently with development project review. The following are exempt from concurrent review:

(a) Projects categorically exempt from SEPA; and

(b) Components of previously completed planned actions, to the extent permitted by law and consistent with the EIS for the planned action.

(4) Decisionmaker(s). Applications processed in accordance with subsection (2) of this section which have the same highest numbered procedure but are assigned different hearing bodies shall be heard collectively by the highest decisionmaker(s). The City Council is the highest, followed by the Hearing Examiner or Planning Commission, as applicable, and then the Director.

(5) Hearings. Permits are allowed only one open record hearing and one closed record appeal hearing, except for the appeal of a determination of significance. (Ord. 02-09 § 2)

14.30.040 Decision types.1

Type 1

Type 2

Type 3

Type 4

Building Permit (15.05)

Grading Permit (14.60)

Boundary Line Adjustment (17.40)

Right-of-Way Use Permit (12.35)

Design and Construction Standards Deviation (12.60)

Clearing and Grading Design Deviation (14.60)

Shoreline Exemption (16.05)

Code Interpretation (14.30)

Miscellaneous Administrative Decisions

Minor Tree Removal (18.45)

WCF Collocation on a Transmission Structure or WCF Tower (18.70)

Short Plat (Including Revisions and Alterations) (17.20)

Design and Construction Standards Variance (12.60)

Clearing and Grading Design Variance (14.60)

Design Departure from the City of Covington Design Guidelines and Standards (18.31)

Downtown Permitted Use Determination (18.31)

Temporary Use (18.85)

Shoreline Substantial Development Permit2 (16.05)

SEPA Threshold Determination3

Commercial Site Development Permit (18.31 and 18.110)

Re-use of Facilities (18.85)

Critical Areas Reasonable Use Exceptions (18.65)

Binding Site Plan (17.30)

Major Tree Removal (18.45)

Stormwater Manuals Variance (13.25)

Wireless Communication Facilities Collocations (18.70)

Preliminary Plat (17.20)

Plat Alterations (17.25)

Preliminary Plat Revisions (17.20)

Zoning Variance (18.125)

Conditional Use Permits (18.125)

New Wireless Communication Facility Towers and Height Modifications (18.70)

Final Subdivision4 (17.25)

Shoreline Environment Redesignations (16.05)

Plat or Short Plat Vacations (17.25)

Street Vacations (12.55)

1 If a conflict between this chart and the text of the CMC exists, the text of the CMC controls.

2 When applications for shoreline permits are combined with other permits requiring Type 3 or 4 land use decisions, the Examiner, not the Director, makes the decision. All shoreline permits, including shoreline variances and conditional uses, are appealable to the State Shorelines Hearings Board and not to the Hearing Examiner.

3 Appeal to Examiner is limited to the SEPA threshold determination for a project permit. The decision on the Type 1 permit itself is appealable to Superior Court.

4 Final subdivisions are submitted directly to the City Council for final decision without a recommendation by the Hearing Examiner.

(Ord. 17-16 § 11; Ord. 08-13 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 06-13 § 2 (Exh. A); Ord. 09-12 § 2 (Exh. B); Ord. 10-10 § 3 (Exh. C); Ord. 13-09 § 17; Ord. 02-09 § 2)

14.30.050 Requirements by decision type.1


Type 1

Type 2

Type 3

Type 4

Recommendation made by:




Hearing Examiner

Final decision made by:



Hearing Examiner

City Council

Notice of permit application:





Notice of final decision:





Open record public hearing:



Yes, before the Hearing Examiner

Yes, before the Hearing Examiner

Open record appeal hearing:


Yes, before the Hearing Examiner regarding project proposals



Judicial (closed record) appeal:

King County Superior Court

King County Superior Court

King County Superior Court

King County Superior Court

1 If a conflict between this chart and the text of the CMC exists, the text of the CMC controls.

(Ord. 07-19 § 1; Ord. 17-16 § 12; Ord. 02-09 § 2)

14.30.060 Legislative actions.

(1) Defined. Legislative actions involve the creation, amendment, or implementation of policy or law by ordinance. In contrast to other types of actions, legislative actions apply to large geographic areas and are of interest to many property owners and citizens. Legislative actions are only taken after an open record hearing.

(2) Decisions. The following decisions are legislative, and are not subject to the procedures in this chapter, unless otherwise specified:

(a) Zoning code amendments;

(b) Adoption of development regulations and amendments;

(c) Zoning map amendments;

(d) Adoption of the comprehensive plan and any plan amendments; and

(e) Annexations.

(3) Planning Commission. The Planning Commission shall hold a public hearing and make recommendations to the City Council on the decisions listed in subsection (2) of this section.

(4) City Council. The City Council may hold a public hearing on the decisions listed in subsection (2) of this section prior to passage of an ordinance or entry of a decision.

(5) Public Notice. Unless otherwise provided for herein, notice of the public hearing shall be provided to the public at least 14 days prior to the hearing by publishing notice as provided for in CMC 14.40.040(2). In addition to publishing notice and posting notice at City Hall, at least 14 days prior to the hearing the City shall mail notice of the public hearing to the applicant, relevant government agencies, and other interested parties who have requested in writing to be notified of the hearing. If the legislative action is for a comprehensive plan amendment, notice of the public hearing shall also be posted and mailed pursuant to CMC 14.40.040(3). The City may also provide optional methods of public notice as provided in CMC 14.40.050.

(6) Appeals. The City Council’s final legislative decision may be appealed together with any SEPA final threshold determination by filing a petition with the Growth Management Hearings Board pursuant to the requirements set forth in RCW 36.70A.290, as currently adopted and hereafter amended from time to time. (Ord. 17-16 § 13; Ord. 09-16 § 4 (Exh. C); Ord. 02-09 § 2)

14.30.070 Administrative interpretations.

Unless otherwise specified and except for other agencies with authority to implement specific provisions of this chapter, the Director is delegated the authority to issue official interpretations of all development regulations. Requests for an official interpretation must be submitted in writing and be accompanied by the required fee as set forth in the City’s current fee resolution. (Ord. 02-09 § 2)