Chapter 18.09A
LAND USE PERMITS AND APPEALS PROCEDURE

Sections:

18.09A.010    Purpose and applicability.

18.09A.020    Definitions.

18.09A.030    Review procedures.

18.09A.040    Preapplication meetings.

18.09A.050    Counter complete status.

18.09A.060    Technically complete application.

18.09A.070    Notice of application.

18.09A.080    Notice of public hearing.

18.09A.090    Planning commission review and recommendation.

18.09A.100    Town council actions.

18.09A.110    Procedures for open record public hearings.

18.09A.120    Procedures for closed record hearings.

18.09A.130    Remand.

18.09A.140    Decision time lines.

18.09A.150    Fees.

18.09A.160    Administrative authority.

18.09A.170    Interpretation and liability.

18.09A.180    Judicial appeal.

18.09A.010 Purpose and applicability.

A. This chapter shall apply to:

1. EMC Title 18 permits except conditional use and variance permits.

2. Chapter 17.17 EMC, Planned Unit Development.

3. Chapter 17.20 EMC, Preliminary Subdivision/Plats).

B. The following project permits are excluded from the procedures of this chapter:

1. Landmark designations.

2. Street vacations.

3. Street and public areas use permits.

4. Sewer and water system connection permits.

5. Boundary line adjustments.

6. Building and grading permits (when exempt from SEPA or when covered in other SEPA review). (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.020 Definitions.

1. “Administrative approval” means authority given to the town planner to approve minor changes to an application without giving public notice.

2. “Administrative interpretation” means an interpretation of the Eatonville ordinances and codes related to the application and made by the town planner.

3. “Applicant” means a person seeking development approval from the town of Eatonville.

4. “Closed record appeal” means an appeal of any consideration of an application or action taken thereon by the town council after an open record hearing.

5. “Closed record hearing” means a hearing on any consideration of an application or action taken thereon by the town council after an open record hearing.

6. “Counter complete status” means an application that purports and appears to include the information required by EMC 18.09A.060.

7. “Date of decision” means the date on which final action occurs and from which the appeal period is calculated.

8. “Designee(s)” means the person or persons designated by the mayor to perform administrative functions, to review applications, and to prepare written staff reports.

9. “Developer” means any person who proposes an action or who seeks a permit regulated by Chapters 17.17, 17.20, and 17.22 EMC.

10. “Development” means the construction, reconstruction, or modification of structures above and below ground or water on a building site.

11. “Development standards” means the town of Eatonville ordinances and codes used to review and evaluate the application proposal.

12. “Effective date” means the date a final decision becomes effective.

13. “Evidentiary record” means the cumulative body of information upon which the hearing body will base its recommendation or decision.

14. “Fee” means the cost to the applicant for processing the application including costs incurred by administrative designees for professional services.

15. “Final decision” means the final action by the town council.

16. “Letter of completeness” means a letter sent to the applicant within 28 calendar days of submission acknowledging acceptance of a completed application.

17. “Minor changes” means a minor change approved administratively. Examples of minor changes are changes relating to the location of utility easements, driveway cuts, and location of street and walkway improvements.

18. “Notice of application” means a notice posted according to the conditions of EMC 18.09A.070 informing the public of the acceptance of a completed application.

19. “Notice of decision” means a written notice of all final decisions that is sent to the applicant and to all parties of record.

20. “Notice of public hearing” means a notice given of the scheduled open record hearing according to EMC 18.09A.080.

21. “Open record public hearing” means an open record hearing at which evidence is presented and public testimony is recorded.

22. “Party of record” means any person who has testified at a hearing or has commented in writing about an application for development and who provides the town with a complete name and mailing address.

23. “Planning commission” means the appointed body of planning commissioners for the town of Eatonville.

24. “Technically complete application” means an application which meets the requirements of EMC 18.09A.060(A), (B), and (C).

25. “Town” means the town of Eatonville.

26. “Working days” means the days of the work week, i.e., Monday through Friday during Town Hall operating hours between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.030 Review procedures.

A. The town planner is authorized to administer this chapter and to employ other officers to perform administrative functions related to the designated administrative actions.

B. Applications by property owners for permits or actions under EMC Titles 17 and 18 shall have only one open record hearing which shall be held by the planning commission. Review and final action or hearing of appeals by the town council shall be held on one “closed record appeal.” “Closed record appeal” or “closed record hearing” shall mean any consideration of an application or action taken thereon by the town council after an open record hearing.

C. Where the town reviews more than one application for a given development, all applications required for the development may be submitted for review at one time and the procedures integrated to avoid multiple hearings. The town may combine public hearings or meetings regarding a land use action with other agencies having jurisdiction. The procedure established shall provide notice and opportunity to participate.

D. At any time prior to the open record public hearing, an applicant or any property owner within 300 feet of the boundary of an applicant’s property may request from the mayor an administrative interpretation of Eatonville ordinances related to an application. The mayor is authorized to establish procedures for response. An administrative interpretation may be appealed to town council, provided an appeal is filed within 10 calendar days of response. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.040 Preapplication meetings.

The town planner or applicant may request a preapplication meeting to discuss the proposed development in general terms, to discuss the town’s development standards and any design alternatives, and to become acquainted with the town’s required permits and approval processes. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.050 Counter complete status.

A. The town planner shall determine counter complete status of applications. Applications may be submitted to the town clerk at Town Hall at any time during business hours. Counter complete status shall be determined on or before 12:00 p.m. (noon) on or before the fourth working day following submittal.

B. An application is counter complete if the town planner finds that the application purports and appears to include the information required by EMC 18.09A.060, provided no effort shall be made to evaluate the substantive adequacy of the information.

C. If the town planner decides the application is not counter complete, then he/she shall immediately reject and return the application and any fees collected and identify in writing what is needed to make the application counter complete. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.060 Technically complete application.

A. The town planner shall determine that the application is technically complete, as provided herein.

B. The town shall have 28 calendar days after counter complete determination to determine whether an application is technically complete; provided, that in the event that an application is returned to the applicant as not technically complete, the town shall have 14 calendar days from resubmittal to determine technical completeness.

C. An application is technically complete if it includes the following:

1. Except for town-initiated actions, a complete original application form signed by the owner(s) of the subject property or by a representative authorized to do so by written instrument executed by the owner(s) and filed with the application;

2. A legal description supplied by Pierce County survey records division, a title company, surveyor licensed in the state of Washington, or other party approved by the planning commission, and current Pierce County assessor’s map(s) showing the property(ies) subject to the application;

3. If required by town ordinance, a current Pierce County assessor’s map(s) showing the property(ies) within a radius of the subject site as required and a list of the names and addresses of owners of all properties within that radius, certified as accurate and complete by the Pierce County assessor, a title company, licensed surveyor, or other party approved by the planning commission;

4. The applicable fee(s);

5. An application shall include all of the information listed as application requirements in the relevant sections of applicable town ordinances;

6. Any applicable SEPA document, typewritten or in ink and signed.

D. If the town planner determines an application is not technically complete, then, within the time provided in subsection B of this section, the town shall send the applicant a written statement rejecting the application based on a lack of information and listing what is required to make the application technically complete.

1. The statement shall set a date by which the missing information must be provided. The statement shall state that an applicant may apply to extend the deadline and explain how to do so.

2. The statement also may include recommendations for additional information that, although not necessary to make the application technically complete, is recommended to address other issues that are or may be relevant to the review.

E. If the required information is not submitted by the date specified and the town planner has not extended that date, within five working days after that date the town planner shall take the action in subsection E(1) or (2) of this section. If the required information is submitted by the date specified, then within five working days the town planner shall decide whether the application is technically complete and, if not, the town planner shall:

1. Reject and return the application and the unexpended portion of the application fees, less 10 percent of the total application fee, and mail to the applicant a written statement which lists the remaining additional information needed to make the application technically complete.

2. The town planner may allow the applicant to restart the technically complete review process a second time by providing the required missing information by a specified date.

F. If the town planner determines an application is technically complete, then the town planner shall, within 10 working days of making this determination:

1. Forward the application to the town clerk for processing and schedule of proceedings;

2. Send a letter of completeness to the applicant acknowledging acceptance, listing the name and telephone number of a contact person for the town, and describing the expected review schedule, including the date of a hearing.

G. An application shall be determined technically complete if a written determination as provided herein has not been postmarked and sent by registered mail to the applicant within 28 calendar days of the date the application is submitted. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.070 Notice of application.

A. Within 14 calendar days of issuing a letter of completeness, the town planner shall issue a notice of application. The notice shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

1. The name of the applicant.

2. The date of the application.

3. The date of the letter of completeness.

4. The location of the project.

5. A project description.

6. The requested approvals, actions, and/or required studies.

7. A public comment period no less than 14 nor more than 30 calendar days; provided, that public comments may be accepted up to the closing of the records of the open record hearing.

8. Identification of existing environmental documents.

9. A town contact and phone number.

10. The date, time, and place of a public hearing if one has been scheduled at the date of the notice.

11. A statement that the decision on the application is scheduled to be made within 120 days of the date of the letter of completeness and that any person may receive notice and participate in hearings.

12. Any other information deemed appropriate.

B. The notice of application shall be posted on the subject property, publicly posted, published once in a newspaper of general circulation and mailed to property owners within 300 feet of the subject property.

C. The notice of application shall be issued prior to, and is not a substitute for, required notice of a public hearing. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.080 Notice of public hearing.

Notice of an open record public hearing shall be given as follows:

A. Time of Notices. Except as otherwise required, public notification of meetings, hearings, and pending actions shall be made by:

1. Publication at least 10 calendar days before the date of a public meeting, hearing, or pending action in the official newspaper, if one has been designated, or a newspaper of general circulation in the town.

2. Mailing at least 10 calendar days before the date of a public meeting, hearing, or pending action to all property owners as shown on the records of the county assessor and to all street addresses of properties within 300 feet (not including street rights-of-way) of the boundaries of the subject property. Applicant shall provide addressed and stamped envelopes for the mailing.

3. Although not legally required, as a courtesy, notice may be mailed to all town residents.

4. Posting at least 10 days before the meeting, hearing, or pending action at four public places where ordinances are posted and at least one notice on the subject property.

B. Content of Notice. The public notice shall include a general description of the proposed project and the action to be taken; a nonlegal description of the property, or a vicinity map or sketch; the time, date and place of the public hearing; and how to obtain additional information.

C. Continuations. If for any reason a meeting or hearing on a pending action cannot be completed on the date set forth in the public notice, then the meeting or hearing may be continued to a date certain and no further notice under this section is required.

D. Extension of Time. If the open record public hearing has not been commenced, the town planner may authorize an extension of time and then the above notice procedure shall be followed. The town planner’s decision shall be final on the date issued. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.090 Planning commission review and recommendation.

A. The planning commission shall make recommendations to town council for action on all subdivisions and rezones where applicable following an open record public hearing as required.

B. Prior to the planning commission hearing, the town planner shall prepare a staff report on the proposed development or action that summarizes the comments and recommendations, comments of any affected public agencies and special districts, and that evaluates the proposed development’s consistency with town ordinances, adopted plans and regulations. The staff report may include proposed findings, conclusions and recommendations for consideration of the application.

C. The planning commission shall conduct an open record public hearing. The public hearing shall be recorded on audio or audiovisual tape.

1. At the beginning of a hearing or agenda of hearings, the planning commission shall:

a. State that testimony will be received only if it is relevant to the applicable approval criteria and development standards and is not unduly repetitious;

b. Identify the applicable criteria and development standards;

c. State that the planning commission will consider any party’s request that the hearing be continued or that the record be kept open for a period of time and may grant or deny that request;

d. State that the planning commission must be impartial and whether the planning commission has had any ex parte contact or has any personal or business interest in the application. The planning commission shall afford parties an opportunity to challenge the impartiality of the planning commission;

e. State which planning commissioners, if any, have visited the site;

f. State that persons who want to receive notice of the decision may sign a list for that purpose at the hearing and where that list is kept; and

g. Summarize the conduct of the hearing.

2. At the conclusion of the hearing on each application, the planning commission shall announce one of the following actions:

a. That the hearing is continued. If the hearing is continued to a place, date and time certain, then additional notice of the continued hearing is not required to be mailed, published or posted. If the hearing is not continued to a place, date and time certain, then notice of the continued hearing shall be given as though it was the initial hearing.

b. That the public record is held open to a date and time certain. The planning commission shall state where additional written evidence and testimony can be sent, and shall announce any limits on the nature of the evidence that will be received after the hearing.

c. That the application is taken under advisement, and a recommendation will be issued as provided in subsection E of this section; or

d. That the application is recommended for denial, approval or approval with conditions, together with a brief summary of the basis for the decision, and that a recommendation will be issued as provided in subsection E of this section.

D. Within 14 calendar days after the date the record closes or at the next planning commission meeting, whichever is later, the planning commission shall issue a recommendation regarding the application(s); provided, the planning commission shall not issue a recommendation regarding the application(s) until at least 15 calendar days after the threshold determination under SEPA is made.

E. Within five working days from the date of the recommendation, the town clerk shall mail the notice of planning commission recommendation to the applicant and applicant’s representative, and all parties of record. The mailing shall include a notice which includes the following information:

1. The time and place at which town council will set the closed record hearing for review and action. Said statement shall include notice that town council action shall be closed record review based on the planning commission’s open record hearing.

2. A statement that the complete case file is available for review. The statement shall list the place, days and times where the case file is available and the name and telephone number of the town representative to contact for information about the case. The town council shall set a time for council action at its next regular meeting.

F. Recommendations of the planning commission to the town council regarding subdivisions and other land use actions requiring decisions by the town council shall be submitted no later than 14 calendar days following planning commission action. The recommendation shall include:

1. A statement of the applicable criteria and standards in this chapter and other applicable law;

2. A statement of the facts that the planning commission found to show the application does or does not comply with each applicable approval criterion and standards;

3. The reasons for a conclusion to approve or deny; and

4. The recommendation to deny or approve the application and, if approved, any conditions of approval necessary to ensure the proposed development will comply with applicable criteria and standards.

5. The town council at its next regular meeting shall set the date when the town council shall act on the recommendation based on the record established at the public hearing. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.100 Town council actions.

A. Actions.

1. Upon receiving a planning commission recommendation the town council will review the matter in a closed record hearing and make a decision.

2. When no planning commission recommendation is required, the council may, at its discretion, hold a public hearing and make a decision on the following matters:

a. Appeal of administrative interpretations.

b. Appeal of determinations of significance.

c. Other matters not prohibited by law.

B. Decisions. The town council shall make its decision by motion, resolution, or ordinance as appropriate.

1. A council decision following an open record public hearing (if applicable) shall include one of the following actions:

a. Approve as recommended.

b. Approve with additional conditions.

c. Modify, with or without the applicant’s concurrence; provided, that the modifications do not:

i. Enlarge the area or scope of the project.

ii. Increase the density or proposed building size.

iii. Significantly increase adverse environmental impacts as determined by the responsible official.

d. Deny (reapplication or resubmittal is permitted).

e. Deny with prejudice (reapplication or resubmittal is not allowed for one year).

f. Remand for further proceedings where appropriate.

g. Regarding subdivisions, the town council may adopt its own recommendations and approve or disapprove the plat.

h. Notice of Decision. A written notice for all final decisions shall be sent to the applicant and to all parties of record. Persons who desire to be a party of record shall so notify the town clerk and provide the town clerk their name and mailing address. For development applications requiring planning commission review and town council approval, the notice shall be the signed ordinance or resolution. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.110 Procedures for open record public hearings.

Public hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the hearing body’s rules of procedure and shall serve to create or supplement an evidentiary record upon which the body will base its decision or recommendation. The chair shall open the public hearing and, in general, observe the following sequence of events:

A. Staff presentation, including submittal of any administrative reports. Members of the hearing body may ask questions of the staff.

B. Applicant presentation, including submittal of any materials. Members of the hearing body may ask questions of the applicant.

C. Testimony or comments by the public germane to the matter. Questions directed to the staff or the applicant shall be posed by the chair.

D. Rebuttal, response, or clarifying statements by the staff and the applicant.

E. The evidentiary portion of the public hearing shall be closed and the hearing body shall deliberate on the matter before it. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.120 Procedures for closed record hearings.

Closed record hearings shall serve to provide guidance for the hearing body’s decision and shall be conducted in accordance with the town council’s rules of procedure as provided for public meetings. The closed record hearing shall include the following guidelines:

A. The town council shall be responsible to review the application, staff report, minutes of the open public hearing, and the findings and conclusions, or reasons for decisions or recommendations. The town council may, by motion passed by a majority, continue the hearing to review audio or audio-visual tapes or other evidence from the open hearing not available at the closed hearing.

B. Members of the town council shall state whether they have had any ex parte contact or whether a member has a personal or business interest in the application. The town council shall afford parties an opportunity to challenge the impartiality of the town council or its members.

C. No new evidence or testimony shall be given or received. Timely written or oral statements or arguments may be submitted at the discretion of the chair. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.130 Remand.

In the event the town council determines that the public hearing record or record on appeal is insufficient or otherwise flawed, the council may remand the matter back to the planning commission to correct the deficiencies. The council shall specify the items or issues to be considered and the time frame for completing the additional work.

The town council may hold a public hearing on a closed record hearing only for the limited purposes identified in RCW 34.05.562(1). (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.140 Decision time lines.

Administrative, planning commission, and town council actions shall be scheduled promptly so that a final decision on a technically complete application shall not require more than 120 calendar days; provided:

A. If a determination of significance (DS) is issued, then the planning commission shall issue a recommendation not sooner than seven calendar days after a final environmental impact statement is issued.

B. An applicant may agree in writing to extend the time in which the planning commission shall issue a recommendation. The planning commission may consider new evidence the applicant introduces with or after such a written request.

C. In determining the number of days that have elapsed after the town has notified the applicant that the application is technically complete, the following periods shall be excluded:

1. Any period during which the applicant has been requested by the town to correct plans, perform required studies, or provide additional required information. The period shall be calculated from the date the town notifies the applicant of the need for additional information until the earlier of the date the town determines whether the additional information satisfies the request for information or 14 calendar days after the date the information has been provided to the town.

2. If the town determines that the information submitted by the applicant is insufficient, it shall notify the applicant of the deficiencies, and the procedures under subsection (C)(1) of this section shall apply as if a new request for studies has been made.

3. Any period of time during which an environmental impact statement is being prepared, which shall not exceed one year from the issuance of the determination of significance unless the town and applicant have otherwise agreed in writing to a longer period of time. If no mutual written agreement is completed, then the application shall become null and void after the one-year period unless the town engineer determines that delay in completion is due to factors beyond the control of the applicant.

D. If the town is unable to issue its final decision within the time limits provided in this chapter, it shall provide written notice to the applicant with a statement of reasons why the time limits have not been met and an estimated date for issuance of the notice of final decision. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.150 Fees.

The town planner is authorized to establish a fee schedule for town costs in reviewing and processing all permit applications covered by this chapter. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.160 Administrative authority.

The town planner is authorized to approve minor changes to plat or rezone conditions without subjecting the change to the same procedure as the original plat or rezone or to the administrative review process. Such changes may be warranted by ambiguities or conflicts in a decision and by new or more detailed information, other permits or law. The mayor’s authority to make minor changes:

A. Cannot change the character of the plat or rezone and cannot change lot boundaries or setbacks or the total area of dedicated streets, utility easements or open space. Examples of minor changes may relate to the location of utility easements, driveway cuts, and location of street and walkway improvements;

B. Must not increase the potential adverse impact of the development authorized by the plat or rezone conditions;

C. Must be consistent with the applicable law or variations permitted by law, including a permit to which the development is subject;

D. Must not involve an issue of broad public interest, based on the record of the decision; and

E. Must not require further SEPA review. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.170 Interpretation and liability.

A. The intent of this chapter is to comply with requirements imposed on local governments under Chapter 347, 1995 Laws of Washington (the “Act”). The requirements of the act and this chapter shall be interpreted to supersede provisions from all other town ordinances or procedures. Any applicant or other person who claims damages against the town due to failure to follow the provisions of the act or this chapter shall demonstrate timely filing of a request for administrative interpretation as provided in EMC 18.09A.030.

B. It is expressly the purpose of this chapter to provide for and promote the health, safety and welfare of the general public and not to create or otherwise establish or designate any particular class or group of persons who will or should be especially protected or benefited by the terms of this chapter.

C. It is the specific intent of this chapter that no provisions nor any term used in this chapter is intended to impose any duty to third parties whatsoever upon the town or any of its officers or employees.

D. Nothing contained in this chapter is intended nor shall be construed to create or form the basis of any liability on the part of the town, or its officers, employees or agents, for any injury or damage resulting from any action or inaction on the part of the town, its officers, employees or agents. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).

18.09A.180 Judicial appeal.

A. Appeals from the final decision of the town council or other town board or body involving EMC Title 17 or 18, and for which all other appeals specifically authorized have been timely exhausted, shall be made to Pierce County superior court within 30 days of the date the decision or action became final, unless another time period is established by state law or local ordinance.

B. Notice of the appeal and any other pleading required to be filed with the court shall be served on the town clerk within the applicable time period. This requirement is jurisdictional. (Ord. 2005-11 § 3, 2005).