Chapter 14.20


14.20.010    Definitions.

14.20.010 Definitions.

A. This title relies on the definitions contained in Chapter 18.20 EMC, Definitions. Any word or phrase not contained herein shall be first referenced to Chapter 18.20 EMC for meaning. The city also adopts by reference the definitions stated in WAC 197-11-700 through 197-11-799, as now or hereafter amended.

1. For any word or term not defined herein, the latest edition of Webster’s Dictionary shall be used.

2. The director, or their designee, has the final authority to determine the interpretation or usage of terms used in this chapter.

B. Additional definitions not contained in Chapter 18.20 EMC that apply to this title are:

1. “Addition” means an alteration to an existing structure that increases the floor area, either affixed to the structure’s side or an upper story addition.

2. “Agricultural activities” means the production of crops or raising or keeping livestock, including operation and maintenance of farm and stock ponds, drainage ditches, irrigation systems, and normal operation, maintenance, and repair of existing serviceable agricultural structures, facilities, or improved areas, and the practice of aquaculture. Activities which bring an area into agricultural use are not part of an ongoing activity. An operation ceases to be ongoing when the area in which it was conducted is proposed for conversion to a nonagricultural use or has lain idle for a period of longer than five years, unless the idle land is registered in a federal or state soils conservation program. Forest practices regulated under Chapter 76.09 RCW or WAC Title 222 are not included in this definition.

3. “Agricultural land(s)” means land primarily devoted to the commercial production of horticultural, viticultural, floricultural, dairy, apiary, vegetable, or animal products or of berries, grain, hay, straw, turf, seed, Christmas trees not subject to the excise tax imposed by RCW 84.33.100 through 84.33.140, finfish in upland hatcheries, or livestock, and that has long-term commercial significance for agricultural production.

4. “Animal containment area” means a site keeping at least 2,000 pounds of large animals per acre or 750 pounds of small animals per acre, or where a high volume of waste material is deposited in quantities capable of impacting groundwater resources.

5. “Animal, large” means an animal weighing 100 pounds or more.

6. “Animal, small” means an animal with an average weight of less than 100 pounds.

7. “Application” means a request for a license.

8. “Base flood” means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year, also referred to as the “100-year flood,” and is designated on FIRM(s) by the letter A or V.

9. “Best available science” means scientific information applicable to the critical area prepared by local, state, or federal natural resource agencies, a qualified scientific professional, or team of qualified scientific professionals that is consistent with criteria established in WAC 365-195-900 through 365-195-925.

10. “Best management practices (BMP)” means conservation practices or systems of practices and management measures that:

a. Control soil loss and reduce water quality degradation caused by high concentrations of nutrients, animal waste, toxics and sediment;

b. Minimize adverse impacts to surface water and groundwater flow and circulation patterns and to the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of wetlands;

c. Protect trees and vegetation designated to be retained during and following site construction and use native plant species appropriate to the site for revegetation of disturbed areas; and

d. Provide standards for proper use of chemical herbicides within critical areas.

11. “Buffer” means areas contiguous with critical areas that are required for the integrity, maintenance, function, and structural stability of said critical areas.

12. “Building footprint” means the horizontal area measured within the outside of the exterior walls of the ground floor of all principal and accessory buildings on a lot.

13. “City” means the city of Edgewood municipal corporation.

14. “City council” means the Edgewood city council.

15. “Classification” means defining value and hazard categories to which critical areas and land resource lands will be assigned.

16. “Compensatory mitigation” means replacing project-induced losses or impacts to a critical area.

17. “Conservation easement” means a recorded deed restriction or covenant that runs in perpetuity on a parcel of land restricting the use of the property by preventing future real estate development such as residential, industrial, or commercial use that may allow for continued current uses, e.g., residential, recreational, agriculture, forestry, or ranching.

18. “Contaminant” means any chemical, physical, biological, or radiological substance that does not occur naturally or occurs at concentrations and durations as to be injurious to human health or welfare or shown to be ecologically damaging.

19. “Crawl space” means the shallow space beneath the bottom floor of a house with no basement; used for access and inspection of framing, electrical, plumbing, insulation, vapor barriers, or duct work. For purposes of the National Flood Insurance Program Elevation Certificate, this definition does not include spaces that have subgrade around all sides, which shall be considered a basement.

20. “Critical aquifer recharge areas” means areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water, including areas where an aquifer that is a source of drinking water is vulnerable to contamination that would affect the potability of the water, or is susceptible to reduced recharge.

21. “Critical area” means land that contains any of the following area, areas, or ecosystems: aquifer recharge areas, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, frequently flooded areas, geologically hazardous areas, or wetlands as defined in Chapter 36.70A RCW, as it now exists or may be hereinafter amended, and this chapter.

22. “Critical facilities” means those facilities occupied by populations or which handle dangerous substances including but not limited to hospitals, medical facilities, nursing homes; structures housing, supporting, or containing toxic or explosive substances; covered public assembly structures; school buildings through secondary, including daycare centers; buildings for colleges or adult education; police, fire, and emergency response installations; jails and detention facilities; and all structures with occupancy of greater than 5,000 people. These facilities are such that even a slight chance of flooding might be too great.

23. “Debris flow” means the rapid downslope movement of a viscous mass of water-saturated sediments.

24. “Degraded” means to have suffered a decrease in naturally occurring function or value.

25. “Delineation” means a wetland study conducted in accordance with the approved federal wetland delineation manual and applicable regional supplements.

26. “Depressional pothole” means a relatively sunken or low-lying area of the earth’s surface, especially one having no natural outlet for surface drainage.

27. Development. See EMC 18.20.070.

28. Development Activity. See EMC 18.20.070.

29. “Director” means the head of the city’s community development department or their designee.

30. “DRASTIC” is an acronym for a computer model developed by the National Water Well Association and Environmental Protection Agency used to measure aquifer susceptibility.

31. “Earth material” means naturally occurring rock, soil, stone, sediment, or combination thereof.

32. “Earthflow” means a slow downslope movement of viscous, saturated sediments.

33. “Elevation certificate” means the official form (FEMA Form 81-31) used to track development, provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, and determine the proper insurance premium rate, with Section B completed by community officials.

34. “Encroachment” means development or regulated activity conducted inside the boundaries of any critical areas or buffers.

35. Engineer. As defined by Chapter 18.43 RCW.

36. “Engineering geologist” means a geologist who has met the qualifications in engineering geology established under Chapter 18.220 RCW.

37. “Enhancement” means actions performed within existing critical areas or buffers to intentionally increase or augment one or more ecological functions or values of the existing area. Enhancement actions include, but are not limited to, increasing plant diversity and cover; increasing wildlife habitat and structural complexity with snags or woody debris; installing environmentally compatible erosion controls; removing nonnative plant or animal species; or removing human-made structures or fill that are degrading ecological functions or values.

38. “Erosion hazard areas” means those areas that because of natural characteristics, including vegetative cover, soil texture, slope, gradient, and rainfall patterns, or human-induced changes to such characteristics, are vulnerable to erosion.

39. “Facility” means all structures, contiguous land, appurtenances, and other improvements on the land used for recycling, reusing, reclaiming, transferring, storing, treating, disposing, or otherwise handling a hazardous substance. This term includes underground and aboveground tanks and operations, which handle, use, dispose of, or store hazardous substances.

40. “Filling” means the act of placing fill or fill material on any surface, including temporary stockpiling of fill material.

41. “Finished floor” means the top of the next higher floor above the lowest floor. For purposes of the National Flood Insurance Program Elevation Certificate, the “finished floor” referenced in this regulation shall equal the top of the next higher floor.

42. “Fisheries biologist” means a professional with a degree in fisheries or certification by the American Fisheries Society, or with five years of professional experience as a fisheries biologist.

43. “Flood hazard areas” means areas of flooding identified by verifiable flooded areas using:

a. Aerial photographs of the city, especially those taken in wintertime 1996 and 1997;

b. Relevant and verifiable information from the city’s capacity analysis technical review ad-hoc committee (CATRAC) draft report, 2000;

c. Relevant and verifiable government and citizen photographs, notes, observations, etc., regarding historic ponding/flooding levels;

d. Relevant and verifiable information available through Pierce County;

e. Relevant and verifiable information available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); or

f. Areas of land located in floodplains, which are subject to a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year, including, but not limited to, streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, wetlands, or depressional potholes.

44. “Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)” means the official map on which the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) has delineated both the areas of special flood hazard and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.

45. “Flood fringe” means the area subject to inundation by the base flood, but outside the limits of the floodway, and which may provide needed temporary storage capacity for floodwaters.

46. “Floodplain” means the total area subject to inundation by the base flood, including the flood fringe and the floodway areas.

47. “Floodway” means the channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to convey and discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation by more than one foot, and those areas designated as deep and/or fast-flowing water.

48. “Fluvial processes” means the physical interaction of flowing water and the natural channels of rivers and streams.

49. “Frequently flooded area” means lands in the floodplain subject to at least a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year, or within areas subject to flooding due to high groundwater. These areas include, but are not limited to, streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and areas where high groundwater forms ponds on the ground surface.

50. “Geologically hazardous areas” means areas that because of their susceptibility to erosion, sliding, earthquake, or other geological events are not suited to the siting of commercial, residential, or industrial development consistent with public health or safety concerns.

51. “Geologist” means an engineering geologist or hydrogeologist that is registered in the state of Washington.

52. “Geotechnical professional” means a person with experience and training in analyzing, evaluating, and mitigating landslide, erosion, or seismic hazards. A geotechnical professional shall be licensed in the state of Washington as a geologist or professional engineer, and must have five or more years’ experience specializing in landslide, erosion, or seismic hazards, as applicable.

53. “Geotechnical report” means a report prepared by a geologist or professional engineer, licensed by the state of Washington with expertise in geotechnical engineering, evaluating the site conditions and mitigating measures necessary to reduce the risks associated with development in geologically hazardous areas.

54. “Grading” or “clearing and grading” means any excavating, filling, clearing, creating of impervious surfaces, or any combination of these items.

55. “Habitat management plan” means a report prepared by a professional wildlife biologist or fisheries biologist which discusses and evaluates the measures necessary to maintain fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas on a proposed development site.

56. “Habitat of local importance” means an area, range, or habitat within which a species has a primary association and which, if altered, may reduce the likelihood that the species will maintain and reproduce over the long term. Examples include areas of high relative density or species richness, breeding habitat, winter range, and movement corridors. These areas may also include habitats that are of limited availability or high vulnerability to alteration.

57. “Hard armoring” means the use of large rock or human-made materials to protect property from shoreline erosion. Such techniques include cement or concrete bulkheads, steel structures, rock wall revetments, and rock gabion structures. Hard armoring typically does not utilize or integrate any soft armoring or soil bioengineering methods.

58. “Holocene epoch” means that part of the geologic record that post-dates the youngest deposits associated with the late Pleistocene Age Fraser Glaciation and is typically considered to be the past 10,000 years.

59. “Hydrogeologic assessment” means a report detailing the subsurface conditions, the design of a proposed land use action, and the facilities operation which indicates the susceptibility and potential for contamination of groundwater supplies.

60. “Landslide hazard area” means any area subject to risk of mass movement due to a combination of geologic, topographic, and hydrologic factors.

61. “LiDAR” means an acronym that stands for light detection and ranging imaging.

62. “Long-term commercial significance” means the growing capacity, productivity, and soil composition of land, which makes it suitable for long-term commercial production, in consideration with the land’s proximity to population areas, and the possibility of more intense uses of land.

63. “Lowest floor” means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement and crawl space). An unfinished or flood resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access, or storage in an area other than a basement area, is not considered a building’s lowest floor; provided, that such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of the applicable nonelevation design requirements of this title.

64. “Mineral resource lands” means those lands primarily devoted to the extraction of minerals or which have known or potential long-term commercial significance for the extraction of minerals.

65. “Mudflow” means a debris flow containing an abundance of fine particles.

66. “Native vegetation” or “native plants” means a mix of plant species comprising herbs, grasses, grass-like plants, shrubs and trees indigenous to the Puget Sound region that reasonably could be expected to naturally occur on the site.

67. “Natural resource lands” means agricultural and mineral resource lands, which have long-term commercial significance.

68. “New construction” means structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title.

69. “Professional engineer” means an engineer currently licensed and registered in the state of Washington.

70. Regulated Activities. See EMC 14.30.020.

71. “Restoration” means an action which returns habitat to a state in which its stability and functions approach its unaltered state as closely as possible. This may be accomplished through measures including, but not limited to, revegetation, removal of intrusive stream bank structures, and removal or treatment of toxic materials. Restoration does not imply a requirement for returning the critical area to aboriginal or preEuropean settlement conditions.

72. “RCW” is an acronym that stands for Revised Code of Washington.

73. “Riparian” means the area adjacent to aquatic systems with flowing water that contains elements of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems which mutually influence each other. Riparian habitat begins at the ordinary high water mark and includes the entire extent of the floodplain and riparian areas of wetlands that are directly connected to the stream course.

74. “Seismic hazard areas” means areas subject to severe risk of damage as a result of earthquake-induced ground shaking, slope failure, settlement, or soil liquefaction.

75. “Sensitive areas” means agricultural lands and mineral resource lands and all associated buffers.

76. “Shoreline” means the line where a body of water and the shore meet or the strip of land along the shoreline. There are no waters within the city meeting the criteria of shorelines of statewide significance as defined by RCW 90.58.030.

77. “Site” means a lot, parcel, tract, or combination of lots, parcels, or tracts on which a regulated activity is proposed.

78. “Sludge” means a semi-solid substance consisting of settled solids combined with varying amounts of water and dissolved materials generated from a wastewater treatment plant or system or other sources, including septage sludge, sewage sludge, and industrial sludge.

79. “Sludge land application site” means a site where stabilized sludge, septage, and other organic wastes are applied to the surface of the land in accordance with established agronomic rates for fertilization or soil conditioning.

80. “Special occupancy structures” means those structures that have the potential to provide capacity for large numbers of people or special groups of people or assemblies such as but not limited to schools, jails and detention facilities, and resident incapacitated patients.

81. “Species of local importance” means species that are of local concern due to their population status or their sensitivity to habitat manipulation.

82. “Soft armoring techniques” or “soil bioengineering methods” means the use of woody plants and limited structuralmechanical systems that are integrated in a structurally and environmentally sound manner to repair and protect slopes and shorelines against shallow mass wasting and surface erosion. Examples include, but are not limited to, live stake, live fascine, brushlayer, live cribwall, vegetated geogrid, branchpacking, live slope grading, beach berms, or earthen berms.

83. “Stream” means a feature where surface waters produce a defined channel or bed. A defined channel or bed is an area that demonstrates clear evidence of the passage of water and includes, but is not limited to, bedrock channels, gravel beds, sand and silt beds, and defined-channel swales. The channel or bed need not contain water year-round. This definition is not intended to include artificially created irrigation ditches, canals, storm or surface water devices, or other entirely artificial watercourses, unless they are used by salmonids or created for the purposes of stream mitigation.

84. “Substantial damage” means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

85. “Substantial improvement” means any repair, reconstruction, addition, rehabilitation, or other improvement of a structure, whereby the cost for the work exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the existing structure before the start of construction of the improvement. The cost and market value may be determined using the current permit valuation. The director shall determine the current permit valuation based on the cost per square foot values in effect at the time of permit application. Substantial improvement shall be accumulative from the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title. This term includes structures which have incurred substantial damage, regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:

a. Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or

b. Any alteration of a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places or a State Inventory of Historic Places; provided, that the alteration will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a historic structure.

86. “Toe of slope” means a distinct topographic break in slope at the lowermost limit of the landslide or erosion hazard area.

87. “TPCHD” is an acronym that stands for the Tacoma-Pierce County health department.

88. “Underground storage tank” or “UST” means one tank or a combination of multiple tanks, including the underground pipes connected thereto, which are used to contain or dispense an accumulation of hazardous substances or hazardous wastes, and the total volume of which is 10 percent or more beneath the surface of the ground.

89. “Urban growth” means growth that makes intensive use of the land for the location of buildings, structures, and impermeable surfaces to such a degree as to be incompatible with the primary use of such land for the production of food, other agricultural products, or fiber, or the extraction of mineral resources. When allowed to spread over wide areas, urban growth typically requires urban governmental services.

90. “View corridor” means an area which affords views of lakes, mountains, or other scenic amenities normally enjoyed by residential property owners.

91. Violation. See Chapter 1.10 EMC for penalties.

92. “Volcanic hazard areas” means those areas subject to pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and inundation by debris flows, mudflows, or related flooding resulting from geologic or volcanic events on Mount Rainier.

93. “WAC” is an acronym that stands for the Washington Administrative Code.

94. “Wellhead protection area” means the area within the 10-year time-of-travel zone boundary or zone of contribution area of a Group A public water system well, as delineated on the critical aquifer recharge areas critical area map, pursuant to WAC 246-290-135.

95. “Wetland” means areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway. Wetlands may include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland areas created to mitigate conversion of wetlands.

96. “Wetland category” means the numeric designation (I through IV) assigned to a wetland to indicate the wetland’s overall function and value. Wetland categories rank the city’s wetlands from highest (Category I) to lowest (Category IV) using the current version of the Washington State Wetland Rating System for Western Washington (Hruby, 2014).

97. “Wetland mosaic” means a patchwork of wetlands that is considered one unit where each patch of wetland is less than one acre and the areas delineated as vegetated wetland are more than 50 percent of the total area of the wetlands and uplands together.

98. “Wetland specialist” means a person that obtained professional wetland scientist (PWS) or wetland professional in training (WPIT) certification from the Society of Wetland Scientists or a qualified wetland professional with experience and training in wetlands issues and with experience in performing a delineation, analyzing wetland functions and values, analyzing wetland impacts, and recommending wetland mitigation and restoration. A qualified wetland professional is a person with experience and training that includes, at a minimum:

a. A B.S., B.A., or equivalent degree in biology, botany, environmental studies, fisheries, soil science, wildlife, agriculture, or related field; and

b. Two years of related work experience; and

c. One year’s experience delineating wetlands using the Federal Delineation Manual and applicable regional supplements and preparing wetland reports and mitigation plans; or

d. Four years of related work experience and training; and

e. Two years of experience delineating wetlands using the Unified Federal Manual and preparing wetland reports and mitigation plans.

99. “Wildlife biologist” means a professional with a degree in wildlife, or certification by the Wildlife Society, or with five years of professional experience as a wildlife biologist. (Ord. 17-513 § 3 (Exh. A)).