Chapter 15.210
PERMIT REVIEW PROCESS “TYPES”

Sections:

15.210.010    Classification of permit review process types.

15.210.020    Determination of proper permit review process type.

15.210.030    Permit review process types – Defined.

15.210.040    Permit review process types – Decision-making, procedures and notice requirements.

15.210.050    Projects under permit review process types.

15.210.060    Departures.

15.210.010 Classification of permit review process types.

A.    Decisions on applications shall be classified as Type I, II, III, IV, or V, based on the amount of discretion exercised by the decision-maker, the level of impact associated with the decision, the amount and type of input sought, and the type of appeal opportunity available. The procedures for the five different permit review process 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 ECC 15.210.030 and the requirements for each type are set forth in ECC 15.210.040.

B.    Exclusions. The following permits are excluded from the permit review requirements of this division and from RCW 36.70B.060 through 36.70B.080 and 36.70B.110 through 36.70B.130, and the review processes for these excluded permits are governed instead by the individual permit review process established for each:

1.    Ellensburg landmarks register designations pursuant to Chapter 15.280 ECC;

2.    Historic preservation special valuation decisions pursuant to Chapter 15.280 ECC;

3.    Sidewalk use permits pursuant to ECC 4.14.170;

4.    Adult entertainment licenses pursuant to Chapter 6.72 ECC;

5.    Regional retail commercial master site plan applications pursuant to Chapter 15.390 ECC; and

6.    Development agreements pursuant to RCW 36.70B.200 and Chapter 15.380 ECC. [Ord. 4769 § 6, 2017; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.210.020 Determination of proper permit review process type.

A.    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.

B.    Optional Consolidated Project Permit Application Processing. A Type V legislative nonproject action shall not be consolidated with a project permit application, but may be processed concurrently with the project permit application to the extent permitted by the processes and timelines established in the LDC for each action. Unless a different consolidation process is stated elsewhere in this title, all project approvals that involve two or more project permit application processes may, at the applicant’s written request, be processed collectively under the highest numbered type procedure required for any part of the application or may be processed individually under each of the procedures identified by the code. 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.

C.    SEPA Review. SEPA review is governed by Chapter 15.270 ECC and all applications shall be reviewed under SEPA, unless categorically exempt from such SEPA review. SEPA review shall be conducted concurrently with project permit review. The following actions are exempt from such concurrent review:

1.    Projects categorically exempt from SEPA; and

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

D.    Decision-Maker(s). Applications processed in accordance with subsection (B) of this section which have the same highest numbered procedure but are assigned different hearing bodies shall be heard collectively by the highest decision-maker(s). The city council is the highest, followed by the hearing examiner, followed by the designated board or commission, and then the director.

E.    Hearings. During the permit review process, permits are allowed only one open record hearing, which can be either an open record predecision public hearing or an open record appeal public hearing, and one closed record appeal hearing, except for the appeal of a determination of significance which must be appealed directly to city council in a closed record appeal hearing at the time it is issued and prior to any further review on the underlying permit. [Ord. 4769 § 7, 2017; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.210.030 Permit review process types – Defined.

A.    Review Process Type I. These decisions are based on compliance with specific, nondiscretionary and/or technical standards that are clearly enumerated in the LDC or other adopted city development codes. Most of these decisions are made administratively through a Type I review process by the director or by the landmarks and design commission if the project involves properties listed on the landmarks register. There are generally no notice or hearing requirements and no appeal opportunity for Type I decisions except for judicial appeals. Type I decisions are not subject to environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), codified at Chapter 43.21C RCW (also see Chapter 15.270 ECC).

B.    Review Process Type II. Unless otherwise specified, most Type II decisions are made by the director based on standards and clearly identified criteria in the LDC or other adopted city development codes. Some landmarks and design commission decisions are also Type II decisions. Type II decisions require some level of public notice and typically do not include a public hearing but may include a predecision public meeting, except for Type II process for COAs. See ECC Table 15.210.040(A). The Type II process requires that the director or other designated decision-maker issue a written report that sets forth a decision to approve, approve with modifications or conditions, or deny the application. The written decision report will also include any threshold determinations under SEPA or critical area final determinations under Division VI. Such Type II project decisions are appealable to the hearing examiner in an open record appeal hearing, except for departure decisions made by the director pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 and certificate of appropriateness decisions made by the landmarks and design commission pursuant to the procedures set forth in Chapter 15.280 ECC, which are appealable to city council in a closed record appeal hearing.

C.    Review Process Type III. These are quasi-judicial decisions that are made by the designated decision-maker and involve the use of discretionary judgment in the review of each specific application. Type III decisions require findings, conclusions, an open record public hearing and recommendations prepared by the review authority for the final decision. Any administrative appeal of a SEPA threshold determination or critical area final determination shall be consolidated with the open record public hearing on the project permit, except a SEPA determination of significance, which must be appealed directly to city council at the time it is issued and prior to any further review on the underlying permit.

D.    Review Process Type IV. These quasi-judicial decisions are made by the city council and the hearing examiner and involve the use of discretionary judgment in the review of each specific application. Type IV decisions may require a predecision open record public hearing by the designated body which will then provide recommendations to the decision-maker. The final decision must include findings and conclusions in support of the decision. Any administrative appeal of a SEPA threshold determination shall be consolidated with the open record public hearing on the project permit, except a SEPA determination of significance, which must be appealed directly to city council at the time it is issued and prior to any further review on the underlying permit.

E.    Review Process Type V. These are legislative, nonproject decisions made by the city council under its authority to establish policies and regulations regarding future private and public developments, and management of public lands. Type V actions include comprehensive plan adoption or amendment, area-wide rezones, annexations, adoption or changes to development regulations, and the siting of essential public facilities. Because Type V actions are not project permit applications, they are not governed by the same procedural rules as project permits. Each Type V action is included separately in the LDC with its own established review and decision process. [Ord. 4807 § 15, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.210.040 Permit review process types – Decision-making, procedures and notice requirements.

A.    Decision-Making and Appeal Process. Table 15.210.040(A) sets out the permit review decision-making and appeal processes for the permit review process types.

Table 15.210.040(A). Decision-making and appeal
process for permit review process types. 

 

Type I

Type II

Type III

Type IV

Type V

Final decision made by:

Director or designated decision-maker (see ECC 15.210.050(A)

Director or designated decision-maker (see ECC 15.210.050(B))

Designated decision-maker (see ECC 15.210.050(C))

Designated decision-maker (see ECC 15.210.050(D))

City council

Recommendation made by:

NA

NA

Designated body

Designated body

Planning commission

Open record predecision public hearing

No

No

Except that landmarks and design commission holds an open record public hearing (see Chapter 15.280 ECC)

Yes

Yes

Yes

multiple open record predecision hearings can be held

Open record appeal public hearing

Yes

Yes, except for landmarks and design commission decisions which have a closed record appeal

No

No

No

Closed record appeal hearing

No

No, except for landmarks and design commission decisions

Yes

No

No

Appeal to:

Superior court

Hearing examiner except landmarks and design commission decisions are appealed to city council and director decisions on departures are appealed to city council

Hearing examiner or city council

Superior court

Superior court or to the growth management hearings board if GMA action

Judicial appeal (see ECC 15.230.100)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

B.    Procedures. Table 15.210.040(B) sets out the permit review procedures for the five permit review process types.

Table 15.210.040(B). Procedures for
permit review process types.  

 

Type I

Type II

Type III

Type IV

Type V

Preapplication meeting (see ECC 15.220.010)

No

No1

Yes

Yes

No

Notice of complete application (see ECC 15.220.030)

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Notice of application (see ECC 15.220.040)

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

SEPA determination (see Chapter 15.270 ECC)

No

Yes

If applicable

Yes

If applicable

Yes

Yes

If applicable

Notice of hearing (see ECC 15.230.020)

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Notice of decision (see ECC 15.220.080)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

120-day review period (see ECC 15.220.070)

No2

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Notes/conditions:

1.    A preapplication meeting shall be required for all major design review projects and short subdivisions as set forth in ECC 15.250.030.

2.    Short subdivisions have a 60-calendar-day deadline for issuance (after determination of complete application). A final subdivision must issue in 30 calendar days and a preliminary subdivision must issue in 90 calendar days (after determination of complete application). See RCW 58.17.140 and ECC 15.260.060 and 15.260.120.

C.    Notice Requirements. Table 15.210.040(C) sets out the notice requirements for the five permit review process types.

Table 15.210.040(C). Notice requirements for all
permit application types, unless otherwise stated. See Chapter 15.220 ECC. 

 

Send to property owners within 300'

Public notice (see ECC 15.220.040)

Post property (see ECC 15.220.050)

Send to agencies

Send to applicant

Notice of completeness (see ECC 15.220.040)

 

 

 

 

X

Notice of application (see ECC 15.220.040)

X

X, except for Type I permits

X, except for Type I and II permits

X

X

SEPA determination (see Chapter 15.270 ECC)

 

X

X

X

X

Notice of open record predecision hearing or meeting, if applicable

X

X

X for site-specific proposals

 

X

Notice of decision (see ECC 15.220.080)

 

X

X, except for Type I and II permits

 

X

Notice of appeal hearing, if applicable

X

X

 

 

X

[Ord. 4807 § 16, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.210.050 Projects under permit review process types.

A.    Review Process Type I. Table 15.210.050(A) identifies the types of projects and permits that require a Type I review process. Any decision-making, procedural, or noticing variations from the Type I review process are described in the middle column. The right column identifies code sections applicable to the project/permit.

Table 15.210.050(A). Projects under Type I review
process. 

Where superscript numbers are included in a cell, please reference the applicable number under “Notes/conditions” below the table.

Type I Project1

Decision-making, procedures or noticing variation from ECC 15.210.040

Relevant ECC chapter or section(s)

Boundary line adjustments

No variation

ECC 15.260.050

Code interpretation

No variation

ECC 15.110.060(F)

Commercial wireless communication support towers, antenna arrays and facilities in residential zones

No variation

Except if on a landmarks register property, then must undergo review and decision by the landmarks commission as Type II project. (See ECC 15.340.070)

ECC 15.340.070

Critical area exemption request or allowable activity

No variation

Division VI

Critical area initial and final determination

See Division VI for process variation

Division VI

Final short subdivision approval

(See ECC 15.260.120)

Chapter 15.260 ECC

Final subdivision approval

Final decision by city council (See ECC 15.260.060)

ECC 15.260.060

Home occupation

No variation

ECC 15.340.020

Minor changes to approved preliminary subdivision

No variation

ECC 15.260.110

Minor preliminary plat alteration

No variation

ECC 15.260.110(A)

Minor revision to regional retail commercial master site plan

No variation

ECC 15.390.040(C)(4)

Nonconforming use determination

No variation

Chapter 15.240 ECC

Permitted use

No variation

Chapter 15.310 ECC

Site development permits (no SEPA required)

No variation

ECC 15.250.020

Small wind energy system (one per parcel)2

No variation

Except if on a landmarks register property, then must undergo review and decision by the landmarks commission as Type II project. See ECC 15.340.060

ECC 15.340.060

Notes/conditions:

1.    If any Type I project requires a SEPA threshold determination it automatically becomes a Type II project.

2.    Where more than one small wind energy system is proposed for a parcel, then a conditional use permit is required.

B.    Review Process Type II. Table 15.210.050(B) identifies the types of projects and permits that require a Type II review process. Any decision-making, procedural, or noticing variations from the Type II review process are described in the middle column. The right column identifies code sections applicable to the project/permit.

Table 15.210.050(B). Projects under Type II review
process. 

Where superscript numbers are included in a cell, please reference the applicable number under “Notes/conditions” below the table.

Type II Project

Decision-making, procedures or noticing variation from ECC 15.210.040

Relevant ECC chapter or section(s)

Administrative variance

No variation

ECC 15.500.040

Commercial wireless communication support towers, antenna arrays and facilities in commercial and industrial zones

No variation, except landmarks register properties require decision by landmarks and design commission after a public hearing

ECC 15.340.070

Critical area exception for public agency or reasonable use

No variation

Division VI

Design review, major and minor

No variation

ECC 15.250.030

Division V (Project Design)

Design review departure request for landmarks register property

Decision by landmarks and design commission after a public hearing; appeal closed record to city council

ECC 15.210.060 (Departures)

Design review departure request for non-landmarks register property

Appeal open record to city council

ECC 15.210.060 (Departures)

Landmark certificate of appropriateness (COA)

Landmarks and design commission decision after public hearing; appeal closed record to city council

ECC 15.280.090

Landmarks register demolition

Landmarks and design commission decision after a public hearing; appeal closed record to city council

ECC 15.280.090

Short subdivision alteration

No variation

ECC 15.260.170(C)

Short subdivision, preliminary

No variation

Chapter 15.260 ECC (Subdivisions)

Division IV (Community Design)

Site development permit (if SEPA required)

No variation

ECC 15.250.020

Temporary use

No variation

ECC.250.010

C.    Review Process Type III. Table 15.210.050(C) identifies the types of projects and permits that require a Type III review process. Any decision-making, procedural, or noticing variations from the Type III review process are described in the middle column. The right column identifies code sections applicable to the project/permit.

Table 15.210.050(C). Projects under Type III review
process. 

Where superscript numbers are included in a cell, please reference the applicable number under “Notes/conditions” below the table.

Type III Project

Decision-making, procedures or noticing variation from ECC 15.210.040

Relevant ECC chapter or section(s)

Binding site plan

City council decision

ECC 15.260.180

Conditional use permit

Planning commission decision after open record hearing; appeal closed record to city council

ECC 15.250.040

Extension requests for regional retail commercial master site plan projects

City council decision after open record public hearing

ECC 15.390.040(C)(3)

Variance (includes variance for critical areas regulations)

Hearing examiner decision after open record hearing; appeal closed record to city council

ECC 15.250.050

D.    Review Process Type IV. Table 15.210.050(D) identifies the types of projects and permits that require a Type IV review process. Any decision-making, procedural, or noticing variations from the Type IV review process are described in the middle column. The right column identifies code sections applicable to the project/permit.

Table 15.210.050(D). Projects under Type IV review
process. 

Where superscript numbers are included in a cell, please reference the applicable number under “Notes/conditions” below the table.

Type IV Project

Decision-making, procedures or noticing variation from ECC 15.210.040

Relevant ECC chapter or section(s)

Major revisions to regional retail commercial master site plans

Open record hearing before hearing examiner with recommendation for city council decision after closed record public hearing; not subject to decision timelines

ECC 15.390.040(C)(4)

Master plan for P-R zone uses

Hearing examiner recommendation to city council after open record hearing; city council decision after closed record hearing

ECC 15.250.080 and 15.310.050

Plat alteration (major)

City council decision after open record hearing

ECC 15.260.110(C)

Plat vacation

City council decision after open record hearing

ECC 15.260.110(B)

Preliminary subdivision

Hearing examiner recommendation to city council after open record hearing; city council decision after closed record hearing

Chapter 15.260 ECC

Regional retail commercial master site plans

Open record hearing before hearing examiner with recommendation for city council decision after closed record public hearing1; not subject to timelines

ECC 15.390.040 (master site plan provisions for regional retail commercial projects)

Site-specific rezone

Hearing examiner recommendation to city council after open record hearing; city council decision after closed record hearing

ECC 15.250.060

Chapter 15.300 ECC

Notes/conditions:

1.    For review of a regional retail commercial master site plan related to a rezone application, subdivision application, a short subdivision application, or a binding site plan application, see ECC 15.390.040(C).

E.    Review Process Type V. Table 15.210.050(E) identifies the types of approvals and permits that require a Type V review process. Any decision-making, procedural, or noticing variations from the Type V review process are described in the middle column. The right column identifies code sections applicable to the permit.

Table 15.210.050(E). Approvals subject to Type V review
process. 

Where superscript numbers are included in a cell, please reference the applicable number under “Notes/conditions” below the table.

Type V Approvals

Decision-making, procedures or noticing variation from ECC 15.210.040

Relevant ECC chapter or section(s)

Annexations

No variation

Chapter 15.360 ECC

Comprehensive plan amendment

See ECC 15.250.090

ECC 15.250.090

Essential public facilities

See ECC 15.250.110

ECC 15.250.110; RCW 36.70A.200; and Chapter 11 of the comprehensive plan

Land development code amendment

See ECC 15.250.100

ECC 15.250.100

Rezone (other than site specific)

No variation

ECC 15.250.060 and Chapter 15.300 ECC

[Ord. 4807 § 17, 2018; Ord. 4803 § 2, 2018; Ord. 4769 §§ 8 – 10, 2017; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.210.060 Departures.

A.    Overview and Purpose. The LDC provides for a number of specific departure opportunities to development standards. The purpose is to provide applicants with the option of proposing alternative design treatments provided such departures meet the “purpose” of the particular standard and any additional departure criteria set forth for the particular departure opportunity.

B.    Departures Are Voluntary. This provision allows the flexibility for applicants to propose alternative designs on a voluntary basis, provided they meet the purpose of the standard and applicable departure criteria as noted above.

C.    Applicability. Departure opportunities are available only to specific standards that allow for departures. Divisions IV and V include one or more standards that allow for departure opportunities.

D.    Procedures. Permit applications that include departure requests go through the standard review procedures set forth in ECC 15.210.050 depending on the application type.

E.    Approval Criteria. Project applicants must successfully demonstrate to the decision-maker how the proposed departure meets the purpose(s) of the standard and other applicable departure criteria that applies to the specific standard.

F.    Documentation. The decision-maker shall document the reasons for approving all departures (to be maintained with project application records) for the purpose of providing consistency in decision-making by the city. [Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]