Chapter 14.09
REVIEW AND APPROVAL PROCESSES

Sections:

14.09.010    Purpose.

14.09.020    Review and approval processes.

14.09.030    Process 1 – Administrative decision.

14.09.040    Process 1A – Discretionary administrative decisions – Planned action.

14.09.045    Process 1B – Administrative conditional uses.

14.09.050    Process 2 – Decision by Hearings Examiner.

14.09.060    Process 3A – Decision by City Council with Hearings Examiner recommendation.

14.09.070    Process 3B – Decision by City Council without Hearings Examiner recommendation.

14.09.080    Process 4 – Decision by City Council with Planning Commission recommendation.

14.09.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the various administrative and discretionary processes by which land use and development applications are reviewed and approved by the City. This chapter does not include administrative procedures for review and approval of building permit applications. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1987 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1711 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.09.020 Review and approval processes.

Land use and development applications shall be processed by the City in accordance with one of the following processes. In the event that a land use or development proposal is of a nature that it does not fall clearly into a previously identified application category, the Community Development Director shall have the authority to determine which application category, and which approval process, is most appropriate given the particular circumstances of the proposal. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1987 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1711 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.09.030 Process 1 – Administrative decision.

A.    Certain types of land use/development applications may be reviewed and approved, approved with conditions, or denied administratively by authorized City officials without notice to the public.

Process 1 applications approved by the Community Development Director include:

1.    Building permits, and extension of time for building permit applications and permits.

2.    Short subdivision exemption determination pursuant to FMC 17.12.010.

3.    Short plats.

4.    Binding site plans.

5.    Final plats.

6.    Cottage housing developments.

7.    Lot line adjustments.

8.    Flood hazard certificates.

9.    Critical area review.

10.    Minor home occupation permit per Chapter 18.14 FMC.

11.    Minor amendments or modifications to approved developments or permits. Minor amendments are those which may affect the precise dimensions or location of buildings, accessory structures and driveways, but do not affect: (a) overall project character, (b) increase in the number of lots, dwelling units, or density or (c) decrease in the quality or amount of open space.

Process 1 applications approved by the Public Works Director include:

12.    Land disturbance permits, and extension of time for land disturbance permits.

13.    Encroachment permits to authorize work within public rights-of-way.

B.    The steps in Process 1 include:

1.    Submittal of complete land use/development application.

2.    If applicable, issuance of determination of complete application.

3.    If applicable, issuance of notice of application.

4.    If applicable, completion of environmental review under SEPA and issuance of a threshold determination (may be combined with notice of application).

5.    If applicable, Technical Review Committee review.

6.    Decision by responsible official and/or permit issuance.

C.    Process 1 decisions may be appealed to the Hearings Examiner by any aggrieved party within 10 days of the date of the decision or permit issuance with the following exception:

1.    Final plat decisions of the Community Development Director may be appealed to Whatcom County Superior Court by a party of record within 21 days of the date of the notice of decision in accordance with Chapter 36.70C RCW. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 2006 § 1 (Att. 1), 2017; Ord. 1987 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1711 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1525 § 1 (Exh. 3), 2009; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.09.040 Process 1A – Discretionary administrative decisions – Planned action.

Certain types of land use/development determinations are considered to be supplemental reviews required for applications subject to Process 1, 2, 3A, 3B, or 4 consideration, and are not subject to separate appeal. In those situations where a party is aggrieved by a Process 1A determination, the decision related to the primary development/land use application may be appealed pursuant to the procedures described by the appropriate process type. Process 1A applications include:

A.    Planned action determinations made pursuant to Ord. 1710. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 2006 § 1 (Att. 1), 2017; Ord. 1987 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1711 § 1, 2012)

14.09.045 Process 1B – Administrative conditional uses.

Due to their scale, type of use, or location, certain land use/development applications identified as administrative conditional uses in the respective zones may be reviewed and conditioned administratively following public notification and based upon public comments. City staff may attach conditions necessary to ensure that the proposed land use does not create additional impacts on surrounding properties or districts, on the environment, or that are inconsistent with the underlying zoning and Comprehensive Plan. The application process for these proposals shall include notice to surrounding property owners, posting of notices on site, as well as publication in the newspaper of record and shall afford the public the opportunity to submit written comments. Such applications shall otherwise follow Process 1 requirements identified in FMC 14.09.030.

Process 1B permits approved by the Community Development Director include:

A.    Those uses identified as administrative conditional uses by the Ferndale Municipal Code.

B.    The steps in Process 1B include:

1.    Submittal of complete land use/development application.

2.    If applicable, issuance of determination of complete application.

3.    Posting and publication of the notice of application, including the opportunity for the public to submit comments. Publication shall be placed in the newspaper of record. Posting shall be at the Ferndale Public Library and Ferndale City Hall, as well as at the project location. Notification shall be made to all property owners within 300 feet of the property. No final decision may occur within 10 days of publication.

4.    If applicable, completion of environmental review under SEPA and issuance of a threshold determination (may be combined with notice of application).

5.    If applicable, Technical Review Committee review.

6.    Decision by responsible official and/or permit issuance.

C.    Process 1B decisions may be appealed to the Hearings Examiner by any aggrieved party within 10 days of the date of the decision or permit issuance. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 2006 § 1 (Att. 1), 2017)

14.09.050 Process 2 – Decision by Hearings Examiner.

A.    Certain types of land use/development applications and administrative appeals require public hearings. This means that the application must be considered at an advertised public hearing before a final decision on the application is made by the Hearings Examiner. Process 2 applications include:

1.    Short plat variance.

2.    Conditional use permit.

3.    Zoning variance.

4.    Major home occupation permit per Chapter 18.14 FMC.

5.    Appeals of administrative decisions or interpretations.

6.    Appeals of environmental threshold determinations.

7.    Appeals of enforcement actions on land use decisions per Chapter 1.12 FMC.

8.    Reasonable use permit per Chapter 16.08 FMC.

9.    Preliminary plats.

10.    Plat variances.

B.    The steps in the Type 2 process include:

1.    Submittal of complete land use/development application.

a.    In the case of appeals (subsections (A)(5), (6), and (7) of this section), submission of an appeal form in accordance with Chapter 14.11 FMC within applicable time frames. Subsections (B)(5) through (7) of this section shall also apply to appeals.

2.    Issuance of determination of complete application.

3.    If applicable, completion of environmental review under SEPA and issuance of a threshold determination (may be combined with notice of application).

4.    If applicable, Technical Review Committee review.

5.    Issuance and distribution of a notice of public hearing in accordance with FMC 14.13.090, Chapter 14.15 FMC and/or FMC 18.12.060.

6.    Open record public hearing, or if applicable, closed record appeal hearing.

7.    Decision by Hearings Examiner.

8.    Issuance and distribution of notice of decision to parties of record.

9.    If requested by a party of record within seven days of the date of the notice of decision, reconsideration of the Hearings Examiner’s decision.

C.    Decisions of the Hearings Examiner may be appealed to Whatcom County Superior Court by a party of record within 21 days of the date of the notice of decision in accordance with Chapter 36.70C RCW. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1987 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1900 § 1, 2015; Ord. 1711 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006. Formerly 14.09.040)

14.09.060 Process 3A – Decision by City Council with Hearings Examiner recommendation.

A.    Certain types of land use/development applications requiring public review are reviewed by the Hearings Examiner, and decided upon by the City Council. In these cases, a public hearing is held before the Hearings Examiner who then makes a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council makes a final decision following a review of the record of the public hearing and the Hearings Examiner recommendations. Process 3A applications include:

1.    Planned unit developments.

B.    The steps in the Type 3A process include:

1.    Submittal of complete land use/development application and SEPA checklist.

2.    Issuance of determination of complete application.

3.    Issuance and distribution of notice of application.

4.    Completion of environmental review under SEPA and issuance of a threshold determination (may be combined with notice of application).

5.    Technical Review Committee review.

6.    Issuance and distribution of a notice of public hearing.

7.    Public hearing by Hearings Examiner.

8.    Issuance and distribution of notice of decision (Hearings Examiner recommendation) to parties of record.

9.    If requested by a party of record within seven days of the date of the notice of decision, reconsideration of the Hearings Examiner’s recommendation.

10.    City Council considers Hearings Examiner recommendation at a closed record public meeting, and makes final decision.

11.    Issuance and distribution of notice of decision to parties of record.

12.    If requested by a party of record within seven days of the date of the notice of decision, reconsideration of the City Council’s decision.

C.    Process 3A City Council decisions may be appealed to Whatcom County Superior Court by a party of record within 21 days of the date of the notice of decision. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1987 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1711 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006. Formerly 14.09.050)

14.09.070 Process 3B – Decision by City Council without Hearings Examiner recommendation.

A.    Alternative or innovative mitigation applications are reviewed by the City Council without a recommendation by the Hearings Examiner. These applications are reviewed by the Public Works Director and the Critical Areas Administrator who make recommendations to the City Council. In this case, the City Council makes a final decision based on information provided by staff at a regular public meeting. Process 3B applications include:

1.    Mitigation banks.

2.    In-lieu fee mitigation.

3.    Watershed-based management plans.

B.    The steps in the Type 3B process include:

1.    Submittal of complete final plat application.

2.    Issuance of determination of complete application.

3.    Review of application by Public Works Director and Critical Areas Administrator.

4.    Recommendation by Public Works Director and Critical Areas Administrator.

5.    City Council considers recommendation at a closed record public meeting, and makes final decision.

6.    Issuance and distribution of notice of decision to parties of record.

7.    If requested by a party of record within seven days of the date of the notice of decision, reconsideration of the City Council’s decision.

C.    Process 3B City Council decisions may be appealed to Whatcom County Superior Court by a party of record within 21 days of the date of the notice of decision. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1987 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1711 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006. Formerly 14.09.060)

14.09.080 Process 4 – Decision by City Council with Planning Commission recommendation.

A.    Legislative matters such as Comprehensive Plan amendments and rezones, as opposed to quasi-judicial matters such as plats, are decided by the City Council following a recommendation from the Planning Commission instead of the Hearings Examiner. Process 4 applications include:

1.    Comprehensive Plan amendments.

2.    Rezones.

3.    Annexations.

4.    Specific sub-area and neighborhood plans.

5.    Amendments to FMC Titles 16, 17, and 18, and the shoreline master program.

B.    The steps in the Type 4 process include:

1.    Submittal of complete application and SEPA checklist.

2.    Issuance of determination of complete application.

3.    Issuance and distribution of notice of application.

4.    Completion of environmental review and issuance of a threshold determination (may be combined with notice of application).

5.    Issuance and distribution of notice of public hearing.

6.    Open record public hearing by Planning Commission.

7.    Recommendation by Planning Commission, forwarded to City Council.

8.    City Council holds second open record public hearing, if applicable, considers Planning Commission recommendation, and makes final decision.

9.    Issuance and distribution of notice of decision to parties of record.

10.    If requested by a party of record within seven days of the date of the notice of decision, reconsideration of the City Council’s decision.

C.    Process 4 City Council decisions may be appealed to Whatcom County Superior Court by a party of record within 21 days of the date of the notice of decision. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1987 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1711 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006. Formerly 14.09.070)