Chapter 22.08


22.08.001    Determination of consistency.

22.08.002    Initial SEPA analysis.

22.08.003    Categorically exempt and planned actions.

22.08.004    Administrative interpretations.

22.08.001 Determination of consistency.

(a) Purpose. When the city receives a project permit application, consistency between the proposed project and the applicable regulations and comprehensive plan should be determined through the process in this chapter and the city’s adopted SEPA procedures and policies.

(b) Consistency. The city shall determine whether items (1) through (4) listed in this subsection are defined in the development regulations applicable to the proposed project. In the absence of applicable development regulations, the city shall determine whether the items listed in this subsection are defined in the city’s adopted comprehensive plan. This determination of consistency shall consider the following:

(1) The type of land use permitted at the site, including uses that may be allowed under certain circumstances, if the criteria for their approval have been satisfied; and

(2) The level of development, such as units per acre, density of residential development in urban growth areas, or other measures of density; and

(3) Availability and adequacy of infrastructure and public facilities identified in the comprehensive plan, if the plan or development regulations provide for finding of these facilities as required by Chapter 36.70A RCW; and

(4) Character of the development, relative to adopted policies, regulations and guidelines (RCW 36.70B.030, 36.70B.040). (Ord. 1120 § 1, 1996).

22.08.002 Initial SEPA analysis.

(a) The city shall also review the project permit application under the requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”), Chapter 43.21C RCW, the SEPA Rules, Chapter 197-11 WAC, and the city’s SEPA procedures and policies, and shall:

(1) Determine whether the applicable regulations require studies that adequately analyze all of the project permit application’s specific probable adverse environmental impacts;

(2) Determine if the applicable regulations require measures that adequately address such environmental impacts;

(3) Determine whether additional studies are required and/or whether the project permit application should be conditioned with additional mitigation measures;

(4) Provide the opportunity for coordinated review by government agencies and the public on compliance with applicable environmental laws and plans, including mitigation for specific project impacts that have not been considered and addressed at the plan or development regulation level.

(b) In the city’s review of a project permit application, the city may determine that the requirements for environmental analysis, protection and mitigation measures in the applicable development regulations, comprehensive plan and/or in other applicable local, state or federal laws provide adequate analysis of and mitigation for the specific adverse environmental impacts of the application.

(c) If the city’s approval of the project permit application is based or conditioned on compliance with the requirements or mitigation measures described in subsection (a) of this section, the city shall not impose additional mitigation under SEPA during project review.

(d) A comprehensive plan, development regulation or other applicable local, state or federal law provides adequate analysis of and mitigation for the specific adverse environmental impacts of an application when:

(1) The impacts have been avoided or otherwise mitigated; or

(2) The city has designated as acceptable certain levels of service, land use designations, development standards or other land use planning required or allowed by Chapter 36.70A RCW.

(e) In the city’s decision whether a specific adverse environmental impact has been addressed by an existing rule or law of another agency with jurisdiction and environmental expertise with regard to a specific environmental impact, the city shall consult orally or in writing with that agency and may expressly defer to that agency. In making this deferral, the city shall base or condition project approval on compliance with these other existing rules or laws.

(f) Nothing in this section limits the authority of the city’s review or mitigation of a project to adopt or otherwise rely on environmental analyses and requirements under other laws, as provided by Chapter 43.21C RCW. (Ord. 1120 § 1, 1996).

22.08.003 Categorically exempt and planned actions.

(a) Categorically Exempt. Actions categorically exempt under RCW 43.21C.110(1)(a) do not require environmental review or the preparation of an environmental impact statement. An action that is categorically exempt under the rules adopted by the Department of Ecology (Chapter 197-11 WAC) may not be conditioned or denied under SEPA (RCW 43.21C.031).

(b) Planned Actions.

(1) A planned action does not require a threshold determination or the preparation of an environmental impact statement under SEPA, but is subject to environmental review and mitigation under SEPA.

(2) A “planned action” means one or more types of project action that:

(A) Are designated planned actions by an ordinance or resolution adopted by the city;

(B) Have had the significant impacts adequately addressed in an environmental impact statement prepared in conjunction with:

(i) A comprehensive plan or subarea plan adopted under Chapter 36.70A RCW, or

(ii) A fully contained community, a master planned resort, a master planned development or a phased project;

(C) Are subsequent or implementing projects for the proposals listed in subsection (b)(2)(B) of this section;

(D) Are located within an urban growth area, as defined in RCW 36.70A.030;

(E) Are not essential public facilities, as defined in RCW 36.70A.200; and

(F) Are consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan adopted under Chapter 36.70A RCW (RCW 43.21C.031).

(c) Limitations on Planned Actions. The city shall limit planned actions to certain types of development or to specific geographical areas that are less extensive than the jurisdictional boundaries of the city, and may limit a planned action to a time period identified in the environmental impact statement or in the ordinance or resolution designating the planned action under RCW 36.70A.040 (RCW 43.21C.031).

(d) Limitations on SEPA Review. During project review, the city shall not re-examine alternatives to or hear appeals on the items identified in FMC 22.08.001(b), except for issues of code interpretation. Project review shall be used to identify specific project design and conditions relating to the character of development, such as the details of site plans, curb cuts, drainage swales, the payment of impact fees, or other measures to mitigate a proposal’s probable adverse environmental impacts (RCW 36.70B.030(3)). (Ord. 1120 § 1, 1996).

22.08.004 Administrative interpretations.

(a) Purpose. The primary objective of administrative interpretation is to ascertain the intent of the code provision at issue and to give effect to that intent. Administrative interpretation shall not be used to amend or change the code. The city’s development regulations (the land development code) shall be interpreted whenever any of its provisions, or the application of such provisions to any specific set of circumstances, are ambiguous, i.e., where the code is subject to two or more reasonable interpretations.

(b) Administration. The director is authorized and directed to administer the provisions of this section and shall have the authority to approve or deny administrative interpretations without a hearing in accordance with this section.

(c) Procedure. The following steps shall be followed in the processing of an administrative interpretation:

(1) FMC 22.06.004, Determination of completeness;

(2) FMC 22.08.001, Determination of consistency;

(3) FMC 22.07.005, Notice of decision for administrative use permit, minor site plan review, minor variance, and administrative interpretation; and

(4) FMC 22.10.004, Closed record decisions and appeals (if any).

(d) Requirements for a Complete Application. The following materials shall be submitted to the city in order to constitute a complete application for an administrative interpretation:

(1) The name, address, telephone number and email address of the applicant, the completed application form with the date of submission to the city and the applicable fee;

(2) An identification of the code provision that is the subject of the applicant’s administrative interpretation, and a description of the applicant’s perception of the ambiguity in the code;

(3) A description of the set of circumstances, the address of the property or identification of the development that the applicant believes has created the ambiguity or two or more reasonable interpretations of the code provision identified in subsection (d)(2) of this section; and

(4) If the applicant is requesting an administrative interpretation relating to the applicability of a code provision to a particular piece of property, the applicant shall submit a verified statement that this property is in the exclusive ownership of the applicant, or that the applicant has submitted the request for the interpretation with the consent of all owners of the affected property.

(e) Criteria for Approval. Administrative interpretation shall utilize generally recognized principles of statutory and ordinance interpretation adopted by the courts of this state. In addition:

(1) The provisions of the land development code shall be considered to include the minimum requirements adopted for the promotion and protection of the public health, safety and general welfare, and all administrative interpretations shall be made in this context.

(2) The provisions of the land development code are not intended to interfere with, abrogate or annul any easements, covenants, or other agreements between parties, except where the agreements may conflict with the enforcement of the land development code.

(3) In the case of conflicts between the portions of the land development code and other rules, regulations, resolutions, ordinances or statutes lawfully adopted by other authority having jurisdiction within the city, the most restrictive shall govern. In the case of conflicts between the text, maps and charts of the land development code, the text shall govern unless otherwise stated.

(4) Zoning Map Interpretation. Where uncertainty exists as to the location of any boundaries of the zones shown on the city’s official zoning map, the rules of interpretation listed in FMC 22.30.004 shall apply.

(f) No Limitation for Final Decision. An administrative interpretation is not a project permit application, and is not subject to a deadline for issuance of a final decision. (Ord. 1611 § 3, 2018).