Chapter 14.04


14.04.010    SEPA applicability in critical areas.

14.04.020    Definitions.

14.04.030    Review authority.

14.04.040    General review procedures – Administrative interpretations.

14.04.050    Preapplication meetings.

14.04.060    Complete application.

14.04.070    Notice of application.

14.04.080    Staff recommendation.

14.04.090    Action on applications.

14.04.100    Notice of public hearing.

14.04.110    Procedures for public hearings.

14.04.120    Notice of decision.

14.04.140    Fees.

14.04.150    Interpretation and liability.

14.04.160    Judicial appeal.

14.04.010 SEPA applicability in critical areas.

The following list of amended categorical exemptions shall require a SEPA environmental review as set forth in WAC 197-11-908, if they take place within critical areas or buffers:

(A) The construction or location of any residential structures of four (4) units or less.

(B) The construction of a barn, loafing shed, farm equipment storage building, produce storage or packing structure or similar agricultural structure over one hundred (100) square feet to be used only by the property owner or his or her agent in the conduct of farming the property.

(C) The construction of an office, school, commercial, recreational, service, or storage building over one hundred (100) square feet of gross floor area and with associated parking facilities.

(D) The construction of a parking lot for twenty (20) or less automobiles.

(E) Any landfill or excavation of thirty (30) or more cubic yards throughout the total lifetime of the fill or excavation; and any fill or excavation classified as a Class I, II, or III forest practice under RCW 76.09.050 or regulations thereunder.

(F) The construction or designation of bus stops, loading zones, shelters, access facilities, and pull-out lanes for taxicabs, transit, and school vehicles.

(G) The construction or installation of minor road and street improvements, railroad protective devices (not including grade-separated crossings), transportation corridor landscaping (including the application of Washington State Department of Agriculture approved herbicides for right-of-way weed control as long as this is not within watersheds controlled for the purpose of drinking water quality in accordance with WAC 248-54-660), correction of substandard curves and intersections within existing rights-of-way, widening of a street by less than a single lane where capacity is not significantly increased and no new right-of-way is required, adding auxiliary lanes for localized purposes (weaving, climbing, speed changes, etc.) where capacity is not significantly increased and no new right-of-way is required, channelization and elimination of sight restrictions at intersections, street lighting, guard rails and barricade installation, installation of catch basins and culverts, and reconstruction of existing roadbed (existing curb-to-curb in urban locations), including adding or widening of shoulders, addition of bicycle lanes, paths and facilities, and pedestrian walks and paths, but not including additional automobile lanes.

(H) The installation of impervious underground storage tanks having a capacity of ten thousand (10,000) gallons or less.

(I) The vacation of streets or roads.

(J) All storm water, water, and sewer facilities, lines, equipment, hookups, or appurtenances including, utilizing, or related to lines eight (8) inches or less in diameter.

(K) All electric facilities, lines, equipment or appurtenances, not including substations, with an associated voltage of fifty-five thousand (55,000) volts or less; and the overbuilding of existing distribution lines (fifty-five thousand (55,000) volts or less) with transmission lines (more than fifty-five thousand (55,000) volts); and the undergrounding of all electric facilities, lines, equipment or appurtenances.

(L) All natural gas distribution (as opposed to transmission) lines and necessary appurtenant facilities and hookups.

(M) All developments within the confines of any existing electric substation, reservoir, pump station, or well; provided, that additional appropriations of water are not exempted by this subsection.

(N) Periodic use of chemical or mechanical means to maintain a utility or transportation right-of-way in its design condition; provided, that chemicals used are approved by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and applied by licensed personnel. This exemption shall not apply to the use of chemicals within watersheds that are controlled for the purpose of drinking water in accordance with WAC 248-54-660.

(O) All grants of rights-of-way by agencies to utilities for use for distribution (as opposed to transmission) purposes.

(P) Issuance of agricultural leases covering one hundred sixty (160) acres or less.

(Q) Issuance of leases for school sites.

(R) Development of recreational sites not specifically designated for all-terrain vehicles and not including more than twelve (12) campsites.

(S) Periodic use of chemical or mechanical means to maintain public park and recreational land; provided, that chemicals used are approved by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and applied by licensed personnel. This exemption shall not apply to the use of chemicals within watersheds that are controlled for the purpose of drinking water quality in accordance with WAC 248-54-660. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.020 Definitions.

“Administrative approval” means the authority given to the mayor or the mayor’s designee to approve minor changes to an application without giving public notice.

“Administrative interpretation” means an interpretation of the Index ordinances and codes related to the application and made by the mayor or the mayor’s designee.

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

“Complete status” means an application that purports and appears to include the information required by Section 14.04.060.

“Date of decision” means the date on which final action occurs.

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

“Developer” means any person who proposes an action or who seeks a permit regulated based on the Index Municipal Code (IMC).

“Development” means the construction, reconstruction, or modification of structures.

“Development permit” means any land use or environmental permit or license required from the town of Index for a project action, including but not limited to building permits, subdivisions, binding site plans, planned unit developments, conditional uses, shoreline substantial development permits, site plan review, permits or reviews required by critical ordinances, site-specific rezones authorized by a comprehensive plan or subarea plan, but excluding the adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan, subarea plan, or development regulations.

“Development standards” means the town of Index ordinances and codes used to review and evaluate the application proposal; these include codes as regulated by Snohomish County planning and development services.

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

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

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

“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.

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

“Notice of public hearing” means a notice given of the scheduled hearing according to this chapter.

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

“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.

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

“Town” means the town of Index.

“Working days” means the days of the workweek, i.e., Monday through Friday. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.030 Review authority.

(A) The following development permits are subject to town council review, including a public hearing (unless otherwise noted) and final decision:

(1) Title 17 variances and conditional use permits.

(2) Preliminary plat applications.

(3) Shoreline substantial development, conditional use and variances.

(4) Site-specific rezones, after recommendation from the planning commission. The town council will consider the rezone in a closed record review. The planning commission shall hold a public hearing on the application.

(5) Appeals and requests for variance from the requirements of Chapter 15.08, Flood Plain Management.

(6) Critical areas permits under the requirements of Chapter 16.16 after recommendation from the planning commission.

(B) Administrative staff and contractors as designated by the mayor, ordinance or state law shall be responsible for review and decision-making of all development permits not assigned to the town council. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.040 General review procedures – Administrative interpretations.

(A) The mayor is authorized, with the assistance of the town clerk and other persons designated by the mayor, to administer this chapter and to employ other officers to perform administrative functions related to the designated administrative actions.

(B) Applications shall be submitted to the town clerk at Index Town Hall. Except for the appeal of a determination of significance as provided in RCW 43.21C.075, there shall be, if any, no more than one (1) open record hearing and one (1) closed record appeal on a development permit application. Permit applicants may request consolidation of all their permit applications for one (1) development project so that the entire development project is only subject to one (1) open record hearing and closed record appeal, except for the appeal of a determination of significance.

(C) Any person may request an administrative interpretation of a town development standard. The town shall provide a written interpretation that shall be subject to appeal to the town council. The appeal must be in writing, identify the reasons for appeal and be filed with the town clerk within ten (10) days of issuance of the written interpretation. Issuance of the interpretation shall be construed as three (3) days after mailing or on the date of receipt if personally delivered or picked up at Town Hall. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.050 Preapplication meetings.

Preapplication meetings with town staff are encouraged 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. The town makes no warranty as to the accuracy of any information provided at preapplication meetings, including interpretation of town development standards or the chances of approval. Applicants must consult town regulations themselves and come to their own conclusions. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.060 Complete application.

(A) The town clerk and/or other officers designated by the mayor shall determine whether a development permit application is complete.

(B) The town shall have a maximum of twenty-eight (28) days after a development permit application is submitted to determine whether it is complete. If it is deemed incomplete, the town shall have an additional fourteen (14) days upon resubmission to determine if the application is complete. After a permit is deemed complete, the town shall have one hundred twenty (120) days to issue a final decision. This one hundred twenty (120) day period may be tolled by the time it takes an applicant to submit additional requested information, to prepare an environmental impact statement, or when the applicant agrees to an extension of time in writing.

(C) Applications for development project permits shall be submitted on forms provided by the town. An application shall consist of all materials required by the applicable development regulations, and shall include the following general information as applicable to be considered technically complete:

(1) A completed development project permit application form;

(2) A verified statement by the applicant that the property affected by the application is in the exclusive ownership of the applicant, or that the applicant has submitted the application with the consent of all owners of the affected property;

(3) A property and/or legal description of the site for all applications, as required by the applicable development regulations;

(4) The applicable fee; and

(5) Statement addressing all applicable standards, requirements and criteria in the development regulations.

(D) If the mayor, town clerk, or officers of the town determine that an application is not technically complete, then, within twenty-eight (28) days, 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.

(3) If the required information is not submitted by the date specified the town clerk will discontinue processing of the permit. No refund is available.

(E) Upon determination that an application is technically complete, the town clerk will send a letter of completeness to the applicant acknowledging acceptance. The fact that the application is technically complete shall not preclude the town from requiring the applicant to provide additional information or studies when necessary to complete review and issue a final decision. When requested, the applicant shall have ninety (90) days to submit the same. The town shall consider the application abandoned if the requested information or studies or a written request for a reasonable extension to submit the same are not submitted. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.070 Notice of application.

Within fourteen (14) days of issuing a letter of completeness and fifteen (15) days before any required public hearing, the town shall issue a notice of application at Town Hall and to all persons who have registered for notice. In instances of “substantial development” within shoreline designations the property will be posted by the clerk. The notice shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(A) The name of the applicant.

(B) The date of the application, notice of completion and public hearing (including time and location), if applicable.

(C) The location of the project.

(D) A project description.

(E) The required approvals, actions, and studies for the project.

(F) A public comment period no less than fourteen (14) nor more than thirty (30) days; provided, that public comments may be accepted up to the council consideration.

(G) A town contact and phone number.

(H) The identification of existing environmental documents that evaluate the proposed project and the location where the application and any supporting documents can be reviewed.

(I) A notice of application shall not be required for development permits that are categorically exempt under the State Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 43.21C RCW. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.080 Staff recommendation.

(A) The town clerk and/or other officials designated by the mayor shall prepare a staff report with recommended findings of fact and conclusions of law for any applications subject to a hearing by the town council. The staff report shall be provided to the town council prior to the hearing.

(B) The report shall include any and all comments from the public; recommendations and comments of any affected public agencies and special districts; and evaluate the proposed development’s consistency with town ordinances, adopted plans and regulations. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.090 Action on application.

For all decisions subject to review by the town council by this chapter, the town council shall make its decision by motion, resolution, or ordinance as appropriate.

(A) A council decision shall include one (1) of the following actions:

(1) Approve;

(2) Approve with conditions;

(3)  Modify, with or without the applicant’s concurrence; provided, that the modifications do not enlarge the area or scope of the project; increase the density or proposed building size or significantly increase adverse environmental impacts as determined by the responsible official;

(4) Deny;

(5) Deny with prejudice (reapplication is not permitted for one (1) year);

(B) 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 and town council approval, the notice shall be the signed ordinance or resolution. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.100 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 hearings shall be made by:

(1) Publication on the Wednesday before the date of the public meeting, hearing, or pending action in the official newspaper, the Monroe Monitor, as well as posting in three (3) conspicuous places within the town of Index, and at least one (1) notice on the subject property.

(2) Mailing at least ten (10) calendar days before the date of a public meeting, hearing, or pending action to all property owners within three hundred (300) feet of the boundaries of the subject property. Applicant shall provide addressed and stamped envelopes for the mailing.

(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 and sketch; the time, date, and place of the public hearing; and how to obtain additional information.

(C) Continuations. If for any reason a hearing on a pending action cannot be completed on the date set forth in the public notice, then the 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 mayor may authorize an extension of time and then the above notice procedure shall be followed. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.110 Procedures for 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 mayor shall open the public hearing and, in general, observe the following sequence of events:

(A) (1) At the beginning of the hearing the mayor or designee 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 any party’s request that the hearing be continued or that the record be kept open for a period of time will be considered;

(d) State that the council must be impartial and must disclose any ex parte contact, appearance of fairness or conflict of interest in the application;

(e) State which councilpersons, if any, have visited the site;

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

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

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

(4) Rebuttal, response, or clarifying statements by the staff and the applicant.

(5) The mayor or designee shall summarize the conduct of the hearing.

(B) At the conclusion of the hearing on each application, the council shall announce one (1) of the following actions:

(1) 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.

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

(3) That the application is taken under advisement and a recommendation will be issued.

(4) 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 Section 14.04.090.

(C) Notice of decision shall be distributed as set forth in RCW 36.70B.130. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.120 Notice of decision.

The final decision on a development permit shall include a statement of any threshold determination made under the State Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 43.21C RCW and the procedures for administrative appeal, if any. The notice of decision may be a copy of the report or decision on the development permit application. The notice shall be provided to the applicant and to any person who, prior to the rendering of the decision, requested notice of the decision or submitted substantive comments on the application. Notice of the decision shall also be posted at town hall. The notice shall state that affected property owners may request a change in property valuation for property tax purposes notwithstanding any program for revaluation. Notice of the decision shall also be provided to the Snohomish County assessor’s office. The requirements of this section shall not apply to permits that are categorically exempt under the State Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 43.21C RCW. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.140 Fees.

The town council is authorized to adopt and establish a fee schedule by resolution for town costs in reviewing and processing all permit applications covered by this chapter. In addition, all development permit applicants shall be responsible for reimbursing the town for its consultant costs in reviewing development permits as follows:

(A) Costs for planning, engineering, legal (including town attorney services) or other professional services, which services are performed by an independent contractor for the town for the processing and/or review of a development permit application, shall be reimbursed by the applicant in addition to the basic permit fee. The applicant shall be responsible for reimbursement of costs plus a ten percent (10%) administrative fee. In addition, any consultant costs incurred in permit inspection services shall also be borne by the applicant.

(B) Within ten (10) days of the submission of a permit application, the town clerk or other town staff person designated by the mayor shall estimate the cost the town will incur in independent contractor work identified in subsection (A) of this section. The permit applicant shall be required to pay this amount as a deposit and the application shall not be deemed complete until this amount is submitted to the town. An applicant may request this estimate prior to application if sufficient information is supplied to the town clerk or designee to formulate an estimate. The town clerk shall supply the applicant with an estimate within ten (10) days of the request.

(C) In the event independent contractor expenses exceed the amount of the deposit prior to the conclusion of processing, the town clerk or designee shall require the deposit to be replenished in an amount necessary to pay for the excess charges as well as any estimated further independent contractor expenses. Payments shall be due within ten (10) days of request unless an alternate payment schedule is agreed to by the town clerk and the applicant. No permits shall be issued, approvals of any type made, or any review conducted on the application until the deposit amounts are fully replenished.

(D) Any amounts past due under this section shall bear interest at twelve percent (12%) per annum after thirty (30) days of delinquency. Permit processing shall be suspended during any delinquency period and no permits shall be issued until all sums due under this section are fully paid.

(E) Any deposit monies not expended upon independent contractors upon completion of permit processing shall be refunded to the applicant. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.150 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 Section 14.04.020.

(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 provision 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 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. 404 (part), 2009).

14.04.160 Judicial appeal.

Appeals from the final decision of the town council and for which all other administrative appeals specifically authorized have been timely exhausted shall be made to Snohomish County superior court within twenty-one (21) days after issuance of the decision, as provided in Chapter 36.70C RCW. (Ord. 404 (part), 2009).