Chapter 14.50
LAND DISTURBANCE

Sections:

Part I.    Land Disturbance

14.50.100    Purpose and Intent

14.50.105    Permit Required, Applicability and Authority

14.50.110    Definitions

14.50.115    Exemptions

14.50.120    Land Disturbance Permit Thresholds

14.50.125    Application Requirements

14.50.130    Restrictions and Requirements

14.50.135    Minimum Performance Standards

14.50.140    Topsoil

14.50.145    Maintenance and Security

14.50.150    Inspections

14.50.152    Violations and Penalties

Part II.    Forest Practices

14.50.155    Forest Practices

Part III.    Cultural Resource Management

14.50.160    Archaeological and Historical Resources

Part I.    Land Disturbance

14.50.100 Purpose and Intent.

The purpose of this chapter is to regulate land disturbance activities, including the clearing and removal of vegetation, excavation, grading, filling and other earthwork such as cuts and fills within the City of Lake Stevens to protect public health, safety and welfare by requiring the following elements:

(a)    Encouraging holistic site planning to reduce negative impacts to the community and the environment;

(b)    Preserving vegetation and where appropriate requiring commensurate replanting;

(c)    Requiring the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) during land disturbing activities;

(d)    Minimizing adverse stormwater impacts related to land disturbance per the requirements of the 2012 Department of Ecology Stormwater Manual for Western Washington or as amended;

(e)    Assuming regulatory authority for Class IV Forest Practices as defined by Chapter 76.09 RCW;

(f)    Establishing administrative procedures to issue permits, approve plans and inspect land disturbance activities; and

(g)    Reducing the amount of time between land disturbance and the beginning of actual site construction.

Land disturbance activities within or near a critical area or within the shoreline jurisdiction must be consistent with the provisions of Chapter 14.88 and the Lake Stevens Shoreline Master Program, as applicable. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.105 Permit Required, Applicability and Authority.

(a)    The Community Development Director or designee shall review and approve or conditionally approve all applications for land disturbance permits, which meet the requirements of this chapter.

(b)    A land disturbance permit is required for all land disturbance unless exempted in Section 14.50.115.

(c)    The provisions of this chapter apply to all land disturbance activity within the City. No action shall be taken by any person, which results in any alteration to the landscape except as consistent with the purposes, objectives, and goals of this chapter.

(d)    Activities exempt a land disturbance permit, as described in Section 14.50.115, must still comply with the restrictions and requirements contained in Section 14.50.140.

(e)    By submitting an application under this section, the applicant consents to entry upon the subject site by the City during regular business hours for the purposes of making inspections to verify information provided by the applicant to verify that work is being performed in accordance with the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.110 Definitions.

The definitions related to land disturbance and forest practices are included in Chapter 14.08. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.115 Exemptions.

The following activities do not require a land disturbance permit:

(a)    Land disturbance associated with an approved building permit or approved construction plans.

(b)    Land disturbance associated with public improvements and maintenance within the existing right-of-way; provided this does not include activities that expand into a critical area or buffer including, but not limited to:

(1)    Roadside ditch cleaning, provided the ditch does not contain salmonids;

(2)    Pavement maintenance;

(3)    Normal grading of gravel shoulders;

(4)    Maintenance of culverts;

(5)    Maintenance of flood control or other approved stormwater facilities; and

(6)    Routine clearing within road right-of-way.

(c)    Site investigations such as surveys, soil borings, test pits, percolation tests and other related activities, necessary for preparing land use or building permit applications provided the land disturbing activities are not greater than is necessary to accomplish the work and do not create permanent site impacts.

(d)    Any excavation, grading or fill activities less than 50 cubic yards.

(e)    Landscape installation or site improvements, which do not result in a fill being placed behind a wall greater than four feet in height as measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall or a cut more than four feet in depth or which does not exceed 15 cubic yards on any lot.

(f)    Cutting, clearing or removal of vegetation within any fully developed lot, parcel, street or utility right-of-way or park land outside of a critical area or its buffers not requiring any other permits or SEPA review, such as lawn mowing, rototilling, composting, gardening, noncommercial firewood cutting and pruning of vegetation.

(g)    The removal of plants designated as noxious or invasive weeds by governmental agencies.

(h)    Emergency removal of ground cover or hazardous trees by any person, the Public Works Department, Parks Department, Fire Department and/or public or private utility necessary to protect public safety or private or public property from imminent danger. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.120 Land Disturbance Permit Thresholds.

(a)    Minor Land Disturbance. A minor land disturbance permit shall follow the procedures established in Chapter 14.16B for a Type I permit process and shall be required for each of the following actions or any combination thereof:

(1)    Any land clearing activity that removes vegetation equal to or greater than 2,500 square feet but less than 5,000 square feet within any 12-month period. Removal of any vegetation from wetlands, streams or their buffers shall comply with Chapter 14.88 and may not occur without prior approval from the Community Development Director and State agencies with jurisdiction.

(2)    Any excavation, grading or fill activities equal to or greater than 50 cubic yards, but less than 100 cubic yards.

(3)    Land disturbance increases hard surface area by five percent of the lot area or 2,000 square feet, whichever is less.

(4)    Land disturbance that redirects stormwater from 5,000 square feet or more of drainage area so that it is released onto adjacent properties in a concentrated manner.

(5)    Land disturbance that alters, redirects or impedes natural watercourses or manmade drainage channels.

(6)    Construction of finished slopes that will exceed a ratio of 2:1 (horizontal to vertical).

(7)    Land disturbance proposed within the boundaries of any drainage, access or utility easements.

(8)    Class IV Forest Practices as described in Chapter 14.50, Part II, associated with another land use permit approval (e.g., subdivision, binding site plan, commercial design review, etc.).

(b)    Major Land Disturbance. A major land disturbance permit shall follow the procedures established in Chapter 14.16B for a Type II process and be required for each of the following actions or any combination thereof:

(1)    Any excavation, grading or fill activities on a lot that equals or exceeds 100 cubic yards within any 12-month period.

(2)    Any land clearing activity that removes vegetation equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet within any 12-month period unless part of another land use permit approval. Removal of any vegetation from wetlands, streams or their buffers shall comply with Chapter 14.88 and may not occur without prior approval from the Community Development Director and State agencies with jurisdiction.

(3)    Class IV Forest Practices as described in Chapter 14.50, Part II, associated with any excavation, grading or fill activities that equal or exceed 100 cubic yards. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.125 Application Requirements.

A land disturbance application shall include the following items:

(a)    Completed Type I/II permit application form;

(b)    A narrative of the project that describes the existing site conditions and development goals of the proposed work by including (1) specific work to be accomplished, (2) a time schedule for land clearing activities, (3) type of equipment to be used, (4) measures proposed to protect the site and adjacent properties from potential adverse impacts, and (5) the estimated quantities/area of work involved;

(c)    Public noticing documents per Chapter 14.16B;

(d)    An environmental checklist if the land disturbance will exceed 100 cubic yards;

(e)    A critical areas report identifying wetlands, streams and their associated buffers, if applicable;

(f)    A drainage and stormwater report, if applicable;

(g)    A geotechnical and soils report, if applicable;

(h)    A cultural resource management report, if applicable;

(i)    The correct intake fees as determined by the currently adopted fee schedule;

(j)    Any other materials required by the Community Development Director; and

(k)    A site plan of the subject property that meets the requirements of Section 14.16C.105(d). (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.130 Restrictions and Requirements.

All land disturbance, regardless of whether or not a permit is required, is subject to the following requirements.

(a)    No land disturbance is allowed in a critical area and its buffers otherwise prohibited by Chapter 14.88.

(b)    For single-family and duplex lots, no activities shall be allowed which results in the hard surface area of the lot exceeding the maximum thresholds as defined by Section 14.48.055.

(c)    No land disturbing activities are permitted outward from the shores of Lake Stevens except as permitted pursuant to the restrictions of the Lake Stevens Shoreline Master Program.

(d)    Adequate temporary erosion and sedimentation control (TESC) measures shall be approved and installed per Chapter 11.06 (Stormwater Management) prior to any disturbance of soils.

(e)    All disturbed areas shall be hydro-seeded and mulched, sodded or otherwise protected within 48 hours of disturbance.

(f)    All potentially impacted critical areas and their buffers shall be delineated with a construction limits fence prior to any disturbance of the soil.

(g)    The project proponent shall present to the City a valid NPDES permit, where required, prior to any disturbance of soil.

(h)    Environmental review of land disturbance associated with site development may be done concurrently with the environmental review of the project (e.g., preliminary plat, land use permit, or building permit), allowing for public improvements to be permitted by approval of the construction drawings. However, the application shall specifically state that such land disturbance is a part of the application, and the permit shall specifically state what land disturbance is permitted or the activities shall not be considered permitted.

(i)    Land disturbing activities that include tree removal on residential lots shall be required to demonstrate retention of the minimum number of shade trees on site as defined in Section 14.76.124.

(j)    Clearing activities of 2,500 square feet or more in any 12-month period shall comply with the retention and protection of significant tree requirements as contained in Section 14.76.120.

(1)    Replacement trees shall be located in such a manner so that they will not be disturbed when the site develops in the future.

(2)    No more than 10 percent of significant trees or 50 percent of all trees on a site may be removed unless and until it is done as part of a land use permit, which has received the appropriate land use permit(s) from the City.

(3)    The applicant shall include a conceptual plan showing how the protected trees will be able to be retained at the time of site development.

(k)    Hours of operation shall be between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekends. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.135 Minimum Performance Standards.

(a)    No land disturbing activities may be approved unless the project proponent demonstrates that the requirements of Chapter 11.06 have been met.

(b)    Any land disturbance activity, whether requiring a permit or not, shall provide erosion and sediment control (ESC) measures that prevent the transport of sediment from the site to adjacent properties and facilities.

(c)    Cuts and fills shall conform to the following provisions:

(1)    No slope of cut and fill surfaces shall be steeper than is safe for the intended use and shall not exceed two horizontal to one vertical; and

(2)    All disturbed areas including faces of cuts and fill slopes shall be prepared and maintained to control erosion in compliance with subsection (b) of this section.

(d)    Access roads to grading sites shall be maintained and located to the satisfaction of the City Engineer to minimize problems of dust, mud and traffic circulation.

(e)    Setbacks. The tops and the toes of cut and fill slopes shall be set back from property boundaries as far as necessary for safety of the adjacent properties and to prevent damage resulting from water runoff or erosion of the slopes based on the recommendation of a geotechnical engineer.

(f)    The tops and the toes of cut and fill slopes shall be set back from structures as far as is necessary for adequacy of foundation support and to prevent damage as a result of water runoff or erosion of the slopes based on the recommendation of a geotechnical engineer. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.140 Topsoil.

In order to provide a suitable vegetation growth medium for final site stabilization, the following requirements shall be met prior to residential final plat approval or if on an existing lot, prior to issuance of a final inspection/certificate of occupancy (Note: This section is intended to complement the requirements of the “Stormwater Manual” referenced in Chapter 11.06; if there is a conflict, the more restrictive regulations apply):

(a)    A minimum of eight inches of topsoil is to be placed in all areas not developed with hard surface area.

(b)    In order to ensure a proper bond between the topsoil and subsoil, the topsoil shall be worked into the layer below for a minimum of four inches, resulting in a consistent mix of topsoil and subsoil throughout.

(c)    The topsoil shall be friable and loamy (loam, sandy loam, silt loam, sandy clay loam, clay loam).

(d)    When native topsoil is to be stockpiled and reused, the following should apply to ensure that the mycorrhizal bacteria, earthworms, and other beneficial organisms will not be destroyed:

(1)    Topsoil is to be reinstalled within four to six weeks;

(2)    Topsoil is not to become saturated with water.

(e)    Stockpiling of topsoil shall comply with the following:

(1)    The slopes of the pile shall not exceed 2:1;

(2)    An interceptor dike with gravel outlet and silt fence shall surround all topsoil stockpiles;

(3)    Topsoil shall not be placed while in a frozen or muddy condition, when the subgrade is excessively wet, or when conditions exist that may otherwise be detrimental to proper grading or proposed sodding or seeding. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.145 Maintenance and Security.

(a)    The Community Development Director or designee may require the applicant to establish a security pursuant to Section 14.16A.180 which may be acceptable to the City at its sole discretion, in an amount deemed by the City to be sufficient to reimburse the City if it should become necessary to enter the property for the purpose of correcting and/or eliminating hazardous conditions relating to land disturbance activities or for other purposes authorized in this chapter.

(b)    In no case shall the security be less than the City’s estimate of the cost of correcting or eliminating hazardous conditions that reasonably may occur, and/or of insuring compliance with the stipulations of the permit and the approved plans and specifications. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.150 Inspections.

(a)    The applicant must submit a written determination from a certified erosion and sediment control lead (CESCL) that appropriate temporary erosion and sediment control (TESC) measures are in place prior to starting any land disturbance activities.

(b)    The applicant must submit as-built drawings to reflect any changes from the original approval made in the field as required by the Community Development Director or designee.

(c)    All land disturbance permits are subject to a mandatory final inspection to ensure that all work on a site has been completed pursuant to the approved permit and the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

14.50.152 Violations and Penalties.1

Violations of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the enforcement and review criteria of Title 17. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

Part II.    Forest Practices

14.50.155 Forest Practices.

(a)    The purpose of this section is to assume regulatory authority from the Washington Department of Natural Resources over certain forest practices as permitted by Washington State law and pursuant to Chapter 76.09 RCW and Chapter 222-20 WAC. This section ensures that the forest practices described in the following subsections occur in compliance with the Lake Stevens Comprehensive Plan, the Lake Stevens Shoreline Master Program and the regulations of this title.

(b)    The definitions contained in RCW 76.09.020 of the Forest Practices Act and in WAC 222-16-010 and 222-16-050 of the Forest Practices Act’s implementing regulations shall apply to all terms used in this chapter; provided, that the definitions contained in Title 14 shall be applicable where not in conflict with the above-referenced Forest Practices Act and the Forest Practices Act’s implementing regulations. In the event of any conflict between the definitions, the definitions in Chapter 222-16 WAC shall prevail. This chapter shall apply to Class IV - General and special forest practices as defined by WAC 222-16-050 for the purpose of conversion to a nonforestry use.

(c)    The following activities are exempt from the requirements of this chapter when located outside of critical areas and their buffers:

(1)    Forest practices regulated exclusively by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources pursuant to Chapter 76.09 RCW;

(2)    The removal of less than 5,000 board feet of timber (including live, dead, and down material) for personal use in any 12-month period;

(3)    The removal of trees which have been grown to be sold as Christmas trees or used in landscaping such as trees sold by commercial nurseries;

(4)    The abatement of an emergency, such as the removal of trees necessary to protect the safety of persons or property from clear and imminent danger;

(5)    Landscape maintenance or pruning which does not impair the health or survival of trees required to be retained or planted pursuant to this chapter; and

(6)    The removal of trees in the public right-of-way as required by the City Engineer for the purpose of public safety or for the maintenance of existing public roads and existing facilities, consistent with Chapter 76.09 RCW.

(d)    A Class IV - General forest practices permit shall follow the procedures established in Chapter 14.16B for a Type II permit process and be required for those forest practices described in WAC 222-16-050(1) and (2). A forest practices application shall include the following submittal items:

(1)    A completed State Environmental Policy Act checklist.

(2)    Written verification from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources that the subject site is not and has not been subject to a notice of conversion to nonforestry use under RCW 76.09.060 during the six-year period prior to submission of the permit application.

(3)    A title report as proof that the parcel is not currently subject to a six-year development moratorium. If the property is subject to a six-year development moratorium, the application will not be accepted until the end of the moratorium or until the moratorium has been lifted.

(4)    All submittal items as described in Section 14.50.125.

(5)    An application fee in an amount set by resolution by the City Council.

(e)    To improve the administration of the forest excise tax created by Chapter 84.33 RCW, the City will report permit information to the Department of Revenue for all approved forest practices permits no later than 60 days after the date the permit was approved. Such notification shall include the following information:

(1)    Landowner’s legal name, address, and telephone number;

(2)    Decision date of permit; and

(3)    Parcel number and legal description (section, township, and range) of the subject site.

(f)    The Hearing Examiner may consider the removal of a six-year development moratorium established pursuant to Chapter 76.09 RCW when the applicant strictly meets the following requirements:

(1)    Any property owner subject to a moratorium may request a release from the six-year moratorium by filing a Type III permit application with the Community Development Department.

(2)    Following such request, the Community Development Department shall set a date for an open record public hearing pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 14.16B for Type III permits before the Hearing Examiner.

(3)    The Hearing Examiner shall consider the removal of a development moratorium established pursuant to this chapter when the following criteria are strictly met:

(i)    The proponent submits a Type III application for removal of the moratorium; and

(ii)    The proponent proposes corrective actions to bring the violation into compliance with this chapter and mitigate any existing damage through the submittal of a reforestation plan or mitigation plan, prepared by a qualified professional consistent with Chapter 14.88.

(4)    Hearing Examiner Authority.

(i)    The Hearing Examiner shall review requests for removal of a development moratorium, any comments received, and applicable City regulations or policies and may inspect the property before rendering a decision.

(ii)    The Hearing Examiner may approve the request to remove a development moratorium, approve the request with conditions, require modification of the proposal to strictly comply with specified requirements or local conditions, or deny the request if it fails to comply with requirements of this chapter.

(5)    Required Written Findings and Determinations. The Hearing Examiner will address the following items as written findings and determinations before issuing a decision:

(i)    The removal of the six-year development moratorium will not be detrimental to public health, safety, and general welfare.

(ii)    The removal of the six-year development moratorium will not be injurious to the property or improvements adjacent to the proposal.

(iii)    The removal of the six-year development moratorium will not result in significant adverse environmental impacts.

(iv)    The removal of the six-year development moratorium is consistent and compatible with the goals, objectives, and policies of the Comprehensive Plan and the provisions of this chapter and other applicable municipal codes. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)

Part III.    Cultural Resource Management

14.50.160 Archaeological and Historical Resources.

(a)    The destruction of or damage to any site having historic or cultural values as identified by the appropriate agencies, including but not limited to affected tribes and the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, should be prevented.

(b)    Archaeological sites located both within and outside of shoreline jurisdiction are subject to the provisions of Chapters 27.44 (Indian Graves and Records) and 27.53 RCW.

(1)    Whenever historical, cultural or archaeological sites or artifacts of potential significance are discovered in the process of development, work on the development site shall be stopped immediately. The project proponent or responsible party must report the find to the City immediately.

(2)    The City will notify the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the Tulalip and Stillaguamish Tribes and other appropriate agencies of the discovery. The City will require that the project proponent or responsible party retain a professional archaeologist to conduct an immediate site assessment and determine the significance of the discovery. If a negative determination is received, i.e., the report does not determine that the find is significant, the work may resume after consultation with the State and the affected tribes.

(3)    On receipt of a positive determination of the site’s significance, work shall remain stopped on the project site and the project proponent or responsible party shall not resume development activities without authorization from the State and the affected tribes. (Ord. 1015, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2018)


1

Code reviser’s note: Ord. 1015 adds these provisions as Section 14.50.150. The section has been renumbered to avoid duplication of numbering.