Chapter 18.36


18.36.010    Applications.

18.36.015    Letter of completeness.

18.36.017    Review of application.

18.36.018    Environmental review.

18.36.020    Notification.

18.36.025    Permit applications requiring administrative action by the planning official.

18.36.030    Staff report.

18.36.040    Planning advisory board actions.

18.36.050    City council actions/decisions.

18.36.060    Procedures for public hearing.

18.36.067    Procedures for closed record appeals.

18.36.070    Review and consideration.

18.36.075    Revocation or modification.

18.36.080    Denied or revoked approvals and permits.

18.36.090    Procedural irregularities.

18.36.105    Final decision.

18.36.110    Reconsideration.

18.36.120    Appeals.

18.36.125    Notice of appeal hearings.

18.36.130    Notice of decision.

18.36.140    Judicial appeal.

18.36.150    Administrative interpretation.

18.36.010 Applications.

A. Applications Defined. These procedures apply to rezones, plats (short and regular), conditional use permits, variances, and shoreline development permits, binding site plans, and related land use approvals as well as to proposals that require administrative action by the city planning official.

B. Pre-Application Conference. An applicant shall meet with the city planning and other city staff and consultants as appropriate, before submittal of an application for city action under this title to determine the general nature of the proposed action and seek advice on the applicable plans, policies, and regulations, submittal requirements, fees and expenses and the review and approval process. Pre-application conferences are mandatory for proposals requiring a decision by the hearing examiner. A pre-application conference may also be necessary for a proposal requiring administrative action by the planning official.

C. Required Submittals. For each application, the required submittals include the following:

1. The applicant, owner or owner’s representative names and addresses, a certificate of ownership issued by a title insurance company authorized to do business in the state and indication of the person to be contacted regarding the application;

2. The names and addresses of the owners and residents of properties within 500 feet of the property which is the subject of the application and addressed, pre-stamped envelopes;

3. The legal description of the property which is the subject of the application and the street address and whether the property has been surveyed and, if so, if the property corners can be identified in the field;

4. A detailed written narrative description of the proposed action and purpose of the application;

5. A site plan, to scale, indicating the pertinent geographic, natural and cultural features, and relationship to surrounding properties;

6. A written statement specifying how the proposed action meets the requirements of this title and other applicable city requirements;

7. As applicable, descriptions of proposed covenants, agreements, contracts, maintenance and operating procedures or other conditions which apply to the proposed action;

8. If applicable (as determined by the city planning official):

a. Architectural drawings, to scale, of all exterior elevations of all structures with exterior surface materials and colors specified;

b. Landscape plans indicating the existing natural vegetation, existing natural vegetation to be retained, vegetation to be installed and other landscape features such as walls, patios, walks, etc.;

c. A SEPA checklist and other information required to determine the likely environmental impacts of the proposed actions;

9. The planning official may require such additional information as reasonably necessary to fully and properly evaluate the proposal.

D. Fees Paid. The planning official shall collect all fees and expense deposits and record the date of acceptance. (Ord. 957 § 27, 2011; Ord. 868, 2006; Ord. 714, 1996; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.36.015 Letter of completeness.

A. Upon receipt of a date-stamped application, the planning official shall circulate the application to the appropriate city departments for comments on the adequacy of the information provided in making a determination of completeness.

B. Within 28 days of receiving a date-stamped application, the city shall provide applicants with a written determination that the application is complete or incomplete.

C. A project application shall be declared complete only when it contains all of the following materials:

1. A fully completed and signed development application and all applicable review fees.

2. A fully completed, signed environmental checklist for projects subject to review under the State Environmental Policy Act.

3. The information specified for the desired project in the appropriate chapters of the Langley Municipal Code.

4. Any supplemental information or special studies identified by the city planning official.

D. For applications determined to be incomplete, the city shall identify, in writing, the specific requirements or information necessary to constitute a complete application. Upon submittal of the additional information, the city shall, within 14 days, issue a letter of completeness or identify what additional information is required. (Ord. 868, 2006; Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.017 Review of application.

Following the issuance of a letter of completeness, the land use coordinator shall set a time certain for all affected city departments and any other entities or agencies with jurisdiction to provide comments on the applications. The city planning official shall determine compliance with city plans and regulations and environmental regulations. (Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.018 Environmental review.

A. Developments subject to the provisions of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) shall be reviewed by the planning official in accordance with the policies and procedures contained in Chapter 16.04.

B. SEPA review shall be conducted concurrently with development project review. The following are exempt from concurrent review:

1. Projects categorically exempt from SEPA.

2. Components of previously approved applications, to the extent permitted by law and consistent with environmental review for the approved applications. (Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.020 Notification.

A. Notice of Development Application.

1. Within 14 days of issuing a letter of completeness under Section 18.36.015, the city shall issue a notice of development application. The notice shall include but not be limited to the following:

a. The name of the applicant.

b. Date of application.

c. The date of the letter of completeness.

d. The location of the project.

e. A project description.

f. The requested approvals, actions, and/or required studies.

g. A public comment period of not less than 14 nor more than 30 days.

h. Identification of existing environmental documents.

i. A city staff contact and phone number.

j. The date, time, and place of a public hearing if one has been scheduled.

k. A statement that the decision on the application will be made within 120 days of the date of the letter of completeness.

2. Except as provided below, the notice of development application will be furnished by the city and shall be posted by the applicant on the subject property and at the Langley Library, City Hall and Post Office and published once in a newspaper of general circulation.

3. The notice of development application shall be issued prior to and is not a substitute for the required notice of a public hearing.

4. A notice of development application is not required for the following actions, when they are categorically exempt from SEPA or environmental review has been completed:

a. Applications for building permits.

b. Applications for lot line adjustments.

c. Applications for administrative action.

5. Except for a determination of significance, the city will not issue a threshold determination or issue a recommendation on a project permit until the expiration of the public comment period on an application; provided, that this does not apply to issuance of a determination of significance.

B. Notice of Public Hearing. Except as otherwise required, public notification of meetings, hearings, and pending actions under this title shall be made by:

1. Publication at least 10 days before the date of a public meeting or pending action, in the official newspaper or the newspaper of general circulation in the city;

2. Mailing at least 10 days before the date of a public meeting or pending action, to all property owners as shown on the records of the county assessor and to all street addresses of properties within 500 feet, not including street rights-of-way, of the boundaries of the property which is the subject of the meeting or pending action. Addressed, pre-stamped envelopes shall be provided by the applicant; and

3. Posting by the applicant of notices furnished by the city at least 10 days before the meeting or pending action at the Langley City Hall, Post Office and Library and at least one notice on the subject property in a conspicuous location that is readily visible from adjacent roadways. The property notice shall stand until final action is taken by the city.

C. If an open record hearing is required and a threshold determination requiring public notice is to be issued, the threshold determination must be issued at least 15 days prior to the open record hearing.

D. Content of Notice. The public notice shall include a general description of the proposed project, the applicant, type of approval requested, a nonlegal description of the property or a vicinity map or sketch, the time, date and place of the public hearing and the place where further information may be obtained.

E. Applicants are encouraged to contact abutting property owners to inform them of the project proposal. Contacts with or attempts to contact adjacent owners should be documented and provided as part of the application materials.

F. Continuations. If, for any reason, a hearing on a pending action cannot be completed on the date set in the public notice, the hearing may be continued to a date certain and no further notice is required, with environmental review for the approved applications. (Ord. 868, 2006; Ord. 788, 2000; Ord. 771, 1999; Ord. 733, 1997; Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.025 Permit applications requiring administrative action by the planning official.

A. The city planning official may administratively approve, approve with conditions, or deny applications for certain land use proposals. Such administrative permit applications are listed below. If an application is found to be consistent with the city’s zoning ordinance, this title, and with other applicable code provisions and city requirements, a certificate of zoning compliance or other appropriate approval shall be issued subject to compliance with public notice requirements.

B. Administrative permit applications requiring notification of application:

1. Short-term rental Types I, III and IV.

2. Short subdivisions.

3. Repealed by Ord. 1051.

4. Shoreline exemptions and shoreline substantial development permits, except those permits where a corollary permit is subject to the quasi-judicial process.

5. Accessory buildings having a gross floor area greater than 1,200 square feet.

6. Reduction of yard setbacks as provided for in Section 18.22.030(C).

7. Type I site plan review.

8. Boardinghouse.

C. Administrative permit applications not requiring notification of application, including but not limited to:

1. Boundary line adjustments;

2. Home occupations not requiring a conditional use permit;

3. Reductions of critical areas buffers as provided for in Section 16.20.070;

4. Critical/sensitive areas review pursuant to Chapter 16.20 requirements;

5. Written code interpretations;

6. Other minor actions (e.g., remodeling existing commercial buildings to accommodate new businesses);

7. New or modified single- and two-family dwellings;

8. Signs; and

9. Accessory dwelling units including tiny homes.

D. Notification of Application. The planning official shall notify adjacent property owners of the application as identified above. Notification shall be made by mail only. The notice shall include:

1. A detailed description of the proposal.

2. A place where further information may be obtained.

3. An offer of an opportunity for public comment within 14 days of the date of the notice. (Ord. 1058 § 11 (Exh. K), 2019; Ord. 1051 § 14 (Exh. N), 2019; Ord. 1004 § 4 (Exh. E), 2014; Ord. 868, 2006)

18.36.030 Staff report.

For all permit applications and other proposals requiring a decision by the hearing examiner, the city planning official shall prepare a staff report on the proposed development or action summarizing the comments and recommendations of the city departments, agencies with jurisdiction and the general public, incorporate all other pertinent information, comments and correspondence related to the application, and evaluate the proposal’s consistency with the city’s plans, policies, and regulations. The staff report shall include the staff findings, conclusions, and recommendations. (Ord. 957 § 28, 2011; Ord. 868, 2006; Ord. 714, 1996; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.36.040 Planning advisory board actions.

A. Public Hearings. After notification and receipt of the staff report, the planning advisory board shall hold a public hearing for the purpose of taking testimony, hearing evidence, considering the facts germane to the proposal, and evaluating the proposal for consistency with the city’s adopted plans, policies, and regulations. Hearings shall be held on the following applications and subjects:

1. Amendments to the comprehensive plan when these are the responsibility of the planning advisory board (see Chapter 18.20);

2. Amendments to the zoning code (this title);

3. Amendments to the subdivision code (Title 17);

4. Amendments to the environmental code (Title 16);

5. Other actions requested or remanded by the city council.

B. Following the public hearing and after due consideration of the testimony received, the planning advisory board shall forward their written recommendation to the city council with their findings of fact and conclusions of law. (Ord. 957 § 29, 2011; Ord. 873, 2006; Ord. 868, 2006; Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.050 City council actions/decisions.

A. Actions. Upon receiving a recommendation from the planning advisory board or any other matter requiring the council’s attention, the council shall perform the following actions as appropriate:

1. Make a decision on a planning advisory board recommendation.

2. At the council’s discretion, hold a public hearing and make a decision on a planning advisory board recommendation.

B. Decisions. The city council shall make its decision by motion, resolution or ordinance as appropriate.

1. A council decision on a planning advisory board recommendation or following a public hearing shall include one of the following actions:

a. Approve as recommended.

b. Approve with additional conditions.

c. Modify.

d. Remand a recommendation from the planning advisory board back to the planning advisory board for further consideration. (Ord. 957 § 30, 2011; Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.060 Procedures for public hearing.

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. The chair shall open the public hearing and, in general, observe the following sequence of events:

A. Staff presentation, including submittal of any administrative reports. Members of the hearing body may ask questions of the staff.

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

C. Testimony or comments by the public germane to the matter. Questions directed to the staff or the applicant shall be posed by the chair at its discretion.

D. Rebuttal, response or clarifying statements by the staff and the applicant.

E. The evidentiary portion of the public hearing shall be closed and the hearing body shall deliberate on the matter before it. (Ord. 957 § 32, 2011; Ord. 714, 1996. Formerly 18.36.065.)

18.36.067 Procedures for closed record appeals.

Closed record hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the hearing body’s rules of procedure and shall serve to provide argument and guidance for the body’s decision. Closed record hearings shall be conducted generally as provided for public hearings. No new evidence or testimony shall be given or received. The parties to the appeal may submit timely written statements or arguments. (Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.070 Review and consideration.

A. Review of Approved Permits. Any permit subject to this chapter may be reviewed if the conditions of the permit or approval or the requirements of this title are not being met, the use is creating a nuisance or hazard, the use permitted has been abandoned or the approval was obtained by fraud or deception.

B. Initiation of Review. The review of an approval or permit may be initiated by: the mayor or his or her designee.

C. Mayor Review. The mayor or his or her designee shall investigate the allegations and:

1. Notify the property owner or permit holder of the alleged deficiencies;

2. Direct action to remedy deficiencies within a specified time;

3. Refer the action to the city attorney; and/or

4. Refer the matter to the city council. (Ord. 868, 2006; Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 714, 1996; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.36.075 Revocation or modification.

Upon a finding that the permitted activity does not comply with the conditions of approval or the provisions of this title or creates a nuisance or hazard, the city council may delete, modify or impose such conditions on the approval it deems sufficient to remedy the deficiencies.

If the council finds no reasonable conditions which would remedy the deficiencies, the permit or approval shall be revoked and become null and void and the activity allowed by the permit shall immediately cease. (Ord. 868, 2006; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.36.080 Denied or revoked approvals and permits.

A. Denial or Revocation. If an application or approval is denied or an approval is revoked, no similar application for that site shall be accepted for one year from the date of final action and appeal, if any. After one year, a similar application may be made and shall be processed as a new application.

B. Denial without Prejudice. If an application is denied without prejudice, a new application is permitted at any time. (Ord. 714, 1996; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.36.090 Procedural irregularities.

No procedural irregularity or informality in the notice, process, review or hearing of any matter under this title shall affect the final decision unless the substantial rights of a person with a demonstrable interest in the decision are affected. (Ord. 957 § 34, 2011; Ord. 714, 1996; Ord. 527, 1989. Formerly 18.36.100.)

18.36.105 Final decision.

A. Time. The final decision on a development proposal shall be made within 120 days from the date of the letter of completeness. Exceptions to this include:

1. Amendments to the comprehensive plan or development code.

2. Any time required to correct plans, perform studies or provide additional information; provided, that within 14 days of receiving the requested additional information, the planning official shall determine whether the information is adequate to resume the project review.

3. Substantial project revisions made or requested by an applicant, in which case the 120 days will be calculated from the time that the city determines the revised application to be complete.

4. All time required for the preparation and review of an environmental impact statement.

5. Projects involving the siting of an essential public facility.

6. An extension of time mutually agreed upon by the city and the applicant.

7. All time required to obtain a variance.

8. Any remand to the hearing body.

9. All time required for the administration appeal of a determination of significance.

B. Effective Date. The final project decision shall be effective on the date stated in the decision, motion, resolution, or ordinance. (Ord. 957 § 35, 2011; Ord. 714, 1996; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.36.110 Reconsideration.

A party to a public hearing or closed record appeal may seek reconsideration only of a final decision by filing a written request for reconsideration with the city clerk within five days of the final decision. The request shall comply with Section 18.36.120. The council or hearing body shall consider the request at its next regularly scheduled meeting, without public comment or argument by the party filing the request. If the request is denied, the previous action shall become final. If the request is granted, the council or hearing body may immediately revise and reissue its decision or may call for argument in accordance with the procedures for closed record appeals. Reconsideration should be granted only when an obvious legal error has occurred or a material factual issue has been overlooked that would change the previous decision. (Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.120 Appeals.

A. Appeal of decisions specified in Section 18.37.070 may be appealed, by applicants or parties of record, to the hearing examiner.

B. Filing. Except where otherwise specified, a written notice of appeal shall be filed with the city clerk within 10 days after the date of the decision being appealed.

1. Contents. The notice of appeal shall contain:

a. The decision being appealed;

b. The name and address of the appellant and his/her interest in the matter;

c. The specific reason(s) why the appellant believes the decision to be wrong. The appellant shall bear the burden of proof that the decision was wrong;

d. The desired outcome or changes to the decision; and

e. The appeals fee.

C. Effect of Filing. Upon the filing of a complete and timely notice of appeal, the appealed decision shall be suspended until the appeal is acted upon. The time of suspended decision shall not be included in the computation of the expiration date of any permit or approval granted on the matter under appeal.

D. Notification. A copy of the appeal shall be sent to the applicant for the decision being appealed. Notification of review shall be mailed to the parties of record to the original application. (Ord. 957 § 36, 2011; Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.125 Notice of appeal hearings.

In addition to the posting and publication requirements of Section 18.36.020(A)(2), notice of appeal hearings shall be as follows:

A. For appeal of decisions specified in Section 18.37.070, notice shall be mailed to the applicant, adjacent property owners and to parties of record. (Ord. 957 § 37, 2011; Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.130 Notice of decision.

A written notice of all final decisions shall be sent to the applicant and all parties of record. For development applications requiring examiner approval, the notice shall be the signed decision. (Ord. 957 § 38, 2011; Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.140 Judicial appeal.

A. Appeals from the final decision of the city council or hearing examiner and for which all other appeals specifically authorized have been timely exhausted shall be made to Island County superior court pursuant to the Land Use Petition Act, Chapter 36.70C RCW, within 21 days of the date the decision or action became final, unless another time period is established by state law or local ordinance. Provided, in the case of appeals from the city’s final decision on shoreline management substantial development permits, appeals shall be to the shoreline hearings board.

B. Notice of the appeal and any other pleadings required to be filed with the court shall be served on the city clerk and city attorney within the applicable time period.

C. The cost of transcribing and preparing all records ordered certified by the court or desired by the appellant for such appeal shall be borne by the appellant. The appellant shall post with the city clerk prior to the preparation of any records an advance fee deposit in the amount specified by the city clerk. Any overage will be promptly returned to the appellant. (Ord. 957 § 39, 2011; Ord. 714, 1996)

18.36.150 Administrative interpretation.

Upon request or as determined necessary, the city planning official shall be responsible for interpreting the meaning or application of the provisions of Titles 16 and 18. If written interpretations are requested, the request for interpretation shall be written and shall concisely identify the issue and desired interpretation. (Ord. 714, 1996)