Chapter 22G.070
SITING PROCESS FOR ESSENTIAL PUBLIC FACILITIES

Sections:

22G.070.010    Purpose and applicability.

22G.070.020    Conditional use permit required.

22G.070.030    Siting process initiation.

22G.070.040    Optional site consultation process.

22G.070.050    EPF conditional use permit procedure.

22G.070.060    Independent consultant review.

22G.070.070    Decision criteria.

22G.070.080    Permit approval.

22G.070.090    Reconsideration and optional advisory review process.

22G.070.100    Building permit application.

22G.070.010 Purpose and applicability.

(1) This chapter establishes a siting process for essential public facilities (EPFs) that are difficult to site.

(a) An EPF is any facility owned or operated by a unit of local or state government, a public utility or transportation company, or any other entity that provides a public service as its primary mission. Examples of EPFs include those facilities that are difficult to site, such as airports, state education facilities and state or regional transportation facilities as defined in RCW 47.06.140, state and local correctional facilities, solid waste handling facilities, opiate substitution treatment program facilities and secure community transition facilities as defined in RCW 71.09.020 (RCW 36.70A.200). Essential public facilities such as inpatient facilities including substance abuse facilities, mental health facilities, group homes, etc., which are defined in accordance with the provisions of and judicial interpretations of the Federal Fair Housing Act amendments, 43 USC Section 3604(f)(9), and the Washington Housing Policy Act, RCW 43.185B.005(2), as the same exists or is hereafter amended, are exempt from this chapter.

(b) An EPF may be difficult to site if it requires a unique type of site, is perceived by the public as having significant adverse impacts, or is of a type that has been difficult to site in the past. Health and social service facilities that house persons who constitute a threat to the community as defined in Chapter 22A.020 MMC are automatically determined to be difficult to site.

(2) This siting process is intended to ensure that EPFs, as needed to support orderly growth and delivery of public services, are sited in a timely and efficient manner. It is also intended to provide the city with additional regulatory authority to require mitigation of impacts that may occur as a result of EPF siting. Finally, it is intended to promote enhanced public participation that will produce siting decisions consistent with community goals. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.020 Conditional use permit required.

(1) Any EPF that is determined to be difficult to site shall be a conditional use in all zones in which it is listed as a permitted or conditional use in the use matrices in Chapters 22C.010 and 22C.020 MMC. In the event of a conflict with Chapters 22C.010 and 22C.020 MMC, the provision of this section shall govern.

(2) An EPF that is difficult to site must satisfy the requirements of MMC 22G.010.430 and the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.030 Siting process initiation.

The siting process required by this chapter may be initiated by the project sponsor or by the department.

(1) Sponsor Initiation.

(a) Before applying to site an EPF, a project sponsor may request review under this siting process by submitting a letter to the department that describes the project proposal and why it may be difficult to site.

(b) The department shall transmit the sponsor’s letter to the hearing examiner and to Snohomish County Tomorrow (SCT), who may prepare an advisory recommendation on the issue of whether the EPF is difficult to site.

(c) Within 90 days of receiving the sponsor’s letter, the hearing examiner shall hold a hearing to determine whether the facility is difficult to site, using the criteria contained in MMC 22G.070.010(1)(b). If the examiner determines that the proposed EPF is difficult to site, the project shall be reviewed under the conditional use permit process established in this chapter.

(2) Department Initiation.

(a) If the department receives a permit application involving an EPF that it believes difficult to site, it shall inform the applicant that it cannot accept the application for processing and prepare a memorandum requesting a hearing examiner determination on whether the EPF will be difficult to site.

(b) The department shall transmit this memorandum to the SCT and the hearing examiner, who shall hold a public hearing under subsection (1)(c) of this section.

(c) If the project sponsor and the department agree that the proposed project will be difficult to site, a hearing under subsection (1)(c) of this section will not be required, and the proposal may proceed directly to the conditional use permit procedure described in MMC 22G.070.050. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.040 Optional site consultation process.

Prior to submitting a conditional use permit application, an EPF sponsor may initiate optional site consultation with the SCT planning advisory committee and/or SCT infrastructure coordinating committee. The consultation process, while not required, is encouraged as a means for project sponsors to present facility proposals, seek information about potential sites, and propose possible siting incentives and mitigation measures for affected jurisdictions. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.050 EPF conditional use permit procedure.

(1) The approval process for an EPF conditional use permit shall require a public hearing in front of the hearing examiner.

(2) The conditional use permit application shall include a public participation plan designed to encourage early public involvement in the siting decision and in determining possible mitigation measures.

(3) In addition to the conditional use permit application fee, an additional fee of $1,000 shall be required for the additional costs associated with review of the application under the criteria established in MMC 22G.070.070. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.060 Independent consultant review.

(1) The department may require independent consultant review of the proposal to assess its compliance with the criteria contained in MMC 22G.070.070. For health and social service facilities that house persons who constitute a threat to the community, as defined in Chapter 22A.020 MMC, independent consultant analysis shall be required to assess whether the proposed facility is located, constructed and operated in a manner that substantially reduces or compensates for adverse impacts on public health and safety.

(2) If independent consultant review is required, the sponsor shall make a deposit with the department sufficient to defray the cost of such review. Unexpended funds will be returned to the applicant following the final decision on the application. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.070 Decision criteria.

An application for conditional use permit approval for any essential public facility determined to be difficult to site must comply with conditional use permit requirements of MMC 22G.010.430, any applicable requirements for the proposed use, and the following additional site decision criteria:

(1) The project sponsor has demonstrated a need for the project, as supported by an analysis of the projected service population, an inventory of existing and planned comparable facilities, and the projected demand for the type of facility proposed.

(2) The sponsor has reasonably investigated alternative sites, as evidenced by a detailed explanation of site selection methodology.

(3) The project is consistent with the sponsor’s own long-range plans for facilities and operations.

(4) The sponsor’s public participation plan has provided an opportunity for public participation in the siting decision and mitigation measures that is appropriate in light of the project’s scope.

(5) The project will not result in a disproportionate burden on a particular geographic area.

(6) The project is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan.

(7) The project site meets the facility’s minimum physical site requirements, including projected expansion needs. Site requirements may be determined by the minimum size of the facility, access, support facilities, topography, geology, and on-site mitigation needs.

(8) The project site, as developed with the proposed facility and under the proposed mitigation plan, is compatible with surrounding land uses.

(9) The sponsor has proposed mitigation measures that substantially reduce or compensate for adverse impacts on the environment.

(10) In the case of health and social service facilities that house persons who constitute a threat to the community as defined in Chapter 22A.020 MMC, the sponsor has proposed mitigation measures that substantially reduce or compensate for adverse impacts on public health and safety. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.080 Permit approval.

If the project sponsor demonstrates compliance with the review criteria listed in MMC 22G.070.070 and satisfies the requirements for a conditional use permit in MMC 22G.070.050 and other applicable requirements, the conditional use permit application shall be approved. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.090 Reconsideration and optional advisory review process.

(1) Reconsideration of the examiner’s ruling may be requested as provided in MMC 22G.010.190, except that a project sponsor may also request review by an advisory board appointed by SCT. Such a request shall stay the reconsideration period until SCT review is complete.

(2) The advisory board shall complete its review within 60 days of receipt of the request. The SCT advisory board shall not have the authority to overturn a decision, but if the board finds the decision does not accurately reflect the evidence provided by the project sponsor, it may remand the decision to the hearing examiner.

(3) Upon receipt of the advisory board’s recommendation, the examiner shall have an opportunity to reconsider the decision in accordance with MMC 22G.010.190.

(4) If the project sponsor demonstrates compliance with the review criteria listed in MMC 22G.070.070 and satisfies the requirements for a conditional use permit in MMC 22G.010.430, and other applicable requirements, the conditional use permit application shall be approved. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.070.100 Building permit application.

(1) Any building permit for an EPF approved under this chapter shall comply with all conditions of approval in the conditional use permit. In the event a building permit for an EPF is denied, the department shall submit in writing the reasons for denial to the project sponsor.

(2) No construction permits may be applied for prior to conditional use approval of the EPF unless the applicant signs a written release acknowledging that such approval is neither guaranteed nor implied by the department’s acceptance of the construction permit applications. The applicant shall expressly accept all financial risk associated with preparing and submitting construction plans before the final decision is made under this chapter. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

(Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).