Subtitle 20.5. Environment

Chapter 20.50
CRITICAL AREAS

Sections:

20.50.010    Purpose.

20.50.020    General provisions.

20.50.030    Applicability.

20.50.040    Exemptions, existing structures, trams, and limited exemptions.

20.50.050    Relief from critical areas regulations.

20.50.060    General requirements.

20.50.070    Critical areas report.

20.50.100    Wetlands.

20.50.200    Geologically hazardous areas.

20.50.300    Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.

20.50.010 Purpose.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to designate and classify ecologically critical areas, to protect these areas and their functions and values, and to supplement the development regulations contained in the Medina Municipal Code by providing for additional controls required by the Growth Management Act.

B. Within the city, known critical areas include wetlands, geologically hazardous areas, and fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas. The city recognizes that critical areas provide a variety of valuable and beneficial biological and physical functions that benefit the city and its residents, and/or may pose a threat to human safety or to public and private property. The standards and mechanisms established in this chapter are intended to protect critical areas while providing property owners with reasonable use of their property.

C. This chapter seeks to:

1. Protect the public health, safety and welfare by minimizing adverse impacts of development;

2. To protect property owners from injury, property damage or financial losses due to erosion, landslides, steep slope failures, seismic events, volcanic eruptions, or flooding;

3. Protect unique, fragile, and valuable elements of the environment, including ground and surface waters, wetlands, and fish and wildlife and their habitats through application of best available science, as determined according to WAC 365-195-900 through 365-195-925, and in consultation with state and federal agencies and other qualified professionals;

4. Prevent adverse cumulative impacts to water quality, wetlands, streams, fish and wildlife and their potential habitats;

5. Direct activities not dependent on critical area resources to less ecologically sensitive sites and mitigate unavoidable impacts to critical areas by regulating alterations in and adjacent to critical areas;

6. Alert appraisers, assessors, owners and potential buyers or lessees to the development limitations of environmentally sensitive areas; and

7. Implement the goals, policies, guidelines and requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act, the Growth Management Act, Chapter 43.21C RCW, the Medina comprehensive plan, and all city functional plans and policies. (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.020 General provisions.

A. This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate or impair any existing regulations. Should a regulation in this chapter conflict with other regulations, the conflict shall be resolved consistent with MMC 20.10.030 and in favor of the provision which provides the most protection environmentally to the critical areas unless specifically provided otherwise in this chapter or such provision conflicts with federal or state laws or regulations.

B. This chapter shall apply as an overlay and in addition to zoning and other regulations adopted by the city, except within the shoreline jurisdiction. Where critical areas are located within the shoreline jurisdiction, Chapter 20.67 MMC shall apply in lieu of this chapter.

C. Compliance with the provisions of this chapter does not constitute compliance with other federal, state, and local regulations and permit requirements that may be required.

D. Consistent with MMC 20.10.020, the provisions of this chapter set forth the minimum requirements in their interpretation and application and shall be liberally construed to serve the purposes set forth in MMC 20.50.010.

E. These critical area regulations shall apply concurrently with review conducted under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

F. Any individual critical area adjoined by another type of critical area shall have the buffer and the requirements applied that provide the most protection to the critical areas involved. Where any existing regulation, easement, covenant, or deed restriction conflicts with this chapter, the provisions of that which provides the most protection to the critical areas shall apply.

G. Interpretations of this chapter shall be done in accordance with MMC 20.10.050.

H. Approval of a permit or development proposal pursuant to the provisions of this title does not discharge the obligation of the applicant or property owner to comply with the provisions of this title. (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.030 Applicability.

A. This chapter shall apply to all areas outside of the shoreline jurisdiction within the municipal boundaries of the city which contain critical areas and their buffers as defined in this chapter.

B. These provisions apply to projects undertaken by either private or public entities.

C. All development permits, including but not limited to building, grading, drainage, short plats, lot line adjustments, variances, conditional and special uses, and demolition, shall be reviewed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

D. Variances to the provisions in this chapter shall not be granted, except as provided for in MMC 20.50.050. (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.040 Exemptions, existing structures, trams, and limited exemptions.

A. Critical Areas Exemptions. The following developments, activities and associated uses shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter; provided, that they are otherwise consistent with the provisions of other local, state, and federal laws and requirements:

1. Emergency actions necessary to prevent an immediate threat to public health, safety or welfare, or that pose an immediate risk of damage to private property and that require action in a time frame too short to allow compliance with this chapter, provided:

a. Immediately after the emergency action is completed, the owner shall notify the city of these actions within 14 days; and

b. The owner shall fully restore and/or mitigate any impacts to critical areas and buffers in accordance with an approved critical area report and mitigation plan.

2. Operation, maintenance, remodel or repair of existing structures and facilities, provided there is no further intrusion into a critical area or its buffer and there is no significant increase in risk to life or property as a result of the action.

3. Passive recreation, education, and scientific research activities that do not degrade critical areas or buffers, such as fishing, hiking and bird watching, not including trail building or clearing.

4. Minor site investigative work necessary for land use submittals, such as surveys, soil logs, percolation tests, and other related activities, where:

a. Such activities do not require construction of new roads or significant amounts of excavation; and

b. The disruption to the critical areas and buffers shall be minimized and the disturbed areas immediately restored.

5. Construction or modification of navigational aids and boundary markers.

B. Existing Structures.

1. Existing structures may be maintained, repaired and remodeled provided there is no further intrusion into a critical area or its buffer.

2. All new construction must conform to the requirements of this chapter except as provided for single-family residences in subsection (C)(1) of this section.

3. Structures damaged or destroyed due to disaster (including nonconforming structures) may be rebuilt in like kind.

C. Limited Critical Areas Exemptions. The following developments, activities, and associated uses shall not be required to follow a critical areas review process; provided, that they are consistent with the requirements of this chapter. The city may condition approval of such to ensure adequate critical areas protection:

1. Existing single-family residences may be expanded, reconstructed, or replaced, provided all of the following are met:

a. Expansion within a critical area buffer is limited to 500 square feet of footprint beyond the existing footprint;

b. The expansion extends no closer to critical area than the existing setback;

c. The proposal preserves the functions and values of wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, and their buffers;

d. The proposal includes on-site mitigation to offset any impacts;

e. The proposal will not significantly affect drainage capabilities, flood potential, and steep slopes and landslide hazards on neighboring properties; and

f. The expansion would not cause a tree within a buffer to be labeled as a hazardous tree and thus require the removal of the hazardous tree;

2. Replacement, modification, installation or construction of streets and utilities in existing developed utility easements, improved city street rights-of-way, or developed private streets. Utilities include water, sewer lines, and stormwater and franchise (private) utilities such as natural gas lines, telecommunication lines, cable communication lines, electrical lines and other appurtenances associated with these utilities. The activity cannot further permanently alter or increase the impact to, or encroach further within, a critical area or buffer and must utilize best management practices;

3. Public and Private Nonmotorized Trails. Public and private pedestrian trails, provided:

a. There is no practicable alternative that would allow placement of the trail outside of critical areas or their buffers;

b. The trail surface shall meet all other requirements including water quality standards;

c. Trails proposed in stream or wetland buffers shall be located in the outer 25 percent of the buffer area, except when bridges or access points are proposed;

d. Stream and wetland buffer widths shall be increased, where possible, equal to the width of the trail corridor, including disturbed areas;

e. Trail corridors in critical areas and buffers shall not exceed six feet in width; and

f. Trails proposed to be located in landslide or erosion hazard areas shall be constructed in a manner that does not increase the risk of landslide or erosion and in accordance with an approved geotechnical report;

4. Select Vegetation Removal Activities. The following limited vegetation removal activities are allowed in critical areas and buffers. Otherwise, removal of any vegetation or woody debris from a critical area shall be prohibited unless the action is part of an approved alteration.

a. The removal of the following vegetation with hand labor and/or light equipment; provided, that the appropriate erosion-control measures are used and the area is replanted with native vegetation:

i. Invasive weeds;

ii. Himalayan blackberry (Rubus discolor, R. procerus);

iii. Evergreen blackberry (R. laciniatus);

iv. Ivy (Hedera spp.); and

v. Holly (Ilex spp.), laurel, Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), or any other species on the King County Noxious Weed List.

b. The cutting and removal of trees that are hazardous, posing a threat to public safety, or posing an imminent risk of damage to private property, from critical areas and buffers; provided, that:

i. The applicant submits a report from a qualified professional (e.g., certified arborist or professional forester) that documents the hazard as specified in Chapter 20.52 MMC and provides a replanting schedule for replacement trees;

ii. Tree cutting shall be limited to limb and crown thinning, unless otherwise justified by a qualified professional. Where limb or crown thinning is not sufficient to address the hazard, trees should be topped to remove the hazard rather than cut at or near the base of the tree;

iii. All native vegetation cut (tree stems, branches, tops, etc.) shall be left within the critical area or buffer unless removal is warranted due to the potential for disease transmittal to other healthy vegetation or the remaining material would threaten the survival of existing native vegetation. However, no cut material shall be left on a steep slope or landslide hazard area without the approval of a qualified professional;

iv. Trees shall be cut to leave standing snags when doing so allows the hazard of the tree to be eliminated;

v. The landowner shall replace any native trees that are felled or topped with new trees at ratios specified in Chapter 20.52 MMC within one year in accordance with an approved restoration plan prepared by a qualified professional. Tree species that are native and indigenous to the site shall be used;

vi. If a tree to be removed provides critical habitat, such as an eagle perch, a qualified wildlife biologist shall be consulted to determine timing and methods for removal that will minimize impacts; and

vii. Hazard trees determined to pose an imminent threat or danger to public health or safety, or to public or private property, or serious environmental degradation may be removed or topped by the landowner prior to receiving written approval from city; provided, that within 14 days following such action, the landowner shall submit a restoration plan that demonstrates compliance with the provisions of this title.

c. Trimming of vegetation for purposes of providing view corridors will be allowed; provided:

i. It is consistent with Chapters 18.16 and 20.52 MMC and that trimming shall be limited to view corridors of 20 feet in width or less;

ii. The limbs involved do not exceed three inches in diameter;

iii. Not more than 25 percent of the live crown is removed;

iv. Benefits to fish and wildlife habitat are not reduced;

v. Trimming is limited to hand pruning of branches and vegetation; and

vi. Trimming does not include felling, topping, stripping, excessive pruning or removal of trees.

d. Measures to control a fire or halt the spread of disease or damaging insects consistent with the State Forest Practices Act, Chapter 76.09 RCW; provided, that the removed vegetation shall be replaced in-kind or with similar native species within one year in accordance with an approved restoration plan prepared by a qualified professional; and

5. Conservation, Preservation, Restoration and/or Enhancement.

a. Conservation and/or preservation of soil, water, vegetation, fish and/or other wildlife that does not entail alteration of the location, size, dimensions or functions of an existing critical area and/or buffer; and

b. Restoration and/or enhancement of critical areas or buffers; provided, that actions do not alter the location, dimensions or size of the critical area and/or buffer; that actions do not alter or disturb existing native vegetation or wildlife habitat attributes; that actions improve and do not reduce the existing functions of the critical areas or buffers; and that actions are implemented according to a restoration and/or enhancement plan that has been approved by the city. (Ord. 958 § 2, 2018; Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.050 Relief from critical areas regulations.

A. If application of this chapter would deny all reasonable use of the subject property, the owner may apply for a reasonable use exception pursuant to MMC 20.72.060.

B. If application of this chapter would prohibit a development proposal by a public agency or public utility, the agency or utility may apply for an exception from the requirements of this chapter pursuant to MMC 20.72.070. (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.060 General requirements.

A. Avoid Impacts to Critical Areas.

1. The applicant shall avoid all impacts that degrade the functions and values of a critical area(s) and/or buffer(s) or do not result in an acceptable level of risk for a steep slope hazard area and/or its buffer.

2. Unless otherwise provided for in this chapter:

a. If alteration to fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, wetlands and/or their buffers is proposed, impacts resulting from a development proposal or alteration shall be mitigated in accordance with the mitigation sequencing set forth in subsection (C) of this section and an approved critical area report and any applicable SEPA documents; or

b. A development proposal or alteration within a geologically hazardous area and/or its buffer must comply with a geotechnical report approved by the city that assesses the risk to health and safety, and makes recommendations for reducing the risk to acceptable levels through engineering, design, and/or construction practices.

B. Mitigation.

1. Mitigation shall be in-kind and on site, where feasible, and sufficient to maintain critical areas and/or buffer functions and values, and to prevent risk from hazards posed by a critical area.

2. Mitigation shall not be implemented until after the city approves the applicable critical area report and mitigation plan. Following city approval, mitigation shall be implemented in accordance with the provisions of the approved critical area report and mitigation plan.

C. Mitigation Sequencing.

1. Applicants must demonstrate that all reasonable efforts have been examined with the intent to avoid or minimize impacts to critical areas and buffers.

2. When an alteration to a critical area and/or buffer is proposed, such alteration shall follow the mitigation sequencing set forth as follows:

a. For fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, wetlands and/or their buffers, avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action;

b. For geological hazards, minimizing or eliminating the hazard by restoring or stabilizing the hazard area through engineered or other methods;

c. Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action by using appropriate technology, or by taking affirmative steps to avoid or reduce the impact;

d. Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment;

e. Reducing or eliminating the impacts over time by preservation and/or maintenance operations;

f. Compensating for the impact by replacing, enhancing, or providing substitute resources or environments; and

g. Monitoring the impact and the compensation projects and taking appropriate corrective measures.

D. Mitigation Plan Requirements. Where mitigation is required, the applicant shall submit, and obtain approval from the city, a mitigation plan as part of, or in addition to, the critical area report. The mitigation plan shall include the following information:

1. A description of existing critical areas and/or buffers conditions, functions, and values, and a description of the anticipated impacts;

2. A description of proposed mitigating actions and mitigation site selection criteria;

3. A description of the goals and objectives of proposed mitigation relating to impacts to the functions and values of the critical area(s) and/or buffer(s);

4. A review of the best available science supporting proposed mitigation, a description of the plan/report author’s experience to date in restoring or creating the type of critical area proposed, and an analysis of the likelihood of success of the mitigation project;

5. A description of specific measurable criteria for evaluating whether or not the goals and objectives of the mitigation plan have been successfully attained and whether or not the requirements of these critical area regulations have been met;

6. Detailed construction plans including site diagrams, cross-sectional drawings, topographic elevations at one- or two-foot contours, slope percentage, final grade elevations, and any other drawings appropriate to show construction techniques or anticipated final outcome;

7. Construction plans should also include specifications and descriptions of:

a. Proposed construction sequence, timing, and duration;

b. Grading and excavation details;

c. Erosion and sediment control features;

d. A planting plan specifying plant species, quantities, locations, size, spacing, and density, with density standards as follows:

i. Forested Conditions.

(A) Trees: nine feet on center, or 0.012 trees per square foot (this assumes two- to five-gallon size) with at least 50 percent conifers;

(B) Shrubs: six feet on center, or 0.028 shrubs per square foot (this assumes one- to two-gallon size); and

(C) Herbs and groundcovers: four feet on center, or 0.063 plants per square foot (this assumes 10-inch plug or four-inch pot).

ii. Shrub Conditions.

(A) Shrubs: five feet on center, or 0.04 shrubs per square foot (this assumes one- to two-gallon size); and

(B) Herbs and groundcovers: four feet on center, or 0.063 plants per square foot (this assumes 10-inch plug or four-inch pot).

iii. Emergent, Herbaceous and/or Groundcover Conditions.

(A) Herbs and groundcovers: one foot on center, or one plant per square foot (this assumes 10-inch plug or four-inch pot); or

(B) Herbs and groundcovers: 18 inches on center, or 0.444 plants per square foot if supplemented by overseeding of native herbs, emergent or graminoids as appropriate;

e. Measures to protect and maintain plants until established;

8. A maintenance and monitoring program containing, but not limited to, the following:

a. An outline of the schedule for site monitoring;

b. Performance standards including, but not limited to, 100 percent survival of newly planted vegetation within the first two years of planting, and 80 percent for years three or more;

c. Contingency plans identifying courses of action and any corrective measures to be taken if monitoring or evaluation indicates performance standards have not been met; and

d. The period of time necessary to establish that performance standards have been met, not to be less than three years;

9. The mitigation plan shall include financial guarantees to ensure that the mitigation plan is fully implemented. Financial guarantees ensuring fulfillment of the compensation project, monitoring program, and any contingency measures shall be posted in accordance with subsection (G) of this section;

10. Other information determined necessary by the director.

E. Determination Process. The director shall make a determination as to whether the proposed activity and mitigation, if any, are consistent with the provisions of these critical areas regulations. The director’s determination shall be based on the following:

1. Any alteration to a critical area and/or critical area buffer, unless otherwise provided for in these critical area regulations, shall be reviewed and approved, approved with conditions, or denied based on the proposal’s ability to comply with all of the following criteria:

a. The proposal will result in no net loss of functions and values of the critical area(s) and/or buffer(s) in accordance with the mitigation sequencing prescribed in subsection (C) of this section;

b. The proposal does not pose an unreasonable threat to the public health, safety, or welfare on or off the development proposal site;

c. The proposal is consistent with the general purposes of these critical area regulations and the public interest;

d. Any impacts permitted to the critical area and/or buffers are mitigated in accordance with subsections (B), (C) and (D) of this section;

e. The proposal protects critical area and/or buffer functions and values consistent with the best available science; and

f. The proposal is consistent with other applicable regulations and standards.

2. The city may condition the proposed activity as necessary to mitigate impacts to critical areas and/or buffers and to conform to the standards required by these critical area regulations.

3. Except as provided for by these critical area regulations, any project that cannot adequately mitigate its impacts to critical areas and/or buffers shall be denied.

4. The city may require critical area or geotechnical reports to have an evaluation by an independent qualified professional at the applicant’s expense when determined to be necessary to the review of the proposed activity.

F. Native growth protection areas (NGPAs) shall be used in development proposals for subdivisions and short subdivisions in accordance with the following:

1. NGPAs shall delineate and protect those contiguous critical areas and buffers listed below:

a. All landslide hazard areas and buffers, except when a development proposal is approved in a landslide hazard area and/or buffer per a geotechnical report;

b. All wetlands and buffers;

c. All fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas; and

d. All other lands to be protected from impacts as conditioned by project approval;

2. NGPAs shall be recorded on all documents of title of record for all affected lots;

3. NGPAs shall be designated on the face of the plat or recorded drawing in a format approved by the city and include the following restrictions:

a. Native vegetation shall be preserved within the NGPA for the purpose of preventing harm to property and the environment; and

b. The city has the right to enforce NGPA restrictions.

G. Performance Securities. The city may require the applicant of a development proposal to post a cash performance bond or other acceptable security in a form and amount determined sufficient to guarantee satisfactory workmanship, materials and performance of structures and improvements allowed or required by application of this chapter. The city shall release the security upon determining that all structures and improvements have been satisfactorily completed. If all such structures and improvements are not completed to the satisfaction of the city within the time period set forth in the security (or 12 months from posting if no other time period is stated), the city may take all measures which the city, in its sole discretion, deems reasonable and recover all costs of such measures from the security, including all consulting fees and all attorney’s fees incurred. (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.070 Critical areas report.

A. If fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, wetlands, steep slopes and/or their buffers may be affected by a proposed activity, the applicant shall submit a critical area report meeting the following requirements:

1. Prepared by a qualified professional;

2. Incorporate best available science in the analysis of critical area data and field reconnaissance and reference the source of science used; and

3. Evaluate the proposal and all probable impacts to critical areas in accordance with the provisions of these critical area regulations.

B. At a minimum the report shall include the following information:

1. The applicant’s name and contact information, a project description, project location, and identification of the permit requested;

2. A site plan showing:

a. The development proposal with dimensions and any identified critical areas and buffers within 200 feet of the proposed project; and

b. Limits of any areas to be cleared;

3. The date the report was prepared;

4. The names and qualifications of the persons preparing the report and documentation of any fieldwork performed on the site;

5. Identification and characterization of all noncritical areas and critical areas and their buffers within, and adjacent to, the proposed project area. This information shall include, but is not limited to:

a. Size or acreage, if applicable;

b. Applicable topographic, vegetative, faunal, soil, substrate and hydrologic characteristics; and

c. Relationship to other nearby critical areas;

6. An assessment of the probable cumulative impacts to critical areas resulting from the proposed development;

7. An analysis of site development alternatives;

8. A description of reasonable efforts made to apply mitigation sequencing pursuant to MMC 20.50.060(C) to avoid or compensate for impacts to critical area and buffer functions and values;

9. Plans for mitigation in accordance with MMC 20.50.060(B), (C) and (D); and

10. Any additional information required for the critical area as specified in this chapter.

C. The applicant may consult with the director prior to or during preparation of the critical area report to obtain city approval of modifications to the required contents of the report where, in the judgment of a qualified professional, more or less information is required to adequately address the potential critical area impacts and required mitigation.

D. The director may require additional information to be included in the critical area report and may also require the critical area report to include an evaluation by the Department of Ecology or an independent qualified expert when determined to be necessary to the review of the proposed activity in accordance with these critical area regulations. (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.100 Wetlands.

A. Designation.

1. Wetlands are those areas designated in accordance with the approved federal wetland delineation manual and applicable regional supplements set forth in WAC 173-22-035.

2. All areas within the city that meet the wetland designation criteria in the manual, regardless of any formal identification, are hereby designated critical areas and are subject to the provisions of these critical area regulations.

B. Wetland Ratings. Wetlands shall be rated according to the Washington Department of Ecology Wetland Rating System for Western Washington (Ecology Publication No. 14-06-029, or as revised and approved by Ecology). These documents contain the definitions and methods for determining if the criteria below are met.

C. Wetland Rating Categories.

1. The following table provides a summary of the categories of wetlands and the criteria for their categorization:

Table 20.50.100(C)
Wetland Categories 

Category

Criteria for Designation

Category I

•    Represent a unique or rare wetland type;

•    Are more sensitive to disturbance than most wetlands;

•    Are relatively undisturbed and contain ecological attributes that are impossible to replace within a human lifetime; or

•    Provide a high level of functions.

Category II

•    Are not defined as Category I wetlands;

•    Are difficult, though not impossible, to replace;

•    Provide high levels of some functions.

Category III

•    Do not satisfy Category I or II criteria;

•    Can often be adequately replaced with a well-planned mitigation project;

•    Provide moderate levels of functions.

Category IV

•    Do not satisfy Category I, II or III criteria;

•    Can often be adequately replaced and improved upon with a well-planned mitigation project;

•    Provide the lowest levels of functions;

•    Often are heavily disturbed.

2. Date of Wetland Rating. Wetland rating categories shall be applied as the wetland exists on the date of adoption of the rating system by the city, as the wetland naturally changes thereafter, or as the wetland changes in accordance with permitted activities.

3. Wetland rating categories shall not change due to illegal modifications made by the property owner or with the property owner’s knowledge.

D. Mapping.

1. The approximate location and extent of known wetlands are identified in the city of Medina critical areas inventory. This inventory is to only be used as a guide for the city, project applicants, and/or property owners, and may be continuously updated as new critical areas are identified. The inventory is only a reference and does not provide a final critical area designation.

2. The exact location of a wetland’s boundary shall be determined through the performance of a field investigation by a qualified professional applying approved federal wetland delineation manual and applicable regional supplements, as revised, as required by RCW 36.70A.175.

E. Wetlands – Development Standards.

1. Activities and uses shall be prohibited within wetland and wetland buffer areas, except as provided for in this title.

2. The following table establishes wetland buffer widths:

Table 20.50.100(E) Wetland Buffer Widths

Wetland Category

Buffer width if wetland scores less than 5 habitat points

Buffer width if wetland scores 5 habitat points

Buffer width if wetland scores 6 – 7 habitat points

Buffer width if wetland scores 8 – 9 habitat points

Category I

100 feet

140 feet

220 feet

300 feet

Category II

100 feet

Category III

80 feet

Not applicable

Category IV

50 feet

Not applicable

3. The width of a wetland buffer shall be determined by the wetland category designated in subsection (A) of this section and the corresponding habitat scoring of the wetland set forth in Table 20.50.100(E).

4. Measurement of wetland buffers shall be from the outer edges of the wetland boundaries as determined through the performance of a field investigation by a qualified professional applying the wetlands identification and delineation pursuant to subsection (A) of this section and as surveyed in the field.

F. Wetland Buffer Reduction. The wetland buffer widths in Table 20.50.100(E) may be reduced by up to a maximum of 25 percent provided:

1. The amount of reduction is based on voluntary employment of incentive-based action measures set forth in subsection (G) of this section;

2. A critical areas report prepared by a professional with expertise in wetlands and approved by the city using the best available science determines a smaller area can be adequate to protect the wetland functions and values based on site-specific characteristics;

3. The mitigation provided will result in a net improvement of the wetland and buffer functions;

4. Any remaining wetland buffer areas on the property not subject to the reduction, but are degraded, are revegetated with native plants; and

5. A five-year monitoring and maintenance program is provided.

G. Table 20.50.100(G) provides incentive options that may be employed to reduce a wetland buffer width as allowed in subsection (F) of this section. Where multiple options for an action are prescribed in the table, only one option under that action may be applied.

Table 20.50.100(G) Wetland Buffer Reduction Incentive Options

Description of Action

Option

Reduction Allowance

Remove impervious surface within wetland buffer area

Remove at least 50 percent of the impervious surface area within the reduced buffer area, provided the total impervious surface area removed is less than 500 square feet

5 percent points

Remove at least 50 percent of the impervious surface area within the reduced buffer area, provided the total impervious surface area removed is more than 500 square feet

10 percent points

Remove 100 percent of impervious surface area within the reduced buffer area, provided at least 50 percent of the reduced buffer area presently contains impervious surface

20 percent points

Install biofiltration/infiltration mechanisms

Install bioswales, created and/or enhanced wetlands, or ponds supplemental to existing surface water drainage and water quality requirements

20 percent points

Remove invasive, nonnative vegetation

Remove invasive, nonnative vegetation and continue maintenance during the five-year monitoring program of removing relatively dense stands of invasive, nonnative vegetation from significant portions of the reduced buffer area

10 percent points

Install oil-water separator

If not required by other provisions of the Medina Municipal Code, install oil-water separators for surface water quality control

10 percent points

Replace impervious materials

Replace impervious materials for driveway/road construction with pervious materials

10 percent points

Provide off-site restoration where no on-site restoration is available

Restoration is provided at a 2:1 ratio or greater

10 percent points

Restoration is provided at a 4:1 ratio or greater

20 percent points

Remove toxic materials

Remove significant refuse or sources of toxic material

10 percent points

H. Averaging of Wetland Buffer Width. The city may allow the wetland buffer width around the boundaries of the wetland to be averaged provided:

1. The proposal results in a net improvement of wetland, habitat and buffer function;

2. The proposal includes revegetation of the averaged buffer using native plants, if needed;

3. The total area contained in the buffer of each wetland on the development proposal site is not decreased;

4. The wetland buffer width is not reduced by more than 25 percent in any one location; and

5. A critical areas report meeting the requirements set forth in MMC 20.50.070 indicates the criteria in this subsection are satisfied.

I. Wetland buffer averaging set forth in subsection (H) of this section and wetland buffer reduction set forth in subsections (F) and (G) of this section shall not be used together on an individual wetland.

J. Buffers for Mitigation Shall Be Consistent. All mitigation sites shall have buffers consistent with the buffer requirements of this chapter. The buffer for a wetland that is created, restored, or enhanced as compensation for approved wetland alterations shall have the minimum buffer required for the highest wetland category involved.

K. Buffer Conditions Shall Be Maintained. Except as otherwise specified or allowed in accordance with these critical area regulations, wetland buffers shall be retained in their natural condition.

L. Temporary Markers. The outer perimeter of the wetland or buffer and the limits of those areas to be disturbed pursuant to an approved permit or authorization shall be marked in the field in such a way as to ensure that no unauthorized intrusion will occur, and inspected by the city prior to the commencement of permitted activities. This temporary marking shall be maintained throughout construction, and shall not be removed until permanent signs, if required, are in place pursuant to subsection (M) of this section.

M. Permanent Signs.

1. As a condition of any permit or authorization issued pursuant to this chapter, the city manager or designee may require the applicant to install permanent signs along the boundary of a wetland or buffer.

2. Permanent signs shall be made of a metal face and attached to a metal post, or another material of equal durability. The sign shall be worded as follows or with alternative language approved by the city:

Protected Wetland Area

Do Not Disturb.

Contact the City of Medina

Regarding Uses and Restriction

3. Signs must be posted at an interval of one per lot or every 50 feet, whichever is less, and must be maintained by the property owner in perpetuity.

N. Fencing.

1. The city manager or designee may condition any permit or authorization issued pursuant to this chapter to require the applicant to install a permanent fence at the edge of the wetland buffer, when fencing will prevent future impacts to the wetland.

2. Fencing installed as part of a proposed activity or as required in this subsection shall be designed so as to not interfere with species migration, including fish runs, and shall be constructed in a manner that minimizes impacts to the wetland and associated habitat.

O. Additional Mitigation Measures. In addition to the requirements set forth in MMC 20.50.060(B), (C) and (D), when mitigation for wetland and/or wetland buffer impacts is required, the following supplementary requirements shall apply:

1. Mitigation for alterations to wetland and/or wetland buffer shall achieve equivalent or greater ecological functions and shall be consistent with the Department of Ecology Guidance on Wetland Mitigation in Washington State (2004, Department of Ecology Publication No. 04-06-013), as revised.

2. Wetland or wetland buffer mitigation actions shall not result in a net loss of wetland or buffer area except when the lost wetland or buffer area provides minimal functions and the mitigation action(s) results in a net gain in wetland or buffer functions as determined by a site-specific function assessment.

3. Mitigation actions shall address and provide equivalent or greater wetland and buffer functions and values compared to wetland and buffer conditions existing prior to the proposed alteration.

4. Mitigation actions shall be in-kind and conducted within the same basin and on the same site as the alteration except when the following apply:

a. There are no reasonable on-site opportunities for mitigation or on-site opportunities do not have a high likelihood of success due to development pressures, adjacent land uses, or on-site buffers or connectivity are inadequate;

b. Off-site mitigation has a greater likelihood of providing equal or improved wetland functions than the impacted wetland; and

c. Off-site locations shall be in the same basin and the same water resource inventory area (WRIA).

5. Mitigation Timing. Where feasible, mitigation projects shall be completed prior to activities that will disturb wetlands. In all other cases, mitigation shall be completed immediately following disturbance and prior to use or occupancy of the activity or development. Construction of mitigation projects shall be timed to reduce impacts to existing wildlife and flora.

6. Mitigation Ratios.

a. The ratios in the following table shall apply to wetland creation or restoration that is in-kind, on site, the same category, and has a high probability of success. The first number specifies the acreage of replacement wetlands and the second specifies the acreage of wetlands altered.

 

Table 20.50.100(O) Wetland Mitigation Ratios

Wetland Category

Creation or Reestablishment

Enhancement as Mitigation

Category I

6:1

16:1

Category II

3:1

12:1

Category III

2:1

8:1

Category IV

1.5:1

6:1

b. Increased Replacement Ratio. The director may increase the ratios under the following circumstances:

i. Uncertainty exists as to the probable success of the proposed restoration or creation; or

ii. A significant period of time will elapse between impact and replication of wetland functions; or

iii. Proposed mitigation will result in a lower category wetland or reduced functions relative to the wetland being impacted; or

iv. The impact was an unauthorized impact.

c. Decreased Replacement Ratio. The director may decrease these ratios if the proposed mitigation actions are conducted in advance of the impact and have been shown to be successful.

d. Minimum Replacement Ratio. In all cases, a minimum acreage replacement ratio of one-to-one shall be required.

7. Wetland Mitigation Banks.

a. Credits from a certified wetland mitigation bank or in-lieu fee program may be approved for use as compensation for unavoidable impacts to wetlands when:

i. For mitigation banks, the bank is certified under Chapter 173-700 WAC;

ii. The city manager or designee determines that the wetland mitigation bank or in-lieu fee program provides appropriate compensation for the authorized impacts; and

iii. The proposed use of credits is consistent with the terms and conditions of the mitigation bank or in-lieu fee program.

b. Replacement ratios for projects using bank credits shall be consistent with replacement ratios specified in the bank’s certification.

c. Credits from a certified wetland mitigation bank may be used to compensate for impacts located within the service area specified in the bank’s certification. In some cases, bank service areas may include portions of more than one WRIA for specific wetland functions.

8. Wetland Enhancement as Mitigation.

a. Impacts to wetlands may be mitigated by enhancement of existing significantly degraded wetlands.

b. Applicants proposing to enhance wetlands must produce a critical area report that identifies how enhancement will increase the functions of the degraded wetland and how this increase will adequately mitigate for the loss of wetland area and function at the impact site.

c. The enhancement acreage shall be pursuant to the ratios in Table 20.50.100(O). (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.200 Geologically hazardous areas.

A. Geologically hazardous areas include those areas susceptible to erosion, sliding, earthquake, or other geologic events. They pose a threat to the health and safety of citizens when incompatible development is sited in areas of significant hazard. Such incompatible development may not only place itself at risk, but also may increase the hazard to surrounding development and use. In the city, areas susceptible to one or more of the following types of hazards shall be designated as a geologically hazardous area:

1. Erosion hazard;

2. Landslide hazard; and

3. Seismic hazard.

B. Specific Hazard Areas – Designation.

1. Erosion Hazard Areas. Erosion hazard areas are at least those areas identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service as having a “moderate to severe,” “severe,” or “very severe” rill and inter-rill erosion hazard.

2. Landslide Hazard Areas. Landslide hazard areas are areas potentially subject to landslides based on a combination of geologic, topographic, and hydrologic factors. They include areas susceptible because of any combination of bedrock, soil, slope (gradient), slope aspect, structure, hydrology, or other factors. Example of these may include, but are not limited to, the following:

a. Areas of historic failures, such as:

i. Those areas delineated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service as having a “severe” limitation for building site development;

ii. Areas designated as quaternary slumps, earth-flows, mudflows, lahars, or landslides on maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey or Department of Natural Resources;

b. Areas with all three of the following characteristics:

i. Slopes steeper than 15 percent; and

ii. Hillsides intersecting geologic contacts with a relatively permeable sediment overlying a relatively impermeable sediment or bedrock; and

iii. Springs or ground water seepage;

c. Slopes that are parallel or sub-parallel to planes of weakness (such as bedding planes, joint systems, and fault planes) in subsurface materials;

d. Areas potentially unstable because of rapid stream incision, stream bank erosion, and undercutting by wave action;

e. Areas located in a canyon or on an active alluvial fan, presently or potentially subject to inundation by debris flows or catastrophic flooding; and

f. Steep slopes, which are any area with a slope of 40 percent or steeper and with a vertical relief of 10 or more feet except areas composed of consolidated rock. A slope is delineated by establishing its toe and top and measured by averaging the inclination over at least 10 feet of vertical relief.

3. Seismic Hazard Areas. Seismic hazard areas are areas subject to severe risk of damage as a result of earthquake-induced ground shaking, slope failure, settlement, soil liquefaction, lateral spreading, or surface faulting. One indicator of potential for future earthquake damage is a record of earthquake damage in the past. Ground shaking is the primary cause of earthquake damage in Washington. The strength of ground shaking is primarily affected by:

a. The magnitude of an earthquake;

b. The distance from the source of an earthquake;

c. The type and thickness of geologic materials at the surface; and

d. The subsurface geologic structure.

Settlement and soil liquefaction conditions occur in areas underlain by cohesionless, loose, or soft-saturated soils of low density, typically in association with a shallow ground water table.

C. Mapping.

1. The approximate location and extent of geologically hazardous areas are shown on the adopted critical area maps. The adopted critical area maps include:

a. U.S. Geological Survey landslide hazard, seismic hazard and volcano hazard maps;

b. Department of Natural Resources seismic hazard maps for Western Washington;

c. Department of Natural Resources slope stability maps;

d. Federal Emergency Management Administration flood insurance maps; and

e. Locally adopted maps.

2. These maps are to be used as a guide for the city, project applicants and/or property owners, and may be continuously updated as new critical areas are identified. They are a reference and do not provide a final critical area designation.

D. Additional Report Requirements.

1. For development proposed to be located in erosion or landslide hazard areas, the applicant shall submit a geotechnical report prepared by a qualified professional. A steep slope hazard must also meet the requirements for a critical area report set forth in MMC 20.50.070.

2. The director may require a geotechnical report for development proposed in a seismic hazard area.

E. Where a geotechnical report is required, a geotechnical assessment of the geological hazards including the following site- and proposal-related information shall be included in either the geotechnical report or the critical areas report:

1. Site and construction plans for the proposal showing:

a. The type and extent of geologic hazard areas, any other critical areas, and any critical area buffers on, adjacent to, within 200 feet of or that are likely to impact the proposal or be impacted by the proposal;

b. Proposed development, including the location of existing and proposed structures, fill, storage of materials, and drainage facilities, with dimensions indicating distances to the geologically hazardous area; and

c. The topography, in two-foot contours, of the project area and all hazard areas addressed in the report;

2. An assessment of the geologic characteristics and engineering properties of the soils, sediments, and/or rock of the project area and potentially affected adjacent properties, and a review of the site history regarding landslides, erosion, and prior grading. Soils analysis shall be accomplished in accordance with accepted taxonomic classification systems in use in the region. The assessment shall include, but not be limited to:

a. A description of the surface and subsurface geology, hydrology, soils, and vegetation found in the project area and in all hazard areas addressed in the report;

b. A detailed overview of the field investigations, published data and references; data and conclusions from past assessments of the site; and site specific measurements, tests, investigations, or studies that support the identification of geologically hazardous areas; and

c. A description of the vulnerability of the site to the relevant geologic hazard;

3. A geotechnical analysis including a detailed description of the project, its relationship to the geologic hazard(s), and its potential impact upon the hazard area, the subject property and affected adjacent properties;

4. Recommendations for the minimum no-disturbance buffer and minimum building setback from any geologic hazard based upon the geotechnical analysis. The director may assign buffer and building setbacks based on this information. For steep slopes, the minimum buffer widths are specified in subsection (I)(2)(a) of this section;

5. When hazard mitigation is required:

a. The mitigation plan shall specifically address how the activity maintains or reduces the pre-existing level of risk to the site and adjacent properties on a long-term basis (equal to or exceeding the projected lifespan of the activity or occupation);

b. Proposed mitigation techniques shall be considered to provide long-term hazard reduction only if they do not require regular maintenance or other actions to maintain their function; and

c. Mitigation may also be required to avoid any increase in risk above the pre-existing conditions following abandonment of the activity;

6. Where a valid geotechnical report has been prepared and approved by the city within the last five years for a specific site, and where the proposed land use activity and surrounding site conditions are unchanged, said report may be incorporated into the required critical area or geotechnical report provided the applicant submits a geotechnical assessment detailing any changed environmental conditions associated with the site; and

7. Additional information determined by the director to be necessary to the review of the proposed activity and the subject hazard.

F. In addition to the geotechnical report requirements specified in subsection (E) of this section, a geotechnical or critical area report (as specified in subsection (D) of this section) for an erosion hazard or landslide hazard shall include the following information:

1. A site plan for the proposal showing the following:

a. The height of slope, slope gradient, and cross-section of the project area;

b. The location of springs, seeps, or other surface expressions of ground water on or within 200 feet of the project area or that have potential to be affected by the proposal; and

c. The location and description of surface water runoff.

2. The geotechnical analysis shall specifically include:

a. A description of the extent and type of vegetative cover;

b. An estimate of load capacity including surface and ground water conditions, public and private sewage disposal systems, fills and excavations, and all structural development;

c. An estimate of slope stability and the effect construction and placement of structures will have on the slope over the estimated life of the structure;

d. An estimate of the bluff retreat rate that recognizes and reflects potential catastrophic events such as seismic activity or a 100-year storm event;

e. Consideration of the runout hazard of landslide debris and/or the impacts of landslide runout on downslope properties;

f. A study of slope stability including an analysis of proposed angles of cut and fills and site grading;

g. Recommendations for building limitations, structural foundations, and an estimate of foundation settlement; and

h. An analysis of proposed surface and subsurface drainage, and the vulnerability of the site to erosion.

3. For any development proposal on a site containing an erosion hazard area, an erosion and sediment control plan shall be required.

4. A drainage plan for the collection, transport, treatment, discharge and/or recycle of water.

5. Whenever development, including, but not limited to, stairs, pathways, trams and their support structures, retaining walls, and structures, is performed on any erosion, landslide hazard, or steep slope area as defined in this chapter, a mitigation plan shall be prepared.

a. The plan shall include the location and methods of drainage, surface water management, locations and methods of erosion control, a vegetation management and/or replanting plan, and/or other means for maintaining long-term soil stability.

b. All disturbed areas shall be revegetated by the property owner.

c. Revegetation shall include planting of species indigenous to the Northwest, together with a schedule of their maintenance.

6. Monitoring Surface Waters. If the director determines that there is a significant risk of damage to downstream receiving waters due to potential erosion from the site, based on the size of the project, the proximity to the receiving waters, or the sensitivity of the receiving waters, the report shall include a plan to monitor the surface water discharge from the site. The monitoring plan shall include a recommended schedule for submitting monitoring reports to the city.

G. Seismic hazard areas shall require geotechnical reporting consistent with subsection (E) of this section and the following:

1. The site map shall show all known and mapped faults within 200 feet of the project area or that have potential to be affected by the proposal.

2. The geotechnical analysis shall include a complete discussion of the potential impacts of seismic activity on the site (for example, forces generated and fault displacement).

H. Geologically Hazardous Areas – General Development Standards.

1. Alterations of geologically hazardous areas or associated buffers may only occur for activities that a qualified professional determines:

a. Will not increase the threat of the geologic hazard to adjacent properties beyond predevelopment conditions;

b. Will not adversely impact other critical areas or their buffers;

c. Are designed so that the hazard is eliminated or mitigated to a level equal to or less than predevelopment conditions; and

d. Are certified as safe by a qualified engineer or geologist, licensed in the state of Washington.

2. Essential Public Facilities Prohibited. Essential public facilities shall not be sited within geologically hazardous areas unless there is no other practical alternative.

I. Geologically Hazardous Areas – Specific Development Standards.

1. Alterations of an erosion or landslide hazard area and/or buffer may only occur for activities for which a geotechnical report is submitted and certifies that:

a. The development will not increase surface water discharge or sedimentation to adjacent properties beyond predevelopment conditions;

b. The development will not decrease slope stability on adjacent properties; and

c. Such alterations will not adversely impact other critical areas or their buffers.

2. A buffer shall be established from all edges of steep slopes as defined in subsection (B)(2)(f) of this section. The size of the buffer shall be determined by the director to eliminate or minimize the risk of property damage, death or injury resulting from erosion and landslides caused in whole or part by the development, based upon review of and concurrence with a critical area report prepared by a qualified professional.

a. Minimum Buffer.

i. The minimum buffer shall be equal to the height of the slope or 50 feet, whichever is greater.

ii. The buffer may be reduced to a minimum of 10 feet when a qualified professional demonstrates to the city’s satisfaction that the reduction will adequately protect the proposed development, adjacent developments, and uses and the subject critical area.

iii. The buffer may be increased where the director determines a larger buffer is necessary to prevent risk of damage to proposed and existing development.

3. Development within erosion or landslide hazard areas and/or their buffers shall be designed to meet the following basic requirements unless it can be demonstrated that an alternative design that deviates from one or more of these standards provides equivalent or greater long-term slope stability while meeting all other provisions of these critical area regulations. The requirement for long-term slope stability shall exclude designs that require periodic maintenance or other actions to maintain their level of function. The basic development design standards are:

a. The proposed development shall not decrease the factor of safety for landslide occurrences below the limits of 1.5 for static conditions and 1.2 for dynamic conditions. Analysis of dynamic conditions shall be based on a minimum horizontal acceleration as established by the current version of the International Building Code;

b. Structures and improvements shall minimize alterations to the natural contour of the slope and foundations shall be tiered where possible to conform to existing topography;

c. Structures and improvements shall be located to preserve the most critical portion of the site and its natural landforms and vegetation;

d. The proposed development shall not result in greater risk or a need for increased buffers on neighboring properties;

e. The use of retaining walls that allow the maintenance of existing natural slope area is preferred over graded artificial slopes; and

f. Development shall be designed to minimize impervious lot coverage.

4. Unless otherwise provided or as part of an approved alteration, removal of vegetation from an erosion or landslide hazard area or related buffer shall be prohibited.

5. Clearing shall be allowed only from May 1st to October 1st of each year; provided, that the city may extend or shorten the dry season on a case-by-case basis depending on actual weather conditions.

6. Utility lines and pipes shall be permitted in erosion and landslide hazard areas only when the applicant demonstrates that no other practical alternative is available. The line or pipe shall be located above ground and properly anchored and/or designed so that it will continue to function in the event of an underlying slide. Stormwater conveyance shall be allowed only through a high-density polyethylene pipe with fuse-welded joints, or similar product that is technically equal or superior.

7. Point discharges from surface water facilities and roof drains onto or upstream from erosion or landslide hazard area shall be prohibited except as follows:

a. Conveyed via continuous storm pipe downslope to a point where there are no erosion hazards areas downstream from the discharge;

b. Discharged at flow durations matching predeveloped conditions, with adequate energy dissipation, into existing channels that previously conveyed stormwater runoff in the predeveloped state; or

c. Dispersed discharge upslope of the steep slope onto a low-gradient undisturbed buffer demonstrated to be adequate to infiltrate all surface and stormwater runoff.

8. The division of land in erosion and landslide hazard areas and associated buffers is subject to the following:

a. Land that is located wholly within erosion or landslide hazard area or its buffer may not be subdivided. Land that is located partially within erosion or landslide hazard area or its buffer may be divided; provided, that each resulting lot has sufficient buildable area outside of, and will not affect, the erosion or landslide hazard or its buffer.

b. Access roads and utilities may be permitted within the erosion or landslide hazard area and associated buffers if the city determines that no other feasible alternative exists.

9. On-site sewage disposal systems, including drain fields and infiltration drainage systems, shall be prohibited within erosion and landslide hazard areas and related buffers.

10. Activities proposed to be located in seismic hazard areas shall meet the standards of subsection (H) of this section. (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)

20.50.300 Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.

A. Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas are areas that serve a critical role in sustaining needed habitats and species for the functional integrity of the ecosystem, and which, if altered, may reduce the likelihood that the species will persist over the long term. These areas may include, but are not limited to, rare or vulnerable ecological systems, communities, and habitat or habitat elements including seasonal ranges, breeding habitat, winter range, and movement corridors; and areas with high relative population density or species richness. In the city of Medina, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas include:

1. Areas with which state or federally designated endangered, threatened, and sensitive species have a primary association.

a. Federally designated endangered and threatened species are those fish and wildlife species identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service that are in danger of extinction or are threatened to become endangered. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service should be consulted as necessary for current listing status.

b. State designated endangered, threatened, and sensitive species are those fish and wildlife species native to the state of Washington, identified by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, that are in danger of extinction, threatened to become endangered, vulnerable, or declining and are likely to become endangered or threatened in a significant portion of their range within the state without cooperative management or removal of threats. State designated endangered, threatened, and sensitive species are periodically recorded in WAC 232-12-014 (state endangered species), and WAC 232-12-011 (state threatened and sensitive species). The State Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains the most current listing and should be consulted as necessary for current listing status.

2. State Priority Habitats and Species. Priority habitats and species are considered to be priorities for conservation and management. Priority species require protective measures for their perpetuation due to their population status; sensitivity to habitat alteration; and/or recreational, commercial, or tribal importance. Priority habitats are those habitat types or elements with unique or significant value to a diverse assemblage of species. A priority habitat may consist of a unique vegetation type or dominant plant species, a described successional stage, or a specific structural element. Priority habitats and species are identified by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

3. Habitats and Species of Local Importance. Habitats and species of local importance are those identified by the city as approved by the Medina city council, including those that possess unusual or unique habitat warranting protection.

4. Naturally Occurring Ponds Under 20 Acres. Naturally occurring ponds are those ponds under 20 acres and their submerged aquatic beds that provide fish or wildlife habitat, including those artificial ponds intentionally created from dry areas in order to mitigate impacts to ponds. Naturally occurring ponds do not include ponds deliberately designed and created from dry sites, such as canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, temporary construction ponds, and landscape amenities, unless such artificial ponds were intentionally created for mitigation.

5. Waters of the State. In the city, waters of the state include lakes, ponds, streams, inland waters, underground waters, and all other surface waters and watercourses within the jurisdiction of the state of Washington.

6. State Natural Area Preserves and Natural Resource Conservation Areas. Natural area preserves and natural resource conservation areas are defined, established, and managed by the State Department of Natural Resources.

7. Land found by the Medina city council to be essential for preserving connections between habitat blocks and open spaces.

B. Water Typing. Streams shall be designated in accordance with Table 20.50.300(B):

Table 20.50.300(B) Stream Water Type

Water Typing

Designation Criteria

Type 1 Stream

Segments of streams that are at least seasonally utilized by fish for spawning, rearing or migration. Stream segments which are fish passable from Lake Washington are presumed to have at least seasonal fish use. Fish passage should be determined using the best professional judgment of a qualified professional.

Type 2 Stream

Perennial non-fish-bearing streams. Perennial streams do not go dry any time during a year of normal rainfall. However, for the purpose of stream typing, Type 2 streams include the intermittent dry portions of the perennial channel below the uppermost point of perennial flow. If the uppermost point of perennial flow cannot be identified with simple, nontechnical observations, then the point of perennial flow should be determined using the best professional judgment of a qualified professional.

Type 3 Stream

Segments of natural waters that are not classified as Type 1 or 2 streams. These are seasonal, non-fish-bearing streams in which surface flow is not present for a significant portion of a year of normal rainfall and are not located downstream from any Type 2 or higher stream.

C. Mapping.

1. The approximate location and extent of habitat conservation areas are shown on the critical area maps adopted by the city, as most recently updated. The following critical area maps are hereby adopted:

a. Department of Fish and Wildlife Priority Habitat and Species Maps;

b. Anadromous and resident salmonid distribution maps contained in the Habitat Limiting Factors Reports published by the Washington Conservation Commission;

c. Department of Natural Resources State Natural Area Preserves and Natural Resource Conservation Area Maps; and

d. City of Medina official habitat maps.

2. These maps are to be used as a guide for the city, project applicants, and/or property owners. They are a reference and do not provide a final critical area designation.

D. Initial Fish and Wildlife Habitat Assessment.

1. An applicant proposing development activities and uses located adjacent to or within fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, which are defined in subsection (A) of this section, may have a written initial fish and wildlife habitat assessment prepared to investigate the presence and extent of regulated site-specific habitat within the project area prior to satisfying the requirements set forth in MMC 20.50.070 (Critical areas report) and this section.

2. The initial fish and wildlife habitat assessment is a preliminary investigation to determine the presence or absence of site-specific critical fish and wildlife habitat within the project area.

3. The initial fish and wildlife habitat assessment shall be prepared by a qualified professional and include the following content:

a. A description of the project area;

b. Information documenting the investigation of the project area;

c. Findings based on the investigation stating whether critical fish and wildlife habitat is present or absent within the project area (the presence of critical fish species alone does not constitute a site-specific critical fish and wildlife habitat); and

d. Any suggested relevant recommendations or best management practices assuring compliance with this chapter.

The qualified professional may consult with the director prior to or during the preparation of the assessment to determine if more or less information is necessary.

4. Results of the Initial Fish and Wildlife Assessment.

a. If the assessment shows the presence of site-specific critical fish and wildlife habitat within the project area, then the requirements set forth in MMC 20.50.070 and this section shall apply.

b. If the assessment shows the absence of site-specific critical fish and wildlife habitat within the project area, then further analysis through the requirements set forth in MMC 20.50.070 and this section shall not be required.

E. Except where subsection (D)(4)(b) of this section applies, in addition to the critical area report requirements prescribed in MMC 20.50.070, a habitat assessment shall be included. A habitat assessment is an investigation of the project area to evaluate the presence or absence of potential critical fish or wildlife habitat. The habitat assessment shall include the following site- and proposal-related information:

1. Identification of any species of local importance, priority species, or endangered, threatened, sensitive or candidate species that has a primary association with habitat on or adjacent to the project area, and assessment of potential project impacts to the use of the site by the species;

2. A discussion of any federal, state, or local special management recommendations, including Department of Fish and Wildlife habitat management recommendations that have been developed for species or habitats located on or adjacent to the project area;

3. A discussion of any ongoing management practices that will protect habitat after the project site has been developed, including any proposed monitoring and maintenance programs;

4. When appropriate due to the type of habitat or species present or the project area conditions, the director may also require the habitat management plan to include:

a. An evaluation by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, local Native American Indian tribe, or other qualified expert regarding the applicant’s analysis and the effectiveness of any proposed mitigating measures or programs, to include any recommendations as appropriate; and/or

b. Detailed surface and subsurface hydrologic features both on and adjacent to the site.

F. Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas – General Development Standards.

1. A habitat conservation area may be altered only if consistent with mitigation sequencing as prescribed in MMC 20.50.060(C) and the proposed alteration of the habitat or the mitigation proposed does not result in a net loss of ecological functions. All new structures and land alterations shall be prohibited within habitat conservation areas, except as allowed in accordance with this chapter.

2. Whenever activities are proposed in or adjacent to a habitat conservation area, except as outlined in subsection (D) of this section, which state or federally endangered or threatened species have a primary association, such area shall be protected through the application of measures in accordance with a critical area report prepared by a qualified professional and approved by the city, and guidance provided by the appropriate state and/or federal agencies.

3. All activities, uses, and alterations proposed to be located in or within the established buffers of water bodies used by anadromous fish shall give special consideration to the preservation and enhancement of anadromous fish and fish habitat.

4. Plant, wildlife, or fish species not indigenous to Western Washington State shall be excluded from habitat conservation areas unless authorized by a state or federal permit or approval.

5. Mitigation sites shall be located to achieve contiguous wildlife habitat corridors in accordance with a mitigation plan that is part of an approved critical area report to minimize the isolating effects of development on habitat areas, so long as mitigation of aquatic habitat is located within the same aquatic ecosystem as the area disturbed.

6. The director shall condition approvals of activities allowed within or adjacent to a habitat conservation area or its buffers consistent with the mitigation sequencing set forth in MMC 20.50.060(C). Conditions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

a. Establishment of buffer zones;

b. Preservation of critically important vegetation;

c. Limitation of public access to the habitat area, including fencing to deter unauthorized access;

d. Seasonal restriction of construction activities;

e. Establishment of a duration and timetable for periodic review of mitigation activities; and

f. Requirement of a performance bond, when necessary, to ensure completion and success of proposed mitigation.

7. Mitigation of alterations to habitat conservation areas shall achieve equivalent or superior ecological functions, and shall include mitigation for adverse impacts upstream or downstream of the development proposal site as appropriate. Mitigation shall address each function affected by the alteration to achieve functional equivalency or improvement on a per-function basis. Mitigation should occur in the same subdrainage basin as the habitat impacted.

8. Any approval of alterations or impacts to a habitat conservation area shall be supported by best available science.

G. Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Area – Buffers.

1. The director shall require the establishment of buffer areas for activities in, or adjacent to, habitat conservation areas when needed to protect habitat conservation areas.

a. Buffers shall consist of an undisturbed area of native vegetation, or areas identified for restoration, established to protect the integrity, functions and values of the affected habitat.

b. Required buffer widths shall reflect the sensitivity of the habitat and the type and intensity of human activity proposed to be conducted nearby.

c. Setbacks for protection of Lake Washington are provided in MMC 20.63.030 and buffers for protection of Lake Washington tributaries within shoreline jurisdiction are established in MMC 20.67.090.

2. The following standard buffers for streams located outside of shoreline jurisdiction shall be established, adjacent to streams, measured outward on the horizontal plane from the ordinary high water mark or from the top of bank if the ordinary high water mark cannot be identified:

Table 20.50.300(G)(2) Stream Buffers

Water Type

Standard Buffer Width

Minimum Buffer Width with Enhancement

Type 1 Stream

100 feet

50 feet

Type 2 Stream

75 feet

37.5 feet

Type 3 Stream

50 feet

25 feet

3. Reduction of Stream Buffer Widths. The director may allow the standard buffer width to be reduced by up to the listed minimum buffer width in Table 20.50.300(G)(2) provided:

a. A critical area report and mitigation plan approved by the city, and the best available science applied on a case-by-case basis, determine that a smaller area is adequate to protect the habitat functions and values based on site-specific characteristics and the proposal will result in a net improvement of stream and buffer functions;

b. A plan for mitigating buffer-reduction impacts is prepared using selected incentive-based mitigation options in Table 20.50.300(G)(3);

c. Where a substantial portion of the remaining buffer is degraded, revegetation with native plants in the degraded portions shall be included in the remaining buffer area;

d. A five-year monitoring and maintenance plan shall be included;

e. Incentive options may be accumulatively applied to allow a reduction allowance not to exceed 50 percent of the standard buffer width and Table 20.50.300(G)(2); and

f. Where multiple options for an action are prescribed in the Table 20.50.300(G)(3), only one option under that action may be applied.

Table 20.50.300(G)(3) Stream Buffer Reduction Incentive Options

Description of Action

Options

Reduction Allowance

Removal of impervious surface

Reduce impervious surfaces within the to-be-remaining buffer area by at least 50 percent

Up to 10 percentage points

Remove all impervious surface where the to-be-remaining buffer is presently more than 50 percent impervious

Up to 20 percentage points

Installation of biofiltration/infiltration mechanisms

Install bioswales, created and/or enhanced wetlands, or ponds supplemental to existing storm drainage and water quality requirements

Up to 20 percentage points

Removal of invasive, non-native vegetation

Remove and employ extended (minimum five-year) monitoring and continued-removal maintenance of relatively dense stands of invasive, nonnative vegetation from significant portions of the remaining buffer area

Up to 10 percentage points

In-stream habitat enhancement

Placement of log structure, bioengineered bank stabilization, or culvert removal

Up to 20 percentage points

Improve fish passage and/or creation of side channel or backwater areas

Up to 25 percentage points

Installation of oil-water separators

If not required by other provisions of the Medina Municipal Code, install oil-water separator for stormwater quality control

Up to 10 percentage points

Use of pervious materials

Use pervious materials for driveway/road construction

Up to 10 percentage points

Off-site restoration, if no on-site area is possible

Restoration is provided at a 2:1 ratio or greater

Up to 10 percentage points

Restoration is provided at a 4:1 ratio or greater

Up to 20 percentage points

Remove toxic material

Remove significant refuse or sources of toxic material

Up to 10 percentage points

4. Averaging of Stream Buffer Widths. The director may allow the standard stream buffer width to be averaged in accordance with a critical area report if:

a. The proposal will result in a net improvement of stream, habitat and buffer function;

b. The proposal will include revegetation of the averaged buffer using native plants, if needed;

c. The total area contained in the buffer of each stream on the development proposal site is not decreased; and

d. The standard stream buffer width is not reduced by more than 50 percent or to less than 25 feet wide, whichever is greater, in any one location.

H. Permitted Activities in Stream Buffers. The following specific activities may be permitted within a stream, pond, lake, water of the state, or associated buffers when the activity complies with the provisions set forth in this title, and subject to the following standards:

1. Clearing and Grading. When clearing and grading is permitted as part of an authorized activity or as otherwise allowed in these standards, the following shall apply:

a. Grading is allowed only during the dry season, which is typically regarded as beginning on May 1st and ending on October 1st of each year; provided, that the city of Medina may extend or shorten the dry season on a case-by-case basis, based on actual weather conditions.

b. The soil duff layer in ungraded areas shall remain undisturbed to the maximum extent possible. Where feasible, any soil disturbed shall be redistributed to other nonwetland and stream areas of the project site.

c. The moisture-holding capacity of the topsoil layer shall be maintained by minimizing soil compaction or reestablishing natural soil structure and infiltrative capacity on all areas of the project area not covered by impervious surfaces.

d. Erosion and sediment control shall be provided.

2. Streambank Stabilization. Streambank stabilization to protect new structures from future channel migration is not permitted except when such stabilization is achieved through bioengineering or soft-armoring techniques in accordance with an approved critical area report.

3. Roads, Trails, Bridges, and Rights-of-Way. Construction of trails, roadways, and minor road bridging, less than or equal to 30 feet wide, may be permitted in accordance with an approved critical area report subject to the following standards:

a. There is no other feasible alternative route with less impact on the environment;

b. The crossing minimizes interruption of downstream movement of wood and gravel;

c. Mitigation for impacts is provided pursuant to an approved mitigation plan and critical area report;

d. Road bridges are designed according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife Water Crossing Design Guidelines, May 2013 or as amended, or the National Marine Fisheries Service Anadromous Salmonid Passage Facility Design, February 2008 or as amended; and

e. Trails and associated viewing platforms shall not be made of continuous impervious materials.

4. Utility Facilities. New utility lines and facilities may be permitted to cross watercourses in accordance with an approved critical area report if they comply with the following standards:

a. Fish and wildlife habitat areas shall be avoided to the maximum extent feasible;

b. Installation shall be accomplished by boring beneath the scour depth and hyporheic zone of the water body and channel migration zone, where feasible;

c. The utilities shall cross at an angle greater than 60 degrees to the centerline of the channel in streams or perpendicular to the channel centerline whenever boring under the channel is not feasible;

d. Crossings shall be contained within the footprint of an existing road or utility crossing where possible;

e. The utility route shall avoid paralleling the stream or following a down-valley course near the channel; and

f. The utility installation shall not increase or decrease the natural rate of channel migration.

5. Stormwater Conveyance Facilities. Conveyance structures may be permitted in accordance with an approved critical area report subject to the following standards:

a. No other feasible alternatives with less impact exist;

b. Mitigation for impacts is provided; and

c. Vegetation shall be maintained and, if necessary, added adjacent to all open channels and ponds in order to retard erosion, filter out sediments, and shade the water.

I. Signs and Fencing.

1. The outer perimeter of the habitat conservation area or buffer and the limits of those areas to be disturbed pursuant to an approved permit or authorization shall be marked in the field in such a way as to ensure that no unauthorized disturbance will occur, and verified by the director prior to the commencement of permitted activities. This temporary marking shall be maintained throughout construction, and shall not be removed until permanent signs, if required, are in place.

2. As a condition of any permit or authorization issued pursuant to this chapter, the director may require an applicant to install permanent signs along the boundary of a habitat conservation area or buffer. Permanent signs shall be made of a metal face and attached to a metal post, or another material of equal durability. Signs must be posted at an interval of one per lot or every 50 feet, whichever is less, and must be maintained by the property owner in perpetuity. The sign shall be worded as follows or with alternative language approved by the city manager or designee:

Habitat Conservation Area

Do Not Disturb

Contact City of Medina Regarding Uses and Restriction

Fencing

3. The city manager or designee may condition any permit or authorization issued pursuant to this chapter to require the applicant to install a permanent fence at the edge of the habitat conservation area or buffer, when fencing may prevent future impacts to the habitat conservation area.

4. Fencing installed as part of a proposed activity or as required in this subsection shall be designed so as to minimize interference with species migration, including fish runs, and shall be constructed in a manner that minimizes habitat impacts.

J. The subdivision and short subdivision of land in fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas and associated buffers is subject to the following:

1. Land that is located wholly within a habitat conservation area or its buffer may not be subdivided.

2. Land that is located partially within a habitat conservation area or its buffer may be divided; provided, that an accessible and contiguous portion of each new lot is located outside of the habitat conservation area or its buffer and meets the city’s minimum lot size requirements.

3. Access roads and utilities serving the proposed lots may be permitted within the habitat conservation area and associated buffers only if the city determines that no other feasible alternative exists and when consistent with these critical areas regulations. (Ord. 924 § 3 (Att. B), 2015)