Chapter 16.05
PROCEDURES UNDER THE STATE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT

Sections:

16.05.010    Purpose and authority.

16.05.020    Definitions and acronyms/abbreviations.

16.05.030    Lead agency.

16.05.040    Responsible official.

16.05.050    Responsibility as consulted agency.

16.05.060    Substantive authority and mitigation.

16.05.070    General requirements.

16.05.080    Categorical exemptions and threshold determinations.

16.05.090    Environmental impact statements and other environmental documents.

16.05.100    Comments and public notice.

16.05.110    Use of existing documents.

16.05.120    SEPA/GMA integration.

16.05.130    Planned actions.

16.05.140    Appeals.

16.05.150    Fees.

16.05.160    Forms.

16.05.010 Purpose and authority.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to establish the City’s procedures related to environmental impacts under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

B. The City is authorized to adopt SEPA procedures pursuant to RCW 43.21C.120 and WAC 197-11-904. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.020 Definitions and acronyms/abbreviations.

A. Definitions set forth in WAC 197-11-700 through 197-11-799 are adopted by reference as though fully set forth, as now existing or hereafter amended.

B. For the purposes of this chapter, the following additional definitions shall apply:

“CED Department” means the City’s Community and Economic Development Department or its assigns.

“SEPA rules” means Chapter 197-11 WAC as adopted by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

C. The following acronyms/abbreviations are used in this chapter:

1. SEPA – State Environmental Policy Act.

2. DNS – Determination of nonsignificance.

3. DS – Determination of significance.

4. ECY – Washington State Department of Ecology.

5. EIS – Environmental impact statement.

6. GMA – Growth Management Act.

7. RCW – Revised Code of Washington.

8. WAC – Washington Administrative Code. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.030 Lead agency.

The procedures and standards regarding lead agency responsibility, set forth in the following sections of the WAC, as existing or hereafter amended, are adopted by reference as though fully set forth:

WAC 197-11-050    Lead agency.

WAC 197-11-900    Purpose of this part.

WAC 197-11-922    Lead agency rules.

WAC 197-11-924    Determining lead agency.

WAC 197-11-926    Lead agency for governmental proposals.

WAC 197-11-928    Lead agency for public and private proposals.

WAC 197-11-930    Lead agency for private project with one agency with jurisdiction.

WAC 197-11-932    Lead agency for private projects requiring licenses from a local agency, when one of the agencies is a county/city.

WAC 197-11-934    Lead agency for private projects requiring licenses from a local agency, not a county/city, and one or more state agencies.

WAC 197-11-936    Lead agency for private projects requiring licenses from more than one state agency.

WAC 197-11-938    Lead agency for specific proposals.

WAC 197-11-940    Transfer lead agency status to a state agency.

WAC 197-11-942    Agreements on lead agency status.

WAC 197-11-944    Agreements on division of lead agency duties.

WAC 197-11-946    DOE resolution of lead agency disputes.

WAC 197-11-948    Assumption of lead agency status.

(Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.040 Responsible official.

A. For those proposals for which the City is a lead agency, the responsible official shall be the director of the Community and Economic Development Department.

B. For all proposals for which the City is a lead agency, the responsible official shall make the threshold determination, supervise scoping and preparation of any required EIS, and perform any other functions assigned to the lead agency or responsible official by those sections of the SEPA rules that have been adopted by reference. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.050 Responsibility as consulted agency.

A. All requests from other agencies that the City of Mountlake Terrace consult on threshold investigations, the scope process, environmental impact statements or other environmental documents shall be submitted to the responsible official or such other person as the responsible official may designate in writing.

B. The responsible official shall establish procedures and be responsible for coordination with other affected City officials and departments and for compiling and transmitting the City’s response to SEPA notices and requests for consultation, consistent with WAC 197-11-912. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.060 Substantive authority and mitigation.

A. The City adopts by reference as though fully set forth herein the procedures and standards of WAC 197-11-650 through 197-11-660, as now existing or hereafter amended, regarding substantive authority and mitigation, and WAC 197-11-158, as now existing or hereafter amended, regarding reliance on existing plans, laws and regulations.

B. For the purposes of RCW 43.21C.060 and WAC 197-11-660(1)(a), the following policies, plans, rules and regulations, as now existing or hereafter amended, are designated as potential bases for the exercise of the City’s substantive authority under SEPA, subject to the provisions of RCW 43.21C.240 and subsection C of this section, as now existing or hereafter amended:

1. SEPA rules pursuant to Chapter 197-11 WAC;

2. Latest version of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, subarea plans, Shoreline Master Program, Water Comprehensive Plan, Sewer Comprehensive Plan, and Stormwater Comprehensive Plan; and

3. The City’s municipal code, including standards that are adopted by reference in the municipal code, as now existing or hereafter amended.

C. This chapter shall not be construed as a limitation on the authority of the City to approve, condition, or deny a proposal for reasons based on other statutes, ordinances, or standards. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.070 General requirements.

A. The City adopts by reference, as though fully set forth, the following sections of Chapter 197-11 WAC, as now existing or hereafter amended:

WAC 197-11-055    Timing of the SEPA process.

WAC 197-11-060    Content of environmental review.

WAC 197-11-070    Limitations on actions during SEPA process.

WAC 197-11-080    Incomplete or unavailable information.

WAC 197-11-090    Supporting documents.

WAC 197-11-100    Information required of applicants.

WAC 197-11-238    Monitoring.

WAC 197-11-300    Purpose of this part.

WAC 197-11-650    Purpose of this part.

WAC 197-11-655    Implementation.

WAC 197-11-900    Purpose of this part.

WAC 197-11-902    Agency SEPA policies.

WAC 197-11-904    Agency SEPA procedures.

WAC 197-11-906    Content and consistency of agency procedures.

WAC 197-11-908    Critical areas.

WAC 197-11-916    Application to ongoing actions.

WAC 197-11-920    Agencies with environmental expertise.

B. The optional provision set forth in WAC 197-11-060(3)(c) is adopted by reference as fully set forth, as now existing or hereafter is amended.

C. The applicant shall prepare the initial environmental checklist pursuant to WAC 197-11-100. The CED Department shall make a reasonable effort to verify the information in the environmental checklist and shall have the authority to determine the final content of the environmental checklist.

D. Timelines for the City’s SEPA process shall apply pursuant to Article IV, “Application Process-Consolidated and Incremental Procedures,” of Chapter 18.05 MTMC, including, but not limited to, MTMC 18.05.620, as now existing or hereafter amended.

E. Unless otherwise provided herein, the provisions of Chapter 197-11 WAC, as now existing or hereafter amended, shall be applicable to all elements of SEPA compliance, including the modification or supplementation of an EIS initiated after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.080 Categorical exemptions and threshold determinations.

A. The standards and procedures set forth in WAC 197-11-300 through 197-11-390, WAC 197-11-720, and WAC 197-11-800 through 197-11-890 are adopted by reference as though fully set forth, as now existing or hereafter amended, to determine SEPA categorical exemptions and make threshold determinations; provided, that the following types of minor construction shall be exempt, except when: (1) undertaken wholly or partly on lands covered by water; (2) a rezone is requested; or (3) any license governing emissions to the air or discharges to water is required:

1. The construction of single-household residential structures up to 30 dwelling units or any multiple-household residential structures up to 60 dwelling units.

2. The construction of an office, school, commercial, recreational, service or storage building up to 30,000 square feet of gross floor area and including any associated parking facilities designed for up to 90 motor vehicles.

3. The construction of parking facilities designed for up to 90 motor vehicles.

4. Any landfill or excavation of up to 1,000 cubic yards throughout the total lifetime of the fill or excavation when not associated with either an exempt project in subsection A, B, or C of this section or any fill or excavation classified as a Class I, II, or III forest practice under RCW 76.09.050 or regulations thereunder.

5. The construction or installation of an individual battery charging station or an individual battery exchange station for electric vehicles, as provided by RCW 43.21C.410.

6. Any categorical exemptions required under Chapter 43.21C RCW, as now existing or hereafter amended.

B. The mitigated DNS provision of WAC 197-11-350, as now existing or hereafter amended, shall be applied as follows:

1. If the responsible official issues a mitigated DNS, conditions requiring compliance with the mitigation measures that were specified in the application and environmental checklist shall be deemed conditions of any decision or recommendation of approval of the action.

2. If at any time the proposed mitigation measures are withdrawn or substantively changed, the responsible official shall review the threshold determination and, if necessary, may withdraw the mitigated DNS and issue a DS.

C. The use of categorical exemptions is subject to the following:

1. The determination of whether a proposal is categorically exempt shall be made by the responsible official.

2. The determination that a proposal is exempt shall be final and not subject to administrative review.

3. If a proposal is exempt, none of the procedural requirements related to threshold determinations under this section shall apply to the proposal.

4. The responsible official shall not require completion of an environmental checklist for an exempt proposal. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.090 Environmental impact statements and other environmental documents.

The City adopts by reference as though fully set forth the procedures and standards set forth in WAC 197-11-400 through 197-11-460 and WAC 197-11-600 through 197-11-640, as now existing or hereafter amended, for preparation of environmental impact statements and other environmental documents, subject to the following:

A. Pursuant to WAC 197-11-408(2)(a), all comments on determinations of significance and scoping notices shall be in writing, except where a public meeting on EIS scoping occurs pursuant to WAC 197-11-410(1)(b).

B. Pursuant to WAC 197-11-420, 197-11-620, and 197-11-625, the CED Department shall be responsible for preparation and content of EISs and other environmental documents. The CED Department may contract with consultants as necessary for the preparation of environmental documents. The CED Department may consider the opinion of the applicant regarding the qualifications of the consultant but the CED Department shall retain sole authority for selecting persons or firms to author, co-author, provide special services or otherwise participate in the preparation of required environmental documents.

C. Consultants or subconsultants selected by the City to prepare environmental documents for a private development proposal shall not: act as agents for the applicant in the preparation or acquisition of associated underlying permits; have a financial interest in the proposal for which the environmental document is being prepared; perform any work or provide any services for the applicant in connection with or related to the proposal.

D. The CED Department may establish and maintain one or more lists of consultants who are qualified to prepare environmental documents. Separate lists may be maintained to reflect specialized qualifications or expertise. When the CED Department requires consultant services to prepare environmental documents, the CED Department may select a consultant from the lists and negotiate a contract for such services, subject to other City requirements.

E. All costs of preparing the environmental document shall be borne by the applicant.

F. In the event an applicant decides to suspend or abandon the project, the applicant must provide formal written notice to the responsible official and consultant. The applicant shall continue to be responsible for all monies expended by the City or its consultants to the point of receipt of notification to suspend or abandon, or for other obligations or penalties under the terms of any contract let for preparation of the environmental documents.

G. The CED Department shall only publish an environmental impact statement (EIS) when it believes the EIS adequately discloses: the significant direct, indirect, and cumulative adverse impacts of the proposal and its alternatives; mitigation measures proposed and committed to by the applicant and the effectiveness of the measures in significantly mitigating impacts; additional mitigation measures, if appropriate, that could be implemented or required; and unavoidable significant adverse impacts. Unless otherwise agreed to by the applicant, a final EIS shall be issued by the CED Department within 270 calendar days following the issuance of a DS for the proposal, except for public projects and nonproject actions, unless the responsible official determines at the time of issuance of the DS that a longer period will be required because of the extraordinary size of the proposal or the scope of the environmental impacts resulting therefrom; provided, that the additional time shall not exceed 90 calendar days unless otherwise agreed by the applicant.

H. The following periods shall be excluded from the 270-day time period for issuing a final EIS:

1. Any time period during which the applicant has failed to pay required environmental review fees to the CED Department;

2. Any period of time during which the applicant has been requested to provided additional information required for preparation of the EIS; and

3. Any period of time during which the applicant has not authorized the CED Department to proceed with preparation of the EIS. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.100 Comments and public notice.

A. For comments and public notices, the City adopts by reference as though fully set forth the following sections of the WAC, as now existing or hereafter amended: WAC 197-11-355 and WAC 197-11-500 through 197-11-570.

B. For purposes of WAC 197-11-510, public notice shall be required as provided in MTMC 18.05.440. Publication of notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the proposal is located shall also be required for all nonproject actions and for all other proposals that are subject to the provisions of this chapter, but not classified as land use permit decisions.

C. The responsible official may require further notice if deemed necessary to provide adequate public notice of a pending action. Failure to require further or alternative notice shall not be a violation of any notice procedure. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.110 Use of existing documents.

For use of existing documents, the procedures and standards set forth in WAC 197-11-600 through 197-11-640, as now existing or hereafter amended, are adopted by reference as though fully set forth. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.120 SEPA/GMA integration.

The City adopts by reference, as though fully set forth, the procedures and standards for the timing and content of environmental review related to SEPA/GMA integration, which are specified in WAC 197-11-210 through 197-11-235, as now existing or hereafter amended. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.130 Planned actions.

The City adopts by reference as though fully set forth the procedures and standards set forth in WAC 197-11-164 through 197-11-172 regarding the designation of planned actions. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.140 Appeals.

A. The City adopts by reference WAC 197-11-680, as now existing or hereafter amended, as supplemental to subsection B of this section.

B. Appeals of City actions under SEPA shall be allowed as provided under Article VII, “Appeals,” and Article IX, “Hearing Matrix and Land Use Project Procedures Timeline,” of Chapter 18.05 MTMC, as now existing or hereafter amended. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.150 Fees.

A. Environmental Checklists. Every environmental checklist submitted to the City for the purpose of making a threshold determination shall be accompanied by a review fee established pursuant to MTMC 3.150.090. For every environmental checklist to be performed or substantially rewritten by the City when the City is the lead agency, a fee as required pursuant to MTMC 3.150.090 shall be required of the proponent of the proposal. Fees authorized by this section shall be collected prior to the undertaking of the threshold determination; time periods provided by MTMC 16.05.090 for making a threshold determination shall not begin to run until payment of the fee or completion of the checklist, whichever occurs later.

B. Environmental Impact Statement. For preparation of environmental documents initiated by some persons or entity other than the City, the responsible official may determine that the City will contract directly with a consultant for preparation of environmental documents for activities initiated by some persons or entity other than the City and may bill such costs and expenses directly to the applicant.

1. Applicants may be required to post bond or otherwise insure payment of such costs.

2. The total cost of preparing an EIS shall include the following:

a. Cost of research, preparation, and reproduction;

b. Circulation of the draft EIS and final EIS;

c. Additional research required as a result of responses from the circulation of the draft EIS or as deemed necessary by the City Council; and

d. Any special services, depending on the particular case, as agreed to by the responsible official and the proponent of the action.

3. The City may charge any person for copies and/or mailings of any document prepared pursuant to the requirements of this chapter and Chapter 18.05 MTMC. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).

16.05.160 Forms.

The City adopts by reference the SEPA forms set forth in WAC 197-11-960 through 197-11-990, as now existing or hereafter amended. (Ord. 2618 § 2, 2013).