Chapter 19.07


19.07.010    Procedures for processing project permits.

19.07.020    Determination of proper procedure type.

19.07.030    Project permit/approval application framework.

19.07.040    Joint public hearings.

19.07.050    Legislative decisions.

19.07.060    Exemptions from project permit application processing.

19.07.070    Administrative interpretations.

19.07.080    Definitions.

19.07.090    Project permit time limitations.

19.07.010 Procedures for processing project permits.

For the purpose of project permit processing, all development permit applications shall be classified as one of the following: Type I, Type II, Type III or Type IV. Legislative decisions are Type V actions, and are addressed in NMC 19.07.050. Exemptions from the requirements of project permit application processing are contained in NMC 19.07.060. (Ord. 2021-624 § 16; Ord. 97-153 Exh. A).

19.07.020 Determination of proper procedure type.

A. Determination by Director. The director or his/her designee shall determine the proper procedure for all development applications. If there is a question as to the appropriate type of procedure, the director shall resolve it in favor of the higher procedure type number.

B. Optional Consolidated Permit Processing. An application that involves two or more procedures may be processed collectively under the highest numbered procedure required for any part of the application or processed individually under each of the procedures identified by the code. The applicant may determine whether the application shall be processed collectively or individually. If the application is processed under the individual procedures option, the highest numbered type procedure must be processed prior to the subsequent lower numbered procedure.

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

1. Projects categorically exempt from SEPA;

2. Components of previously completed planned actions, to the extent permitted by law and consistent with the EIS for the planned action.

D. Decisionmaker(s). Applications processed in accordance with subsection (B) of this section which have the same highest numbered procedure but are assigned different hearing bodies shall be heard collectively by the highest decisionmaker(s). The city council is the highest, followed by the hearing examiner or planning commission, as applicable, and then the director. Joint public hearings with other agencies shall be processed according to NMC 19.07.040.

E. Hearings. Project permits are allowed only one open record hearing and one closed record appeal hearing, except for the appeal of a determination of significance. (Ord. 2021-624 § 16; Ord. 97-153 Exh. A).

19.07.030 Project permit/approval application framework.

Project Permit/Approval Type

Type I

Type II

Type III

Type IV

Type V

Type VI

•    Temporary use permit

•    Temporary sign permit for those not exempted by NMC 18.20.270

•    Preliminary plat extension

•    Boundary line adjustment

•    Code interpretation

•    Miscellaneous administrative decisions

•    Preliminary and final short plat

•    Binding site plan

•    Type II home occupation permit

•    Home industry permit

•    Variance – director approval

•    Site plan review

•    Wireless communications facility (WCF) permit

•    Vacation of recorded short subdivision

•    Alteration of short subdivisions

•    Residential condominium binding site plan review

•    Conditional use permits

•    Essential public facility permits

•    Special use permits

•    Variance – hearing examiner approval

•    Reasonable use exceptions (private/

•    Subdivisions – final plats

•    Subdivisions – preliminary plats

•    Vacation of recorded subdivisions

•    Alteration of recorded subdivisions

•    Site-specific rezone

•    Preliminary planned unit development

•    Final planned unit development

•    Zoning code amendment (text)

•    Zoning map amendment

•    Adoption of the development regulations and amendments

•    Adoption of the comprehensive plan and amendments

•    Annexations

•    Zoning code amendment (text)

•    Adoption of development regulations and amendments

•    Amendment to capital facilities element pursuant to NMC 19.17.040(E)

Project Permit/Approval Procedures 


Type I

Type II

Type III

Type IV

Type V

Type VI

Final decision made by



Hearing examiner

City council

City council

City council

Notice of permit application/final decision




Yes (except for final subdivisions and final planned unit developments)



Open record public hearing



Yes, before the hearing examiner to render final decision

Yes, before the hearing examiner (except for final subdivisions and final planned unit developments)

Yes, before the planning commission to make recommendations to city council

Yes, before the city council or the planning commission at the city council’s option

Closed record appeal hearing

Yes, before the hearing examiner

Yes, before the hearing examiner





Judicial appeal

King County superior court

King County superior court

King County superior court

King County superior

Growth Management Hearings Board

Growth Management Hearings Board

(Ord. 2021-624 § 16; Ord. 2019-598 § 20; Ord. 2016-541 § 2 (Exh. 1); Ord. 2015-532 § 1; Ord. 2005-304 § 1; Ord. 2002-254 § 10; Ord. 2001-247 § 8; Ord. 2000-222 § 5; Ord. 2000-213 § 1; Ord. 97-153 Exh. A).

19.07.040 Joint public hearings.

A. Director’s Decision to Hold Joint Hearing. The director may combine any public hearings on a project permit application with any hearing that may be held by another local, state, regional, federal, or other agency, on the proposed action, as long as: (1) the hearing is held within the city limits; and (2) the requirements of subsection (C) of this section are met.

B. Applicant’s Request for a Joint Hearing. The applicant may request that the public hearings on a permit application be combined as long as the joint hearing can be held within the time periods set forth in this title. In the alternative, the applicant may agree to a particular schedule if that additional time is needed in order to complete the hearings.

C. Prerequisites to Joint Public Hearing. A joint public hearing may be held with another local, state, regional, federal or other agency and the city, as long as:

1. The other agency is not expressly prohibited by statute from doing so;

2. Sufficient notice of the hearing is given to meet each of the agencies’ adopted notice requirements as set forth in statute, ordinance, or rule;

3. The agency has received the necessary information about the proposed project from the applicant in enough time to hold its hearing at the same time as the city’s hearing; and

4. The hearing is held within the geographic boundary of the city. (Ord. 2021-624 § 16; Ord. 97-153 Exh. A).

19.07.050 Legislative decisions.

A. Decisions. The following decisions are legislative, and are not subject to the procedures in this chapter, unless otherwise specified:

1. Zoning code amendments;

2. Adoption of development regulations and amendments;

3. Zoning map amendments;

4. Adoption of the comprehensive plan and any plan amendments; and

5. Annexations.

B. Planning Commission. Except as set forth in subsection (C) of this section, the planning commission shall hold a public hearing and make recommendations to the city council on the decisions listed in subsections (A)(1) through (5) of this section.

C. City Council. At the city council’s option, the city council may hold the public hearing required for the Type VI decisions (zoning code amendments and adoption of development regulations) prior to passage of an ordinance or entry of a decision. The city council shall hold the public hearing relating to amendments to the capital facilities element pursuant to NMC 19.17.040(E).

D. Public Notice. Notice of the public hearing shall be provided to the public by publishing in the manner set forth in NMC 19.11.040(B). (Ord. 2021-624 § 16; Ord. 2015-532 § 2; Ord. 97-153 Exh. A).

19.07.060 Exemptions from project permit application processing.

A. Whenever a permit or approval in the Newcastle Municipal Code has been designated as a Type I, II, III or IV permit, the procedures in this title shall be followed in project permit processing. The following permits or approvals are, however, specifically excluded from the procedures set forth in this title:

1. Landmark designations;

2. Street vacation;

3. Street use permits.

B. Pursuant to RCW 36.70B.140(2), building permits, boundary line adjustments, other construction permits, or similar administrative approvals which are categorically exempt from environmental review under SEPA (Chapter 43.21C RCW) and NMC Title 14 (SEPA), or permits/approvals for which environmental review has been completed in connection with other project permits, are excluded from the following procedures:

1. Determination of completeness, NMC 19.09.030(A);

2. Notice of application, NMC 19.09.040;

3. Except as provided in RCW 36.70B.140, optional consolidated project permit review processing, NMC 19.07.020(B);

4. Joint public hearings, NMC 19.07.040;

5. Single report stating all the decisions and recommendations made as of the date of the report that do not require an open record hearing pursuant to RCW 36.70B.060(5);

6. Notice of decision, NMC 19.09.050;

7. Completion of project review within any applicable time periods (including the 120-day permit processing time), NMC 19.09.050(A). (Ord. 2021-624 § 16; Ord. 97-153 Exh. A).

19.07.070 Administrative interpretations.

Unless otherwise specified and except for other agencies with authority to implement specific provisions of this title, the director is delegated the authority to issue official interpretations of all development regulations. (Ord. 2021-624 § 16; Ord. 97-153 Exh. A).

19.07.080 Definitions.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this title.

A. “Closed record appeal hearing” means an administrative appeal on the record following an open record hearing on a project permit application when the appeal is on the record with no or limited new evidence or information allowed to be submitted and only appeal argument allowed.

B. “Director” means the planning and land use services administrator or his/her designees unless another department or agency is in charge of the project permit in which case it refers to the chief administrative officer of that department or agency.

C. “Miscellaneous administrative decisions” include, but are not limited to, the reduction of standard wetland buffer widths, Standard Industrial Code (SIC) interpretations, nonspecified land use parking requirements, modifications to the community business center design guidelines as specified therein and adjustments to parking and bike facility requirements.

D. “Open record hearing” means a hearing conducted by a single hearing body or officer that creates the record through testimony and submission of evidence and information. An open record hearing may be held prior to a decision on a project permit, to be known as an “open record predecision hearing.” An open record hearing may be held on an appeal, to be known as an “open record appeal hearing,” if no open record predecision hearing has been held on the project permit.

E. A “planned action” is one or more types of project actions that:

1. Are designated planned actions by an ordinance or resolution adopted by the city;

2. Have had the significant impacts adequately addressed in an environmental impact statement prepared in conjunction with:

a. The comprehensive plan or subarea plan adopted under Chapter 36.70A RCW, or

b. A fully contained community, a master planned resort, a master planned development or a phased project;

3. Are subsequent or implementing projects for the proposals listed in subsection (E)(2)(b) of this subsection;

4. Are located within an urban growth area, as defined in RCW 36.70A.030;

5. Are not essential public facilities, as defined in RCW 36.70A.200;

6. Are consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan adopted under Chapter 36.70A RCW.

F. “Project permit” or “project permit application” means any land use or environmental permit or license required from the city for a project action, including but not limited to subdivisions, conditional uses, permits or approvals required by critical area ordinances, site-specific rezones authorized by the comprehensive plan or a subarea plan, but excluding the adoption or amendment of the comprehensive plan, subarea plan, or development regulations except as otherwise specifically included in this subsection.

G. “Public meeting” means an informal meeting, hearing, workshop, or other public gathering of people to obtain comments from the public or other agencies on a proposed project permit prior to a decision. A public meeting may include, but is not limited to, a design review or architectural control board meeting, a special review district, or a scoping meeting on a draft environmental impact statement. A public meeting does not include an open record hearing. The proceedings at a public meeting may be recorded and a report or recommendation may be included in the city’s project permit application file. (Ord. 2021-624 § 16; Ord. 2008-392 § 15; Ord. 97-153 Exh. A).

19.07.090 Project permit time limitations.

After approval, project permits shall expire per the following time limitations:

Permit Name

Time Limitation


Accessory Dwelling Unit

Two years to apply for subsequent construction or development permit


Alteration of Plat

See NMC 20.08.070


Vacation of Subdivision

See NMC 20.08.070


Binding Site Plan

See NMC 20.05.090


Boundary Line Adjustment

Must be recorded within 30 days of receipt of recording fee to city. See NMC 20.02.070


Clearing and Grading

See NMC 17.07.090


Conditional Use Permit

Use must commence within two years or when associated permit expires

1, 2

Development Agreement

See NMC 17.09.180


Engineering Review Permit

See NMC 17.08.130


Final Planned Unit Development

Same as associated plat


Final Short Plat

Must be recorded within 60 months of summary short plat approval. See NMC 20.03.080


Final Subdivision Plat

Must be recorded within 30 days of receipt of recording fee to city. See NMC 20.07.060


Home Occupation (all types), Home Industry

Use must commence within two years

1, 2

Preliminary Planned Unit Development

Same as associated plat


Summary Short Plat

Sixty months to record final short plat after summary plat approval. See NMC 20.03.080


Preliminary Subdivision

See NMC 20.04.080


Residential Condominium Binding Site Plan

See NMC 20.05.090


Reasonable Use Exception, Private

Three years to apply for subsequent construction or development permit


Reasonable Use Exception, Public

Three years to apply for subsequent construction or development permit


Site Plan Review

See NMC 17.05.100(D)


Temporary Use

See NMC 18.32.120


Variance – Public Works

Two years or when associated permit expires (whichever is longer)

1, 2

Variance – Zoning

Two years or when associated permit expires (whichever is longer)

1, 2

Wireless Communications Facility

See NMC 18.25.100



1.    If associated with a parent project, the approval shall be valid as long as the project permit is valid.

2.    Will not expire as long as development permits have been applied for and have not expired.

3.    Must be recorded within three months with one time extension.

4.    Applicant has seven days to submit recording fee after approval.

(Ord. 2021-634 § 11; Ord. 2021-624 § 16).