Chapter 18.100
CLEARING AND GRADING

Sections:

18.100.010    Purpose.

18.100.020    Applicability.

18.100.030    Design criteria.

18.100.040    Review coordination.

18.100.050    Financial guarantees.

18.100.060    Change of conditions.

18.100.070    Approval and inspection process.

18.100.080    Geothermal energy systems.

18.100.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the standards to guide all clearing and grading activities in the city. [Ord. 1060 §§ 5, 6, 2010; Ord. 1059 § 2 (Exh. A (12.100.010)), 2010.]

18.100.020 Applicability.

All activities that involve the clearing, grading, filling, and/or covering of the ground with impervious surface shall apply for and receive a clearing and grading permit, unless specifically exempted.

A. Exempt Activities. The following activities may be exempt from the requirements of this chapter unless it involves a drainage course, wetlands, environmentally sensitive areas, areas of special flood hazard, and/or archaeological sites:

1. Construction or maintenance of public roads when done by a public agency when the project has completed an environmental checklist, has been approved by the city, and the work is in existing or future public right-of-way;

2. The installation of utilities in accordance with a valid permit, franchise or road construction plan from the city, well drilling activities, or excavation for soil logs;

3. Routine maintenance and operation activities at cemeteries;

4. Emergency sandbagging, diking, ditching, filling or similar work during or after periods of extreme weather conditions when done to protect life or property;

5. The broadcasting of less than 50 yards of peat, sawdust, mulch, bark, chips, topsoil, or soil nutrients on a lot, tract or parcel of land, or the broadcasting of any amount of the above material to a maximum depth of four inches;

6. Broadcasting of five yards or less of topsoil not more than four inches deep; or

7. Other landscaping and minor home improvement activities that do not involve heavy equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, etc.

B. Minor Clearing and Grading Activities. Nonexempt clearing, grading, filling, and excavation activities that do not involve a total of more than 100 cubic yards throughout the lifetime of the project and that do not involve or adversely impact environmentally sensitive or critical areas, as determined by the city, may be considered minor clearing and grading activities; provided, that the city may determine that a proposed activity that otherwise meets the criteria of a minor clearing and grading permit shall be processed as a major clearing and grading permit based on a finding of unique and unusual circumstances or to protect the public health and safety.

C. Major Clearing and Grading Activities. All nonexempt clearing, grading, filling, and excavation activities that do not meet the minor clearing and grading criteria shall be considered major clearing and grading activities. The city may require that applications for major clearing and grading activities include plans stamped by a licensed geotechnical engineer and/or may require financial guarantees to ensure that neighboring properties, environmentally sensitive areas, and/or historical or archaeological sites are not adversely affected.

D. All clearing and grading permit applications must be processed concurrently with all associated permits and approvals. [Ord. 1060 §§ 5, 6, 2010; Ord. 1059 § 2 (Exh. A (12.100.020)), 2010.]

18.100.030 Design criteria.

All work must be designed to a standard as required by the city and will follow standards of good engineering practices and principles. The applicant will be responsible for providing a design that is acceptable and, when constructed, a facility that can be easily maintained by the property owner. If circumstances create a hazard to life, endanger or adversely affect the use or stability of a public or private way or drainage courses, the city may impose additional or greater requirements to fulfill the intent of this chapter.

A. Excavation Standards – Cut Slopes. Slopes shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use and shall not be steeper that two horizontal to one vertical, or as recommended by a soils engineer.

The catch point of the top of the slope shall be set back from the site boundary line in accordance with the following table unless a retaining wall is designed by the engineer and constructed for the project:

Cut Depth

Setback Distance

Under 5 feet

2 feet

5 – 20 feet

Height x 2

Over 20 feet

10 feet

B. Fill Standards.

1. General. Fill which is intended for building sites shall be constructed in conformance with the requirements of the latest edition of the IBC, as adopted by the city.

2. Fill Location. Slopes shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use and shall not be steeper than one and one-half horizontal to one vertical, or as recommended by a soils engineer. Fill sites must be approved by the engineer as suitable locations for the proposed fill.

3. Preparation of Ground. The ground surface for fills over five feet in height shall be prepared by removing vegetation, noncomplying fill, topsoil and other unsuitable materials, scarifying to provide a bond with the new fill, and, where existing slopes are steeper than five horizontal to one vertical, by benching into competent material as determined by the engineer. The bench under the toe of a fill on a slope steeper than five horizontal to one vertical shall be at least 10 feet wide, or as recommended by a soils engineer.

4. Fill Material. Except as permitted by the city, no material other than earth material shall be buried or placed in fills. Placement of other than earth material is regulated by state statutes or federal laws and additional permits may be required.

5. Slope Stability. Fills shall be constructed using earth materials, compaction methods and construction techniques, so that stable fills are created.

6. Setback from Property Lines. The toe or catch point of fill slopes shall be set back from the site boundary line in accordance with the following table, unless a retaining wall is designed by the engineer and constructed for the project:

Fill Depth

Setback Distance

Under 5 feet

2 feet

5 – 40 feet

Height x 2

Over 40 feet

20 feet

7. Notice of Grading or Filling. The city may cause a notice to be recorded as a public record containing provision which will include the nature and extent of the filling which has occurred on the parcel.

C. Drainage Requirements. All drainage facilities, improvements, drainage design and maintenance of drainage facilities shall be in accordance with the provisions of this title and the standards adopted by the city.

D. Erosion Control. Erosion control requirements shall be implemented by the applicant prior to site grading or clearing.

1. Slopes. Slopes shall be prepared and maintained to control erosion. Slope protection shall be installed immediately upon achieving final grade or as soon as weather permits. Where cut slopes are not subject to erosion, due to the nature of the materials, such protection may be omitted.

2. Other Devices. Where necessary, check dams, silt fences, cribbing, riprap, natural buffer areas or other devices or methods shall be employed to control erosion. Where natural buffer areas are required, no building, clearing, filling, grading, or ditching is permitted within that area except for minor watercourse maintenance when applicable. The natural buffer area as delineated or described shall be preserved and maintained in its natural undisturbed state for erosion and drainage control.

E. Wetland Areas. Grading, filling or clearing within 25 feet of a wetland or stream or any grading, filling or clearing that could affect a wetland or stream shall comply with the critical area requirements of this code.

F. Archaeological Sites. Grading, filling or clearing of archaeological sites shall be done in accordance with the provisions of this title and Chapter 25-48 WAC, as now adopted or as may be amended, or other applicable state or federal law. [Ord. 1060 §§ 5, 6, 2010; Ord. 1059 § 2 (Exh. A (12.100.030)), 2010.]

18.100.040 Review coordination.

A. A grading permit will not be granted by the city until all other project-related public governmental agencies’ approvals, if required, are received and/or any appeals are concluded. Conditions imposed by other governmental agencies affecting the permit must be incorporated into the project’s design and implemented by the applicant.

B. Issuance of a grading permit for the purpose of project site preparation may be withheld until all applicable permits or approval for the proposed project are obtained by the applicant.

C. When development is intended or proposed on a site affected by issuance of a grading permit, work allowed by the grading permit shall be subordinate to future site development conditions or requirements.

D. The issuance of a grading permit shall not relieve the applicant from complying with other applicable city zoning or land use regulations. [Ord. 1060 §§ 5, 6, 2010; Ord. 1059 § 2 (Exh. A (12.100.040)), 2010.]

18.100.050 Financial guarantees.

A. Guarantee Required. Prior to issuance of a permit, the applicant will be required to submit a final guarantee to the city to assure compliance with the provisions of this chapter, the permit and approved plans. Improvements and facilities that must be guaranteed by the applicant are, but are not limited to, temporary and permanent erosion and sedimentation control work, drainage control work and restoration work.

B. General. Financial guarantees shall be in a form acceptable to the city and will not be released by the city until all work is completed in accordance with the approved plans and conditions of the permit. All work must be completed within the time limits as noted on the permit or the approved plan for the project. If not completed, the city may use the financial guarantee to complete the work as outlined in the permit or approved plans, or complete those items of work that would safeguard adjacent or downstream property owners or may deposit the financial guarantee in a designated account as contribution toward the cost of completing the work. Collection of the financial guarantee does not relieve the applicant of the responsibility to complete the work and the city may act as necessary to ensure completion of the work.

All financial guarantees shall run continuously until released by the city and shall not be subject to an expiration or cancellation date.

An engineer’s estimate for the work to be accomplished, based on current construction costs, must be submitted to the city for review and approval. The city will establish the minimum financial guarantee at 125 percent of the estimate to allow for inflation, engineering expenses and administrative costs should the city have to complete the work. The city shall retain from the funds all costs associated with administration, collection of the funds and completion of the guaranteed work.

C. Release. Upon receipt of an acceptable letter of completion from the engineer, the city will release the applicable financial guarantee; provided, that the city may retain a portion or require a new financial guarantee to ensure that the improvements are adequately maintained and perform as designed. [Ord. 1060 §§ 5, 6, 2010; Ord. 1059 § 2 (Exh. A (12.100.050)), 2010.]

18.100.060 Change of conditions.

Should the city become aware of conditions that invalidate the original design data used to obtain the permit or determine that the applicant is not complying with the conditions of the permit or approved plans, the city may revoke the original permit and/or order work stopped on the project. The city may require the applicant to resubmit information or plans for review and approval and apply for a new permit. The city may order all or part of the permitted work stopped for any period of time for any of the following reasons:

A. The applicant fails to comply with the conditions of the permit;

B. The permit was granted on the basis of erroneous information submitted to the city by the applicant;

C. The weather or weather-created conditions cause off-site or downstream drainage or water quantity or quality problems; and/or

D. The work has become a hazard to life, endangers property or adversely affects the use or stability of a public way or drainage course. [Ord. 1060 §§ 5, 6, 2010; Ord. 1059 § 2 (Exh. A (12.100.060)), 2010.]

18.100.070 Approval and inspection process.

A. Obligations of Engineer. The applicant shall be responsible for the inspection and approval of all work on private property as shown on the approved plan. This shall include, but is not limited to, all grading work, drainage facilities and erosion and sedimentation control facilities or other work approved for the project.

B. Notification of Completion. The applicant or his/her designee shall submit a letter to the city certifying that the completed project conforms to the conditions of the permit and approved plans and all grading work, drainage facilities, erosion control measures, etc., have been completed in accordance with the issued permit. The report shall be stamped and signed by the engineer and shall be worded as follows:

I have inspected the project and find that the work substantially conforms to the terms and conditions of the permit and the intended design for the project.

Minor alterations to the system must be listed in the approval letter or noted on reproducible as-built drawings which must be submitted with the approval letter.

C. City Inspection. After receipt of the notification of completion the city shall make a final inspection of the project.

Prior to completion of a project and/or the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, all temporary erosion control measures shall be removed and all final storm water measures installed and fully functional. [Ord. 1060 §§ 5, 6, 2010; Ord. 1059 § 2 (Exh. A (12.100.070)), 2010.]

18.100.080 Geothermal energy systems.

Property owners seeking to install geothermal energy systems must comply with all provisions of this title, including but not limited to Chapter 15.05 RMC, Building Codes, this chapter, Clearing and Grading, and the following provisions. [Ord. 1060 §§ 5, 6, 2010; Ord. 1059 § 2 (Exh. A (12.100.080)), 2010.]