Chapter 14.22


14.22.010    Purpose and intent.

14.22.020    Applicability.

14.22.030    Application requirements.

14.22.040    Development standards.

14.22.050    Performance and securities.

14.22.060    Inspections.

14.22.070    Archaeological and historical resources.

14.22.010 Purpose and intent.

(1)    The purpose of this Chapter is to regulate land disturbing activity and safeguard public health, safety, and welfare by:

(a)    Harmonizing the review for stormwater management, forest practices, protection of critical areas, floodplain management, shorelines, cultural resources, the building codes for grading, and SEPA;

(b)    Promoting site planning that is consistent with natural topographical, vegetation and hydrological conditions, utilizing low impact development (LID) to the maximum practical extent;

(c)    Encouraging holistic site planning to reduce negative impacts to the community and the environment;

(d)    Preserving vegetation, including by preventing indiscriminate removal of vegetation and trees on undeveloped property, and where appropriate requiring commensurate replanting;

(e)    Requiring the implementation of best management practices (BMPs);

(f)    Addressing short-term stormwater impacts resulting from the actual land disturbance and the long-term stormwater impacts caused by loss of native vegetation and soils;

(g)    Protecting archaeological and historical resources pursuant to RCW Chapters 27.44 and 27.53;

(h)    Establishing administrative procedures to issue permits, approve plans, and inspect land disturbance activities; and

(i)    Minimizing the amount of time between land disturbance and the project completion. (Ord. O20220006 § 1 (Att. 2))

14.22.020 Applicability.

(1)    Generally. This Chapter applies to all land disturbing activity including but not limited to clearing, grading, excavation, fill, and forest practices subject to County jurisdiction. This Chapter does not apply to those activities identified in Subsection (3) of this Section.

(2)    Required Review and Permit. A land disturbance permit is required for all activities subject to this Chapter unless all provisions of this Chapter are reviewed under a building or shoreline substantial development permit.

(3)    Exemptions. The following activities are exempt from the requirements of this Chapter:

(a)    Except as provided in Subsections (3)(b) and (3)(c) of this Section, cumulative land disturbing activity, over a five-year period, totaling:

(i)    Less than 7,000 square feet within the NPDES permit area; and

(ii)    Less than 14,000 square feet outside the NPDES permit area cumulatively.

(b)    Grading or excavation that meets all of the following:

(i)    Does not obstruct or modify drainage;

(ii)    Is less than three feet deep;

(iii)    Does not create a slope greater than five feet in height and not steeper than one and one-half horizontal feet to one vertical foot (66.6 percent or 33.7 degrees);

(iv)    Does not exceed 100 cubic yards of excavated material;

(v)    Over a five-year period, does not exceed 2,000 square feet of impervious area or 7,000 square feet of land disturbance;

(vi)    Does not require floodplain review under SCC Chapter 14.24; and

(vii)    Is not within a critical area or its buffers, unless critical areas review of the project and areas of land disturbance have been approved.

(c)    Fill that meets all of the following:

(i)    Does not obstruct or modify drainage;

(ii)    Does not exceed three feet in depth;

(iii)    Is placed on natural terrain with a slope of less than 12 percent;

(iv)    Does not exceed 100 cubic yards;

(v)    Is not more than one foot and is intended to support a structure;

(vi)    Over a five-year period, does not exceed 2,000 square feet of impervious area or 7,000 square feet of land disturbance;

(vii)    Does not require floodplain review under SCC Chapter 14.24; and

(viii)    Is not within a critical area or its buffers, unless critical areas review of the project and areas of land disturbance have been approved.

(d)    Site investigations performed under the direction of a qualified professional that do not create permanent impacts such as surveys, soil borings, test pits, soil logs, site evaluations, percolation tests and other related activities;

(e)    Forest practices not subject to County jurisdiction under RCW 76.09.240;

(f)    Cemetery graves;

(g)    Refuse disposal sites controlled by and in compliance with other regulations;

(h)    Excavations for well or utility trenches;

(i)    Mining, quarrying, excavating, processing or stockpiling rock, sand, gravel, aggregate, or clay controlled by and in compliance with other regulations when such operations do not affect the lateral support of, or significantly increase stresses in, soil on adjoining properties;

(j)    The following agricultural activities in accordance with SCC 14.24.120:

(i)    Tilling, soil preparation, fallow rotation, planting, harvesting and other commercial agricultural activities involving working the land; provided, that any new development activities must comply with all applicable provisions of SCC Chapter 14.24;

(ii)    Maintenance or repair of existing agricultural facilities including stormwater facilities, drainage ditches, and ponds;

(iii)    New construction and enlargement of existing agricultural drainage ditches that require 500 cubic yards or less of grading; provided, that the new or enlarged ditches:

(A)    Do not adversely impact upstream or downstream properties; and

(B)    Are not located within 300 feet of wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, and erosion hazard areas.

(k)    The removal of plants designated as noxious or invasive weeds while protecting native plants and native soils;

(l)    Vegetation maintenance practices, including landscape maintenance and gardening;

(m)    Stormwater facility maintenance if conducted according to established standards and procedures and consistent with the operations and maintenance plan for the facility, including:

(i)    Land disturbing activity associated with public improvements and maintenance by Skagit County within the existing right-of-way, except this does not include activities that expand into a critical area or associated buffer, including, but not limited to:

(ii)    Roadside ditch cleaning if the ditch does not contain fish;

(iii)    Pavement repair and repaving;

(iv)    Normal grading of gravel shoulders;

(v)    Maintenance of culverts;

(vi)    Maintenance of flood control or other approved stormwater facilities;

(vii)    Routing clearing within road right-of-way; and

(viii)    Emergency action necessary to protect public safety or private or public property from imminent danger; and

(n)    Private road maintenance that does not change road dimensions, surface material, or drainage. (Ord. O20230007 § 1 (Att. 1); Ord. O20220006 § 1 (Att. 2))

14.22.030 Application requirements.

(1)    Review of land disturbing activity requires the applicant to submit:

(a)    A narrative of the project that includes the following information:

(i)    Existing site conditions;

(ii)    Development goals of proposed work;

(iii)    Specific work to be accomplished;

(iv)    A time schedule for land clearing activities;

(v)    Type of equipment to be used;

(vi)    A construction pollution prevention plan that identifies measures to protect the site, adjacent properties, and downstream areas from potential adverse impacts;

(vii)    The estimated quantities and area of work involved; and

(viii)    If excavated material is to be wasted off site, a description of the location and the route to the disposal site;

(b)    A site plan for the project proposal including a map to scale showing areas to be cleared or graded, known critical areas and existing site drainage patterns, sediment and erosion control measures, existing developed areas and those anticipated for future development.

(c)    Demonstration of compliance with all applicable development standards listed in SCC 14.22.050; and

(d)    Any other items that may be required by the Administrative Official.

(2)    An application for a forest practice subject to Skagit County jurisdiction must also include the following:

(a)    A completed “Forest Practices Conversion Application” form provided by the Department; and

(b)    A site plan that includes the location of existing and proposed skid roads, haul roads, and landings within the project area.

(3)    By submitting an application under this Section, the applicant consents to entry upon the subject site by the County during regular business hours for the purposes of making inspections to verify information provided by the applicant and to ensure that work is being performed in accordance with the requirements of this Chapter. (Ord. O20220006 § 1 (Att. 2))

14.22.040 Development standards.

(1)    The Administrative Official has authority to review and to approve, conditionally approve, or deny a land disturbance application.

(a)    The application must be denied if it fails to comply with the requirements of this Title or RCW Chapter 76.09.

(b)    Conditions of approval may include:

(i)    Inspection by the applicant’s certified erosion and sediment control lead prior to land disturbing activities;

(ii)    The establishment of financial securities in the form of performance and maintenance bonds or other surety instruments; and

(iii)    Any other conditions as deemed necessary by the Administrative Official.

(2)    Activities subject to this Chapter must comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations, including the following:

(a)    SCC Chapter 14.24, Critical Areas.

(b)    SCC Chapter 14.26, Shorelines.

(c)    SCC Chapter 14.32, Stormwater Management.

(d)    SCC Chapter 14.34, Flood Damage Prevention.

(e)    SCC Chapter 14.36, Public Works Standards.

(f)    SCC Chapter 15.04, International Codes.

(g)    SCC Chapter 16.12, State Environmental Policy Act.

(3)    The Administrative Official may require additional or more stringent standards than those specified in this Chapter to the extent necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare or to mitigate any adverse impacts from land disturbing activities. The Administrative Official must provide written findings of fact related to the additional requirements to the applicant.

(4)    The decision of the Administrative Official under Subsection (1) or (3) of this Section is a Level 1 decision appealable under SCC 14.06.050.

(5)    Prior to beginning field work the applicant must:

(a)    Clearly mark all critical areas and associated buffers, landing areas, tree retention areas, native vegetation areas for stormwater dispersion/infiltration, and harvest/cutting/preserved areas boundaries with construction fencing or other approved method that clearly shows their boundaries; and

(b)    The location of marked areas must be noted on any future site plan. (Ord. O20220006 § 1 (Att. 2))

14.22.050 Performance and securities.

(1)    The Administrative Official may require the applicant to establish a financial security which may be acceptable to the County at its sole discretion.

(2)    The security must be in an amount of at least the County’s estimate of the cost of correcting or eliminating hazardous conditions that reasonably may occur, and ensuring compliance with the stipulations of the permit and the approved plans. (Ord. O20220006 § 1 (Att. 2))

14.22.060 Inspections.

A land disturbance permit requires inspections to ensure that all work on a site is completed pursuant to the approved permit and requirements of this Chapter. (Ord. O20220006 § 1 (Att. 2))

14.22.070 Archaeological and historical resources.

(1)    The purpose of this Section is to avoid the destruction of or damage to any site having historic or cultural values as identified by the appropriate agencies, including but not limited to affected Indian Tribes and the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP).

(2)    Archaeological sites are subject to the provisions of RCW Chapters 27.53 and 27.44.

(3)    Consistent with RCW 27.53.060, if historical, cultural, or archaeological sites or artifacts of potential significance are discovered during land disturbing activities:

(a)    Work on the development site must stop immediately;

(b)    The project proponent or responsible party must report the discovery to the County immediately;

(c)    Skagit County shall notify DAHP, the affected tribes, and other appropriate agencies of the discovery; and

(d)    The project proponent or responsible party must retain a professional archaeologist to conduct an immediate site assessment and determine the significance of the discovery.

(A)    If a negative determination is received, i.e., the find is not significant, the work may resume after consultation with the State and the affected Tribes.

(B)    If a positive determination is received, work on the site must remain stopped and the project proponent or responsible party may not resume development activities without authorization from DAHP.

(4)    Consistent with RCW 68.50.645, if human skeletal remains are discovered during land disturbing activities:

(a)    All activity must cease and the area of the find will be protected from further disturbance;

(b)    The project proponent or responsible party must report the discovery to local law enforcement and the County Medical Examiner or Coroner immediately; and

(c)    The County Medical Examiner or Coroner may assume jurisdiction over the human skeletal remains and make a determination of whether those remains are forensic or nonforensic; nonforensic remains must be reported to DAHP, who will then take jurisdiction of the remains. (Ord. O20220006 § 1 (Att. 2))