Chapter 14.30
PROJECT PERMIT PROCESSING

Sections:

14.30.010    Applicant to define project action and elect project permit processing method.

14.30.020    Categories of permits.

14.30.030    Requisites for a complete project permit application.

14.30.040    Technical review.

14.30.050    Determination of completeness of application.

14.30.060    Notice of application.

14.30.070    Combined hearings.

14.30.080    Manner of combining and integrating SEPA and project permit review.

14.30.090    Relation of development regulations and comprehensive plan to SEPA.

14.30.100    Single report.

14.30.110    Notice of decision.

14.30.120    Time limitation for issuance of notice of decision.

14.30.130    Optional consolidated permit processing.

14.30.140    Diligent pursuit of project permit applications – Required.

14.30.010 Applicant to define project action and elect project permit processing method.

The applicant may at the time of request for commencing preapplication procedures, and shall not later than the time of filing a project permit application, define the project action for which project permit applications are being submitted, and shall elect whether the project permit applications shall be processed separately or under the optional consolidated permit review process set forth in SMC 14.30.130. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.020 Categories of permits.

A. The categories of permits shall be as follows:

1. Category I constitutes those permits which are categorically exempt from environmental review, or for which SEPA has already been done, do not require any public comment period or an open record predecision hearing, and for which the staff decision is final unless appealed;

2. Category II constitutes those permits which require a threshold environmental determination, but do not require a predecision open record hearing, or those permits where other sections of the Snoqualmie Municipal Code require a public comment period but do not require an open record hearing, and for which the staff decision is final unless appealed;

3. Category III constitutes those permits which require a predecision open record hearing, but do not provide for a closed record appeal (i.e., recommendation by planning commission or hearing examiner and decision by city council); and

4. Category IV constitutes those permits which require an open record predecision hearing, and provide for a closed record appeal hearing (i.e., decision by planning commission or hearing examiner and appeal to city council).

B. The initial decision maker, appeal body and other requirements applicable to each category of permit shall be as follows:

 

 

Preapplication Process

Determination of Completeness

Notice of Application and Comment Period

Predecision Open Record Hearing

Decision

Distribution of Notice of Decision

Appeal To/ Open - Closed Record

Cat I

Yes, unless exempt

Yes

No

No

S

No

HE/Open

Cat II

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

S

Yes

HE/Open

Cat III

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes/PC or HE

CC

Yes

SC

Cat IV

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes/PC or HE

HE or PC

Yes

CC/Closed

S = Staff  HE = Hearing Examiner  PC = Planning Commission  CC = City Council  SC = Superior Court

C. Only one administrative appeal is allowed. See SMC 14.40.020, Limitation on hearings and appeals. (Ord. 1234 § 2, 2020; Ord. 1203 § 2, 2018; Ord. 960 § 2, 2004).

14.30.030 Requisites for a complete project permit application.

The materials required to be submitted for a particular project permit application to be deemed complete are set forth in other titles of this code. In addition to such materials, no project permit application shall be deemed complete, unless:

A. The applicant has (i) completed any required preapplication review process, (ii) made the initial deposit for processing costs in the amount required by the city; and (iii) acknowledged in writing that the initial deposit is based upon an estimate only; that additional deposits for processing costs may be required; that the applicant will be obligated to pay the city’s actual processing costs according to established rates, as a condition of continued processing of the application; and that all periods of time during which project permit processing is suspended due to the applicant’s failure to make required deposits or pay processing costs shall be excluded from the time limitations otherwise applicable to permit processing under this title;

B. The applicant has furnished a site plan to such scale as prescribed by the director, and containing sufficient detail as the director may require in order to determine the proposed project’s compliance with applicable development regulations, unless this requirement is waived in writing by the director. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.040 Technical review.

A. The director shall appoint a technical review committee, consisting of representatives of city departments, as the director may deem appropriate, including but not limited to community development, fire, public works, legal and administration, to assist in the review of project permit applications.

B. The technical review committee, or subcommittees thereof, shall be responsible for giving advice to the director or other staff member responsible for the decision or staff recommendation on a project permit application with respect to the following:

1. Determination of the category or categories of the project permit application or applications under SMC 14.30.020, and determination of the applicable procedures therefor under this title, including any special procedures required for notice, hearing, decision and appeal of the component project permits in an optional consolidated permit process;

2. Determination of the completeness of the application, and identification of other required information, if any, in order for the application to be deemed complete;

3. Preliminary determination of consistency of the project permit application with adopted development regulations and, in the absence of a development regulation, with the comprehensive plan; and

4. Determination of whether development regulations and, in the absence of a development regulation, the comprehensive plan, adequately address the environmental impacts of the project permit application, so that a mitigated determination of nonsignificance conditioned upon compliance with such development regulations will constitute compliance with SEPA.

C. The technical review committee shall provide all input to the director to assist in fulfilling the requirement of SMC 14.30.080 for a single report on a project permit application. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.050 Determination of completeness of application.

A. Within 28 days after receiving a project permit application, the director shall mail or provide in person a written determination to the applicant, stating either (i) that the application is complete, or (ii) that the application is incomplete and what is necessary to make the application complete. The determination shall also include, if feasible, a statement of the preliminary determination of the project permit application’s consistency with development regulations and preliminary identification of the development regulations compliance with which may be determined to constitute compliance with SEPA.

B. A project permit application may be deemed complete for purposes of this section when it meets the submission requirements of other titles of this code and the additional requirements of SMC 14.30.030 and it is sufficient for continued processing, even though additional information may be required or project modifications may be undertaken subsequently.

C. A determination of completeness under this section shall not preclude the city from requesting additional information or studies either at the time of the notice of completeness or subsequently if new information is required or subsequent changes in the proposed project occur.

D. A project permit application shall be deemed complete if the director does not provide a written determination to the applicant that the application is incomplete under subsection (A) of this section.

E. Within 14 days after the applicant has submitted any additional information identified by the director as being necessary for a complete application, the director shall notify the applicant whether the application has been made complete or what additional information is necessary. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.060 Notice of application.

A. Unless a project permit application is exempt from the requirements of this section under SMC 14.10.020, within 14 days after the determination of completeness of a project permit application, made pursuant to SMC 14.30.040, the director shall cause a notice of application to be prepared, containing the following information:

1. The date of the project permit application, the date of the determination of completeness of the project permit application, and the date of the notice of application;

2. A description of the proposed project action and a list of the project permits included in the application, and, if applicable, a list of any studies requested;

3. The identification of other permits not included in the application, to the extent known by the director;

4. The proposed threshold determination, identification of any existing environmental documents that evaluate the proposed project and the location where the application and any studies can be reviewed;

5. A statement of the public comment period, which shall be not less than 14 nor more than 30 days following the date of notice of application, and statements of the right of any person to comment on the application, receive notice of and participate in any hearings, request a copy of the decision once made, and any appeal rights;

6. The date, time and place, and type of hearing, if applicable and scheduled at the date of notice of the application; and

7. A statement of the preliminary determination, if one has been made at the time of notice, of those development regulations that will be used for project mitigation and of consistency with the comprehensive plan and development regulations.

B. If the SEPA official has made a determination of significance, the notice of application shall be combined with the determination of significance and scoping notice, unless the determination of significance has been issued prior to the notice of application.

C. The director shall give the notice of application to the public and to agencies with jurisdiction, as follows:

1. The director shall require the applicant to post the property for site-specific proposals, and to provide evidence of such posting;

2. A notice shall be published in the city’s designated legal newspaper, stating at least the project location, description, type of permit or permits required, comment period dates, and the location where the complete application may be reviewed;

3. A copy of the notice of application shall be mailed to all agencies with jurisdiction known to the director;

4. A copy of the notice of application shall be mailed to all persons who have filed a written request for notice;

5. A copy of the notice of application shall be mailed to nearby property owners when any project permit included in the project action requires notice to property owners within any specified distance pursuant to any other provision of this code; and

6. A copy of the notice of action may be mailed to public or private groups which the director knows have an interest in the particular proposal or the type of proposal being considered.

D. The city shall maintain on file certificates of mailing when mailing is required, which certificates shall include a statement under penalty of perjury of the laws of the state of Washington that on the specified date copy of the notice was placed in the United States mail, postage prepaid, to the persons whose names and addresses are contained in the certificate or on an attachment thereto. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.070 Combined hearings.

The city may combine any public meeting or required open record predecision hearing on a project permit application with any hearing that may be held by another local, state, regional, federal or other agency; provided the hearing is held within the corporate limits of the city. Such hearings shall be combined if requested by an applicant; provided the joint hearing can be held within the time periods required by this title. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.080 Manner of combining and integrating SEPA and project permit review.

SEPA and the review of project permit applications shall be combined and integrated in the following manner:

A. For all land development proposals subject to the preapplication review process, the SEPA official and other staff shall discuss at the staff meeting the application of SEPA to the land development proposal, and, to the extent possible, shall attempt to ensure that studies or additional information required to be performed or paid for by the applicant for both SEPA compliance and for project review are identified as early as possible and are designed, to the maximum extent possible, to be satisfied without duplicative requirements for additional information or studies.

B. The SEPA official shall be a member of the technical review committee for project permit applications subject to technical review pursuant to this title, and the technical review committee shall likewise attempt to ensure that studies or additional information required to be performed or paid for by the applicant for both SEPA compliance and for project review are identified during technical review and are designed, to the maximum extent possible, to be satisfied without duplicative requirements for additional information or studies.

C. Documents prepared in the project review process under the requirements of both SEPA and specific development regulations shall be prepared so that they can be reviewed together by the public and other agencies.

D. In determining recommended conditions of project permit approval, the SEPA official and the technical review committee, or the city official responsible for permit approval for project permits not subject to technical review, shall confer and shall coordinate conditions of project approval so that conditions required in mitigated determinations of nonsignificance or identified in environmental impact statements are combined and integrated with conditions imposed pursuant to other conditions authorized to be imposed under other provisions of this code for project permits.

E. For any project permit application subject to the requirement for a notice of application pursuant to SMC 14.30.060, except for a determination of significance, the SEPA official shall not issue his final threshold determination, nor shall city staff issue a decision or recommendation, until the expiration of the public comment period specified in the notice of application.

F. If an open record predecision hearing is required for a project permit application, and the threshold determination requires public notice under Chapter 43.21C RCW, the SEPA official shall issue the threshold determination, and give the required notice thereof, at least 15 days prior to the open record predecision hearing.

G. If an open record predecision or pre-recommendation hearing is required for a project permit application, and an administrative SEPA appeal is timely filed under Chapter 19.04 SMC, the open record SEPA appeal hearing shall be consolidated with the open record pre-permit recommendation or decision hearing. If the open record hearing is required as part of an administrative appeal of a project permit decision, the open record SEPA appeal hearing shall be consolidated with the open record project permit appeal hearing. Following the consolidated open record hearing, the hearing examiner shall consider and decide both the SEPA appeal and project permit recommendation or decision, or project permit appeal, as applicable. (Ord. 1235 § 2, 2020; Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.090 Relation of development regulations and comprehensive plan to SEPA.

A. Environmental impacts shall be considered in processing of project permit applications, and the specific probable adverse environmental impacts shall be identified. If the SEPA official determines that such specific impacts are adequately addressed by development regulations or applicable requirements in the comprehensive plan, such determination shall be documented in a mitigated determination of nonsignificance, and the project permit approval shall be conditioned upon compliance with such development regulations or requirement of the comprehensive plan, which shall constitute compliance with SEPA. If such a determination is made, and the project approval is so conditioned, additional mitigation shall not be imposed under SEPA.

B. In deciding whether a specific adverse environmental impact has been addressed by an existing development regulation, plan requirement or rule or law of another agency with jurisdiction with expertise with respect to a specific environmental impact, the city shall consult with such agency orally or in writing and may expressly defer to that agency. In making such deferral, the city shall expressly condition project approval on compliance with such other existing development regulations, plans, rules or laws. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.100 Single report.

For all project permit applications and optional consolidated project permit processes, there shall be no more than one report, as follows:

A. The report shall state all decisions made as of the date of the report on all project permits included in a consolidated project process that do not require an open record hearing.

B. The report shall include all recommendations on project permits that require an open record hearing.

C. The report shall state any mitigation required or proposed under development regulations or SEPA.

D. If a threshold determination other than a determination of significance has been issued, the report shall include or append the determination.

E. Any person commenting upon or otherwise responding to a notice of application shall be mailed a copy of the report; provided, that failure to provide a copy shall not affect the validity of the decision on the project permit.

F. The report may constitute the permit, if it includes all information required by this section and any other information required for a permit under other titles of this code.

G. Nothing in this section shall preclude city staff from revising the report from time to time to reflect public input at an open record hearing or to reflect new or changed information relevant to the project permit decision. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.110 Notice of decision.

A. When a decision has been made on a project permit application, the director shall prepare a notice of decision, which shall include the following information:

1. The decision on the project permit application;

2. Any threshold determination made under Chapter 43.21C RCW;

3. The procedure for administrative appeal of the decision, if any.

B. The notice of decision may be a copy of the report or decision on the project permit application, if such report or decision contains the information required by subsection (A).

C. The notice of decision shall be provided to the applicant, and to any person, who prior to the rendering of the decision requested notice of the decision or submitted substantive comments on the application.

D. The director shall also provide for public notice of the decision to be published, and posted for site-specific decisions. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.120 Time limitation for issuance of notice of decision.

A. Except as provided in subsection (B), the notice of decision shall be issued within 120 days after the applicant has been notified that the application is complete; provided the following time periods shall be excluded:

1. Any period during which the applicant has been requested to correct plans, perform required studies, or provide additional required information. This period shall be calculated from the date of notification to the applicant of the need for additional information until the earlier of the date of determination whether the additional information satisfied the request for information or 14 days after the date the applicant submitted the information. If the information submitted is determined to be insufficient, the applicant shall again be notified of the deficiencies, and the procedures for determination of completeness shall apply as if a new request for information or studies had been made;

2. Any period during which an environmental impact statement is being prepared, if the city has by ordinance or resolution established time periods for the completion of environmental impact statements, or if the city and the applicant have agreed in writing to a time period for completion of the environmental impact statement;

3. Any period for an open or closed record appeal, not exceeding 60 days, unless all parties to the appeal agree to extend the time period; and

4. Any extension of the 120-day time period mutually agreed between the city and the applicant.

B. The time limits of subsection (A) do not apply if a project permit application:

1. Requires an amendment to the comprehensive plan or a development regulation;

2. Requires siting of an essential public facility; or

3. The application is substantially revised by the applicant, in which case the time period shall start from the date at which the revised project application is determined to be complete.

C. If a notice of decision cannot be issued within the time limit provided in subsection (A), the applicant shall be provided a written notice of this fact, which shall include a statement of reasons why the time limits have not been met and an estimated date for issuance of the notice of final decision. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.130 Optional consolidated permit processing.

If the applicant elects the optional consolidated permit review process, the following provisions shall apply in addition to the other provisions of this title, and shall control over any other provision:

A. There shall be a single application review and approval process for two or more project permits relating to the proposed action, which shall include all of the project permits requested relating to all or part of the project action.

B. The director shall designate a permit coordinator for the project.

C. The determination of completeness, notice of application and notice of decision shall include all project permits being reviewed under the optional consolidated permit review process.

D. Optional consolidated permit review is subject to the procedures applicable to the different categories of permits set forth in SMC 14.30.040; provided:

1. All required open record hearings for any of the project permits shall be consolidated into a single open record predecision hearing;

2. The single open record predecision hearing shall be combined with any open record appeal hearings on other permits not requiring a predecision open record hearing; and

3. There shall be a single closed record appeal, if a closed appeal is provided for two or more permits.

E. The consolidated predecision open record hearing shall be held before the planning commission for all project permit applications included in an optional consolidated project permit process if the predecision open record hearing for any individual project permit is required to be before the planning commission.

F. Nothing in this section shall preclude city staff from making the Category I and Category II project permit decisions committed to their authority by other provisions of this code, or otherwise convert the category of any project permit to a different category, but such decisions shall be included in the single report under SMC 14.30.100, and any open record appeal hearings from such decisions shall be in accordance with subsection D of this section. (Ord. 768 § 2, 1996).

14.30.140 Diligent pursuit of project permit applications – Required.

A. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to diligently pursue project permit applications. If the applicant does not diligently pursue a project permit, the application shall be deemed abandoned and a new application shall be required. For purposes of this chapter, “diligent pursuit” shall mean compliance with the provisions of subsections B and C of this section.

B. When the preparation of environmental documents is required or when additional information, documentation or studies are requested by the city, the planning official shall establish a reasonable time period during which action should be completed and shall communicate such determination in writing to the applicant. If the action has not been completed within such time period, the planning official shall notify the applicant in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by ordinary mail that the application shall be deemed abandoned within 20 days if such action is not completed.

C. In all cases, if there has been no communication from the applicant or action upon an application for a period of 120 days, the application shall be deemed abandoned, and the planning official shall notify the applicant thereof by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by ordinary mail, provided such time limit shall not apply in the event the delay is due to the city’s failure to diligently process an application submitted to it or to render a decision within applicable time limits.

D. The planning official may extend the time periods established in subsections B and C of this section upon a showing of good cause; provided, that the request for extension is made prior to expiration of such time period.

E. The hearing examiner may upon application made within 14 days after the date of mailing of any notice that an application has been deemed abandoned reinstate such application upon a showing that the failure to diligently pursue the application was due to circumstances beyond the applicant’s control, but not including financial inability, and that in fairness the application should be reinstated. The hearing examiner may impose conditions upon such reinstatement of an application, and shall require the payment of all city costs incurred in consideration of the request for reinstatement. (Ord. 893 § 1, 2001).