Chapter 13.09
REVIEW AND APPROVAL PROCESS

Sections:

13.09.010    Application review criteria.

13.09.020    Application review classification.

13.09.030    Type I administrative review of applications.

13.09.040    Type II administrative review of applications.

13.09.050    Type III quasi-judicial review of applications.

13.09.060    Legislative review of applications.

13.09.070    Procedures for public hearings.

13.09.080    Procedures for closed record decisions and appeals.

13.09.090    Notice of final decision.

13.09.010 Application review criteria.

Review of an application and proposed development shall be governed by and be consistent with the fundamental land use planning policies and choices which have been made in the city’s adopted comprehensive plans and development regulations. The review process shall consider the type of land use permitted at the proposed site, the density and intensity of the proposed development, the infrastructure available and needed to serve the development, the character of the development and its consistency with the comprehensive plan and development regulations. In the absence of applicable development regulations, the applicable development criteria in the comprehensive plan or subarea plan adopted under Chapter 36.70A RCW shall be determinative. (Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))

13.09.020 Application review classification.

(1) Following the issuance of a determination of completeness and a notice of application, an application shall be reviewed at one of four levels:

(a) Type I administrative review;

(b) Type II administrative review;

(c) Type III quasi-judicial review;

(d) Legislative review.

(2) If this title or the WCC provides that a proposed development is subject to a specific type of review, or a different review procedure is required by law, then the application for such development shall be processed and reviewed accordingly. If this title does not provide for a specific type of review, or if a different review procedure is not required by law, then the city shall determine the type of review to be used for the type and intensity of the proposed development.

(3) Any public meeting or required open public hearing may be combined by the city with any public meeting or open record public hearing that may be held on the proposed development by another local, state, federal or other agency. Hearings shall be combined if requested by the applicant. However, joint hearings must be held within the city and within the time limits of this title and Chapter 36.70B RCW. (Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))

13.09.030 Type I administrative review of applications.

Type I administrative review shall be used when the proposed development is subject to clear, objective and nondiscretionary standards that require the exercise of professional judgment about technical issues and the proposed development is categorically exempt from the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Permits reviewed through this process are not subject to the requirements of Chapter 13.07 WCC. The city may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application. The decision of the city is final unless an administrative appeal process is provided for in this or any other title within the WCC. This type of review includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) Interpretation of codes and ordinances;

(2) Single-family and other minor building permits not subject to environmental review;

(3) Fence permits;

(4) Boundary line adjustments;

(5) Fill and grade permits;

(6) Encroachment permits to work within a right-of-way;

(7) Applications for certificates of appropriateness pursuant to WCC 2.36.170(2) or 10.40.060(4);

(8) Flood development permits; and

(9) Minor amendments or modifications to approved developments or permits which may affect the precise dimensions or location of buildings, accessory structures and driveways, but do not affect the overall project character, increase the number of lots, dwelling units or density, or decrease the quality or amount of open space. (Ord. 2011-45 § 5; Ord. 2011-06 § 1; Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))

13.09.040 Type II administrative review of applications.

(1) Type II administrative review shall be used when the proposed development is subject to objective and subjective standards that require the exercise of limited discretion about nontechnical issues and about which there may be limited public interest. The proposed development may or may not be subject to SEPA review. This type of review includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Short subdivisions;

(b) Binding site plans processed in accordance with WCC 11.32.070(3)(a); and

(c) Multifamily, commercial, industrial and/or office building permits that are subject to environmental review pursuant to WCC Title 12 and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

(2) The review procedure under Type II administrative review shall be as follows:

(a) If the proposed development is subject to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the threshold determination may be made concurrent with the public comment period required in the notice of application, pursuant to the provisions of WAC 197-11-355, Optional DNS, and Chapter 12.04 WCC.

(b) The city may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application after the date the application is accepted as complete, and upon completion of the public comment period and the comment period required by SEPA, if applicable. The decision of the city is final unless an administrative appeal process is provided for in this or any other title within the WCC. The city shall mail the notice of decision to the applicant and all parties of record. The decision shall be issued pursuant to WCC 13.09.090, Notice of final decision. (Ord. 2014-11 § 1 (Exh. B § H); Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))

13.09.050 Type III quasi-judicial review of applications.

(1) Type III quasi-judicial review shall be used when the development or use proposed under the application requires a public hearing before a hearing body which will generally be the historic preservation board or the hearing examiner. This type of review includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Administrative appeals;

(b) Preliminary subdivisions;

(c) Alterations or vacations of short plats, plats and binding site plans;

(d) Conditional use permits;

(e) Planned developments;

(f) Variances;

(g) Certificates of appropriateness or waivers;

(h) Applications for alternative parking analysis/transportation demand management pursuant to WCC 10.60.075;

(i) Other similar development permit applications; and

(j) Binding site plans processed in accordance with WCC 11.32.070(3)(b).

(2) The review procedure under Type III quasi-judicial review shall be as follows:

(a) A Type III quasi-judicial review process requires an open record public hearing before the appropriate hearing body, which is generally the historic preservation board or the hearing examiner.

(b) The public hearing shall be held after the completion of the public comment period and the comment period required by SEPA, if applicable.

(c) At least 10 days before the date of a public hearing, the city shall issue public notice of the date, time, location and purpose of the hearing, pursuant to WCC 13.07.090.

(d) At least seven days before the date of the public hearing, the city shall issue a written staff report, integrating the SEPA review and threshold determination and recommendation regarding the application(s), shall make available to the public a copy of the staff report for review and inspection, and shall mail a copy of the staff report and recommendation to the applicant or the applicant’s designated representative. The city shall make available a copy of the staff report, subject to payment of a reasonable charge, to other parties who request it.

(e) Public hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of procedure adopted by the hearing body. Lacking any adopted hearing procedures, the provisions of WCC 13.09.070 shall be used to conduct the public hearing. A public hearing shall be recorded on either audio or audio-visual tape.

(f) Within 10 working days after the date the public record closes, the hearing body shall issue a written decision regarding the application(s).

(g) The hearing body may approve, approve with conditions or deny the application and shall mail the notice of its decision to the city, applicant, the applicant’s designated representative, the property owner(s), and any other parties of record. The decision shall be issued pursuant to WCC 13.09.090, Notice of final decision. (Ord. 2014-11 § 1 (Exh. B § H); Ord. 2011-26 § 3; Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))

13.09.060 Legislative review of applications.

(1) Legislative review shall be used when the proposed development involves the creation, implementation or amendment of city policy or law. Projects reviewed through this process are not subject to the requirements of Chapter 13.07 WCC, except as provided for herein. This type of review includes, but is not limited to, comprehensive plan, subarea plan, zoning and/or development code reviews, amendments and updates.

(2) Legislative review shall be conducted as follows:

(a) Legislative review generally requires at least one public hearing before the planning commission and/or one public hearing before the historic preservation board, one public meeting before the city council, and in most instances will involve at least one public hearing before the city council.

(b) When an application by a private individual is part of the proposed legislative action, the application shall contain all information and material requirements, including the appropriate fee(s), required by the appropriate application form and any formal preapplication meeting.

(c) At least 10 days before the date of the first public hearing the city shall issue public notice of the date, time, location and purpose of the hearing pursuant to WCC 13.07.090. The notice shall include notice of the SEPA threshold determination issued by the city.

(d) At least seven days prior to the hearing the city shall issue a written staff report, integrating the SEPA review and threshold determination and recommendation regarding the application(s), shall make available to the public a copy of the staff report for review and inspection, and shall mail a copy of the staff report and recommendation to the applicant or the applicant’s designated representative, and respective hearing body members. The city shall make available a copy of the staff report, subject to a reasonable charge, to other persons who request it.

(e) Following the public hearing of the planning commission, in accordance with Chapter 35A.63 RCW, a recommendation of the planning commission shall be forwarded to the city council at the next regularly scheduled meeting. Upon receiving the recommendation from the planning commission and/or historic preservation board, the city council shall set a public meeting to consider the proposal, at which they may either accept or reject the recommendation.

(f) The council must hold a public hearing to consider any changes to the recommendation of the planning commission and/or historic preservation board. The council may approve, approve with conditions, deny or remand the proposal back to the planning commission or historic preservation board for further review after such public hearing.

(g) In the event the city council determines that the public hearing record is insufficient or otherwise flawed, the council may remand the matter back to the planning commission or historic preservation board to correct the deficiencies. The council shall specify the items or issues to be considered and the time frame for completing the additional work.

(h) The final decision of the council shall be by ordinance, resolution or motion, as appropriate. Where the final decision of the council is made by motion, it shall be in writing and shall include those items described in WCC 13.09.090. (Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))

13.09.070 Procedures for public hearings.

Public hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the hearing body’s rules of procedure and shall serve to create or supplement an evidentiary record upon which the body will base its decision. The public hearing shall be declared open and, in general, the following sequence of events shall be observed:

(1) The chairperson of the hearing body shall explain the public hearing process and provide an opportunity to disclose and discuss any appearance of fairness issues.

(2) Staff presentation, including submittal of any administrative reports. The hearing body may ask questions of the staff.

(3) Applicant presentation, including submittal of any materials. The hearing body may ask questions of the applicant.

(4) Testimony or comments by the public germane to the matter. Questions directed to the staff or the applicant shall be posed by the hearing body at its discretion.

(5) Rebuttal, response or clarifying statements by the staff and the applicant.

(6) The evidentiary portion of the public hearing shall be closed and, where applicable, the hearing body shall deliberate on the matter before it. (Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))

13.09.080 Procedures for closed record decisions and appeals.

(1) Closed record hearings and appeals shall be conducted in accordance with the hearing body’s rules of procedure as provided for public hearings in WCC 13.09.070.

(2) Pursuant to WCC 13.03.025 and 11.16.250, Final plat approval, the mayor shall review requests for final plat approval of a preliminary subdivision.

(3) For closed record appeals, no new evidence or testimony shall be given or received, except that the parties to an appeal may submit timely written statements or arguments. (Ord. 2018-45 § 5; Ord. 2012-12 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))

13.09.090 Notice of final decision.

(1) The city will strive to issue a written notice of final decision on an application reviewed pursuant to either a Type II administrative or a Type III quasi-judicial review process within 120 days after the date a complete application is submitted pursuant to WCC 13.07.050. In determining the number of days that have elapsed, the following periods shall be excluded:

(a) Any period during which the applicant has been requested by the city to correct plans, perform required studies, or provide additional information or materials. The period shall be calculated from the date the city issues the request to the applicant to the earlier of the date the city determines whether the additional information satisfies its request or 14 days after the date the information has been received by the city.

(b) If the city determines the information submitted by the applicant under subsection (1)(a) of this section is insufficient, it shall again notify the applicant of deficiencies and the procedures under subsection (1)(a) of this section shall apply to the request for information.

(c) Any period during which an environmental impact statement (EIS) is being prepared following a determination of significance pursuant to Chapter 43.21C RCW.

(d) Any period for administrative appeals, which shall not exceed 90 days for open record appeals and 60 days for closed record appeals.

(e) Any extension of time mutually agreed upon by the applicant and the city.

(2) The time limit by which the city will strive to issue a written notice of final decision does not apply if an application:

(a) Requires an amendment to a comprehensive plan or development regulation.

(b) Requires the siting of an essential public facility, as provided in Chapter 36.70A RCW and as may be hereafter amended.

(c) Is substantially revised by the applicant after a determination of completeness has been issued, in which case the time period shall start from the date on which the complete revised project application is submitted pursuant to WCC 13.07.050.

(3) If the city is unable to issue its final decision within the time limits provided for in this section, it shall provide written notice of this fact to the applicant. The notice 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.

(4) In accordance with state law, the city is not liable for damages which may result from the failure to issue a timely notice of final decision.

(5) The written notice of final decision for Type II administrative decisions, Type III quasi-judicial decisions and legislative actions made by motion of the city shall include the following information:

(a) A statement of the applicable criteria and standards in the development codes and other applicable law.

(b) A statement of the findings of the review authority, stating the application’s compliance or noncompliance with each applicable criterion, and assurance of compliance with applicable standards.

(c) The decision to approve or deny the application and, if approved, conditions of approval necessary to ensure the proposed development will comply with all applicable laws.

(d) A statement that the decision is final unless appealed as provided in Chapter 13.11 WCC, Appeals, or other state law. The statement shall state the appeal closing date and describe how a party may appeal the decision, including applicable fees and the elements of a notice of appeal.

(e) A statement that the complete case file, including findings, conclusions and conditions of approval, if any, is available for inspection. The notice shall list the place, days and times when the case file is available for inspection and the name and telephone number of the city’s representative to contact to arrange inspection.

(f) A written notice of decision rendered by the city council may be in the form of the signed ordinance or resolution.

(6) Effective Date. The final decision of the council or hearing body shall be effective on the date stated in the notice of decision, resolution, or ordinance. (Ord. 2010-34 § 1; Ord. 2007-35 § 2 (Exh. A))