Chapter 14.01


14.01.010    Procedures for processing project permits.

14.01.020    Determination of proper procedure type.

14.01.030    Project permit application process.

14.01.040    Joint public hearings.

14.01.050    Legislative decisions.

14.01.060    Legislative enactments not restricted.

14.01.070    Exemptions from project permit application processing.

14.01.010 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, Type IV, Type V, Type VI or Type VII. Legislative decisions are Type VII actions, and are addressed in WRMC 14.01.050. Exclusions from the requirements of project permit application processing are contained in WRMC 14.01.070. [Ord. 38-07 § 1, 2007].

14.01.020 Determination of proper procedure type.

A. Determination by Director. The community development director or his/her designee (hereinafter the “director”) shall determine the proper procedure for all development applications. Questions concerning the appropriate procedure shall be resolved in favor of the higher numbered procedure.

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 may be processed individually under each of the application procedures identified in WRMC 14.01.030; provided, legislative actions (Type VII applications) cannot be processed collectively with nonlegislative (Type I – VI) actions. The applicant may determine whether the application will be processed collectively or individually. If the applications are processed individually, the highest numbered type procedure shall be undertaken first, followed by the other procedures in sequence from the highest numbered to the lowest.

C. Decision Maker(s). Applications processed in accordance with subsection B of this section, which are assigned to different hearing bodies, shall be heard collectively by the highest decision maker; the city council being the highest body, followed by the planning commission or board of adjustment, as applicable, and then the director, with the following limitation on variances: variances may only be considered by the board of adjustment, except when the city council is the hearing body on the consolidated applications. Joint public hearings with other agencies shall be processed according to WRMC 14.01.040. Concurrent public hearings shall proceed with both decision makers present (e.g., a combined hearing for the board of adjustment to consider a variance and the planning commission to consider a conditional use permit). [Ord. 38-07 § 1, 2007].

14.01.030 Project permit application process.

A. Action Type.












Recommendation made by:







Planning Commission (P.C.)

Final decision made by:




City council

City council

Board of adjustment

City council

Notice of application:








Open record public hearing or open record appeal of a final decision:


If appealed, open record hearing before city council.

Yes, open record public hearing before P.C.

Yes, open record public hearing before P.C.


Yes, before board of adjustment for final decision.

Yes, before planning commission, which makes recommendation to council.

Closed record appeal/final decision:



May be appealed to city council – closed record appeal.

Yes, closed record hearing before city council.

Final decision/ approval by city council.


Yes, or council could hold its own hearing.

Judicial appeal:








B. Classification of Project Applications.

1. Type I. Type I applications include:

a. Permitted uses not requiring site plan review by the planning commission or city council. (Site plan review is conducted at staff level.)

b. Boundary line adjustments and other short subdivision exemptions.

c. Minor amendments to planned unit developments/planned residential developments.

d. Temporary use permits (construction trailers, itinerant merchant licenses, temporary living quarters during construction, etc.).

e. Short plats and short plat amendments.

f. Administrative variances. Note: public notice must be provided following the requirements of WRMC 14.03.010; however, no hearing will be held.

2. Type II. Type II applications include:

a. Sign permits.

b. Administrative interpretations.

c. Final binding site plans.

3. Type III. Type III applications include:

a. Conditional use permits.

4. Type IV. Type IV applications include:

a. Preliminary plats.

b. Preliminary PRD/PUD.

c. Preliminary binding site plans.

d. Plat alterations and vacations.

e. Major amendments to a PRD/PUD.

f. Site-specific rezones.

g. Shoreline substantial development, shoreline conditional use, and shoreline variance applications.

h. Nonconforming use exceptions.

5. Type V. Type V applications include:

a. Final plats.

b. Final PRD/PUD.

6. Type VI. Type VI applications include:

a. Variances.

7. Type VII. Type VII applications include:

a. Comprehensive plan amendments.

b. Development regulations.

c. Zoning ordinance text amendments.

d. Area-wide zoning map amendments. [Ord. 6-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 16-10 § 2, 2010; Ord. 38-07 § 1, 2007].

14.01.040 Joint public hearings.

A. Administrator’s Decision to Hold Joint Hearing. The director may combine any public hearing 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 hearing 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, when:

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 statutes, ordinances, or rules;

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 hearing. [Ord. 38-07 § 1, 2007].

14.01.050 Legislative decisions.

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

1. Zoning code text, development regulations and zoning district amendments;

2. Area-wide rezones to implement city policies;

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

4. Annexations.

B. Planning Commission. The planning commission shall hold a public hearing and make recommendations to the city council on the decisions in subsection (A)(3) of this section. The planning commission shall also hold public hearings and make recommendations to the city council on the decisions in subsections (A)(1) and (A)(2) of this section, except that the city council may hold a public hearing itself on those decisions set forth in subsections (A)(1) and (A)(2) of this section. The public hearing shall be held in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 14.05 WRMC and RCW 36.70A.035 and all other applicable law.

C. City Council. The city council may consider the planning commission’s recommendation in a public hearing held in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 14.05 WRMC and RCW 36.70A.035 and all other applicable law. If the city council desires to hold a public hearing on any of the decisions set forth in subsections (A)(1), (A)(2) and (A)(4) of this section, it may do so without forwarding the proposed decision to the planning commission for a hearing.

D. Public Notice. Notice of the public hearing or public meeting shall be provided to the public as set forth in WRMC 14.03.030(B)(4).

E. Implementation. City council decision shall be by ordinance or resolution and shall become effective on the effective date of the ordinance or resolution. [Ord. 38-07 § 1, 2007].

14.01.060 Legislative enactments not restricted.

Nothing in this chapter or the permit processing procedures shall limit the authority of the city council to make changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, or the city’s development regulations as part of the annual revision process. [Ord. 38-07 § 1, 2007].

14.01.070 Exemptions from project permit application processing.

A. Whenever a permit or approval in the West Richland Municipal Code has been designated as a Type I, II, III, IV, V or VI permit, the procedures in this title shall be followed in project permit processing.

B. Pursuant to RCW 36.70B.140(2), building permits, boundary line adjustments or other construction permits, or similar administrative approvals categorically exempt from environmental review under SEPA (Chapter 43.21C RCW and Chapter 18.04 WRMC, Environmental Review (SEPA)), or permits/approvals for which environmental review has been completed in connection with other project permits, are excluded from the following procedures:

1. Notice of application (WRMC 14.02.040) unless an open record hearing is allowed on the project permit decision;

2. Except as provided in RCW 36.70B.140, optional consolidated project permit review processing (WRMC 14.01.020(B));

3. Joint public hearings (WRMC 14.01.040);

4. Single report stating all of the decisions and recommendations made as of the date of the report that do not require an open public record hearing (WRMC 14.05.020(C));

5. Notice of decision (WRMC 14.05.090). [Ord. 38-07 § 1, 2007].