Chapter 16D.01


16D.01.01    Title and Authority.

16D.01.02    Language Interpretation.

16D.01.03    Purpose of Title.

16D.01.04    Intent of Title.

16D.01.05    Applicability.

16D.01.06    Science and Protection of Anadromous Fish.

16D.01.07    Applicability of Permit System to Federal Agencies.

16D.01.08    Administrative Authority.

16D.01.09    Severability.

16D.01.01 Title and Authority.

(1)    Yakima County Code (YCC) Title 16D is established pursuant to RCW 36.70A.060 (Growth Management Act, Natural resource lands and critical areas – Development regulations), RCW Chapter 90.58 (Shoreline Management Act), RCW Chapter 43.21C (State Environmental Policy Act), and federal requirements for eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program, pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This title shall be known as the “Shoreline Master Program of Yakima County, Washington.”

(2)    The Shoreline Master Program of Yakima County shall, for the purposes of RCW 36.70A.480 (GMA, Shorelines of the State) be considered a supplement to the Comprehensive Plan of Yakima County. The Shoreline Master Program Regulations shall, for the purposes of 36.70A.480 (GMA, Shorelines of the State) be considered a set of use regulations applying only to shoreline areas as specified in RCW 90.58 (SMA) and WAC 173-26 (SMP Guidelines). These regulations are intended to be substantive legal rules and procedures used to implement the goals and policies of the Master Program. These regulations shall be applied and interpreted in a manner consistent with the remainder of the Master Program or the Act.

(Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).

16D.01.02 Language Interpretation.

Unless specifically defined in Chapter 16D.02, words, phrases and terms in this title shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this title its most reasonable application. “Shall” is mandatory; “may” is discretionary and does not impose a requirement; “should” is always advisory; “include(s)” means includes but not limited to. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future; the singular includes the plural; and the plural, the singular.

(Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).

16D.01.03 Purpose of Title.

The purpose of YCC Title 16D is to establish a single, uniform system of procedures and standards to be applied to development within Shoreline jurisdiction of unincorporated Yakima County and municipalities in Yakima County which have adopted this regional SMP.

(Res. 54-2010 § 2 (Att. B § 5), 2010; Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).

16D.01.04 Intent of Title.

(1)    YCC Title 16D establishes goals, policies, standards, and regulations pertaining to projects, uses and development within Shoreline jurisdiction, development within critical areas or other areas under Shoreline jurisdiction as provided in the Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58) and the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A), and development regulated under the National Flood Insurance Program. Additional purpose and intent for the protection of critical areas is provided in the chapter on each subject. Stream corridors, flood hazard areas, wetlands, critical aquifer recharge areas, geologically hazardous areas and fish and wildlife habitat areas constitute Yakima County’s critical areas. These areas are of special concern to the people of Yakima County and the state of Washington because they are environmentally sensitive lands, or hazardous areas, which comprise an important part of the county’s natural resource base. The policies, standards and procedures of this title are intended to:

(a)    Preserve development options within designated critical areas where such development will not adversely impact critical area values and functions;

(b)    Prevent further degradation of critical areas;

(c)    Conserve, protect and, where feasible, restore essential or important natural resources;

(d)    Protect the public health, safety and general welfare;

(e)    Further the goals and objectives of the Yakima County Comprehensive Plan and all of its elements;

(f)    Implement the goals and requirements of the Washington Growth Management Act (RCW Chapter 36.70A) as it applies to shoreline jurisdiction, the Shoreline Management Act (RCW Chapter 90.58), and the National Flood Insurance Program;

(g)    Recognize and protect private property rights;

(h)    Provide development options for landowners of all existing lots to the greatest extent possible, through the establishment of variance, reasonable use provisions and non-conforming use and facility provisions;

(i)    Manage for no net loss of ecological function within Shoreline jurisdiction, to protect against adverse effects to the public health, the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the waters of the state and their aquatic life;

(j)    Establish a consistent foundation of regulations that apply to similar issues whether they are inside or outside shoreline jurisdiction. Additional protection measures required as a result of Shoreline Master Program updates to this title are identified as applying within shoreline jurisdiction and are not intended to be applied outside shoreline jurisdiction;

(k)    Recognize that mining is a unique use as a result of its inherent linkage to geology. Therefore, mining and related activities may be an appropriate use when conducted consistent with the policies and provisions of WAC 173-26-241(h), within all shoreline designations, except the natural and floodway/CMZ environments.

(2)    In addition, the policies, standards and procedures of this title:

(a)    Are not intended to regulate the operation and maintenance of existing, legally established uses and structures, including but not limited to vegetative buffers on existing uses that have been reduced in width prior to the effective dates of provisions in the Critical Areas Ordinance (YCC Title 16C) or Shoreline Master Program (YCC Title 16D);

(b)    Are not intended to result in an unconstitutional taking of private property;

(c)    Are not intended to retroactively require the restoration of degraded critical areas for properties in a degraded condition prior to the effective dates of provisions in the Critical Areas Ordinance (YCC Title 16C) or Shoreline Master Program (YCC Title 16D); but rather to use compensatory mitigation as a tool to mitigate impacts of new development;

(d)    Are not intended to presume that regulatory tools are the only mechanism for protection, but rather integrated with nonregulatory tools in as balanced a manner as possible;

(e)    Are not intended to prohibit the use of valid water rights.

(Res. 54-2010 § 2 (Att. B §§ 6, 7), 2010; Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).

16D.01.05 Applicability.

(1)    The provisions of this title shall apply to any new development, construction or use within the unincorporated portion of Yakima County, and municipalities in Yakima County which have adopted this regional SMP, designated as a critical area inside shoreline jurisdiction, designated as shoreline jurisdiction and designated as a special flood hazard area under the National Flood Insurance Program; however, this title does not apply to the situations below, except that the Flood Hazard protection provisions of Chapter 16D.05 will continue to apply as determined by the applicability provision in 16D.05.20:

(a)    Within critical areas and shorelines designated by this title or amendments that may later be adopted, there may exist lots, structures and uses which were lawfully established before this title was initially adopted, amended or readopted, as provided below, but which would be subsequently prohibited, regulated or restricted under this title. It is the intent of this title to permit these pre-existing legal nonconformities to continue without requirement to change said nonconformity until such time as conformance is required through permits for development in the future. The adoption and amendment dates of the relevant regulations are provided below:

(i)    Shoreline Master Program adopted September 5, 1974;

(ii)    Shoreline Master Program amended March 26, 1981;

(iii)    Shoreline Master Program amended November 1, 1981;

(iv)    Critical Areas Ordinance adopted July 12, 1994;

(v)    Critical Areas Ordinance amended October 1, 1995;

(vi)    Flood Hazard Ordinance adopted June 5, 1985;

(b)    Critical areas on federally owned lands that are outside shoreline jurisdiction are not subject to this title;

(c)    Critical areas on federally owned lands within shoreline jurisdiction in situations that do not have to obtain permits or follow the permit system, as provided in 16D.01.07 (Applicability of Permit System to Federal Agencies), are not subject to this title;

(d)    Forest practices, as defined by this title, carried out under a Washington Department of Natural Resources Forest Practice permit are not subject to this title, except those that involve shoreline jurisdiction, involve a conversion of forest land to a nonforestry use, involve a conversion option harvest plan, or take place on lands platted after January 1, 1960;

(e)    Livestock grazing on publicly owned land, when carried out under an agreement that includes a resource management plan that will be monitored by a public entity, is not subject to this title;

(f)    Changing agricultural crops within an existing farming operation is not considered new development, construction or use; provided, that the existing area under agricultural production is not extended further into a vegetative buffer identified under 16D.06.16; and provided, that the natural contour of the land subject to this title is not altered by excavation and filling;

(g)    Minor, temporary or transient activities, including those of a recreational nature, that do not alter the environment or require a dedicated staging area, use area, or route are not subject to this title, and including temporary signs (election, sale, rent, etc.);

(h)    Critical Areas within the exterior boundaries of the Yakama Nation that are located within the designated Closed Areas or not under County jurisdiction as a result of the Supreme Court decision County of Yakima, et al v. Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Indian Nation (1991) are not subject to this title;

(i)    Mining, as defined by this title, that is carried out under a Washington Department of Natural Resources reclamation permit is not subject to the geologically hazardous areas provisions of this title for erosion hazard areas, oversteepened slope hazard areas, landslide hazard areas and suspected geologic hazard areas. Other critical areas provisions continue to apply.

(2)    Other rules and regulations, including the Yakima County Unified Land Development Code (YCC Title 19), and the Building and Construction Ordinance (YCC Title 13), shall remain in full force and effect as they apply to a designated critical area or shoreline. Wherever the requirements of YCC Title 16D conflict with the requirements of the applicable Zoning Ordinance, the Subdivision Ordinance or any other lawfully adopted County rules or regulations, the most restrictive standards shall govern.

(Res. 80-2016 (Exh. A) (part), 2016; Res. 54-2010 § 2 (Att. B § 8), 2010; Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).

16D.01.06 Science and Protection of Anadromous Fish.

This title has been updated consistent with the requirements for:

(1)    Using the best available science as required by RCW 36.70A.172 (Critical areas – Designation and protection – Best available science to be used) and WAC 365-195-900 through WAC 365-195-920 (BAS Background and purpose);

(2)    An integrated use of the natural and social sciences, and the environmental design arts, and utilization of all available information regarding hydrology, geography, topography, ecology, economics, and other pertinent data, as required by RCW 90.58.100 (Programs as constituting use regulations);

(3)    Giving special consideration to conservation or protection measures necessary to preserve or enhance anadromous fish and their habitat (salmon, steelhead, etc.) as required by RCW 36.70A.172 (Best available science to be used) and WAC 365-195-925 (Criteria for demonstrating “special consideration” has been given to anadromous fisheries).

(Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).

16D.01.07 Applicability of Permit System to Federal Agencies.

The permit system shall be applied in the following manner to federal agencies on lands within shoreline jurisdiction:

(1)    Federal agencies shall not be required to obtain permits for developments undertaken by the federal government on lands owned in fee by the federal government, or on easements obtained by the federal government for a specified purpose where the proposed development is consistent with the specified purpose, unless under either circumstance the federal government grants or reserves to the state or Yakima County substantial jurisdiction over activities on those lands;

(2)    The permit system shall apply to all nonfederal developments and uses undertaken on federal lands and on lands subject to nonfederal ownership, lease or easement, even though such lands may fall within the external boundaries of a federal ownership;

(3)    The permit system shall apply to developments undertaken on lands not federally owned but under lease, easement, license, or other similar federal property rights short of fee ownership, to the federal government;

(4)    The above paragraphs shall be controlling for the purposes of shoreline permits for federal land or federal projects; however the following attempts to clarify these limits for practical use:

(a)    Federal development on federally owned land is not required to obtain a permit;

(b)    Federal development on a federally owned lease is not required to obtain a permit, as long as the development is consistent with the purpose of the lease;

(c)    Development on federally owned land under a nonfederal lease or easement must obtain a shoreline permit;

(d)    Nonfederal development or use on federally owned land must obtain a shoreline permit;

(e)    Development on nonfederal land must obtain a shoreline permit, even if it is leased, rented, etc., to the federal government, or it is within the boundaries of federal ownership.

(Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).

16D.01.08 Administrative Authority.

(1)    The Yakima County Public Services Department – Planning Division, and the appropriate authorities of municipalities which have adopted this regional SMP shall be responsible for the general administration of this title. The Planning Division Manager or the Manager’s designee shall serve as the administrative official of this title, except as noted in Chapters 16D.05.20 through 16D.05.72. The administrative official shall establish procedures for implementation of this title.

(a)    Where the provisions of these regulations may be unclear in special circumstances, or where judgment must be made because of the nature of the language used, the administrative official shall make such interpretations. Such interpretation shall specify whether the issue is under shoreline jurisdiction or not. A separate record of all interpretations shall be kept. To avoid arbitrariness, any earlier interpretation that may relate to a pending action shall be examined by the administrative official for its effect or influence on the pending action.

(b)    A written request for interpretation of any provision of this title, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this title, may be submitted to the administrative official. Each request shall set forth the specific provision or provisions to be interpreted and the facts of the specific situation giving rise to the request for an interpretation. Interpretations shall be processed in accordance with YCC Section 16B.03.070.

(Res. 54-2010 § 2 (Att. B § 9), 2010; Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).

16D.01.09 Severability.

If any provision of the ordinance codified in this title, or its application to any person or legal entity or circumstances, is held to be invalid, the remainder of said ordinance or the application of the provision to other persons or legal entities or circumstances shall not be affected.

(Ord. 14-2007 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2007).