Chapter 12.04 -STATE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT IMPLEMENTATION

12.04.010 Policies--SEPA provisions adopted by reference.

The district adopts by reference the policies of SEPA as set forth in RCW 43.21C.010 and RCW 43.21C.020 and as stated in WAC 197-11-030. The district, pursuant to RCW 43.21C.060, may condition or deny any district action to further these policies adopted by reference as well as the following regulations, plans, codes, policies, procedures, license requirements or contract conditions:

  • A. The comprehensive water plan of the district;
  • B. The comprehensive sewer plan of the district;
  • C. All resolutions of the district;
  • D. The water supply contract between the city of Blaine and the district;
  • E. Wastewater discharge permits from the state of Washington.

(Res. 410 §1, 1984)

12.04.020 Administrative provisions adopted by reference.

  • A. The district adopts by reference Chapter 197-11 of the Washington Administrative Code, including WAC 197-11-060(3)©, 197-11-410 and 197-11-440(8), except that the following sections of WAC 197-11 are not adopted by the district:
    • 1. WAC 197-11-010;
    • 2. WAC 197-11-055(2)(b);
    • 3. WAC 197-11-055(3)(a), last sentence;
    • 4. WAC 197-11-055(4)(b);
    • 5. WAC 197-11-904(2);
    • 6. WAC 197-11-908(1);
    • 7. WAC 197-11-908(2);
    • 8. WAC 197-11-910;
    • 9. WAC 197-11-914;
    • 10. WAC 197-11-918;
    • 11. WAC 197-11-940; and
    • 12. WAC 197-11-955.
  • B. A summary of each section is provided in Attachment A to the resolution codified in this chapter, which by this reference is incorporated in this chapter.

(Res. 410 §2, 1984)

12.04.030 SEPA Rules defined.

In addition to the definitions in WAC Chapter 197-11 adopted by reference by this chapter, the following term shall have the following meaning, unless the context of the Rules indicates otherwise: “SEPA Rules” means the SEPA Rules adopted as WAC 197-11, as modified by this chapter. (Res. 410 §3, 1984)

12.04.040 Responsible official.

  • A. The responsible official shall be the manager or his/her designee. When the manager designates another employee as responsible official, the manager shall be guided in making such designation by the nature of the proposal(s) and the administrative decisionmaking process normally used by the district.
  • B. The responsible official shall carry out the district's duties, functions and procedural responsibilities as lead agency under the SEPA Rules.
  • C. All decisions of the responsible official and the district relating to interpretation and application of the SEPA Rules shall be accorded substantial deference.

(Res. 410 §4, 1984)

12.04.050 Timing.

  • A. The responsible official shall begin any required environmental review for proposals initiated by the district at the earliest point in the planning and decisionmaking process when the principal features of that proposal and its probable environmental impacts are reasonably identified.
  • B. The responsible official shall begin any required environmental review for proposals not initiated by the district no later than upon receipt of a complete application, which application shall not be complete without any required environmental document and fee. However, the responsible official may initiate environmental review (including preparation of environmental impact statements at the conceptual stage rather than the final detailed design stage) and have informal conferences with the applicant prior to the submittal of a complete application. When conducting such early environmental review, the applicant shall provide the responsible official with sufficient information (consistent with WAC 197-11-100 and WAC 197-11-335) as to permit the responsible official to conduct an adequate review consistent with these rules.
  • C. To the extent that the district establishes any advisory body for purposes of making a recommendation on a proposal to the board of commissioners, the responsible official shall provide such bodies with any relevant environmental documents for its consideration before any final recommendation is transmitted to the board of commissioners.
  • D. Any environmental review may be organized in phases as specified in WAC 197-11-060(5).
  • E. In all cases not otherwise covered above, the timing of the district's environmental review for proposals shall be as specified on an individual, case-by-case basis by the responsible official consistent with these SEPA Rules.

(Res. 410 §5, 1984)

12.04.055 Threshold determination--Time limits.

  • A. By Washington state law and district policy, the applicant must receive a determination of significance or nonsignificance within ninety days or receipt by the district of a completed application.
  • B. Adequate information must be presented before a decision can be made. The district will not accept, nor commence processing SEPA checklists which are incomplete.
  • C. A SEPA checklist will not be processed nor be accepted as complete until the district's SEPA responsible official reviews it and determines that it is complete. A certificate of SEPA checklist completeness, or a request for further information, indicating incompleteness, will be mailed to the project applicant within ten working days of submittal of the application.
  • D. When additional information is requested, a certificate of completeness or a request for further information will be forwarded to the applicant within ten days of submittal of the additional information.
  • E. A final determination shall be made within ninety days from the receipt of the applicant's response for additional information, unless the applicant requests an additional thirty days for the district to evaluate mitigation measures proposed by the applicant. The district shall grant such extension, if requested.

(Res. 509 §1, 1992)

12.04.060 Emergency actions.

Any action which in the opinion of the responsible official must be undertaken immediately, or within a time too short to allow full compliance with the provisions of these SEPA Rules, to avoid an imminent threat to public health or safety, to prevent an imminent danger to property (public or private), or to prevent an imminent threat of serious environmental degradation, shall be exempt from the procedural requirements of SEPA and these SEPA Rules. (Res. 410 §6, 1984)

12.04.070 Categorical exemptions.

No presumption of impact significance shall be accorded any proposal due to it or any part of it not being categorically exempt or due to the property where the proposal is to be implemented being located within a designated environmentally sensitive area. (Res. 410 §7, 1984)

12.04.080 Environmental impact statements.

An applicant may be required or authorized by the responsible official to participate in environmental impact statement (EIS) preparation if the responsible official determines this will aid in preparing a meaningful environmental analysis. The extent of applicant involvement in EIS preparation shall be as specified by the responsible official so long as:

  • A. The EIS shall be prepared under the direction of the responsible official and in conformance with these SEPA Rules; and
  • B. The applicant is not required to provide more information than allowed by these SEPA Rules; provided, that the responsible official may authorize a lesser degree of participation by the applicant than allowed by these SEPA Rules.

(Res. 410 §8, 1984)

12.04.090 Appeals.

  • A. Any aggrieved person may appeal the district's threshold determination or the determination of EIS adequacy by filing a notice of appeal with the manager of the district. The notice of appeal shall be sufficiently detailed so as to provide reasonable notice to the district of (1) how the person or his or her property is adversely affected by the proposal, (2) any new facts which would be important to and affect the determination, and (3) the reasons why the determination was incorrect.
  • B. The threshold determination and the EIS adequacy may each be appealed only once. Such limitation does not apply to appeals to the board of commissioners under RCW 43.21C.060 (or another state statute) as to administrative appeals before another agency.
  • C. Any appeal of a threshold determination shall be filed within fifteen days of the date of that determination or of the date whenever any required notice is made, whichever is later; provided that, if there is any state statutory requirement for appeals to the district, the time limits for filing appeals specified therein shall control. An appeal of a threshold determination may not be postponed until a decision is made on the proposal, but shall be made within the time limits provided here or thereafter be barred.
  • D. Any appeal of EIS adequacy shall be filed within fifteen days of the date of issuance of the final EIS or the date whenever any required notice is made, whichever is later; provided that, if there is any state statutory requirement for appeals to the district, the time limits for filing appeals specified therein shall control.
  • E. Any appeal which is timely filed shall be scheduled for a hearing before the board of commissioners no later than thirty days after filing of the appeal. The hearing shall be electronically recorded, be conducted on the record consistent with applicable law, provide for testimony under oath and otherwise be in accord with applicable law. Within ten days of the conclusion of the hearing, the board shall render its decision accompanied by appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law.
  • F. The procedural determinations made by the responsible official shall be entitled to substantial weight in any appeal.
  • G. No person having a right to judicial appeal shall pursue judicial review without having first used this administrative appeal process prior to seeking judicial review, unless expressly provided otherwise by state statute.

(Res. 410 § 9, 1984)

12.04.100 Public notice.

  • A. Public notice and opportunity for public comment on adoption of or revision to these SEPA Rules shall be provided by notifying a newspaper of general circulation in the general area where the district has its principal offices.
  • B. Public notice and opportunity for public comment on the preparation of an environmental document or its availability and that public hearing(s), if any, will be held shall be provided by notifying a newspaper of general circulation in the general area where the district has its principal offices; provided, that the responsible official is not required to utilize, but may utilize, in his/her sole discretion, in addition to the notice required by this subsection, existing district notice procedures and/or procedures or methods set out in WAC 197-11-510(1)(a – f).
  • C. The responsible official may use the form of “notice of action” provisions of RCW 43.21C.080 for public or official notices required by these SEPA Rules.
  • D. The district may require an applicant to complete any required public notice requirements for the applicant's proposal at the applicant's expense.

(Res. 410 § 10, 1984)

12.04.110 Fees.

No application shall be complete, nor shall any environmental document be final, until all fees imposed by this section have been paid to the district. The following fees shall be required for district activities conducted as a result of these SEPA Rules: For any environmental review for which the district is the lead agency, including but not limited to environmental checklist review and preparation of environmental impact statements, the applicant shall pay a fee equal to the administrative costs of supervision and costs of preparation of the draft and final environmental impact statements or any amendments thereof, unless otherwise expressly limited by these SEPA Rules. Said fee is collectible by the district prior to incurring such costs.

  • 1. The amount of the fee shall be based upon the actual total costs for services and materials plus reimbursement for out-of pocket expenses (including but not limited to consultant reports) borne by the district in complying with these SEPA Rules. It shall not include costs for obtaining information from consulted agencies or efforts related to pre-draft consultation.
  • 2. The applicant shall make an initial deposit as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code to the district or post bond in an amount equal to the total projected costs as estimated by the responsible official, whichever is greater.

(Res. 410 § 11, 1984) (Res. 683, § 1(V), 6-11-2009)

12.04.120 Supplementary procedures.

The responsible official is authorized to develop and promulgate such procedures as he/she deems appropriate for implementing these SEPA Rules. The responsible official shall provide for responses on behalf of the district when it is a consulted agency. (Res. 410 § 12, 1984)

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