“Alter” means to change a critical area or its buffer, including grading, filling, dredging, clearing, construction, compaction, excavation, and pollution.
“Anadromous” refers to fish that spawn and rear in freshwater and mature in saltwater.
“Applicant” means a person who applies for a development permit from the town.
“Aquifer” means a geological formation capable of yielding water to a well or spring.
“Best available science” means scientific information applicable to the critical area prepared by local, state, or federal natural resource agencies, a qualified scientific professional, or team of qualified scientific professionals that is consistent with criteria established in WAC 365-195-900 through WAC 365-195-925.
“Best management practices” means actions known to protect soil, water quality, vegetation, and critical areas.
“Buffer” means an area contiguous to and required for protection of a critical area.
“Channel migration zone” means the lateral extent of likely movement of a stream or river during the next 100 years as evidenced by movement over the past 100 years.
“Conservation easement” means a legal agreement that the property owner enters into to restrict uses of the land in a manner that conserves natural functions.
“Critical area” means wetlands, aquifer recharge areas, floodplains, geologically hazardous areas, and habitat conservation areas.
“Development” means any land use or action that alters a critical area or its buffer, including town approvals that establish patterns of use such as subdivisions, short subdivisions, rezones, and conditional use permits.
“Fish habitat” means habitat used by fish at any life stage at any time of the year.
“Functions and values” means the benefits conferred by critical areas, including water quality protection, fish and wildlife habitat, flood storage and conveyance, ground water recharge, erosion control, and protection from hazards.
“Hazardous substance” means a liquid, solid, or gas that exhibits any of the properties described in WAC 173-303-090 or 173-303-100.
“Historic” means existing before the area was altered by human activity.
“Impact” means to adversely affect a natural system or increase the hazard, which a natural system poses to human life and property.
“Impervious” refers to a hard surface area that retards the entry of water into the soil.
“Monitoring” means assessing the performance of mitigation measures by collection and analysis of data on changes in natural systems.
“Ordinary high-water mark” means that mark on the bed or bank below which inundation is so common in ordinary years that the soil and/or vegetation are distinct from that of the abutting upland.
“Person” means any person, organization, or other group.
“Primary association” means a relationship between a species and a habitat area whereby the species regularly uses or otherwise needs the habitat area to thrive.
“Rill” means a small, steep-sided channel caused by erosion.
“Riparian habitat” means streamside areas that influence the aquatic ecosystem by providing shade, debris, or insects and provide habitat for riparian wildlife.
“Species” means a group of animals commonly classified by the scientific community as a species or subspecies.
“Substantial improvement” means any repair, reconstruction, or improvement of a structure, the cost of which exceeds 50 percent of the structure’s market value before the improvement, or, if the structure was damaged, before the damage occurred.
“Watercourse” means flowing waters of the state, perennial or intermittent, excluding artificial waterways such as ditches or canals not created by human alteration of a natural watercourse.
“Wetland mitigation bank” means a site where wetlands are restored, created, or enhanced to mitigate in advance authorized impacts to similar resources.
If the town allows conformance with these requirements to be achieved by mitigation, the critical areas report shall include a mitigation plan consisting of:
An analysis of the anticipated impacts on functions and values;
A strategy for mitigating the impacts, including site selection factors;
An analysis of the existing and anticipated functions and values at the mitigation site, including an assessment of risks;
A review of the best available science relative to the proposed mitigation;
Specific standards for evaluating whether the mitigation is successful;
Detailed construction plans, including:
Grading and excavation details,
Erosion and sediment control features,
Planting plan including species and spacing, and
Measures to protect plants until established and control invasive species;
A program for monitoring the mitigation over at least five years; and
Potential corrective measures should the monitoring indicate the standards set per subsection E of this section are not being met.
All treatment of critical areas shall be in accordance with the best available science as defined in WAC 365-195-900 through 365-195-925, which is hereby adopted by reference, along with the Washington State Department of Community Development’s “Citations of Recommended Sources of Best Available Science for Designating and Protecting Critical Areas.”
Critical areas and their buffers shall be left undisturbed except the following may be permitted if best management practices are used:
Authorized functional restoration;
In buffers: utility poles and utility lines, which do not require excavation;
In the outer 75 percent of buffers: permeable-surfaced walkways, trails, and minimal wildlife viewing structures;
Developments for which mitigation is allowed per subsection E of this section; and
Other uses specifically authorized by this critical areas code.
No development shall occur which results in a net loss of the functions or values of any critical area. The pre- and post-development functional comparison shall be on a per function basis unless otherwise authorized by this critical areas code.
No development shall occur in critical areas and their buffers, which results in an unreasonable hazard to the public health and safety.
These substantive requirements shall comply with the “sequencing” methods defined in WAC 173-26-201(2)(e)(i) as follows:
Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action;
Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation by using appropriate technology or by taking affirmative steps to avoid or reduce impacts;
Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment;
Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations;
Compensating for the impact by replacing, enhancing, or providing substitute resources or environments; and
Monitoring the impact and the compensation projects and taking appropriate corrective measures.
Mitigation should provide equivalent or greater functions and values than those of the critical area it replaces. The mitigation shall be near the impact site unless it is more ecologically effective to mitigate lost functions at a larger scale, such as at a wetland mitigation bank within the impacted wetland’s drainage basin. The town reserves the right to disallow mitigation that would be located outside the UGA.
As a condition of any permit approval, the town may require that:
The outer edge of the critical area buffer be marked, signed, or fenced to protect the resource. Such protection may be temporary, during construction, or permanent such as to protect the resource from livestock or people. The shoreline administrator shall specify the design and sign message, if applicable, of such markers, signs, and fencing;
The applicant files a notice with the county records and elections division stating the presence of the critical area or buffer and the application of this critical areas code to the property, to inform subsequent purchasers of the property;
The critical area and/or buffer are placed in a critical area tract or conservation easement, the purpose of which is to set aside and protect the critical area. The critical area tract or conservation easement shall be:
Held by the town, a homeowner’s association, a land trust or similar conservation organization, or by each lot owner within the development in an undivided interest,
Recorded on all documents of title of record for the affected parcels,
Noted on the face of any plat or recorded drawing, and
Delineated on the ground with permanent markers and/or signs in accordance with local survey standards.
The town may allow averaging of standard wetland and stream buffer widths if a qualified professional demonstrates that:
Functions and values are not adversely affected;
The total buffer area is not reduced; and
At no location is the buffer width reduced more than 25 percent.
Unless otherwise provided, buildings and other structures shall be set back a distance of 10 feet from the edges of all critical area buffers. The same protrusions into this setback area shall be allowed as the zoning code allows into property line setback areas.
Lots created through subdivisions or short plats may contain critical areas and buffers provided they contain adequate buildable area to build upon. Subdivision and short plats shall show, on their face, any applicable critical area limitations.
When any existing regulation, easement, covenant, or deed restriction conflicts with this critical areas code, that which provides more protection to the critical areas shall apply.
When critical areas of two or more types coincide, the more restrictive buffer and requirements shall apply.
The substantive requirements peculiar to the type of critical area shall also be complied with. See following sections.