The legal notice that appeared in the Seattle Times on March 29, 2013 was incorrectly titled “Notice of Public Hearing”. The purpose of the notice was to solicit comments on the proposal as indicated in the correction published April 1, 2013. The public hearing for this proposal was conducted by the Planning Commission on March 21, 2013 and the City Council is scheduled to act on it on April 29, 2013. Your comments are welcome. Please submit them on or before April 18, 2013.
SEPA is the State Environmental Policy Act of 1971. The act established thresholds for when environmental review is required for different projects. These rules were intended to provide a way to evaluate the environmental impacts of projects in communities that had minimal development regulations prior to 1971. Information obtained during the SEPA process can change a proposal to reduce likely impacts or condition or deny a proposal when adverse environmental impacts are identified. Since the City of Shoreline's incorporation in 1995, it has employed the lowest thresholds allowed by the Act.
During the 2012 legislative session the State Legislature adopted sweeping changes to SEPA. As part of the update, the Legislature modified the exempt thresholds for minor new construction and directed the Department of Ecology (DOE) to evaluate the rules that implement SEPA while maintaining levels of environmental protection.
The rule-making process included representatives from state agencies, historical and cultural interests, tribes, business agriculture, cities and counties and is now complete. The City is now in the process of exploring amendments to its Development Code to be consistent with the new SEPA legislation and accompanying rules. As a result, thresholds for exemptions for minor new construction within the City of Shoreline could be raised.
The vast majority of projects reviewed by the City result in a "Determination of Non-significance". This is because the City is planning under the Growth Management Act and is no longer a jurisdiction with minimal development regulations that need the support of SEPA. In fact, the City is viewed by many in the region as a place to study when looking for progressive and complete environmental regulations.
The City will be proposing amendments to its Development Code that will remove the bureaucracy of environmental review for minor projects that are considered to have minimal impact, require nominal analysis, and comply with adopted development regulations. This action will support City Council Goal #1 to strengthen Shoreline's economic base by streamlining development regulations and making the permit process predictable, timely and competitive.
Proposed Thresholds for Environmental Review
||4 dwelling units
30 dwelling units
||4 dwelling units
60 dwelling units
|Commercial, Office, School
||4,000 sq. ft.
20 parking spaces
|30,000 sq. ft.
90 parking spaces
|Landfill or Excavation
||500 cubic yards
||1,000 cubic yards
The City strives for consistency in its codes and the ability to rely on the mitigations incorporated into them through public processes and the environmental analysis that supported their adoption.