News Flash

Planning & Public Works

Posted on: October 27, 2021

SEPA Review Now Required for Some Projects

SEPA Review Now Required for Some Projects


After consultation with Ecology and legal counsel, we will no longer be interpreting section WAC 197-11-800(6)(d) to categorically exempt the following projects:

The following actions are not exempt and require SEPA review:

  • Preliminary plats of 20 lots or less
  • Large lots of 20 lots or less
  • Short plats involving wetlands or lands covered by water

We will reach out to applicants with existing projects that may be impacted by this interpretation to help them navigate this change.

WAC 197-11-756 Lands covered by water.

 (1) "Lands covered by water" means lands underlying the water areas of the state below the ordinary high water mark, including salt waters, tidal waters, estuarine waters, natural water courses, lakes, ponds, artificially impounded waters, and wetlands. As specified in Part Nine certain categorical exemptions do not apply when a portion or all of a project or proposal is undertaken on lands covered by water.

 (2) Wetlands - Wetlands are defined as areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland areas created to mitigate conversion of wetlands. Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland sites including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway.

 (3) "Lands covered by water" does not include adjacent lands and designated buffers above the ordinary high water mark.

If you have a question on an existing application, you can reach out to your assigned review planner. For general questions, you can contact the Development Center at [email protected] or by phone at (253) 798-3739.

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