58th Legislature
2003 Regular Session

Passed by the House April 21, 2003
  Yeas 96   Nays 1

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate April 10, 2003
  Yeas 44   Nays 3

President of the Senate

I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1707 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.

Chief Clerk

Governor of the State of Washington

Secretary of State
State of Washington




Passed Legislature - 2003 Regular Session
State of Washington58th Legislature2003 Regular Session

By House Committee on Local Government (originally sponsored by Representatives Jarrett, Simpson, Shabro, Sullivan, Moeller, Berkey, Schindler, Linville and Anderson)

READ FIRST TIME 03/05/03.   

     AN ACT Relating to revising environmental review provisions to improve the development approval process and enhance economic development; amending RCW 43.21C.240; and adding a new section to chapter 43.21C RCW.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   A new section is added to chapter 43.21C RCW to read as follows:
     (1) In order to accommodate infill development and thereby realize the goals and policies of comprehensive plans adopted according to chapter 36.70A RCW, a city or county planning under RCW 36.70A.040 is authorized by this section to establish categorical exemptions from the requirements of this chapter. An exemption adopted under this section applies even if it differs from the categorical exemptions adopted by rule of the department under RCW 43.21C.110(1)(a). An exemption may be adopted by a city or county under this section if it meets the following criteria:
     (a) It categorically exempts government action related to development that is new residential or mixed-use development proposed to fill in an urban growth area designated according to RCW 36.70A.110, where current density and intensity of use in the area is lower than called for in the goals and policies of the applicable comprehensive plan;
     (b) It does not exempt government action related to development that would exceed the density or intensity of use called for in the goals and policies of the applicable comprehensive plan; and
     (c) The city or county's applicable comprehensive plan was previously subjected to environmental analysis through an environmental impact statement under the requirements of this chapter prior to adoption.
     (2) Any categorical exemption adopted by a city or county under this section shall be subject to the rules of the department adopted according to RCW 43.21C.110(1)(a) that provide exceptions to the use of categorical exemptions adopted by the department.

Sec. 2   RCW 43.21C.240 and 1995 c 347 s 202 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) If the requirements of subsection (2) of this section are satisfied, a county, city, or town reviewing a project action ((may)) shall determine that the requirements for environmental analysis, protection, and mitigation measures in the county, city, or town's development regulations and comprehensive plans adopted under chapter 36.70A RCW, and in other applicable local, state, or federal laws and rules provide adequate analysis of and mitigation for the specific adverse environmental impacts of the project action to which the requirements apply. Rules adopted by the department according to RCW 43.21C.110 regarding project specific impacts that may not have been adequately addressed apply to any determination made under this section. In these situations, in which all adverse environmental impacts will be mitigated below the level of significance as a result of mitigation measures included by changing, clarifying, or conditioning of the proposed action and/or regulatory requirements of development regulations adopted under chapter 36.70A RCW or other local, state, or federal laws, a determination of nonsignificance or a mitigated determination of nonsignificance is the proper threshold determination.
     (2) A county, city, or town ((may)) shall make the determination provided for in subsection (1) of this section if:
     (a) In the course of project review, including any required environmental analysis, the local government considers the specific probable adverse environmental impacts of the proposed action and determines that these specific impacts are adequately addressed by the development regulations or other applicable requirements of the comprehensive plan, subarea plan element of the comprehensive plan, or other local, state, or federal rules or laws; and
     (b) The local government bases or conditions its approval on compliance with these requirements or mitigation measures.
     (3) If a county, city, or town's comprehensive plans, subarea plans, and development regulations adequately address a project's probable specific adverse environmental impacts, as determined under subsections (1) and (2) of this section, the county, city, or town shall not impose additional mitigation under this chapter during project review. Project review shall be integrated with environmental analysis under this chapter.
     (4) A comprehensive plan, subarea plan, or development regulation shall be considered to adequately address an impact if the county, city, or town, through the planning and environmental review process under chapter 36.70A RCW and this chapter, has identified the specific adverse environmental impacts and:
     (a) The impacts have been avoided or otherwise mitigated; or
     (b) The legislative body of the county, city, or town has designated as acceptable certain levels of service, land use designations, development standards, or other land use planning required or allowed by chapter 36.70A RCW.
     (5) In deciding whether a specific adverse environmental impact has been addressed by an existing rule or law of another agency with jurisdiction with environmental expertise with regard to a specific environmental impact, the county, city, or town shall consult orally or in writing with that agency and may expressly defer to that agency. In making this deferral, the county, city, or town shall base or condition its project approval on compliance with these other existing rules or laws.
     (6) Nothing in this section limits the authority of an agency in its review or mitigation of a project to adopt or otherwise rely on environmental analyses and requirements under other laws, as provided by this chapter.
     (7) This section shall apply only to a county, city, or town planning under RCW 36.70A.040.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

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