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30.63B.070 Land disturbing activity permit exemptions.
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A land disturbing activity permit is not required for activities exempted in this section. Exemption from obtaining a land disturbing activity permit is not an exemption from compliance with this chapter, nor from any other applicable provision in this title. Land disturbing activity exempted in this section shall comply with SCC 30.63A.445 and 30.63A.450, unless specifically exempted from those provisions by SCC 30.63A.200.

(1) Land disturbing activities are exempt from obtaining a land disturbing activity permit when:

(a) The land disturbing activity occurs outside all critical areas, together with the buffers of and setbacks from these critical areas, except that such activities may occur within floodplains and aquifer recharge areas of low or moderate sensitivity to groundwater contamination;

(b) The land disturbing activity is set back at least two feet from all property lines;

(c) The land disturbing activity does not obstruct or alter an existing drainage course or pattern;

(d) The land disturbing activity disturbs less than 7,000 square feet of land;

(e) The land disturbing activity creates or replaces less than 2,000 square feet of new, replaced, or new plus replaced hard surfaces;

(f) The property on which the land disturbing activity will occur collects or concentrates stormwater from 5,000 square feet or less of drainage area; and

(g) The amount of land disturbing activity is consistent with one of the following thresholds:

(i) One hundred cubic yards or less of grading on a site in any 18 consecutive months (except fills and associated compaction intended to support structures or private roads);

(ii) Five hundred cubic yards or less of excavation in any 18 consecutive months for a basement foundation, or for improvements to a single family dwelling and/or accessory structures, provided that excess excavated material shall be disposed of at a permitted site approved by the director and provided further that the activity shall only commence after a building permit is secured by the applicant; or

(iii) Five hundred cubic yards or less of grading in any 18 consecutive months for construction of underground drainage systems, provided that the construction shall only commence after a right-of-way use, utility, single family or commercial building permit is obtained by the applicant.

(2) The following land disturbing activities are exempt from obtaining a land disturbing activity permit when the activity is at least two feet from all property boundary lines. For this exemption to apply, development activities must occur outside all critical areas, together with the buffers of and setbacks from these critical areas, except that such activities may occur within floodplains and aquifer recharge areas of low or moderate sensitivity to groundwater contamination:

(a) Operation of a solid waste disposal site subject to a solid waste permit pursuant to chapter 70.95 RCW, except that expansion, relocation, closure, or capping of a solid waste disposal site is not exempt;

(b) Mineral resource operations including commercial mining, quarrying, excavating, or processing of rock, sand, gravel, aggregate, or clay and associated stockpiling when such operations are authorized by a conditional use permit or an administrative conditional use permit for expansion of a nonconforming use as required by chapter 30.22, 30.42C or 30.43A SCC, except that the following are not exempt:

(i) Reclamation pursuant to SCC 30.63B.170;

(ii) An operation which the director determines may destabilize or undermine any adjacent or contiguous property; and

(iii) An operation which the director determines may result in an adverse downstream drainage impact;

(c) Site investigative work necessary for land use application submittals pursuant to this title, such as surveys, soil borings, test pits, percolation tests, nonmechanical survey monument placement, data collection by nonmechanical means and other related activities, if performed in accordance with state-approved sampling protocols or sections 7 and 10 of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. §§ 1536 and 1539), provided that the land disturbing activity is no greater than is necessary to accomplish the site investigative work and results in less than 2,000 square feet of new plus replaced hard surfaces;

(d) Drilling or excavation of a well for a single family dwelling;

(e) Digging, excavating, or filling cemetery graves; and

(f) Repair or installation of underground or overhead utility facilities that replace ground surfaces with in-kind materials or materials with similar runoff characteristics.

(3) The following land disturbing activities are exempt from obtaining a land disturbing activity permit:

(a) Repair or installation of underground or overhead facilities performed by a utility that only replaces ground surfaces with in-kind materials or materials with similar runoff characteristics. For this exemption to apply, development activities must occur outside all critical areas, together with the buffers of and setbacks from these critical areas, except that such activities may occur within floodplains and aquifer recharge areas of low or moderate sensitivity to groundwater contamination;

(b) Facility maintenance and repairs performed by a utility that replace ground surfaces with in-kind materials or materials with similar runoff characteristics, that do not add hard surfaces, and that do not adversely impact any critical areas, critical area buffers or upstream or downstream properties;

(c) Remodeling or tenant improvements that do not meet the definitions of new development or redevelopment;

(d) Forest practice Classes I, II, III and Class IV special nonconversion forest practices regulated by title 222 WAC;

(e) Oil and gas field activities or operations, including the construction of drilling sites, waste management pits, access roads, and transportation and treatment infrastructure (such as pipelines, natural gas treatment plants, natural gas pipeline compressor stations and crude oil pumping stations);

(f) The following road maintenance activities: pothole and square cut patching, overlaying existing asphalt or concrete pavement with asphalt or concrete without expanding the coverage area, shoulder grading, reshaping and/or re-grading drainage systems, crack sealing, resurfacing with in-kind material without expanding the road prism and vegetation maintenance;

(g) The construction or maintenance of recreational trails, not including challenge areas, parking areas, spectator areas, or any other developed or disturbed areas that are not trails, provided that the following criteria are met:

(i) The trail at issue is on land located in a rural or resource zone;

(ii) The trail at issue is located in a public park or a private park, as those terms are defined in chapter 30.91P SCC;

(iii) The area in which the construction or maintenance will be performed does not drain into the county’s municipal separate storm sewer system, as that term is defined in chapter 30.91M SCC; and

(iv) Design of the trail conforms to:

(A) The standards specified in the United States Forest Service Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook and the United States Forest Service Standard Specifications for Construction and Maintenance of Trails; or

(B) Such other standards for the design and construction of recreational trails that provide equivalent or greater environmental protection, provided that such standards are adopted by rule pursuant to SCC 30.82.010; and

(h) Site investigative work necessary for land use application submittals pursuant to this title, such as surveys, soil borings, test pits, percolation tests, nonmechanical survey monument placement, data collection by nonmechanical means or other related activities, provided that the work is otherwise consistent with the provisions of other local, state and federal laws and regulations. Land disturbance shall be no greater than that necessary to accomplish the site investigative work and disturbed areas shall be restored to pre-disturbance conditions in one growing season.

(4) The following commercial agricultural activities that are conducted on land designated riverway commercial farmland, upland commercial farmland, or local commercial farmland by the comprehensive plan and future land use map (FLUM) are exempt from obtaining a land disturbing activity permit:

(a) Tilling, soil preparation, fallow rotation, planting, harvesting and other commercial agricultural activities involving working the land. For this exemption to apply, development activities must occur outside all critical areas, together with the buffers of and setbacks from these critical areas, except that such activities may occur within floodplains and aquifer recharge areas of low or moderate sensitivity to groundwater contamination;

(b) Maintenance or repair of existing commercial agricultural facilities including drainage facilities, ponds, animal stock flood sanctuaries, animal waste management facilities, agricultural buildings, fences, roads and bridges; and

(c) New construction of drainage ditches (including enlargement of existing drainage ditches) that requires 500 cubic yards or less of grading. Such ditches shall not adversely impact critical areas or upstream or downstream properties, be located within 100 feet of streams, wetlands, lakes, marine waters, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, and erosion hazard areas, or contain water on site for retention, infiltration or evaporation. For this exemption to apply, development activities must occur outside all critical areas, together with the buffers of and setbacks from these critical areas, except that such activities may occur within floodplains and aquifer recharge areas of low or moderate sensitivity to groundwater contamination.

(5) Agricultural activities defined in chapter 30.32B SCC or SCC 30.91A.090 are exempt from obtaining a land disturbing activity permit, provided that:

(a) The activity occurs on property on which agriculture is a legal use of the property;

(b) The activity requires no other permit or project approval from Snohomish County except for a flood hazard permit under chapter 30.43C SCC; and

(c) The activity does not occur in a wetland as defined by state law, unless:

(i) The activity is exempt from wetlands regulations under section 404(f) of the federal Clean Water Act; or

(ii) The wetland is an area of no greater than 5,000 square feet of nonriparian wetland Categories II or III or 10,000 square feet of nonriparian Category IV wetlands, pursuant to SCC 30.62A.230(2). (Added by Amended Ord. 10-023, June 9, 2010, Eff date Sept. 30, 2010; Amended by Amended Ord. 11-048, Aug. 31, 2011, Eff date Sept. 22, 2011; Amended by Amended Ord. 13-042, July 10, 2013, Eff date July 22, 2013; Amended by Ord. 15-103, Jan. 11, 2016, Eff date Jan. 22, 2016). (Ord. 15-103 , 2016; Amended Ord. 13-042 , 2013; Amended Ord. 11-048 , 2011; Amended Ord. 10-023 , 2010.)

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