Snohomish County to Follow Updated DOE Guidance on NPDES Vesting
February 17, 2017 – In what should be excellent news for members, Snohomish County will begin following recently shared state Department of Ecology guidance related to issuing permits under its stormwater regulations. Since February 3, the County had been requiring nearly all permits to demonstrate compliance with the most recent update to stormwater regulations. That will now change.
Members are encouraged to contact their PDS Project Manager for questions related to specific applications. For general information, you are encouraged to contact Ken Crossman at 425.262.2227.
Below is a summary of the new guidance:
- Non-land disturbing activities, including interior remodels, reroofs, final plats, plumbing and mechanical permits, boundary line adjustments, unit lot subdivisions, and other applications where no land disturbing activities are proposed, do not trigger review for compliance with current stormwater drainage regulations.
- All permits and approvals granted under stormwater drainage regulations adopted by Snohomish County before January 22, 2016, that have not started construction by June 30, 2020, shall comply with current stormwater drainage regulations. Each phase of a multi-phased development will be assessed for its own started construction date.
- Development applications submitted after January 22, 2016, that trigger review for compliance with stormwater drainage regulations shall comply with current stormwater regulations, except as provided below.
- Development applications submitted on or after January 22, 2016, related to a development project for which all stormwater drainage systems were designed in a previous permit or approval that has not expired, shall comply with the stormwater drainage regulations applied to the previous permit for approval, provided no changes to the project are proposed that would affect the stormwater code thresholds (i.e., new + replaced hard surfaces, land disturbing activity, or a development change that would materially affect the stormwater runoff volume or quality, and provided further that the project has started construction by June 30, 2020.
For more information, contact Snohomish County Manager Mike Pattison at 425.460.8203.
State Supreme Court Order Calls for Answers on Motions for Reconsideration
February 10, 2017 – On Monday, February 6, the Washington State Supreme Court issued an Order Calling for Answer to Motion for Reconsideration in the NPDES vesting case. The petitioners have until February 21 to do so. Your Association is stepping up to the plate and submitting an amicus brief on the matter. Both King and Snohomish counties submitted the original motions for reconsideration. The MBA is hopeful the court will at a minimum clear up the great confusion their original decision has caused local jurisdictions. For more information, contact Snohomish County Manager Mike Pattison at 425.460.8203.
MBA Testifies in Support of Vesting Bill
January 27, 2017 – A public hearing was held on SB 5212 on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in the Senate Committee on Local Government, a bill designed to address many of the concerns that currently exist with the status of vesting laws here in the state of Washington. Duana Koloušková testified on behalf of the MBA in support of this bill in order to provide increased certainty and predictability for our members. For more information, please contact Nick Harper, Senior Director of Strategy & Policy, at 425.460.8207.
Counties Seek Reconsideration, Clarification of NPDES Decision
January 20, 2017 – King and Snohomish counties have submitted motions for reconsideration to the Washington State Supreme Court related to its decision on stormwater regulations and vesting.
The decision has caused uncertainty for local governments and concern about the broader implications of the ruling. The King County brief reads in part, “The County is concerned the Order could be read to apply to a wide variety of state-directed development regulations advancing environmental goals, and that in the absence of further guidance, lower courts and litigants will struggle to discern “state directed regulations from ‘truly local’ ones.”
Snohomish County’s brief expresses concern that “jurisdictions will be required to unwind preliminary plat and final plat decisions, either expressly or implicitly. These actions would run counter to the “policy of finality…”
For more information, contact North Snohomish County Manager Mike Pattison at 425.460.8203.
State Supreme Court Stormwater Decision Limits Vesting
January 6, 2017 – On Dec. 29, 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court issued its decision in Snohomish County v PCHB, which your Association participated in through an amicus brief. The Court upheld the special condition in Ecology’s NPDES Phase I Permit that requires permitting jurisdictions to apply the new stormwater regulations to a set of otherwise vested developments. The Court concluded that the stormwater regulations implemented pursuant to the Permit are not “land use control ordinances” subject to vesting statutes.
MBA is advised that the Court’s decision should be read to apply only to stormwater regulations adopted under the permit. Also noteworthy is that the Special Condition only applies if an application was filed before July 1, 2015 and no construction on that project has commenced by June 30, 2020.
Your Association will continue to work with legal counsel and other stakeholders to get a better understanding of the full ramifications of the ruling. Due to the complex nature of the decision, we would advise members to seek counsel regarding individual projects. For more information, contact North Snohomish County Manager Mike Pattison at 425.460.8203.