84.34.035  <<  84.34.037 >>   84.34.041

RCW 84.34.037

Applications for current use classification—To whom made—Factors—Review.

(1) Applications for classification or reclassification under RCW 84.34.020(1) shall be made to the county legislative authority. An application made for classification or reclassification of land under RCW 84.34.020(1) (b) and (c) which is in an area subject to a comprehensive plan shall be acted upon in the same manner in which an amendment to the comprehensive plan is processed. Application made for classification of land which is in an area not subject to a comprehensive plan shall be acted upon after a public hearing and after notice of the hearing shall have been given by one publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the area at least ten days before the hearing: PROVIDED, That applications for classification of land in an incorporated area shall be acted upon by: (a) A granting authority composed of three members of the county legislative body and three members of the city legislative body in which the land is located in a meeting where members may be physically absent but participating through telephonic connection; or (b) separate affirmative acts by both the county and city legislative bodies where both bodies affirm the entirety of an application without modification or both bodies affirm an application with identical modifications.
(2) In determining whether an application made for classification or reclassification under RCW 84.34.020(1) (b) and (c) should be approved or disapproved, the granting authority may take cognizance of the benefits to the general welfare of preserving the current use of the property which is the subject of application, and shall consider:
(a) The resulting revenue loss or tax shift;
(b) Whether granting the application for land applying under RCW 84.34.020(1)(b) will (i) conserve or enhance natural, cultural, or scenic resources, (ii) protect streams, stream corridors, wetlands, natural shorelines and aquifers, (iii) protect soil resources and unique or critical wildlife and native plant habitat, (iv) promote conservation principles by example or by offering educational opportunities, (v) enhance the value of abutting or neighboring parks, forests, wildlife preserves, nature reservations, sanctuaries, or other open spaces, (vi) enhance recreation opportunities, (vii) preserve historic and archaeological sites, (viii) preserve visual quality along highway, road, and street corridors or scenic vistas, (ix) affect any other factors relevant in weighing benefits to the general welfare of preserving the current use of the property; and
(c) Whether granting the application for land applying under RCW 84.34.020(1)(c) will (i) either preserve land previously classified under RCW 84.34.020(2) or preserve land that is traditional farmland and not classified under chapter 84.33 or 84.34 RCW, (ii) preserve land with a potential for returning to commercial agriculture, and (iii) affect any other factors relevant in weighing benefits to the general welfare of preserving the current use of property.
(3) If a public benefit rating system is adopted under RCW 84.34.055, the county legislative authority shall rate property for which application for classification has been made under RCW 84.34.020(1) (b) and (c) according to the public benefit rating system in determining whether an application should be approved or disapproved, but when such a system is adopted, open space properties then classified under this chapter which do not qualify under the system shall not be removed from classification but may be rated according to the public benefit rating system.
(4) The granting authority may approve the application with respect to only part of the land which is the subject of the application. If any part of the application is denied, the applicant may withdraw the entire application. The granting authority in approving in part or whole an application for land classified or reclassified pursuant to RCW 84.34.020(1) may also require that certain conditions be met, including but not limited to the granting of easements. As a condition of granting open space classification, the legislative body may not require public access on land classified under RCW 84.34.020(1)(b)(iii) for the purpose of promoting conservation of wetlands.
(5) The granting or denial of the application for current use classification or reclassification is a legislative determination and shall be reviewable only for arbitrary and capricious actions.
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