(1) Application and interpretation of exemptions.
(a) Exemptions shall be construed narrowly. Only those developments that meet the precise terms of one or more of the listed exemptions may be granted exemption from the substantial development permit process.
(b) An exemption from the substantial development permit process is not an exemption from compliance with the act or the local master program, nor from any other regulatory requirements. To be authorized, all uses and developments must be consistent with the policies and provisions of the applicable master program and the Shoreline Management Act. A development or use that is listed as a conditional use pursuant to the local master program or is an unlisted use, must obtain a conditional use permit even though the development or use does not require a substantial development permit. When a development or use is proposed that does not comply with the bulk, dimensional and performance standards of the master program, such development or use can only be authorized by approval of a variance.
(c) The burden of proof that a development or use is exempt from the permit process is on the applicant.
(d) If any part of a proposed development is not eligible for exemption, then a substantial development permit is required for the entire proposed development project.
(e) Local government may attach conditions to the approval of exempted developments and/or uses as necessary to assure consistency of the project with the act and the local master program.
(2) The following developments shall not require substantial development permits:
(a) Any development of which the total cost or fair market value, whichever is higher, does not exceed five thousand dollars, if such development does not materially interfere with the normal public use of the water or shorelines of the state. The dollar threshold established in this subsection must be adjusted for inflation by the office of financial management every five years, beginning July 1, 2007, based upon changes in the consumer price index during that time period. "Consumer price index" means, for any calendar year, that year's annual average consumer price index, Seattle, Washington area, for urban wage earners and clerical workers, all items, compiled by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, United States Department of Labor. The office of financial management must calculate the new dollar threshold and transmit it to the office of the code reviser for publication in the Washington State Register
at least one month before the new dollar threshold is to take effect. For purposes of determining whether or not a permit is required, the total cost or fair market value shall be based on the value of development that is occurring on shorelines of the state as defined in RCW 90.58.030
(2)(c). The total cost or fair market value of the development shall include the fair market value of any donated, contributed or found labor, equipment or materials;
(b) Normal maintenance or repair of existing structures or developments, including damage by accident, fire or elements. "Normal maintenance" includes those usual acts to prevent a decline, lapse, or cessation from a lawfully established condition. "Normal repair" means to restore a development to a state comparable to its original condition, including but not limited to its size, shape, configuration, location and external appearance, within a reasonable period after decay or partial destruction, except where repair causes substantial adverse effects to shoreline resource or environment. Replacement of a structure or development may be authorized as repair where such replacement is the common method of repair for the type of structure or development and the replacement structure or development is comparable to the original structure or development including but not limited to its size, shape, configuration, location and external appearance and the replacement does not cause substantial adverse effects to shoreline resources or environment;
(c) Construction of the normal protective bulkhead common to single-family residences. A "normal protective" bulkhead includes those structural and nonstructural developments installed at or near, and parallel to, the ordinary high water mark for the sole purpose of protecting an existing single-family residence and appurtenant structures from loss or damage by erosion. A normal protective bulkhead is not exempt if constructed for the purpose of creating dry land. When a vertical or near vertical wall is being constructed or reconstructed, not more than one cubic yard of fill per one foot of wall may be used as backfill. When an existing bulkhead is being repaired by construction of a vertical wall fronting the existing wall, it shall be constructed no further waterward of the existing bulkhead than is necessary for construction of new footings. When a bulkhead has deteriorated such that an ordinary high water mark has been established by the presence and action of water landward of the bulkhead then the replacement bulkhead must be located at or near the actual ordinary high water mark. Beach nourishment and bioengineered erosion control projects may be considered a normal protective bulkhead when any structural elements are consistent with the above requirements and when the project has been approved by the department of fish and wildlife.
(d) Emergency construction necessary to protect property from damage by the elements. An "emergency" is an unanticipated and imminent threat to public health, safety, or the environment which requires immediate action within a time too short to allow full compliance with this chapter. Emergency construction does not include development of new permanent protective structures where none previously existed. Where new protective structures are deemed by the administrator to be the appropriate means to address the emergency situation, upon abatement of the emergency situation the new structure shall be removed or any permit which would have been required, absent an emergency, pursuant to chapter 90.58
RCW, these regulations, or the local master program, obtained. All emergency construction shall be consistent with the policies of chapter 90.58
RCW and the local master program. As a general matter, flooding or other seasonal events that can be anticipated and may occur but that are not imminent are not an emergency;
(e) Construction and practices normal or necessary for farming, irrigation, and ranching activities, including agricultural service roads and utilities on shorelands, construction of a barn or similar agricultural structure, and the construction and maintenance of irrigation structures including but not limited to head gates, pumping facilities, and irrigation channels: Provided, That a feedlot of any size, all processing plants, other activities of a commercial nature, alteration of the contour of the shorelands by leveling or filling other than that which results from normal cultivation, shall not be considered normal or necessary farming or ranching activities. A feedlot shall be an enclosure or facility used or capable of being used for feeding livestock hay, grain, silage, or other livestock feed, but shall not include land for growing crops or vegetation for livestock feeding and/or grazing, nor shall it include normal livestock wintering operations;
(f) Construction or modification of navigational aids such as channel markers and anchor buoys;
(g) Construction on shorelands by an owner, lessee or contract purchaser of a single-family residence for their own use or for the use of their family, which residence does not exceed a height of thirty-five feet above average grade level and which meets all requirements of the state agency or local government having jurisdiction thereof, other than requirements imposed pursuant to chapter 90.58
RCW. "Single-family residence" means a detached dwelling designed for and occupied by one family including those structures and developments within a contiguous ownership which are a normal appurtenance. An "appurtenance" is necessarily connected to the use and enjoyment of a single-family residence and is located landward of the ordinary high water mark and the perimeter of a wetland. On a statewide basis, normal appurtenances include a garage; deck; driveway; utilities; fences; installation of a septic tank and drainfield and grading which does not exceed two hundred fifty cubic yards and which does not involve placement of fill in any wetland or waterward of the ordinary high water mark. Local circumstances may dictate additional interpretations of normal appurtenances which shall be set forth and regulated within the applicable master program. Construction authorized under this exemption shall be located landward of the ordinary high water mark;
(h) Construction of a dock, including a community dock, designed for pleasure craft only, for the private noncommercial use of the owner, lessee, or contract purchaser of single-family and multiple-family residences. A dock is a landing and moorage facility for watercraft and does not include recreational decks, storage facilities or other appurtenances. This exception applies if either:
(i) In salt waters, the fair market value of the dock does not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars; or
(ii) In fresh waters the fair market value of the dock does not exceed ten thousand dollars, but if subsequent construction having a fair market value exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars occurs within five years of completion of the prior construction, the subsequent construction shall be considered a substantial development for the purpose of this chapter.
For purposes of this section salt water shall include the tidally influenced marine and estuarine water areas of the state including the Pacific Ocean, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound and all bays and inlets associated with any of the above;
(i) Operation, maintenance, or construction of canals, waterways, drains, reservoirs, or other facilities that now exist or are hereafter created or developed as a part of an irrigation system for the primary purpose of making use of system waters, including return flow and artificially stored groundwater from the irrigation of lands;
(j) The marking of property lines or corners on state-owned lands, when such marking does not significantly interfere with normal public use of the surface of the water;
(k) Operation and maintenance of any system of dikes, ditches, drains, or other facilities existing on September 8, 1975, which were created, developed or utilized primarily as a part of an agricultural drainage or diking system;
(l) Any project with a certification from the governor pursuant to chapter 80.50
(m) Site exploration and investigation activities that are prerequisite to preparation of an application for development authorization under this chapter, if:
(i) The activity does not interfere with the normal public use of the surface waters;
(ii) The activity will have no significant adverse impact on the environment including but not limited to fish, wildlife, fish or wildlife habitat, water quality, and aesthetic values;
(iii) The activity does not involve the installation of any structure, and upon completion of the activity the vegetation and land configuration of the site are restored to conditions existing before the activity;
(iv) A private entity seeking development authorization under this section first posts a performance bond or provides other evidence of financial responsibility to the local jurisdiction to ensure that the site is restored to preexisting conditions; and
(v) The activity is not subject to the permit requirements of RCW 90.58.550
(n) The process of removing or controlling aquatic noxious weeds, as defined in RCW 17.26.020
, through the use of an herbicide or other treatment methods applicable to weed control that are recommended by a final environmental impact statement published by the department of agriculture or the department of ecology jointly with other state agencies under chapter 43.21C
(o) Watershed restoration projects as defined herein. Local government shall review the projects for consistency with the shoreline master program in an expeditious manner and shall issue its decision along with any conditions within forty-five days of receiving all materials necessary to review the request for exemption from the applicant. No fee may be charged for accepting and processing requests for exemption for watershed restoration projects as used in this section.
(i) "Watershed restoration project" means a public or private project authorized by the sponsor of a watershed restoration plan that implements the plan or a part of the plan and consists of one or more of the following activities:
(A) A project that involves less than ten miles of streamreach, in which less than twenty-five cubic yards of sand, gravel, or soil is removed, imported, disturbed or discharged, and in which no existing vegetation is removed except as minimally necessary to facilitate additional plantings;
(B) A project for the restoration of an eroded or unstable stream bank that employs the principles of bioengineering, including limited use of rock as a stabilization only at the toe of the bank, and with primary emphasis on using native vegetation to control the erosive forces of flowing water; or
(C) A project primarily designed to improve fish and wildlife habitat, remove or reduce impediments to migration of fish, or enhance the fishery resource available for use by all of the citizens of the state, provided that any structure, other than a bridge or culvert or instream habitat enhancement structure associated with the project, is less than two hundred square feet in floor area and is located above the ordinary high water mark of the stream.
(ii) "Watershed restoration plan" means a plan, developed or sponsored by the department of fish and wildlife, the department of ecology, the department of natural resources, the department of transportation, a federally recognized Indian tribe acting within and pursuant to its authority, a city, a county, or a conservation district that provides a general program and implementation measures or actions for the preservation, restoration, re-creation, or enhancement of the natural resources, character, and ecology of a stream, stream segment, drainage area, or watershed for which agency and public review has been conducted pursuant to chapter 43.21C
RCW, the State Environmental Policy Act;
(p) A public or private project that is designed to improve fish or wildlife habitat or fish passage, when all of the following apply:
(i) The project has been approved in writing by the department of fish and wildlife;
(ii) The project has received hydraulic project approval by the department of fish and wildlife pursuant to chapter 77.55
(iii) The local government has determined that the project is substantially consistent with the local shoreline master program. The local government shall make such determination in a timely manner and provide it by letter to the project proponent.
Fish habitat enhancement projects that conform to the provisions of RCW 77.55.181
are determined to be consistent with local shoreline master programs, as follows:
(A) In order to receive the permit review and approval process created in this section, a fish habitat enhancement project must meet the criteria under (p)(iii)(A)(I) and (II) of this subsection:
(I) A fish habitat enhancement project must be a project to accomplish one or more of the following tasks:
• Elimination of human-made fish passage barriers, including culvert repair and replacement;
• Restoration of an eroded or unstable streambank employing the principle of bioengineering, including limited use of rock as a stabilization only at the toe of the bank, and with primary emphasis on using native vegetation to control the erosive forces of flowing water; or
• Placement of woody debris or other instream structures that benefit naturally reproducing fish stocks.
The department of fish and wildlife shall develop size or scale threshold tests to determine if projects accomplishing any of these tasks should be evaluated under the process created in this section or under other project review and approval processes. A project proposal shall not be reviewed under the process created in this section if the department determines that the scale of the project raises concerns regarding public health and safety; and
(II) A fish habitat enhancement project must be approved in one of the following ways:
• By the department of fish and wildlife pursuant to chapter 77.95
• By the sponsor of a watershed restoration plan as provided in chapter 89.08
• By the department as a department of fish and wildlife-sponsored fish habitat enhancement or restoration project;
• Through the review and approval process for the jobs for the environment program;
• Through the review and approval process for conservation district-sponsored projects, where the project complies with design standards established by the conservation commission through interagency agreement with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the natural resource conservation service;
• Through a formal grant program established by the legislature or the department of fish and wildlife for fish habitat enhancement or restoration; and
• Through other formal review and approval processes established by the legislature.
(B) Fish habitat enhancement projects meeting the criteria of (p)(iii)(A) of this subsection are expected to result in beneficial impacts to the environment. Decisions pertaining to fish habitat enhancement projects meeting the criteria of (p)(iii)(A) of this subsection and being reviewed and approved according to the provisions of this section are not subject to the requirements of RCW 43.21C.030
(C)(I) A hydraulic project approval permit is required for projects that meet the criteria of (p)(iii)(A) of this subsection and are being reviewed and approved under this section. An applicant shall use a joint aquatic resource permit application form developed by the office of regulatory assistance to apply for approval under this chapter. On the same day, the applicant shall provide copies of the completed application form to the department of fish and wildlife and to each appropriate local government. Local governments shall accept the application as notice of the proposed project. The department of fish and wildlife shall provide a fifteen-day comment period during which it will receive comments regarding environmental impacts. Within forty-five days, the department shall either issue a permit, with or without conditions, deny approval, or make a determination that the review and approval process created by this section is not appropriate for the proposed project. The department shall base this determination on identification during the comment period of adverse impacts that cannot be mitigated by the conditioning of a permit. If the department determines that the review and approval process created by this section is not appropriate for the proposed project, the department shall notify the applicant and the appropriate local governments of its determination. The applicant may reapply for approval of the project under other review and approval processes.
(II) Any person aggrieved by the approval, denial, conditioning, or modification of a permit under this section may formally appeal the decision to the hydraulic appeals board pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(D) No local government may require permits or charge fees for fish habitat enhancement projects that meet the criteria of (p)(iii)(A) of this subsection and that are reviewed and approved according to the provisions of this section.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.58.030
(3)(e), 90.58.045, 90.58.065, 90.58.140(9), 90.58.143, 90.58.147, 90.58.200, 90.58.355, 90.58.390, 90.58.515, 43.21K.080, 71.09.250, 71.09.342, 77.55.181, 89.08.460, chapters 70.105D
RCW. WSR 07-02-086 (Order 05-12), § 173-27-040, filed 1/2/07, effective 2/2/07. Statutory Authority: RCW 90.58.140
(3) and [90.58].200. WSR 96-20-075 (Order 95-17), § 173-27-040, filed 9/30/96, effective 10/31/96.]