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PDFWAC 365-197-010

Purpose of a project consistency rule.

The Local Project Review Act (chapter 36.70B RCW) authorizes the department of community, trade, and economic development to develop and adopt by rule criteria to assist local governments planning under RCW 36.70A.040 to analyze the consistency of project actions. These criteria are to be jointly developed with the department of ecology (RCW 36.70B.040(5)).
A basic principle of the Growth Management Act (GMA) and the Local Project Review Act is that land use decisions made in adopting a comprehensive plan and development regulations under chapter 36.70A RCW should not be revisited during project review. When review of a project indicates that it is consistent with earlier land use decisions, that project should not be reevaluated or scrutinized with respect to whether those decisions were appropriate. Given the number of jurisdictions and agencies in the state, it is essential to establish a uniform framework for jurisdictions planning under the GMA to consider the consistency of a proposed project with the applicable development regulations or, in the absence of applicable regulations, the adopted comprehensive plan.
Consistency should be considered in the project review process by analyzing four factors found in applicable regulations or plans. The four factors are:
(1) The type of land use allowed;
(2) The level of development allowed, such as dwelling units per acre or other measures of intensity;
(3) Infrastructure, such as the adequacy of public facilities and services to serve the proposed project; and
(4) The characteristics of the proposed development, such as assessment for compliance with specific development regulations or standards. This uniform approach is based upon existing project review practices and should not place a "new" burden on applicants or local government. The intent is that consistency analysis be largely a matter of code checking for most projects, which are simple or routine. More complex projects may require more analysis of these factors, including any required studies. During project review, a question may be raised about whether a project is consistent with applicable regulations or plans after some initial analysis. A project's consistency with applicable development regulations may not initially be clear due to the complexity of the project or the regulations. For example, provision for infrastructure. In these cases, the criteria in the rule are intended to provide guidance to local government, applicants, and reviewers in conducting a consistency analysis. The criteria are not intended for every aspect of the project, only for those aspects where there are still questions of consistency after the initial review.
This rule is advisory in nature. As provided by RCW 36.70B.040, local governments may develop and apply their own procedures for determining project consistency.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70B.040. WSR 01-13-039, ยง 365-197-010, filed 6/13/01, effective 7/14/01.]
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