News Flash

City of Snohomish - NewsFlash

Posted on: February 28, 2020

Increased Thresholds for Minor New Construction to be Considered


The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, to consider a code amendment to adopt the maximum allowed flexible thresholds for the minor new construction environmental review exemption.

The hearing will take place in the George Gilbertson Board Room at the Snohomish School District Resource Center located at 1601 Avenue D.

The State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) requires issuance of development permits to go through an environmental review process unless projects are considered to be small enough to not pose an environmental threat.  State law establishes the levels at which construction is considered to be minor and thus exempt from SEPA review.

The Planning Commission will consider amendments to Snohomish Municipal Code 14.90, to raise those levels to the maximum allowed by state law.  The City is able to consider this because with the recent updates to shoreline and wetland regulations and the adoption of a new archaeological and cultural resources protection code the City’s development regulations fully protect the environment from negative impacts associated with development.

The proposed new thresholds the Planning Commission will be considering are as follows (numbers in parentheses are the current thresholds):

  • Single-family residential = 30 units (4)
  • Multi-family residential = 60 units (4)
  • Commercial/Industrial buildings = 30,000 square feet (4,000)
  • Parking facilities =90 parking spaces (20)
  • Grading = 1,000 cubic yards (100)

While the proposed increase in the thresholds is significant the public noticing of development projects would be unchanged thanks to an earlier code amendment which ensures all projects other than construction of one detached single-family residence must have a notice of application and a public comment period whether or not they require SEPA review.

The public is encouraged to testify at the public hearing and/or submit written comments on the proposed code amendments to Planning & Development Services Director Glen Pickus at 116 Union Avenue, Snohomish, WA  98290 or via email. Written comments must be received by 4:00 p.m. March 4 or offered at the public hearing to become part of the official record.

After taking public testimony the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council which will consider the Commission’s recommendation and any further public testimony at their regular meeting on April 7 before making a final decision.

If you have questions or comments contact Planning & Development Services Director Glen Pickus via email or call 360-282-3173.

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