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Ordinances: 670

Ordinance Number


Ordinance Subject

Amending Title 17 Critical Areas and Title 18 Shoreline Master Program of the UPMC pertaining to geologically hazardous areas and wetlands regulations

Date Adopted


Repealed By


Amended By








WHEREAS, in enacting the Growth Management Act (Chapter 36.70A RCW, hereafter GMA) the Legislature found that "uncoordinated and unplanned growth, together with a lack of common goals expressing the public's interest in the conservation and the wise use of our lands, pose a threat to the environment, sustainable economic development, and the health, safety, and high quality of life enjoyed by residents of this state"; and


WHEREAS, the GMA requires that local governments meeting certain criteria, including the City of University Place, adopt development regulations to guide development subject to state regulations, multi-county and countywide planning policies, and comprehensive plan goals and policies; and


            WHEREAS, the City Council established and appointed the Planning Commission to advise the City Council on the following topics: growth management; general land use and transportation planning; long range capital improvement plans; and other matters as directed by the City Council; and


            WHEREAS, the Planning Commission is charged with holding hearings on and preparing development regulations for the City and making recommendations to the City Council on amendments to these regulations; and


            WHEREAS, the Department of Ecology has informed the City that the agency has repealed the state wetland delineation manual, that municipalities should amend their code language as it pertains to wetland delineation reports, and the new language must require wetland delineation reports to comply with the “approved federal wetland delineation manual and applicable regional supplements” -- consistent with WAC 173-22-035; and


            WHEREAS, the Department of Ecology has provided additional recommendations for updating the City’s wetland regulations to reflect Best Available Science; and


            WHEREAS, the City has identified a potential benefit from amending its geologically hazardous areas regulations to allow landowners to modify to steep slopes to accommodate rational and beneficial project designs provided this does not increase geological hazards on or adjacent to a site; and


            WHEREAS, the City submitted a Notice of Intent to Adopt to the Washington State Department of Commerce on February 25, 2016, which was issued to state agencies for a 60-day comment period ending April 25, 2016 as required pursuant to RCW 36A.70 RCW, and no state agency comment was received in response to this notice; and


            WHEREAS, the City issued a SEPA Determination of Non-significance on February 25, 2016 with a 14-day comment period ending March 9, 2016, and comments were received from the Department of Ecology on March 9, 2016; and


            WHEREAS, the City published a Notice of Public Hearing in the Tacoma News Tribune on February 25, 2016 regarding a March 16, 2016 Planning Commission public hearing to be held on the draft amendments; and


            WHEREAS, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on March 16, 2016 to consider written and oral public comments on the draft amendments, considered the approval criteria listed in UPMC 19.90.030, and voted unanimously to recommend to the City Council approval of the draft amendments with edits prepared by staff in response to Department of Ecology comments; and

WHEREAS, the City Council reviewed the recommended amendments at a public meeting study session on May 16, 2016; and


WHEREAS, the City Council conducted a public review of the recommended amendments on June 20, 2016; and


WHEREAS, the City Council has considered the approval criteria listed in UPMC 19.90.030 and adopted the following findings in support of the amendments:


1.     The proposed amendments are consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.


The proposed amendment to the wetland regulation provisions would be consistent with Goal EN1, which directs the City to use the best available science when promulgating requirements to protect, preserve, and enhance natural areas (including wetlands) that are sensitive to human activities.  The amendment would be consistent with the following wetland policies:


Policy EN1M

Regulate development to protect the functions and values associated with wetlands. Wetland impacts must be avoided or mitigated consistent with federal and state laws. Consider the use of off-site mitigation for wetlands impact, such as creating a new wetland or enhancing an off-site wetland, when the watershed as a whole will benefit, consistent with best available science.


Policy EN1N

Provide for long-term protection and “no net loss” of wetlands by function and values. Encourage innovative and equitable wetland management methods. Protect the ability of wetlands to function naturally and provide landscape diversity through incentives and other effective programs.  Encourage educational opportunities that increase public understanding and appreciation for the values of wetlands.  Advise citizens of measures they can take to protect and enhance wetlands on their properties.  Pursue public acquisition of high-value wetland areas.


Policy EN1O

Require effective buffering around wetlands to protect their natural functions. Ensure that all activities in wetlands and/or buffers are mitigated in accordance with applicable Washington State Department of Ecology wetland manuals. Regulated activities should not be permitted within wetlands and/or buffers unless all reasonable attempts have been made to avoid impacts to the wetland and/or buffer. Mitigation should be considered in order of preference below with (1) being most preferable and (5) being the least preferable:


·         Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of actions within the wetland and/or buffer;

·         Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation, by using appropriate technology, or by taking affirmative steps to reduce impacts;

·         Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment;

·         Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action;

·         Compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.


The wetland regulation and geologically hazardous area amendments would be consistent with Goal EN2, which directs the City to preserve and conserve environmental resources to enhance natural elements of the community for plant and wildlife habitat. The proposed amendments would be consistent with the following policies:


Policy EN2A

Provide for maintenance and protection of habitat areas for fish and wildlife. Identify endangered or threatened species, and preserve their habitat through techniques such as acquisition or incentives. Maintain fish and wildlife movement corridors to protect species. Retain buffers of undisturbed vegetation along streams, ponds, wetlands and Puget Sound. Periodically review development regulations and policies to determine whether they adequately protect critical fish and wildlife habitat areas.  Assess new development on or near critical habitat areas to determine impacts on fish and wildlife.  Mitigate potential impacts consistent with habitat management plans developed in accordance with critical area code requirements.  Encourage retention of open space in new subdivisions and discourage incompatible uses near critical habitat areas.


Policy EN2B

Require buffer areas adjacent to steep slopes, wetlands, stream ravines, and stream corridors to protect wildlife and fish habitat. Encourage clustering of development away from these areas to maximize the effectiveness of buffers between the development and sensitive areas.


The geologically hazardous area amendment would be consistent with the environmental management policies that support Goal EN1 (above) for managing steep slopes, landslide, erosion, and seismic hazards. This amendment would also be consistent with Goal LU1, which directs the City to provide sufficient land area and densities to meet University Place’s projected needs for housing, employment and public facilities while focusing growth in appropriate locations.


2.     The proposed amendment is in the best interest of the citizens and property owners of the City.


The proposed geologically hazardous area amendment will provide greater project design flexibility in a limited number of areas that have unique geological conditions while safeguarding nearby properties from landslide and erosion hazards that might result from inappropriately designed proposals. The proposed wetland regulation amendment will provide science-based protections for sensitive wetland areas while allowing for reasonable development of properties where potential impacts on wetlands and wetland buffers may be mitigated.


3.         The proposed amendment enhances the public health, safety, comfort, convenience or general welfare.


The proposed geologically hazardous area amendment will offer increased design flexibility for steep slope areas while protecting public safety and the general welfare. The wetland regulation amendment will enhance the public health and welfare by ensuring that sensitive wetland areas are protected from the adverse impacts of development pursuant to the Best Available Science while ensuring that property rights will be respected by allowing reasonable use of property.


4.     The proposed amendment to the Shoreline Master Program is necessary to reflect the adoption of the geologically hazardous area and wetland regulation amendments.




            Section 1.   University Place Municipal Code Title 17 Critical Areas and Title 18 Shoreline Master Program Amendments Adopted. The City of University Place Municipal Code is hereby amended as indicated in Exhibit “A” attached.


            Section 2.   Severability.  If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this Title shall be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of any other section, sentence, clause or phrase of this Title.


            Section 3.   Publication and Effective Date.  A summary of this ordinance, consisting of its title, shall be published in the official newspaper of the City.  This ordinance shall be effective five (5) days after its publication.








Javier H. Figueroa, Mayor









Emelita Genetia, City Clerk






Steve Victor, City Attorney


Published: 06/22/16

Effective Date:  06/27/16




Council Minutes

Regular Council Meeting Minutes-20160620-0743 


Ordinance :670-19011031-670 
670-Exhibit A.pdf    
Content Type: Ordinance
Created at 6/21/2016 7:14 AM  by Emelita Genetia 
Last modified at 7/19/2016 7:46 AM  by Emelita Genetia