Environmental Regulations

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Critical Areas

The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) requires cities and counties in the state to protect critical areas within their jurisdiction to preserve the natural environment and protect the public's health and safety.  To respond to this mandate, the City of Edmonds developed a Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) that define buffers and other standards to protect these resources.  Five critical areas are identified by the GMA in RCW 36.70A.030(5) which are:

  • Wetlands
  • Areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water
  • Frequently flooded areas
  • Geologically hazardous areas
  • Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas

The City of Edmonds' critical areas regulations are contained in Chapter 23.40 through Chapter 23.90 of the Edmonds Community Development Code and are based on an analysis of the "Best Available Science" (928 KB ARgif2) completed in 2004.

Additional useful information on critical areas regulation is available in a handbook published by the State of Washington in 2003 (1.9 MB ARgif2).

Additional information on the city's environmental permitting processes can be found here.

 


 

Tree Cutting

The City of Edmonds regulates tree removal in several ways.  The critical area regulations restrict the removal of all vegetation within a critical area or critical area buffer except in limited circumstances detailed in ECDC 23.40.220.C.7.  Chapter 18.45 of the Edmonds Community Development Code also provides regulations for the clearing of and protection and preservation of trees and associated significant vegetation.  The City's Tree and Vegetation Protection and Removal handout #P46 provides a summary of the general requirements regarding tree removal.  Please contact the Planning Division prior to removing any trees on your property to determine whether a permit is required for the tree removal. 

Additional information on the city's environmental permitting processes can be found here.

 


 

Shorelines

The shoreline areas within the City of Edmonds jurisdiction include Puget Sound, Lake Ballinger, and the tidally influenced portions of the Edmonds Marsh.  Shoreline jurisdiction also applies to upland areas within 200 feet of the shoreline edge (ordinary high water mark) and associated wetlands.  Any development or use within the City's shoreline jurisdiction is subject to the policies and regulations of the City's Shoreline Master Program contained in Edmonds Community Development Code (ECDC) Chapter 23.10.  The administrative procedures for shoreline permits are detailed in ECDC 20.55.  The City of Edmonds is currently in the process of updating its Shoreline Master Program.  Information on the Shoreline Master Program update can be found here.   

Additional information on the city's environmental permitting processes can be found here.

 


  

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)

The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) was enacted in 1971 and is contained within Chapter 43.21C RCW.  SEPA provides the framework for agencies to consider the environmental consequences of a proposal be taking action.  It also give agencies the ability to condition or deny a proposal due to identified likely significant adverse impacts.  SEPA is implements through teh SEPA Rules within Chapter 197-11-WAC.  Environmental review under SEPA is required for any proposal which involves a government "action," as defined in SEPA Rules (WAC 197-11-704), and is not categorically exempt (WAC 197-11-800 through 890).  The City of Edmonds SEPA regulations are contained within Edmonds Community Development Code 20.15A.

Additional information on the city's environmental permitting processes can be found here.

 


 

State Environmental Information & Resources

Project applicants within the City of Edmonds are responsible for ensuring their proposal receives all required local, state and federal permits.  Washington State Department of Ecology Regulatory Assistance web page is a good place to start in determining what permit requirements may apply to a proposal.