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A. General Requirements for All Critical Area Reports.

1. Preparation by a Qualified Professional. A critical area report shall be prepared by a qualified professional who is a certified professional scientist, a noncertified professional scientist with a minimum of five years of experience, or a professional who demonstrates sufficient expertise to the satisfaction of the planning director. The qualifications of the professional who prepared the plan shall be included in the report. The accuracy of the report shall be certified by the professional who is the principal author of the report. When a geological assessment is required, the report shall be prepared by a licensed geologist or geotechnical engineer. The director shall have the authority to hire an outside consultant at the applicant’s expense to review plans when the city has concerns about the accuracy or completeness of the plan.

2. Report Content. The written report (and the accompanying plan sheets) shall contain all of the following information, at a minimum:

a. The name and contact information of the applicant; the name, qualifications, and contact information for the primary author(s) of the wetland critical area report; and a description of the proposal;

b. Tax parcel numbers of the subject property;

c. Documentation of any fieldwork performed on the site, including delineations, function assessments, baseline hydrologic data, date and time of site evaluation, etc.;

d. Identification and characterization of all critical areas and buffers on or adjacent to the proposed project area. For areas off site of the project site, estimate conditions within three hundred feet of the project boundaries using the best available information;

e. The wetland or stream rating as defined in this chapter, as applicable;

f. A description of the proposed actions including an estimation of acreages of impacts to critical areas and buffers based on the field delineation;

g. An assessment of the probable cumulative impacts to the critical areas and buffers resulting from the proposed development;

h. A description of reasonable efforts made to apply mitigation sequencing provisions per EMC 19.37.085 to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to critical areas pursuant to the mitigation sequencing provisions of this chapter;

i. A description of measures taken to protect and enhance existing habitat connections with other natural areas;

j. Site maps and site plans depicting delineated critical areas and buffers, impacts of the proposal on critical areas and buffers, grading and clearing limits, and other project and site-specific information as determined necessary by the director;

k. Dimensions of all buffers and distances between critical areas and existing and proposed structures and lot lines.

B. Minimum Standards for Geological Assessments. A geological assessment is a site investigation process to evaluate the on-site geology affecting a subject property and contiguous properties and the extent to which geological factors may be impacted by the proposed development activity.

1. A field investigation and geological assessment shall be completed to evaluate whether or not an active geological hazard area exists within two hundred feet of the site.

a. The geological assessment shall be submitted in the form of a geotechnical letter when the geologist or geotechnical engineer finds that no active geological hazard area exists on or within two hundred feet of the site. The geotechnical letter shall meet the minimum required content listed in this section and shall be in the format established by the director.

b. The geological assessment shall be submitted in the form of a geotechnical report when the geologist or geotechnical engineer finds that an active geologically hazardous area exists on or within two hundred feet of the proposed project area. The geotechnical report shall meet the minimum requirements established by the director pursuant to this section.

2. A geological assessment shall include a field investigation and may include the use of historical air photo analysis, review of public records and documentation, and interviews with adjacent property owners or others knowledgeable about the area, etc.

3. A geological assessment shall include the following minimum information and analysis:

a. An evaluation of any areas on the site or within two hundred feet of the site that are geologically hazardous as set forth in EMC 19.37.080(A), Designation.

b. An analysis of the potential impacts of the proposed development activity on any geologically hazardous area. The analysis shall include information regarding any potential geological hazard that could result from the proposed development either on site or off site. For landslide hazard areas, the analysis shall consider the run-out hazard of landslide debris to the proposed development that starts upslope, whether the slope is part of the subject property or starts off site.

c. Identification of any mitigation measures required to eliminate potentially significant geological hazards both on the proposed development site and any potentially impacted off-site properties. When hazard mitigation is required, the mitigation plan shall specifically address how the proposed activity maintains or reduces the preexisting level of risk to the site and adjacent properties on a long-term basis. The mitigation plan shall include recommendations regarding any long-term maintenance activities that may be required to mitigate potential hazards.

d. The geological assessment shall document the field investigations, published data and references, data and conclusions from past geological assessments or geotechnical investigations of the site, site-specific measurements, tests, investigations, or studies, as well as the methods of data analysis and calculations that support the results, conclusions, and recommendations.

e. The geological assessment shall contain a summary of any other information the geologist identifies as relevant to the assessment and mitigation of geological hazards.

C. Additional Critical Area Report Content for Wetlands. A critical area report for wetlands shall be prepared by a qualified professional who is a certified professional wetland scientist, a noncertified professional wetland scientist with a minimum of five years of experience in the field of wetland science, including experience preparing wetland and stream reports, or a professional who demonstrates expertise in wetland science, stream ecology, or fish and wildlife biology to the satisfaction of the planning director.

1. Wetland shall be rated according to the categories defined by the Washington State Department of Ecology Washington State Rating System for Western Washington 2014 Update, or as revised (Ecology Publication No. 14-06-029).

2. Hydrogeomorphic classification; wetland acreage, and Cowardin classification of vegetation communities; and, to the extent possible, hydrologic information such as location and condition of inlet/outlets. Provide acreage estimates, classifications, and ratings based on entire wetland complexes, not only the portion present on the proposed project site.

D. Additional Critical Area Report Content for Biological Assessments (BA). Refer to requirements for habitat assessment in subsection E of this section.

E. Additional Critical Area Report Content for Habitat Assessment and Habitat Management Plans (HMP).

1. Habitat Assessment. All habitat assessments required by this chapter shall include the following elements in addition to the general requirements for all critical area reports listed in this section:

a. A detailed description of the vegetation on and adjacent to the site.

b. Identification and a detailed description of any critical fish or wildlife species or habitats, including listed threatened or endangered species, as set forth in this chapter, on or adjacent to the site and the distance of such habitats or species in relation to the site. Describe efforts to determine the status of any critical species in the project area, including information on survey methods, timing, and results of surveys for species or suitable habitat identification.

c. Include any information received from biologists with special expertise on the species or habitat type, such as WDFW, Tribal, USFS, or other local, regional, federal, and university fish, wildlife and habitat biologists and plant ecologists. Include any such conversations in the habitat assessment and cite as personal communication.

d. An assessment of the project’s direct and indirect potential impacts and cumulative impacts on the subject habitat, including water quality impacts.

e. A discussion of potential mitigation measures that would avoid or minimize temporary and permanent impacts, proposed mitigation measures, contingency measures, and monitoring plans.

f. The city may require that the applicant request a separate evaluation of the site by WDFW staff to confirm the findings of the habitat assessment.

g. Developments in the floodplain must show the one-hundred-year flood elevation contour, the floodway boundary, and the protected area boundary on the site plan.

2. Habitat Management Plan. The director may require that all or a portion of the following be included in a habitat management plan:

a. A map drawn to scale or survey showing the following information:

(1) All lakes, ponds, streams, wetlands and tidal waters on or adjacent to the subject property, including the name (if named), and ordinary high water mark of each, and the stream or wetland category consistent with the requirements of this chapter;

(2) The location and description of the fish and wildlife habitat conservation area on the subject property, as well as any potential fish and wildlife habitat conservation area within a distance of the subject property that may impact an affected species or habitat; and

(3) The location of any observed evidence of use by a species regulated by the provisions of the fish and wildlife habitat sections of this chapter.

b. An analysis of how the proposed development activities will affect the fish and wildlife habitat conservation area and any affected species including the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the proposed action on the regulated species and its habitat within the project area.

c. Provisions to reduce or eliminate the impacts of the proposed development activities on any fish and wildlife habitat conservation area and affected species. The HMP should describe components of the project that may benefit or promote the recovery of listed species and are included as an integral part of the proposed project. These conservation (or mitigation) measures serve to minimize or compensate for project effects on the species under review. The following items should be addressed:

(1) Provide specific recommendations, as appropriate, to reduce or eliminate the adverse effects of the proposed activity. Potential measures include: timing restrictions for all or some of the activities; clearing limitations; avoidance of specific areas; special construction techniques; HMP conditions; replanting with native vegetation; potential of habitat enhancement (i.e., fish passage barrier removal); best management practices, etc.;

(2) Include a description of proposed monitoring of the species, its habitat, and mitigation effectiveness.

d. The HMP shall identify the specific habitat objectives the HMP is designed to achieve and include recommendations regarding all actions taken which are necessary to avoid reducing the likelihood that the species will maintain and reproduce over the long term, and/or actions to maintain or enhance the significant features present. (Ord. 3676-19 § 7, 2019.)