State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and Growth Management Act (GMA). November 6, 2007 David Osaki Community Development Administrator City of Auburn. SEPA - GMA Historical Context. Both SEPA and GMA are Washington State laws.
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November 6, 2007
Community Development Administrator
City of Auburn
Both SEPA and GMA are Washington State laws.
I. REQUIRED - County that has a population of 50,000+ and,
A. Until May 16, 1995, has had its population increase by more than 10% in the previous ten (10)years or,
B. On or after May 16, 1995, has had its population increase by more than 17% in the previous ten (10) years, and the cities located within such county, and any other county
II. REQUIRED - Regardless of its population, a County that has had its population increase by more than 20% in the previous ten (10) years,
III. OPT IN - The county legislative authority of any county that does not meet either of the sets of criteria above may “opt in”.
Required Comprehensive Plan “Elements”
Optional Comprehensive PlanElements (examples)
A. “Project” Action - Site specific development proposal. (e.g. office building)
B. “Non-Project” Action - Proposed local government adoption of a regulation or plan, including amendments to codes or plans.
The agency responsible for conducting the environmental review for a proposal and appropriately documenting that review (DNS, DS/EIS, adoption, addendum).
(Lead agencytypically a city or county – governmental agency that issues the permit and/or can approve the action)
Q. What items get analyzed during SEPA?
A. Natural Environment and Built Environment (see environmental checklist)
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT ELEMENTS
Built Environment Elements
6. Energy and Natural Resources
7. Environmental Health (e.g. Noise)
8. Land and Shoreline Use
11. Light and Glare
13. Historic and Cultural Preservation
15. Public Services
“Impacts” - The effects or consequences of actions on the elements of the environment.
SEPA focuses on “probable significant adverse environmental impacts.”
“Mitigation” - Reducing an impact below a level of being a probable significant adverse impact. This can be done by:
Generally takes three (3) forms:
1. Determination of Non-Significance (DNS)– Lead agency concludesproposed Action hasno probable adverse significant impacts.
2. Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS)– Lead agency concludesproposal has significant impacts, but impacts can be mitigated (mitigation measures).
3. Determination of Significance (DS) -Lead agency concludes proposal has significant impacts that require detailed analysis. EIS required.
Yes – Every site/proposal is unique and requires individual environmental review. SEPA also allows for public input/public process on development proposals.
No - Our experience over time with SEPA has helped us develop better regulations. It has just become an unnecessary process. Using SEPA to mitigate adverse impacts (MDNS) is now the exception rather than the rule.