First adopted in 1971, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) provided Washington State's basic environmental charter (RCW 43.21C). SEPA, modeled after the National Environmental Policy Act (1969), was created to fill this need.

Consideration & Mitigation

SEPA gives agencies the tools to allow them to both consider and mitigate for environmental impacts of proposals. Provisions were also included to involve the public, tribes, and interested agencies in most review processes prior to a final decision being made. (Excerpt from the Washington State Department of Ecology SEPA Handbook)

SEPA Process

Most land use permits are subject to environmental review which occurs concurrently with the underlying land use permit (plats, short plats, conditional use permits, rezones, shoreline permits, etc.). At the conclusion of the environmental review process, a SEPA threshold determination of either non-significance or significance is issued for the proposal.

SEPA Standards

Determination of Significance

When a Determination of Significance is issued on a proposal, the applicant is required to select a consultant from the county's roster of approved consultants for preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to SCC 30.61.130.

County Non-Project Environmental Documents

Snohomish County also uses the SEPA process to evaluate environmental impacts of its plans, policies, and regulations. You can access those environmental review documents.

SEPA Appeals

An appeal must be addressed to the county hearing examiner, accompanied by a filing fee of $1,500, and filed in writing at the Customer Permitting Center of Planning and Development Services, Second Floor of the County Administration-East Building, 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, in Everett.  Alternatively, appeals may be filed electronically and paid for by credit card over the phone as follows:


  1. Scan the original manually signed (handwritten) copy document;
  2. Send your appeal as an email attachment to Please include your phone number where you can be reliably reached.
  3. Staff will call you to collect your credit card information and process your payment.
  4. Mail the original to Snohomish County PDS, 3000 Rockefeller M/S 604, Everett, WA 98201. 

The appeal must contain the items set forth in SCC 30.71.050(5)(a) through (d) and be submitted within the timeframe indicated in the Threshold Determination. Failure to file a timely and complete appeal shall constitute waiver of all rights to an administrative appeal under county code. 

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