User's Guide

Development Evaluation Process

The sequence of steps in the review of a Substantial Development Permit application is graphically portrayed on the following page. There are two types of decisions required in this process. Most are judgmental decisions which call for the deciding authority to weigh the project against the policies of the Master Program and arrive at some conclusion regarding its compatibility with those policies. Since this type of decision contains a built-in element of flexibility, by its very nature, the variance procedure is not applicable to these decisions.

The second type of decision is a factual determination wherein the project is weighed against the standards set forth in the Use Activity Regulations. Where there are special circumstances arising out of site considerations, the variance procedure would provide relief to the property owner as appropriate. The variance procedure is applicable to this type of decision since there is little or no latitude available to the deciding authority in the application of Use Regulations: the use is either allowed or not allowed; a standard is either met or not met. In the case of a negative answer in such circumstances, the applicant may apply for a variance and, upon meeting the requirements for such variance as spelled out in WAC 173-16-070, may receive approval to depart from the established regulations of the plan.

Sequence of Elevations

The sequence of elevations would follow the flow lines of the diagram; some steps might occur simultaneously in actual practice. A no ruling on any of the judgmental questions would be sufficient grounds for denial of the requested permit. A no ruling on a factual determination would lead to the variance procedure; a no ruling from the variance procedure would also be sufficient grounds for permit denial. Appeal from a permit denial would follow the steps outlined in the Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58).

The mechanics of the operation of the process outlined in the diagram are not included as part of this Master Program. Upon final approval of the Master Program, the existing Shoreline Development Permit System ordinance (Title 21, Snohomish County Code) will be modified as necessary to provide for the process detailed herein.