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NGPA/CAPAs will be recorded either through a Critical Area Site Plan (CASP) or a plat map. The CASP is developed for individual parcels, while the plat map is developed for larger planned neighborhoods. Both types of documents will record the size and location of an NGPA/CAPA. You can look up these documents online through the Snohomish County Auditor’s online database. For CASPs, you’ll need the parcel number of the property you are interested in. For plat maps you’ll need the document recording number or the name of the development. Additionally, just because there is no recorded NGPA/CAPA designated on a property that doesn’t mean there are no critical areas present on the property or in the neighborhood.
Clearing or removal of vegetation (trees, shrubs, etc.) is prohibited in an NGPA/CAPA without a permit issued by Planning and Development Services (PDS). There are exceptions in County Code that does allow for the removal and/or control of invasive species (blackberry, English ivy, etc.) within an NGPA/CAPA. Invasive species control must follow accepted best management practices for control of the species. Additionally, erosion must be controlled, and the areas cleared of invasive species need to be replanted with species suited for the site conditions (sun exposure, soil type, hydrology, etc.).
You are allowed to prune back any vegetation that crosses onto your property from an NGPA/CAPA. Shrub or invasive species can be trimmed back to the shared property line with the NGPA/CAPA. For the health of a tree, limbs should be pruned back to the trunk of tree, even if the trunk is located further back in the NGPA/CAPA.
Hazard tree(s) should be certified as such by a consulting arborist, who will provide you with a report on the tree(s) and their condition. You can submit the report to Snohomish County Planning and Development Services (PDS) for review at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information please refer to the PDS Hazard Tree Assistance Bulletin.
Snohomish County Surface Water Management (SWM) provides a program to investigation water quality issues in unincorporated Snohomish County. If you suspect that a property, person, or business is negatively affecting water quality you can request an investigator to look into the issue. You can find more information as well as an online form to request an investigation on Snohomish County's "Report Pollution" Webpage.
Clearing/grading/filling or building within an NGPA/CAPA or critical area requires a permit from Planning and Development Services (PDS). Illicit activities within an NGPA/CAPA are handled by PDS Code Enforcement. You can find more information on Code Enforcement, the types of violations they handle, and other information on the PDS Code Enforcement Webpage.
In many cases building a fence through an NGPA/CAPA will require a permit due to the impacts of construction. However, these requests are evaluated case by case, so you should contact Planning and Development Services (email@example.com) to check if your proposal would require a permit.