City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

***Note: Many local criminal codes can now be located under Chapter 10.60 SMC while others are now cited under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which was incorporated into the municipal code in 2022. (See SMC 10.58.010). Code Enforcement, including Noise Control and Animal Regulations are located in Chapters 10.62 through 10.74.

Title 17E
Chapter 17E.070
Section 17E.070.120

Title 17E Environmental Standards

Chapter 17E.070 Wetlands Protection

Section 17E.070.120 Reasonable Use Exception
  1. Regulated activities shall not be authorized within a wetland or wetland buffer except where it can be demonstrated that an extraordinary hardship exists, or the impact is both unavoidable and necessary, or that all reasonable economic uses are denied, as defined below:
    1. Extraordinary Hardship.

With respect to Category I and II wetlands, an applicant must demonstrate that denial of the permit would impose an extraordinary hardship on the part of the applicant brought about by circumstances peculiar to the subject property and not as a direct result of actions taken by the current or previous owner(s).

    1. Unavoidable and Necessary Impacts.

With respect to all other wetlands, the following provisions shall apply. For water-dependent activities, unavoidable and necessary impacts can be demonstrated when there are no practicable alternatives which would not:

      1. involve a wetland or which would not have less adverse impact on a wetland;
      1. have other significant adverse environmental consequences.
    1. Storm water management facilities will be considered in wetland buffers with overflow into wetlands or wetland buffers, subject to regulation under the City of Spokane City of Spokane Stormwater Management Manual as revised, chapter 17D.060 SMC Stormwater Facilities, and all other applicable provisions in this chapter.
    1. Where non-water-dependent activities are proposed, the applicant must demonstrate that:
      1. The basic project purpose cannot reasonably be accomplished using an alternative site in the general region that is available to the applicant and may feasibly be used to accomplish the project.
      1. A reduction in the size, scope, configuration, or density of the project as proposed and all alternative designs of the project as proposed that would avoid, or result in less, adverse impact on a wetland of its buffer will not accomplish the basic purpose of the project; and
      1. In cases where the applicant has rejected alternatives to the project as proposed due to constraints such as zoning, deficiencies of infrastructure, or parcel size, the applicant has made a reasonable attempt to remove or accommodate such constraints.
  1. Reasonable Use.

If an applicant for a development proposal demonstrates to the satisfaction of the director that application of the standards of this chapter would deny all reasonable economic use of the property, development as conditioned shall be allowed if the applicant also demonstrates all of the following to the satisfaction of the director:

    1. That the proposed development is water-dependent or requires access to the wetland as a central element of its basic function, or is not water-dependent but has no practicable alternative pursuant to this section;
    1. That no reasonable use with less impact on the wetland and its buffer is possible;
    1. That there is no feasible on-site alternative to the proposed development, including reduction in density, planned unit development, and/or revision of road and lot layout, that would allow a reasonable economic use with less adverse impacts to wetlands and wetland buffers;
    1. That the proposed development will not jeopardize the continued existence of species listed by the federal government or the state as endangered, threatened, sensitive, or documented priority species or priority habitats;
    1. That any and all alterations to wetlands and wetland buffers will be mitigated as provided in SMC 17E.070.130;
    1. That there will be no damage to nearby public or private property and no threat to the health or safety of people on or off the property; and
    1. That the inability to derive reasonable economic use of the property is not the result of actions by the applicant, or the present or prior owner of the property, in segregating or dividing the property and creating the undevelopable condition after the effective date of this chapter.
  1. Mitigation will be required for impacts to a wetland or wetland buffer caused by unavoidable and necessary, extraordinary hardships, and reasonable use exceptions to standards.
  1. Prior to granting any special exception under this section, the director shall make written findings on each of the items listed above.

Date Passed: Monday, June 19, 2017

Effective Date: Sunday, July 30, 2017

ORD C35508 Section 11