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For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions for terms, phrases, words and their derivatives used in this chapter shall apply. Where any of these definitions conflict with definitions used in other chapters of the municipal code the definitions in this chapter shall prevail for the purpose of this chapter. Where terms are not defined they shall have the ordinary accepted meaning within the context with which they are used. Where an activity or land use could fall under two or more definitions the more specific shall apply. Webster's Third New International, 1993 (unabridged), shall be the source for ordinary accepted meaning and for the definition of words not defined in this chapter. Specific examples are included as illustrations but are not intended to restrict a more general definition:


"Agriculture" and "farming" shall include cultivation of the soil, raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity or the construction, operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs or waterways used exclusively for farming purposes; handling, planting, drying, packing, packaging, processing, freezing, grading, storing or delivering to storage or to market, or to a carrier for transportation to market, or for direct sale any agricultural or horticultural commodity as an incident to ordinary farming operations, or, in the case of fruits and vegetables, as an incident to the preparation of such fruits and vegetables for market or for direct sale.

"Anadromous fish" means fish that spawn and rear in freshwater and mature in the marine environment, such as salmon, steelhead, sockeye, and coho.

"Applicant" means a person, party, firm, corporation, or other legal entity that proposes, has performed an activity, or submits an application for any permit or approval required by this title and who is the owner of the subject property or the authorized agent of the owner.

"Aquifer" means, generally, any water-bearing soil or rock unit. Specifically, a body of soil or rock that contains sufficient saturated permeable material to conduct groundwater and yield significant quantities of groundwater to wells or springs.

"Aquifer recharge areas" means land areas designated by the city beneath which groundwater occurs that is a current or potential future source of drinking water for the city.

"Artificially created wetlands" means wetlands created from nonwetland sites through purposeful, legally authorized human action, such as irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, retention and detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities.


"Best available science" means as defined in the procedural criteria for adopting comprehensive plans and development regulations for best available science at WAC 365-195-900 et seq. or as may be amended.

"Buffer," "buffer area," or "critical area" means a naturally vegetated, undisturbed, enhanced or vegetated zone surrounding a critical area that protects the critical area from adverse impacts to its integrity and value, and is an integral part of the resource's ecosystem.


"City" means the city of Selah.

"Clearing" means the removal of timber, brush, grass, ground cover or other vegetative matter from the site, which exposes the earth's surface of the site, or any actions which disturb the existing ground surface.

"Comprehensive plan" means the city of Selah urban growth area comprehensive plan as it now exists or hereafter amended.

"Critical aquifer recharge areas" means areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water, including areas where an aquifer that is a source of drinking water is vulnerable to contamination that would affect the potability of the water, or is susceptible to reduced recharge.

"Critical areas" or "environmentally sensitive areas" means areas that possess important natural functions and embody a variety of important natural and community values. Such areas include aquifer recharge areas, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, wetlands and streams, flood hazard and geologic hazard areas. If not conducted properly, development or alteration of such areas may cause significant impacts to the valuable functions and values of these areas and/or may generate risks to the public health and general welfare, and/or to public or private property.

"Critical area report" means a report prepared by a qualified professional to determine the presence, type, class, size, function and/or value of an area subject to these regulations. Also see "Stream reconnaissance report," "Wetland impact assessment report" and "Wildlife report."

"Critical erosion hazard areas" means lands or areas underlain by soils identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service (SCS) (now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service) as having "severe" or "very severe" erosion hazard.

"Critical geologic hazard areas" means lands or areas subject to high or severe risk of geologic hazard, including critical erosion hazard areas, critical landslide hazard areas, and critical seismic hazard areas.

"Critical habitat" or "critical fish and wildlife habitat" means habitat areas associated with threatened, endangered, or sensitive species of plant or wildlife (pursuant to WAC 232-12-297(2.4), (2.5) and (2.6) as it exists or may hereafter be amended) and which, if altered, could reduce the likelihood that the species will maintain and reproduce over the long term.

"Critical landslide hazard areas" means lands or areas where there is a high or very high risk of landslide due to a combination of slope, soil permeability, and water.

"Critical seismic hazard areas" means lands or areas where there is a high risk of seismic events and damage.


"Delineation manual," "wetland delineation manual," or "wetland delineation methodology" means the manual and methodology used to identify wetlands in the field, in accordance with the approved federal wetland delineation manual and applicable regional supplements. All areas within the city meeting the wetland designation criteria in that procedure are hereby designated critical areas and are subject to the provisions of this chapter. Use of this manual is required by RCW 36.70A.175 as it exists or may hereafter be amended.

"Department" means the city of Selah department of planning or successor agency, unless the context indicates a different city department.

"Development" means any human-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, clearing, paving, excavation or drilling operations, storage of equipment or materials, or any other activity which results in the removal of vegetation or in the alteration of natural site characteristics.


"Earth/earth material" means naturally occurring rock, soil, stone, sediment, or combination thereof.

"Enhancement" means the improvement of an existing viable wetland, stream or habitat area or the buffers established for such areas, through such measures as increasing plant diversity, increasing fish and wildlife habitat, installing environmentally compatible erosion controls, increasing structural diversity or removing plant or animal species that are not indigenous to the area. Enhancement also includes actions performed to improve the quality of an existing wetland, stream, or habitat area. See also "Restoration."

"Erosion" means a process whereby wind, rain, water, and other natural agents mobilize and transport soil particles.

"Erosion hazard areas" means lands or areas that, based on a combination of slope inclination and the characteristics of the underlying soils, are susceptible to varying degrees of risk of erosion. Erosion hazard areas are classified as "low" (areas sloping less than fifteen percent) or "high" (areas sloping more than fifteen percent) on the following: Soil Conservation Service (SCS), now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Soil groups may be identified through site-specific analysis.

"Excavation" means the removal or displacement of earth material by human or mechanical means.

"Existing and ongoing agricultural activities" means those activities conducted on lands defined in RCW 84.34.020(2), as it exists or may hereafter be amended, and those activities involved in the production of crops and livestock. Such activities must have been in existence as of July 1, 1990 (the effective date of the Growth Management Act). The definition includes, but is not limited to, operation and maintenance of farm and stock ponds or drainage ditches, irrigation systems, changes between agricultural activities or crops, and normal operation, maintenance or repair of existing serviceable structures, facilities or improved areas. Activities which bring an area into agricultural use from a previous nonagricultural use are not considered part of an ongoing activity. An operation ceases to be ongoing when the area on which it was conducted is proposed for conversion to a nonagricultural use or has lain idle for a period of longer than five years, unless the idle land is registered in a federal or state soils conservation program.

"Exotic" means any species of plant or animal, not native to or not usually found as domestic pets in the United States, which is foreign and not indigenous to the Yakima County regional area.


"Fill/fill material" means a deposit of earth material placed by human or mechanical means.

"Filling" means the act of transporting and placing (by any manner or mechanism) fill material from, to, or on any surface water body or wetland, soil surface, sediment surface or other fill material.

"Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas" means WAC 365-190-030(6)(a): "Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas" are areas that serve a critical role in sustaining needed habitats and species for the functional integrity of the ecosystem, and which, if altered, may reduce the likelihood that the species will persist over the long term. These areas may include, but are not limited to, rare or vulnerable ecological systems, communities, and habitat or habitat elements including seasonal ranges, breeding habitat, winter range, and movement corridors; and areas with high relative density or species richness. Counties and cities may also designate locally important habitats and species.


"Geologic hazard area" means lands or areas characterized by geologic, hydrologic and topographic conditions that render them susceptible to varying degrees of risk of landslides, erosion, seismic or volcanic activity.

"Grading" means any excavation, filling, clearing, leveling or contouring of the ground surface by human or mechanical means.


"Habitat management" means management of land and its associated resources/features to maintain species in suitable habitats within their natural geographic distribution so that isolated subpopulations are not created. This does not imply maintaining all habitat or individuals of all species in all cases.

"Hazardous materials" means and includes all dangerous and extremely hazardous waste, including petroleum contaminated soils, either singularly or in combination, that is a physical or health hazard whether the materials are in usable or waste condition; and any material that may degrade groundwater quality when improperly stored, handled, treated, used, produced, recycled, disposed of, or otherwise mismanaged. Hazardous materials shall also include, without exception:

(1) All materials defined as or designated by rule as a dangerous waste or extremely hazardous waste under Chapter 70.105 RCW and Chapter 173-303 WAC or as it may be amended;

(2) Any substance defined as or designated by rule as a hazardous substance under Chapter 70.105 RCW and Chapter 173-303 WAC or as it may be amended; and

(3) Petroleum or petroleum products, including any waste oils or sludges.

"Hydrologically isolated" means wetlands which: (1) have no surface water or ground water connection to a lake, river, or stream during any part of the year; (2) are outside of and not contiguous to any 100-year floodplain of a lake, river, or stream; and (3) have no contiguous hydric soil between the wetland and any lake, river, or stream. May also be a pond excavated from uplands with no surface water connection to a stream, lake, or other wetland.


"In-kind wetland mitigation" means replacement of wetlands with wetlands whose characteristics closely approximate those destroyed or degraded by a regulated activity.

"Injection well" means a well that is used for the subsurface emplacement of fluids. (From WAC 173-218-030 or as may be amended.)

"Intentionally created streams" means streams created through purposeful human action, such as irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, and canals. This definition does not include stream modifications performed pursuant to city authorization, such as changes or redirection of stream channels.


"Landslide" means episodic downslope movement of a mass of soil or rock.

"Landslide hazard areas" means areas that, due to a combination of slope inclination, relative soil permeability, and hydrologic conditions, are susceptible to varying degrees of risk of land sliding. Landslide hazards areas are classified as Class I through IV based on the degree of risk as follows:

(1) Class I/Low Hazard. Areas with slopes of fifteen percent or less.

(2) Class II/Moderate Hazard. Areas with slopes greater than fifteen percent up to forty percent and that are underlain by soils that consist largely of sand or gravel.

(3) Class III/High Hazard. Areas with slopes greater than fifteen percent up to forty percent and that are underlain by soils consisting largely of silt and clay.

(4) Class IV/Very High Hazard. Areas with slopes steeper than fifteen percent with identifiable zones of emergent water (i.e., springs or groundwater seepage), areas of identifiable landslide deposits regardless of slope and all areas sloping more steeply than forty percent.

The slopes previously referenced include only those where the surface drops ten feet or more vertically within a horizontal distance of twenty-five feet.


"Mitigation" means activities which include:

(1) Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of actions.

(2) Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation.

(3) Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment.

(4) Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action.

(5) Compensating for the impact over time by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.

While monitoring without additional actions is not considered mitigation for the purposes of these regulations, it shall be part of a comprehensive mitigation program.

"Mitigation sequencing" means considering or performing mitigation actions, as defined in the definition of "mitigation," in a preferred sequence from (1) through (5). Avoidance is preferred and must be considered prior to pursuing other forms of mitigation.


"Native" means any species of plant or animal which is or was indigenous to the Yakima County regional area.

"Natural heritage wetlands" means wetlands that are identified by scientists of the Washington Natural Heritage Program/DNR as high quality, relatively undisturbed wetlands, or wetlands that support state-listed threatened or endangered species.


"Off-site mitigation" means performance of mitigation actions, pursuant to standards established in this chapter, on a site or in an area other than the site proposed for conduct of a regulated activity.

"Out-of-kind mitigation" means replacement of wetlands or habitat with substitute wetlands or habitat whose characteristics do not closely approximate those adversely affected, destroyed, or degraded by a regulated activity.


"Permanent erosion control" means continuous on-site and off-site control measures that are needed to control conveyance or deposition of earth, turbidity, or pollutants after development, construction, or restoration.

"Planning official" means the planning official of the city of Selah department of planning or successor agency.


"Qualified consultant/professional" means a person with experience and training in the pertinent scientific discipline, and who is a qualified scientific expert with expertise appropriate for the relevant critical area subject in accordance with WAC 365-195-905. A qualified professional must have obtained a B.S. or B.A. or equivalent degree in biology, engineering, environmental studies, fisheries, geomorphology, or related field, and have at least five years of related work experience.

(1) A qualified professional for wetlands must be a professional wetland scientist with at least two years of full-time work experience as a wetlands professional, including delineating wetlands using the state or federal manuals, preparing wetlands reports, conducting function assessments, and developing and implementing mitigation plans.

(2) A qualified professional for habitat must have a degree in biology or a related degree and professional experience related to the subject species.

(3) A qualified professional for a geological hazard must be a professional engineer or geologist licensed in the state of Washington.

(4) A qualified professional for critical aquifer recharge areas means a hydrogeologist, geologist, engineer, or other scientist with experience in preparing hydrogeologic assessments.


"Reasonable use" means a legal concept articulated by federal and state courts in regulatory taking issues. See "Reasonable use alternatives" for guidelines in determination.

"Reasonable use alternatives" means an action that could feasibly attain or approximate a proposal's objectives, but at a lower environmental cost or decreased level of environmental degradation. Reasonable alternatives may be those over which an agency with jurisdiction has authority to control impacts, either directly or indirectly, through requirement of mitigation measures. (See WAC 197-11-440(5) and 197-11-660 or as may be amended.).

"Regulated activities" means activities that have a potential to impact a critical area that is subject to the provisions of the chapter. Regulated activities generally include, but are not limited to, any filling, dredging, dumping or stockpiling, release of contaminants to soil or water, draining, excavation, flooding, clearing or grading, construction or reconstruction, driving pilings, obstructing, clearing, or harvesting.

"Restoration" means actions taken to reestablish wetland, stream or habitat functional values, and the characteristics that have been destroyed or degraded by past alterations (i.e., filling or grading). See also "Enhancement."


"Secondary habitat" means areas that offer less diversity of animal and plant species than critical areas but are important for performing the essential functions of habitat.

"Seismic hazard areas" means areas that, due to a combination of soil and groundwater conditions, are subject to the risk of ground shaking, subsidence or liquefaction of soils during earthquakes. These areas are typically underlain by soft or loose saturated soils (such as alluvium), have a shallow groundwater table, and are typically located on the floors of river valleys.

"Site" means the location containing a regulated critical area and on which a regulated activity is proposed. The location may be a parcel or portion thereof, or any combination of contiguous parcels where a proposed activity may impact a critical area.

"Slope" means an inclined earth surface, the incline of which is expressed as the ratio of horizontal distance to vertical distance. The slope referenced above includes only those where the surface drops ten feet or more vertically within the horizontal distance of twenty-five feet.

"Spring" means a source of water where an aquifer comes in contact with the ground surface.

"Stream reconnaissance report" means a type of critical area report prepared by an applicant's qualified consultant to describe a stream and to characterize its conditions, wildlife, habitat values and water quality. The report also includes an analysis of potential of proposed activity impacts.

"Streams" means those areas where surface waters produce a defined channel or bed that demonstrates clear evidence of the passage of water and includes, but is not limited to, bedrock channels, gravel beds, sand and silt beds and defined-channel swales. The channel or bed need not contain water year-round. This definition is not intended to include artificially created irrigation ditches, canals, storm or surface water devices, or other entirely artificial watercourses unless they are used by fish or created for the purpose of stream mitigation.

"Structural diversity, vegetative" means the relative degree of diversity or complexity of vegetation in a fish and wildlife habitat area as indicated by the stratification or layering of different plant communities (i.e., ground cover, shrub layer and free canopy), the variety of plant species and the spacing or pattern of vegetation.

"Substrata" means the soil, sediment, decomposing organic matter or combination of these located on the bottom surface of the wetland, lake, stream, or river.


"Temporary erosion control" means on-site and off-site control measures that are needed to control conveyance or deposition of earth, turbidity, or pollutants during development, construction, or restoration.

"Tertiary habitat" means habitat that supports some wildlife but does not satisfy the definition of secondary or critical habitat.


"Utility" includes natural gas, electric, telephone and telecommunications, cable communications, water, sewer or storm drainage, and their respective facilities, lines, pipes, mains, equipment and appurtenances.


"Variance" means permission to depart from the requirements of the specific regulations of this chapter for a particular piece of property.

"Volcanic hazard areas" means areas identified by the U.S. Geological Survey (maps dated 1998 or as hereafter revised) as subject to a risk of large lahars with a recurrence interval of five hundred to one thousand years.


"Wellhead protection area" means the portion of a well's, well field's or spring's zone of contribution defined as such using the criteria established by the city.

"Wells" includes any excavation that is drilled, cored, washed, driven, dug, jetted or otherwise constructed when the intended use of an excavation is for the location, diversion, artificial recharge, or withdrawal of groundwater.

"Wetland" or "wetlands" means areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands do not include those artificial watercourses intentionally created from nonwetland sites, including but not limited to irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway. However, wetlands include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland areas to mitigate conversion of wetlands. (RCW 36.70A.030(21).)

"Wetland impact assessment report" means a report prepared by a qualified consultant that identifies, characterizes and analyzes potential impacts to wetland consistent with applicable provisions of these regulations. A wetland impact assessment may be combined with and include a formal wetland delineation.

"Wildlife report" means a report prepared by a qualified consultant that evaluates plant communities and wildlife functions and values on a site, consistent with the format and requirements established by this chapter. This report also includes an analysis of impacts. (Ord. 2032 § 1 (Exh. A), 2017; Ord. 2019 § 2, 2017; Ord. 1943 § 2, 2014.)