A. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to:
1. Create procedures, consistent with the requirements of RCW 36.70A.130, 36.70A.140, and 36.70A.470, for processing proposals to amend the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Designation Map, and Land Use Development Code;
2. Provide a process for the public and interested parties to propose amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and to the Land Use Development Code; and
3. Provide the public and interested parties with opportunities to participate in the amendment process.
B. Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Designation Map Amendments. The City, in carrying out its Comprehensive Plan review function, may find instances where it is necessary to amend all or part of the Plan’s text and/or maps. The following procedural steps shall govern all amendments to the Comprehensive Plan or Land Use Designation Map:
1. The City’s Comprehensive Plan shall be subject to continuing evaluation and review by the City. Any amendment or revision to the Comprehensive Plan shall conform to Chapter 36.70A RCW.
2. Initiation of Amendments.
a. Site-specific Land Use Designation Map amendment proposals shall only be initiated by a person with ownership interest in at least a portion of the affected site, the City Council, City of Snohomish Planning Commission, or City staff.
b. Comprehensive Plan amendment and areawide Land Use Designation Map amendment proposals may be initiated by citizens, any interested person, the Planning Commission, City staff, City Council, the City’s designated Hearing Examiner and staff of other agencies.
c. The proposed amendments or revisions to the Comprehensive Plan shall be docketed and considered by the City no more frequently than once every calendar year except that amendments may be considered more frequently under the circumstances provided for in RCW 36.70A.130(2)(a)(i) through (2)(a)(v).
3. The Planning Director shall establish an annual docketing process whereby any interested person, the Planning Commission, City staff, City Council, City’s designated Hearing Examiner and staff of other agencies may submit applications to amend the City’s Comprehensive Plan. That process shall include, but not be limited to, an:
a. Annual application period August 1st through September 30th;
b. Application form and a checklist of required information to be submitted with the application; and
c. Public outreach program during the annual application period to ensure public awareness of the docketing process and the ability for the public to submit applications proposing amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Designation Map, and Land Use Development Code.
4. After the application deadline, the Planning Director shall compile a preliminary docket consisting of a listing of all docket applications that were determined to include all of the required submittal items. The preliminary docket shall include a:
a. Brief description of the proposed amendment;
b. Preliminary staff analysis of the proposal as to whether it is in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare of Snohomish residents; and
c. Staff recommendation as to whether it should be placed on the final docket.
If no applications are received, compiling a preliminary docket is not required.
5. The City Council, at an annual docket public hearing held in October or November, shall consider all of the proposals on the preliminary docket and decide which, if any, shall be placed on the final docket. Criteria the City Council may use in considering the application may include, but are not limited to, whether the proposal is consistent with their vision for the City and whether there are adequate staff resources to properly evaluate and process the proposal. Decisions by the City Council on which items to place on the final docket are legislative and discretionary. If no applications are received the City Council shall not hold an annual docket public hearing and a final docket will not be approved for that year.
6. The Planning Director shall research and analyze all items placed on the final docket by the City Council. The Planning Director shall process each item as a Comprehensive Plan or Land Use Designation Map amendment to be brought to the City Council, with a Planning Commission recommendation, for their consideration during an annual Comprehensive Plan amendment public hearing. All final docket items shall be processed or reported on within one (1) calendar year of when the item was placed on the final docket. This time limit may be extended with City Council approval.
7. Only amendment proposals placed on the final docket may be forwarded to the Planning Commission for consideration. All amendment proposals to be considered in a calendar year shall be considered concurrently so the cumulative effect of the various proposals can be ascertained. However, pursuant to RCW 36.70A.130(2)(a)(i) through (2)(a)(v), certain amendments to the Comprehensive Plan that are not on the final docket may be forwarded to the Planning Commission – at any time during the year and independent of other amendments – even if it means amending the Comprehensive Plan more than once a year.
8. It is the responsibility of the Planning Director to review and oversee the preparation of all materials to express, explain, or depict the various aspects or elements of the text or map amendments including the documentation required by the State Environmental Policy Act. The Planning Director may require applicants to provide materials and studies as deemed necessary to understand the proposal and its implications.
9. The Planning Director may request other City boards or agencies or other governmental entities to provide comments and recommendations on Comprehensive Plan amendments. In proposing any changes to its Comprehensive Plan, the City shall notify the Department of Commerce of its intent to adopt such amendments at least sixty (60) days prior to final adoption. The City shall transmit a complete and accurate copy of approved amendments to the Department of Commerce in accordance with state law.
10. Letters of support or objection to a proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment may be filed by any interested party. The letters must be filed by the date of the City Council public hearing unless an extension of time is granted.
11. The City may use any or all of the following techniques to provide for early and continuous public participation in the development and/or amendments of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Techniques not listed may also be used.
a. Provide for an opportunity to submit written comments;
b. Hold informational public meetings to explain the proposed amendment;
c. Use the City’s website and social media to provide information, documents, and to announce all public meetings related to the proposed amendment.
12. The Planning Commission shall consider proposed amendments placed on the final docket at a public hearing then make written findings of fact and conclusions and a recommendation to the City Council on each proposed amendment. The Commission shall make one (1) of four (4) decisions in considering amendments:
a. Approval in the form submitted for public hearing;
b. Approval with changes;
c. Approval in part;
13. City Council Action.
a. After receipt of the Planning Commission’s findings and recommendations on proposed Comprehensive Plan or Map amendments, the Council shall consider the proposed amendments at a public meeting. The Council shall make one (1) of the following decisions in considering amendments:
i. Approval in accordance with the findings and recommendations submitted by the Planning Commission;
ii. Approval with modifications; provided, that the Council shall hold its own public hearing before making any substantial modification to any Comprehensive Plan amendment recommended by the Planning Commission;
iii. Refer all or part of the Plan text or map amendment proposal back to the Planning Commission for further consideration;
b. If the Council’s decision is the alternative in subsection (B)(13)(a)(iii) of this section, the Council must specify which matters it wishes reconsidered by the Planning Commission.
14. Notice of Public Hearing. Notice of all public hearings shall be made in accordance with state and local laws.
15. Appeals of Decisions. All requests for review by a Growth Management Hearings Board shall be initiated by filing a petition in accordance with Chapter 36.70A, 43.21C or 90.58 RCW. Only parties of record may initiate an appeal of the City Council’s final decision.
C. Development Regulation Code Amendments. From time to time, it may be necessary to amend development regulations within the code to allow for the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan. Petitions or applications for Development Regulation Code amendments shall be evaluated on their compatibility with the goals, objectives, policies and recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan.
1. Development Regulation Code amendments may be initiated by the City at any time.
2. Development Regulation Code amendments shall be initiated by citizens, the Planning Commission, or any interested party including applicants, hearing examiners, and staff of other agencies pursuant to the annual docketing procedure described in subsection (B)(2) of this section.
3. Proposed Development Regulation Code amendments shall only be forwarded to the Planning Commission for consideration if:
a. Initiated by the City; or
b. Placed on a final docket by the City Council, pursuant to subsection (B)(2) of this section. Proposed Development Regulation Code amendments do not have to be considered concurrently with other proposed amendments and may be enacted at any time. Unlike Comprehensive Plan amendments, they are not subject to the requirement for concurrent review and cumulative effect analysis and once-a-year limitation.
4. Processing of Development Regulation Amendments.
a. The City may use any or all of the following techniques to provide for early and continuous public participation in the development and/or amendments of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Techniques not listed may also be used.
i. Provide for an opportunity to submit written comments;
ii. Hold informational public meetings to explain the proposed amendment;
iii. Use the City’s website and social media to provide information, documents, and to announce all public meetings related to the proposed amendment.
b. A public hearing shall be held by the Planning Commission on the proposed Development Regulation Code amendment after the proposed amendment has been reviewed for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan. Upon completion of the public hearing, the Planning Commission shall issue findings of fact and conclusions and make a recommendation to the City Council on the proposed Development Regulation Code amendment.
c. Upon receipt of a Development Regulation Code amendment recommendation from the Planning Commission, the City Council shall consider the matter at a public meeting, and may take the following actions:
i. Concur with the Planning Commission’s recommendation and adopt the code amendment substantially in the form as presented;
ii. Remand the matter to the Planning Commission with instructions regarding the City Council’s concerns and direction; or
iii. Conduct another public hearing prior to making any substantial change in the Development Regulation Code amendment recommended by the Planning Commission. (Ord. 2352, 2018)