SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act)

SEPA Program

The City of Ellensburg, in Section 15.270 of the City Code, adopted the regulations of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), SEPA RCW 43.21C.120 and the SEPA rules SEPA WAC 197-11-904. Per Section 15.270.030, when there is conflict between the two, any resolution shall be in favor of the provision that is most protective of the environment and meets the minimum standards of SEPA WAC Chapter 197-11 WAC

Applicants for land use and development proposals are subject to SEPA review, unless the projects are classified as a “Type I” Permit Review Process Type, per Ellensburg City Code (ECC) Section 15.210.030. A complete environmental checklist and a completed Critical Area Form shall be filed at the same time as an application for a development proposal.

SEPA Environmental Checklist

PA-02 Critical Area Review Application Form

An environmental checklist is NOT needed if the responsible official determines that one of the following applies:

  1. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required
  2. SEPA compliance has been completed
  3. SEPA compliance has been initiated by another agency

Per ECC Section 270.120.C, if the City is the lead agency on a SEPA Review, information provided in the environmental checklist, critical area information form or critical area report and/or landmark certificate of approval application shall assist the responsible official in making a threshold determination.

The Time Guidelines are outlined in Bulletin PB-24 State Environmental Policy Act. Per ECC Section 15.270.060, the responsible official will make a threshold determination within 90 days, subject to the limitations of that section.

The applicant shall pay all costs related to environmental review in accordance with the chapter, including compliance with public notice requirements, per ECC Section 15.270.060.D.

SEPA Decisions 

When the city is the lead agency and renders a SEPA decision, per ECC Section 15.270.180 it may approve, condition, restrict, limit, modify or deny a development proposal under this chapter based on the following considerations:

  1. The conditions, restrictions or limitations are reasonably required to mitigate or prevent specific probable adverse environmental impacts identified in analytical documents prepared pursuant to this chapter or this title.
  2.  The conditions, restrictions or limitations are reasonably related to the services, demands, or other impacts caused or created by the development proposal, will mitigate or avoid the adverse impacts, and are capable of being accomplished.
  3.  The conditions, restrictions or limitations are based on one or more of the policies or goals identified in the comprehensive plan, other adopted city policies or the Ellensburg Municipal Code and cited in the decision document.
  4.  The policies or goals on which the conditions, restrictions or limitations are based were in effect when the DNS, MDNS or EIS was issued.
  5.  The conditions, restrictions or limitations are set forth in a written decision document.
  6.  Whether other local, state or federal requirements or mitigation measures applied to the development proposal are sufficient to mitigate an identified significant environmental impact. 


Any interested person may appeal a threshold determination or the adequacy of a final EIS pursuant to the procedures set forth in this ECC Section 15.270.020. No other SEPA appeal shall be allowed. Appeals shall be as set out in ECC Chapter 15.230.