Critical Areas Regulations Update

The City of Ellensburg is conducting  an update to Ellensburg City Code 15.600 - Critical Areas Regulations to meet the requirements of the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A). Goals for this update include the following tasks:

  • Update the critical areas regulations for consistency with best available science
  • Identify regulatory changes needed to ensure consistency with state and/or federal law
  • Identify regulatory process improvements that further implementation of the comprehensive plan

Draft Critical Areas Regulations

Copies of the draft document can be obtained at the Community Development Department, 501 North Anderson Street, Ellensburg, WA.

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Review

Notice of SEPA review was published in the Daily Record on May 11, 2018. The City expects to issue a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) for this update to critical areas regulations and will use the optional DNS process, WAC 197-11-355, meaning this may be the only opportunity for public comment on the environmental impacts of the proposal. Copies of the SEPA Checklist and proposed amendments to development standards are available upon request from the Community Development Department, 501 North Anderson Street, Ellensburg.

SEPA Checklist

Open House

The City of Ellensburg is holding a public open house to provide information on the critical areas regulations update. This will provide the public with an opportunity to review and provide input on the draft update to the City's critical areas regulations.

  • When: May 16, 2018 from 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
  • Where: City Council Chambers, 501 North Anderson Street, Ellensburg, WA

Planning Commission Public Hearing

The Ellensburg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on updates to critical areas regulations. The public hearing will be held for the Planning Commission to consider public comments on the update.

  • When: May 24, 2018 at 5:45 pm
  • Where: City Council Chambers, 501 North Anderson Street, Ellensburg, WA

Contact Information

For more information please contact Angela San Filippo in the Community Development Department

501 North Anderson Street, Ellensburg | Phone: (509) 925-8653 | Email: sanfilippoa@ci.ellensburg.wa.us 

Critical Areas

Critical Area review is required for all land uses, development activity, and alteration of any land, water, vegetation, structure or improvement in the City of Ellensburg regardless of whether or not a permit or authorization is required from the City. The purpose of Critical Area review is “to designate and classify ecologically sensitive and hazardous areas and to protect these areas and their functions and values, while also allowing for reasonable use of private property,” per Ellensburg City Code, Section 15.600.010.

Critical Area Review Process, Bulletin PB-28
Critical Area Review Application Form, Form PA-02

Additional Critical Area Report Requirements

If the Director determines that a Critical Area or areas may be affected by the proposed project, then the Director shall notify the applicant that a Critical Area report must be submitted prior to further review of the project.

There are minimum requirements for submitting a Critical Area Report outlined in Section 15.610.100.

Additional Critical Area Report Requirements for Wetlands: If determined that a project is within three hundred feet (300’) of wetlands, then additional requirements shall apply, per Section 15.620.020.

Additional Critical Area Report Requirements for Frequently Flooded Areas: If determined that a project is in a “Frequently Flooded Area,” then additional requirements shall apply, per Section 15.630.020.

Additional Critical Area Report Requirements for Geologically Hazardous Areas:
If determined that a project is in a “Geographically Hazardous Area,” then additional requirements shall apply, per Section 15.640.040.

Additional Critical Area Report Requirements for Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas: If determined that a project is located within three hundred feet (300') of a “Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Area,” then additional requirements shall apply, per Section 15.650.020.

Additional Critical Area Report Requirements for aquifer Recharge Areas: If determined that a project may impact a critical aquifer recharge area, then additional requirements shall apply, per Section 15.660.050.

Critical Area review is in addition to all other reviews, including State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review, that are required to be performed by the City for any underlying permit or authorization. Applicants seeking to develop land may consult with the department for maps of Critical Areas within the city limits of Ellensburg.