Wastewater Treatment Division's SEPA appeal process
The Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) and the Solid Waste Division (SWD) have established a process for appeals to any Determination of Non-significance (DNS) or Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) issued under the State Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA. The divisions are lead agencies under SEPA, which means that they are responsible for complying with SEPA's procedural requirements with regard to that division's issuance of a DNS or Final EIS.
This Web page provides basic information and a summary of the steps of the appeal process. More information about this process is found in the Public Rule PUT 7-4-1 which details the appeal process and should be referred to by anyone who is considering initiating the appeal process.
Why an administrative appeal process?
This process offers a timely and fair resolution of disputes. It is less formal and, in many cases, less expensive than appeals that go directly to court, while providing a comprehensive review of the issues being raised in the appeal.
Timeline for appeals
Appeals must be filed within a specific time period after a DNS or Final EIS is issued. From that point, the administrative process provides for up to ninety (90) days for a decision on the appeal. In some cases, the timeline can be extended for more complex projects.
Who hears the appeal?
The appeal is heard by the King County Hearing Examiner. The hearing examiner is appointed to conduct quasi-judicial hearings on a range of actions. In addition to the appeals covered here, other applications heard by the hearing examiner include rezones, preliminary plats, and other land use actions. The hearing examiner is a professionally-trained person making objective decisions that are supported by a record of the proceedings.
Steps in the process
Refer to the Public Rule for more information on appeal procedures and details.
- Issuance of a DNS or Final EIS
- Notice of Appeal filed: This is a written notice filed with the division which initiates the appeal process.
- Statement of Appeal filed: This is a document which provides more details of the issues being raised in the appeal.
- Administrative Record filed: This consists of the documents the lead agency considered and used in developing the SEPA determination, which is being appealed.
- Pre-hearing Conference: This is a meeting with the parties to the appeal and the hearing examiner to identify the facts in dispute, and the issues, laws, parties, and witnesses in the case.
- Final Witness and Exhibit List: Both the appellant and the lead agency prepare a written list of witnesses and exhibits that they intend to use or rely upon at the hearing. This list includes a brief summary of what each witness will testify to or present.
- Production of Exhibits: All parties must exchange, and provide the hearing examiner with, complete sets of all the exhibits they intend to use at the hearing. Examples of exhibits include maps, reports, and photographs. There is an option at this time for any party to submit a hearing memorandum of legal points, case law, statutes, regulations, codes, etc., to be considered.
- Pre-hearing Evidentiary Motions: This is a written request made by any party, to the hearing examiner, at least 7 business days before the hearing date, concerning the evidence to be presented at the hearing.
- Appeal Hearing: This is where testimony and evidence are presented before the hearing examiner.
- Decision: The hearing examiner's decision will be in writing and will include findings and conclusions on the issues and evidence.
Filing an appeal
Anyone wishing to appeal a DNS or Final EIS issued by the Wastewater Treatment Division must file a Notice of Appeal and the appeal fee with the SEPA Responsible Official at the following address:
Wastewater Treatment Division
SEPA Responsible Official
ATTN: Division Director's Office
201 South Jackson, KSC-NR-0501
Seattle, WA 98104-3855
Pursuant to KCC 20.24.450, the Notice of Appeal must be accompanied by the appeal fee of $250.00. Payment must be by check or money order made payable to "King County Treasury."
There are no provisions for subsequent administrative appeals of either the DNS or Final EIS or of the appeal decision. However, subsequent judicial review in Superior Court is possible. The hearing examiner's decision will include more specific information about appeals of the decision.