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What is the purpose of a critical area alteration exception?

The critical area alteration exception (CAAE) application process allows adjustments in the application of zoning code standards related to critical area buffers to a particular property.

How much will it cost?

See the Permitting Department's current fee schedule for an estimate.

Where can I get an application?

How do I submit my application?

See information on pre-applications as a pre-application meeting is required prior to filing a critical area alteration exception application.

The critical area alteration exception application must be filed in person at the Department of Permitting Permit Center. An appointment with Permitting staff is required to file the application. Call 206-296-6797 to schedule the appointment. For more information, refer to Applying for a Permit at the Permitting Department.

What is the timeline for processing a critical area alteration exception?

  • Permitting Department staff will schedule a pre-application meeting within 30 days from the date of the request.
  • Permitting Department staff has 28 days from the date the application is filed to determine whether the application is complete.
  • After Permitting Department staff determines that the application is complete, a Notice of Application is issued. The minimum public comment period is 21 days.
  • The process to make a final decision on a critical area alteration exception generally takes 120 days provided no appeals are filed or substantial additional information is required.

What is the appeal process?

Refer to permit type 2. There is a 14-day appeal period whereby an aggrieved person can file an appeal together with an appeal filing fee to the King County Hearing Examiner.

Notes / Comments

For more information:

Legal authority

Title 21A of the King County Code

Administered by

The Department of Permitting and Environmental Review. For questions, please contact the customer service at 206-296-6600.