State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Code

What It Is

First State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) is a process, not a permit or approval.

Our SEPA ordinance requires that we assess the environmental impacts of projects that meet certain criteria. The SEPA section of our Aberdeen Municipal Code (AMC) is based on the provisions of the State Environmental Policy Act in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

SEPA Process

The SEPA process starts when the first permit application is submitted by the applicant. Applicants are encouraged to schedule a pre-application meeting with the Community Development Department to discuss project details, permit requirements and the SEPA process, though it's not required.

Size & Character of the Proposal

Not all projects require review under SEPA, it depends on the size and character of the proposal. The Community Development Department will help you to determine whether SEPA is required. If SEPA is required for your project, we will do the review as part of the land use permit process.

Review Process

The environmental review begins once a completed environmental checklist is submitted. We will review the checklist and decide if we have enough information to identify potential adverse environmental impacts or if we need more information.

The City will identify measures to counter or mitigate, adverse environmental impacts. Changes or conditions may be added to avoid, minimize or compensate for negative impacts.

Under SEPA

Proposals that are unlikely to have a significant adverse environmental impact or if the applicant has identified sufficient mitigation, we may will issue a Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) or a Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance (MDNS). This action may trigger a public and agency comment period.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

If mitigation cannot be easily identified, an applicant will need to submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS helps assess a proposal and identify reasonable alternatives to reduce or eliminate adverse environmental impacts. The City will issue a Determination of Significance (DS) / Scoping notice for agencies and the public to review. Scoping helps identify the key EIS issues to be evaluated.

Read the Code

For more information on existing SEPA regulations, read AMC 14.24 and WAC 197-11.

Proposed Changes



View the permit program for more information. 

Contact Information