State Environmental Policy Act

The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), Chapter 43.21C RCW, was enacted in 1971 and provides the framework for agencies to consider the environmental consequences of a proposal before taking action. SEPA gives agencies the ability to condition or deny a development proposal due to identified likely significant adverse impacts. 

SEPA is implemented through the rules (Chapter 197-11 WAC).A categorical exemption is a type of government action that is specifically designated as being exempt from SEPA compliance because it is unlikely to have a significant adverse environmental impact.

Certain proposals are exempt because they are of the size or type to be unlikely to cause a significant adverse environmental impact.

Exemptions are:

  • For single-family residential dwelling units, up to 30 dwelling units
  • For multifamily residential dwelling units, up to 60 units
  • For barns, loafing sheds, farm equipment storage, produce storage or packing structure buildings, up to 40,000 square feet
  • For office, school, commercial, recreational, service or storage buildings, up to 30,000 square feet of gross floor area and with associated parking facilities designed for up to 90 parking spaces - This exemption includes stand-alone parking lots
  • For landfills and excavations, up to 1,000 cubic yards

You may find the requirements and application process in the Spokane Valley Municipal Code (SVMC) 21.20