King County Community Development Environmental Review
Housing, Homelessness and Community Development Division
If you are looking into partnering with Community Development on a project, one of the first things you should consider is the environment. A healthy planet for current and future generations is a key part of our planning process.
Depending on the funding source, your project may require different kinds of environmental review. An environmental review is a process where we look at how:
- A project may affect rivers, lakes, and other natural resources.
- The neighborhood around your project may affect it.
- Your project may be part of the history of this area.
- Toxic contamination, noise pollution, and other hazards may affect your project.
In Washington State there are two main forms of review:
- SEPA which is the Washington State Environmental Protection Act
- For projects that receive Federal money, the National Environmental Protection Act regulations apply, or NEPA.
If a project has Federal CDBG funds, it must have an NEPA environmental review completed before any work is done and before any contracts with King County are executed.
Certain projects might require a Consultant and should budget for them accordingly and allow additional time in the project timeline. The following information is technical in nature. For clarifications, please contact Community Development.
Important note on Choice-Limiting Activities:
- From the time your CDBG application is due until the environmental review is complete, your agency and any third parties such as building contractors, may not undertake any “choice limiting” activities.
- Choice limiting activities include: property acquisition, clearing, grading, site prep, etc., regardless of funding source.
- Undertaking such activities during this timeframe could void the project’s eligibility.
- For more information, please see 24 CFR 58.22
Levels of Environmental Review
Are those that must simply be noted Exempt and the environmental review process ends there. There are no review of regulations or public notice. Examples include:
- Human/public service
- Architectural & engineering/design
- Microenterprise projects
Not Subject to 24 CFR Part 58.5
Are projects that require some environmental review through regulations but may not need a public notice if they comply with all the regulations. Examples include:
- Rehabilitation and Improvements when there is not change of land use, there is no increase of building’s size and capacity above 20%
- Or, have no other regulation mitigation
Are much more involved and may affect project schedule and scope. Environmetal assessments are triggered when there is:
- New construction
- Change of land use
- Increase size/capacity >20%
Preparing for an Environmental Review
Community Development staff want to help you quickly move to carrying out your project to get you back to providing services to eligible King County residents.
The following are important questions to know during the Application and Environmental Review Process if you are awarded funds.
- What is the nearest natural water body (stream, lake, etc.). How far is it from the project site?
- What are the current site conditions, including ground surface (grass, asphalt, etc.) and natural features (trees, etc.)?
- How much impervious surface (concrete, etc.) will be added?
- Will the project affect stormwater run-off? Does a current stormwater system exist at the project site?
- Describe the area surrounding the project site (commercial, residential, heavily wooded, etc.).
- If the project involves a building, how old is it?
- Will the project excavate or otherwise disturb soil? If so, to what depth and horizontal dimensions? Will any previously-undisturbed soil be impacted?
- Is the project site potentially historic?
- What is the current use of the site?
- Are you planning on changing the use/occupancy/zoning of the site?
- How developed is the site and its adjacent properties?
- Is the project located in a(n):
- FEMA-designated floodplain / floodway? (CDBG funds may not be used in a floodway; floodplains might be okay with flood insrurance)
- Ecologically-sensitive area?
- Designated Historic neighborhood?
- Are there any underground storage tanks (used to store oil/fuel) exist on, or adjacent to, the property? Did any exist in the past? If yes, please explain, include size of the tank(s).
- Has there been an “Phase 1” environmental assessment done in the last 3 years?
- Do you have a good site plan?
For complicated projects that involve ground disturbance, increase in impervious surfaces, noise pollution and any kind of affect to stormwater, Community Development strongly recommends the retention of an Environmental Consultant/Engineer versed in HUD regulations. King County staff help facilitate the process and ultimately upload the environmental review into HUD Environmental Review Online System (HEROS).
It depends. Federal funds require a NEPA review no matter what. SEPA is for State or Local Government funds and may already be part of the permitting process. If you are working on a Community Development project with King County, ask your grant/RFP administrator or assigned project manager. Contact Community Development for help with a referral.
Click on the project name below to view PDF of the Environmental Review Record for selected projects.