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Critical Areas
Critical Areas are defined as wetlands, aquifer recharge areas, flood hazard areas, geologically hazardous areas, and fish & wildlife habitat conservation areas. Some of these areas are critical because of the hazard they represent to public health and others are critical because of their public value.

With the exception of Activities Allowed Without Standard Review as listed under SCC 14.24.100, any land-use activity that can impair the functions and values of critical areas or their buffers through a development activity or by disturbance of the soil or water, and/or by removal of or damage to, existing vegetation requires standard critical areas review and written authorization pursuant to SCC 14.24.

Maps depicting the National Wetland Inventory & hydric soils, Department of Natural Resources stream type data, and potential geologic hazards are available for viewing at the Planning & Permit Center.

Critical Area Forms and Checklists

Flood Flood Map(Pdf)
The Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance (SCC 14.34) was created in order to promote health, safety and welfare for the users of buildings within the floodplain and to minimize preventable claims against the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flood forms from Planning and Permit.

Forest Practices
Forest Practices are governed under RCW 76.09 (
They are also subject to compliance with the provisions of the critical areas ordinance (SCC 14.24).

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)
SEPA provides a way to identify possible environmental impacts that may result from governmental decisions. These decisions may be related to issuing permits for private projects, constructing public facilities, or adopting regulations, policies or plans.

When SEPA review is required:

  • Rezone: be sure that Supplement D is attached and completed.
  • Special Use Permits: all except Administrative Special Uses.
  • Shoreline Permits: all but variances and exemptions.
  • Amendments to any codes/ordinances/plans which are more than procedural changes.
  • Construction of more than 20 dwelling units
  • Agricultural buildings over 30,000 square feet in area
  • Office, school, commercial, recreational, service or storage buildings over 12,000 square feet with associated parking facilities designed for forty (40) automobiles.
  • Construction of a parking lot designed for 40 automobiles
  • Fill and/or grading 500 or more cubic yards.
  • Proposed land divisions for more than four (4) lots.
  • Installation of impervious underground tanks having a capacity greater than 10,000 gallons.

There may be other situations where an environmental checklist will be required. The most common ones are listed above. If you are unsure, please consult Planning and Permit Center staff. Online Environmental Checklist.

The code regulating On-Site Sewage Systems (OSS) is SCC 12.05. To start the process of getting a septic permit, you need to contact a certified septic designer (or professional engineer). A list of certified designers, installers, and pumpers is available at the Health Department.

System Maintenance (Pdf)

Drinking Water
The three most comment forms of obtaining a water supply are connecting to a State Department of Health approved public water system, connecting to a community well (County Health approved public water system), and connecting to an individual well. In order to drill a well, a licensed driller will first obtain a permit from the State Department of Ecology.
Visit the Skagit County Health Department Drinking Water Site.

The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) and the Skagit County Shoreline Master Program (SMP) are based upon a recognition that shorelines are limited resources and that these resources serve and support a broad and diverse range of activity. The SMP was originally adopted by the Skagit County Commissioners on June 29, 1976 and it received State approval on October 5, 1976. Amendments have been made to the SMP, most recently on July 10, 1995. Currently, Planning & Permit Center staff is developing an updated shoreline inventory and we will be making additional amendments to the regulations.

Shoreline Master Plan Skagit County Code 14.26

Shorelines of the State are listed in RCW 90.58 ( )

The shoreline area designation map may be viewed at the Planning & Permit Center.

Shoreline Forms and information