Building permit applications for projects on prairie soils get on-site visits as part of the County's Critial Areas Ordinance (CAO).
Basic review process
- On-site visits take place mid-April through September (applications are accepted and prescreened year-round).
- Properites are visited one time.
- A County biologist walks the entire property looking for prairie plants listed in the CAO.
- After the site visit, the project status is updated in the online permit status lookup, and the project case manager is notified.
General prairie criteria
- 3 or more CAO-listed prairie plants close together (about 16 feet). Or
- 25 individual CAO listed plants or species on the project site. Or
- Presence of plants that provide food or shelter for the Taylors checkerspot butterfly (a federally endangered species) or other protected butterfly species. Or
- Presence of rare plants classified as such by Washington's Natural Heritage Program.
If prairie plants are found
Some applicants modified their plans a bit to avoid mitigation requirements. Others applied for a Reasonable Use Exception
. Others worked with prairie plant biologists to create a mitigation plan to replace prairie plants onsite that will be lost to the building project. Staff can discuss the options with you. All applications are processed in accordance with the County’s Critical Areas Ordinance.