Cheney Free Press -


By John McCallum

Commission resumes Cheney code review


The Cheney Planning Commission resumed its municipal code review process by taking a look at Chapter 22 – Subdivisions and Title, and Chapter 23 – Development Code Administration at their July meeting on Monday.

The commission also took a look at a proposed amendment to Chapter 2 – Hearing Examiner that changes the project review process. Proposed language to be added to the examiner’s “duties and powers” would change what binding site plans the examiner hears to those of five lots or more, with city staff hearing anything smaller.

New languages also clarifies the examiner’s hearing of appeals to development plans and zoning permit review decisions to binding site plans, short plat and lot line adjustment/segregation. City planner Brett Lucas said the additional language frees up the hearing examiner from having to review and make decisions on minor land changes.

Many of the other proposed changes involved minor “housekeeping” issues that incorporated into Cheney’s code some changes in the state codes, the Revised Code of Washington or RCW. As an example, new RCW language requires developers to submit to cities final plat information meeting all requirements within seven years of the date of the preliminary plat/short plat/binding site plan if preliminary is approved before Dec. 31, 2014, and five years if approved after Jan. 1, 2015.

“We had some language in there for two years, five years,” Lucas said. “We just wanted the language to be current.”

In some sections, the changes weren’t so much what was added, but what was removed. For instance, Section 16, “Street and Utility Improvements,” language pertaining to the review process, grading, utility, stormwater and monument standards along with project acceptance requirements were removed.

Lucas told the commission having those standards listed in the code is duplication since those standards are all in the city’s engineering design manual. The design manual is available for review at the city’s Utility Building and online at Cheney’s website.

“A lot of these things stricken out still exist, they’ll just be referenced to the design manual,” Lucas said.

Other changes were intended to bring the city into line with new regulations and changes from the state Department of Ecology. Several of the more important additions involved the issues of bond warranty and the appeals process specific to Cheney.

Developers must submit a warranty bond with the city to guarantee against and defects in improvements, which the city can hold until the defects are repaired or call in if not repaired by the applicant. Originally the bond was to be held for two years, but new language has extended that to five years.

Public Works director Todd Ableman told the commission that a section in Chapter 23 for legislative actions regarding appealing a planning commission recommendation is still being worked on by the city’s legal team, as is another appeal process in the section for concurrency determination.

“Do you appeal a recommendation or do you appeal a decision?” Ableman said of the legal question under discussion.

John McCallum can be reached at


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