Reasonable Use Exception

What is it?

A private property owner or public agency seeking relief from the strict application of the Critical Areas Ordinance must submit an application for a Reasonable Use Exception.

Your project will require State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review if the project is within or near critical areas (i.e. streams, wetlands, steep slopes, critical aquifer recharge area) or exceeds the SEPA categorical exemptions specified in RZC 21.70.

How Much Does it Cost?

Our review fee is a flat fee and is established within the Development Review Fee Schedule. An initial fee is required to be paid at the time of application submittal. Subsequent review fees may apply if additional review is required.  All associated fees can be found in the fee schedule noted below.

Development Review Fee Schedule

How Long Does It Take?

How long it takes to complete the review of your proposal depends on several factors, including the:
  • Complexity of your proposal
  • Quality of your plans and project documentation
  • Timely response to correction letters and requests for further information
  • Public interest

Steps to Get Your Application Approved


1. Research
Find your property information. Research your site to help you plan your project. Use our Property Viewer Interactive Map to find zoning and environmentally critical areas information.

Determine restrictions to your project. Research the Redmond Zoning Code to determine standards that will apply to your proposal.

Redmond Zoning Information

State Environmental Policy Act (RZC 21.70)

Critical Areas Ordinance (RZC 21.64)

Tree Protection Regulations (RZC 21.72)

Reasonable Use Exception Decision Criteria (RZC 21.76.070)

Attend a Pre-Application Conference. We offer a pre-application conference to answer any project specific and process related questions. This one-hour meeting is held Thursdays. For more information see Pre-Application Conference Tip Sheet.

2. Start the Application Process
Apply for an application. Get an application number by submitting your application to the Development Services Center.  You will need to provide all information noted in the applicable submittal checklist.  

Reasonable Use Exception Submittal Requirements Checklist 

Request a Pre-Application Conference (optional). We recommend applying for a pre-application conference for this type of project. For more information see Pre-Application Conference Tip Sheet

Prepare your plans and technical documents. Plans and technical document must be electronic and in accordance with the requirements specified within the submittal checklist noted above.

Tip Sheet - Introduction to Critical Areas

Tip Sheet – Geological Hazard Areas   

Tip Sheet – Wetlands 

Tip Sheet - SEPA  

3. Submit Application
Schedule an intake appointment. Call 425-556-2494 to schedule an intake appointment at the Development Services Center. Application submittals are only accepted on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Pay fee.  Application fees are due at application submittal.

Wait for public notice.
We will issue a public notice for your project as required by RZC 21.76.080. You are responsible for installing a yellow public notice board. If a public hearing is required and you will be responsible for installing a large white public notice board as well. The City will work with you to determine when and where the sign needs to be installed. All public comments are considered during the 21-day public comment period.

Yellow Public Notice Board Instructions        

Large White Notice Board Instructions  

Attend the public hearing. The Redmond Hearing Examiner will hold a public hearing on your application and will issue a decision.

Read our decision. We will publish our decision on your project on our Land Use Action Notice webpage. Additionally, the decision will be mailed to you and any parties of record.

Submit an appeal. If you or a member of the public disagrees with our decision, you may file an appeal with the Office of the City Clerk within 14 days from when we publish our decision.