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A. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to regulate proposals for new or expanding electrical utility facilities and to minimize impacts associated with such facilities on surrounding areas through siting, design, screening, and fencing requirements.

B. Applicability. This section applies to all proposals for new or expanding electrical utility facilities as defined in LUC 20.50.018. Additional requirements applicable to electrical utility facilities located within the Shoreline Overlay District are provided in Part 20.25E LUC.

C. Required Review. For new or expanding electrical utility facilities proposed on sensitive sites as described by Figure UT.5a of the Utilities Element of the Comprehensive Plan, the applicant shall obtain Conditional Use Permit approval under Part 20.30B LUC. For expansions of electrical utility facilities not proposed on sensitive sites as described by Figure UT.5a, the applicant shall obtain Administrative Conditional Use Permit approval under Part 20.30E LUC.

1. Conditional Use Permit. In addition to the requirements set forth in Part 20.30B LUC and Part 20.25B LUC (if applicable), the applicant shall:

a. Complete the alternative siting analysis as set forth in subsection D of this section;

b. Hold an informational public meeting prior to the public hearing required by LUC 20.35.137 and in addition to the informational public meeting required in LUC 20.35.127; and

c. Comply with all applicable decision criteria and design standards set forth in this section.

2. Administrative Conditional Use. In addition to the requirements set forth in Part 20.30E LUC and Part 20.25B LUC (if applicable), the applicant shall comply with all decision criteria and design standards set forth in this section, provided the applicant is not required to complete the alternative siting analysis set forth in subsection D of this section.

D. Alternative Siting Analysis. In addition to the requirements set forth in Part 20.30B LUC, Part 20.25B LUC (if applicable), and the decision criteria and design standards set forth in this section, the applicant shall identify alternative sites, provide required content showing analysis relating to identified sites, describe technologies considered, and describe community outreach conducted for proposals relating to new or expanding electrical utility facilities on sensitive sites as described in this section.

1. Alternative Sites Analyzed. Prior to submittal of the application for Conditional Use Permit required pursuant to subsection C of this section, the applicant shall identify not less than three alternative site options to meet the system needs for the proposed new or expanding electrical utility facility. At least one of the alternative sites identified by the applicant shall be located in the land use district to be primarily served by the proposed electrical utility facility.

2. Content of Alternative Siting Analysis. Upon submittal of the Conditional Use Permit application required pursuant to subsection C of this section, the applicant shall submit results of the siting analysis which:

a. Describe the sites identified in subsection D.1 of this section and the land use districts within which the sites are located.

b. Map the location of the sites identified in subsection D.1 of this section and depict the proximity of the sites to Neighborhood Business Land Use Districts, Residential Land Use Districts, and Transition Areas.

c. Describe which of the sites analyzed are considered practical or feasible alternatives by the applicant, and which of the sites analyzed are not considered practical or feasible, together with supporting information that justifies the conclusions reached. For sites located within a Neighborhood Business Land Use District, Residential Land Use District, and/or Transition Area (including the BelRed Office/Residential Transition (BR-ORT), the applicant shall:

i. Describe whether the electrical utility facility location is a consequence of needs or demands from customers located within the district or area; and

ii. Describe whether the operational needs of the applicant require location of the electrical utility facility in the district or area.

d. Identify a preferred site from the alternative locations considered for the proposed new or expanding electrical utility facility. The following location selection hierarchy shall be considered during identification of the preferred site alternative: (i) nonresidential land use districts not providing transition, (ii) nonresidential Transition Areas (including the BelRed Office/Residential Transition (BR-ORT), and (iii) residential areas. The applicant may identify a preferred site alternative in a Residential Land Use District or Transition Area (including the BelRed Office/Residential Transition (BR-ORT) upon demonstration that the location has fewer site compatibility impacts than a nonresidential land use district location.

3. Technology Considered for the Preferred Site Alternative. Upon submittal of the Conditional Use Permit application required pursuant to subsection C of this section, the applicant shall:

a. Describe the range of technologies considered for the proposed electrical utility facility;

b. Describe how the proposed electrical utility facility provides reliability to customers served;

c. Describe components of the proposed electrical utility facility that relate to system reliability; and

d. Describe how the proposed facility includes technology best suited to mitigate impacts on surrounding properties.

4. Community Outreach Conducted. Upon submittal of the Conditional Use Permit application required pursuant to subsection C of this section, the applicant shall provide a description of all methods of community outreach or involvement conducted by the applicant prior to selecting a preferred site for the proposed electrical utility facility.

E. Decision Criteria. In addition to the requirements set forth in Part 20.30B LUC, Part 20.30E LUC, Part 20.25B LUC (if applicable), and other applicable provisions of this section, all proposals to locate or expand electrical utility facilities shall comply with the following:

1. The proposal is consistent with Puget Sound Energy’s System Plan;

2. The design, use, and operation of the electrical utility facility complies with applicable guidelines, rules, regulations or statutes adopted by state law, or any agency or jurisdiction with authority;

3. The applicant shall demonstrate that an operational need exists that requires the location or expansion at the proposed site;

4. The applicant shall demonstrate that the proposed electrical utility facility improves reliability to the customers served and reliability of the system as a whole, as certified by the applicant’s licensed engineer;

5. For proposals located on sensitive sites as referenced in Figure UT.5a of the Utility Element of the Comprehensive Plan, the applicant shall demonstrate:

a. Compliance with the alternative siting analysis requirements of subsection D of this section;

b. Where feasible, the preferred site alternative identified in subsection D.2.d of this section is located within the land use district requiring additional service and residential land use districts are avoided when the proposed new or expanded electrical utility facility serves a nonresidential land use district;

6. The proposal shall provide mitigation sufficient to eliminate or minimize long-term impacts to properties located near an electrical utility facility.

F. Design Standards. In addition to the requirements set forth in Part 20.30B LUC, Part 20.30E LUC, Part 20.25B LUC (if applicable), and other applicable provisions of this section, all proposals to locate or expand an electrical utility facility shall comply with the following:

1. Site Landscaping. Electrical utility facilities shall be sight-screened as specified in LUC 20.20.520.F.2 or as required for the applicable land use district. Alternatively, the provisions of LUC 20.20.520.J may be used, provided this subsection does not apply to transmission lines as defined in LUC 20.50.018;

2. Fencing. Electrical utility facilities shall be screened by a site-obscuring fence not less than eight feet in height, provided this subsection does not apply to transmission lines as defined in LUC 20.50.018. This requirement may be modified by the City if the site is not considered sensitive as referenced in Figure UT.5a of the Utility Element of the Comprehensive Plan, is adequately screened by topography and/or existing or added vegetation, or if the facility is fully enclosed within a structure. To the maximum extent possible, all electrical utility facility components, excluding transmission lines, shall be screened by either a site-obscuring fence or alternative screening;

3. Required Setback. The proposal (including required fencing) shall conform to the setback requirement for structures in the land use district; and

4. Height Limitations. For all electrical utility facility components, including transmission lines, the City may approve a request to exceed the height limit for the underlying land use district if the applicant demonstrates that:

a. The requested increase is the minimum necessary for the effective functioning of the electrical utility facility; and

b. Impacts associated with the electrical utility facility have been mitigated to the greatest extent technically feasible.

G. Mitigation Measures. The City may impose conditions relating to the location, development, design, use, or operation of an electrical utility facility to mitigate environmental, public safety, or other identifiable impacts. Mitigation measures may include, but are not limited to, natural features that may serve as buffers, or other site design elements such as fencing and site landscaping as provided for in subsection F of this section.

H. Independent Technical Review. The City may require the applicant pay for independent technical review by a consultant retained by the City for review of materials submitted by the applicant to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the alternative siting analysis contained in subsection D of this section, the decision criteria contained in subsection E of this section and the design standards contained in subsection F of this section. (Ord. 6417, 5-21-18, § 16; Ord. 5876, 5-18-09, § 11; Ord. 5805, 3-3-08, § 8)

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