Chapter 17.60


17.60.010    Application of regulations.

17.60.020    Conformity of building and land uses.

17.60.030    Conformity of open spaces.

17.60.040    Buildings to have access.

17.60.050    Projections into required yards.

17.60.055    Exceptions for setback requirements.

17.60.057    Amnesty for setback encroachments.

17.60.060    Distance between buildings.

17.60.070    Fences and walls.

17.60.075    Garage or yard sales.

17.60.080    Future street width lines.

17.60.090    Rules for tall structures.

17.60.010 Application of regulations.

The regulations set out in this title within each district shall be minimum regulations and shall apply uniformly to each class or kind of structure or land, except as hereinafter provided. (Ord. 454 § 4, 1992)

17.60.020 Conformity of building and land uses.

After January 17, 1978, no building, structure or land shall hereafter be used or occupied, and no building or structure or part thereof shall be erected, constructed, reconstructed, moved or structurally altered except in conformity with all of the regulations specified in this title for the district in which it is located, as shown on the official zoning map. (Ord. 454 § 4, 1992)

17.60.030 Conformity of open spaces.

A. No part of a yard, other than open space, or off-street parking or loading space required in Chapter 17.64 PMC or in connection with any building for the purpose of complying with this title shall be included as part of a yard, open space, or off-street parking or loading space similarly required for any other building.

B. No yard or lot existing as of January 17, 1978, shall be reduced in dimension or area below the minimum requirements set forth in this title. Yards or lots created after January 17, 1978, shall meet at least the minimum requirements established by this title. (Ord. 454 § 4, 1992)

17.60.040 Buildings to have access.

Every building shall be on a lot abutting on a public street, an accessible public waterway, or a private street approved by the commission. (Ord. 454 § 4, 1992)

17.60.050 Projections into required yards.

Projections into required yards of both principal and accessory structures shall be prohibited except as follows:

A. Paved terraces may project into required front, side or rear yards; provided, that no structures placed there violate other requirements of this title;

B. Unroofed landings and stairs may project into required rear yards only;

C. Cornices, eaves and similar incidental architectural features may project not more than two feet into any required yard;

D. An accessory building not exceeding 14 feet in height may be permitted to occupy a rear yard; provided, that no more than one-third of the total area of such rear yard shall be so occupied;

E. Every building erected after January 17, 1978, shall be located on a lot as defined in PMC 17.08.255;

F. In residential districts, an enclosed porch or arctic entry, including their roofs, may project into a required front or rear yard not more than five feet if the enclosed porch or arctic entry is no larger than 35 square feet of gross floor area and there is no other practicable location for such an entrance on the structure. This provision is restricted to dwellings constructed before January 1, 1986;

G. In residential districts, the installation of handicapped accessible ramps with handrails in any required setback:

1. These ramps may be roofed but not fully enclosed; and

2. Shall be constructed in accordance with Section 405, Ramps, of International Code Council ICC A117.1-2009. (Ord. 16-001 § 4, 2016; Ord. 454 § 4, 1992)

17.60.055 Exceptions for setback requirements.

A. Setbacks may be reduced up to 10 percent for existing structures by the zoning administrator after an investigation and written finding that the resulting lesser setback would meet the public purpose of establishing setback standards.

B. Calculation of the 10 percent reduction shall be based upon the averaged distance of the encroachment into the required setback. (Ord. 13-011 § 3, 2013)

17.60.057 Amnesty for setback encroachments.

A. Certain technical setback violations exist on residential properties throughout the city of Palmer. In some cases, these violations have existed compatibly with the surrounding neighborhoods for 25 or more years with no known adverse impacts to public health, safety or welfare.

B. In such cases, the city’s existing amnesty program provides a mechanism for excusing full compliance with city setback regulations for certain minor violations existing on or before adoption of the current zoning code.

C. To qualify as eligible for amnesty for certain setback violations, the following standards must be strictly satisfied:

1. The building or structure must be pre-existing and have been issued a building permit prior to construction;

2. The area or dimensional requirement involves front, rear, and/or side yard setbacks;

3. The building or structure complies with all other aspects of Palmer planning and zoning regulations. Such encroachments may be deemed “de minimis” as prescribed above and are determined to be “lawfully nonconforming”;

4. The city has a record of a statement that the present property owner had no personal knowledge of any violation of the requirements of this section prior to substantial completion of the structure;

5. The city building inspector or a licensed architect has certified in writing that the encroachment conforms to the requirements of PMC Title 15 and State of Alaska Fire and Life Safety Regulations;

6. The city has received an as-built survey of the property that is the subject of the application, prepared and stamped by a land surveyor registered in the state of Alaska, which shows the location and dimensions of all structures on the property at the date of application, and the distances between structures and between the structures and the lot lines of the property;

7. The city has on file a copy of each plat note that applies to the property; and

8. Upon receiving a complete application:

a. The zoning administrator shall within five days mail notice of the application to each record owner of any property that immediately adjoins the property on which the encroachment is located, requesting written comment on the application within 10 calendar days of the date of the notice.

b. Within five days following the conclusion of the comment period, the zoning administrator shall issue a written determination whether the encroachment meets the standards for amnesty under this subsection. The zoning administrator may impose such conditions on the requested amnesty as the zoning administrator determines are appropriate to protect the general welfare.

c. A determination under this subsection shall describe the type and dimensions of the encroachment, and shall include a copy of the as-built survey that was submitted with the application for registration.

D. In accordance with PMC 17.68.050, no such structure may be enlarged or altered in a way which increases its nonconformity, but any structure or portion thereof may be altered to decrease its nonconformity;

E. In accordance with PMC 17.68.050, should such structure be destroyed by any means to an extent of more than 60 percent of its assessed value at time of destruction, it shall not be reconstructed except in conformity with the provisions of this title. (Ord. 15-021 § 3, 2015)

17.60.060 Distance between buildings.

A detached dwelling or other main building shall be at least 20 feet from any other detached dwelling or main building on the same building site. (Ord. 454 § 4, 1992)

17.60.070 Fences and walls.

Fences and walls not exceeding six feet in height may occupy any portion of a side or rear yard in any R district; provided, that where such fence or wall projects beyond the front yard line or setback line toward the front property line, the following further restrictions shall apply:

A. Such fence or wall shall not exceed four feet in height, and shall be constructed so that not more than 50 percent of the vertical surface thereof above a height of two feet is solid wall;

B. Planted hedges projecting beyond the front yard line shall not exceed the maximum heights permitted for fences or walls;

C. No fence, wall or hedge shall be erected or maintained on the public property beyond the front property line of any lot or parcel of land, except masonry or concrete retaining walls and then only to a height not to exceed six inches above the grade of the earth such wall is constructed to retain. A permit shall first be secured from the zoning administrator approving the necessity for and type of retaining wall. (Ord. 454 § 4, 1992)

17.60.075 Garage or yard sales.

A.  No more than two garage or yard sales, per premises, are permitted per year.

B. Garage or yard sales may not last longer than three days.

C. Items offered for sale may not be displayed in any public right-of-way.

D. Directional and garage or yard sale signs must be removed at the close of the garage or yard sale activities. (Ord. 05-034 § 4, 2005)

17.60.080 Future street width lines.

A. For the purpose of measuring yard dimensions and determining building locations with respect to future street widths as provided in this title, minimum future width lines are established for certain streets and highways based upon the street and highway plan of the comprehensive plan. After January 17, 1978, no building or structure, or portion thereof, shall hereafter be erected, nor shall any portion of a building extending into any front or street side yard be altered, nor shall any use of land be conducted, except the use of land for open use not requiring a building or structure, so that the same will be closer to the right-of-way line of any street than any future width line.

B. Future width lines for the following streets and highways are established and shall be determined by measuring one-half the prescribed distance from the centerline of such street:



Street or Road

Future Width

Arctic Avenue

100 feet

Alaska Street – Arctic Ave. to Evergreen

86 feet

W. Evergreen Avenue

86 feet

Colony Way – South of W. Evergreen

86 feet

Fireweed Ave. – Colony Way to S. Chugach

86 feet

S. Chugach St. to E. Elmwood

86 feet

S. Cobb St. to W. Blueberry

60 feet

N. Alaska St. – North of Arctic Ave.

60 feet

S. Gulkana St.

60 feet

E. Fireweed Ave. – S. Chugach to S. Gulkana

60 feet

E. Evergreen Ave.

60 feet

E. Dahlia Ave.

60 feet

E. Cottonwood Ave. – E. from S. Gulkana

60 feet

Eagle Avenue

60 feet

S. Bailey St. – S. from W. Dogwood

60 feet

W. Dogwood Ave.

60 feet

W. Dahlia Ave.

60 feet

W. Elmwood Ave. and W. Fireweed Ave., S. Cobb St. to S. Colony Way

60 feet

C. Future street width lines for the following streets are established and shall be determined by measuring the prescribed distance from the nearest Alaska Railroad right-of-way line:

S. Valley Way – E. Fireweed to E. Cottonwood

60 feet

S. Valley Way – E. Cottonwood to E. Arctic

60 feet

N. Colony Way and N. Valley Way – N. of Arctic

60 feet

(Ord. 454 § 4, 1992)

17.60.090 Rules for tall structures.

Other provisions of this code notwithstanding, a tall structure may be allowed in any nonresidential zoning district; provided, however, if the structure is inconsistent with the dimensional regulations for the district, then the structure may be allowed only as a conditional use. (Ord. 630 § 4, 2004)