Chapter 18.36
LOTS AND BLOCKS

Sections:

18.36.010    Through lots.

18.36.020    Lot design.

18.36.030    Block design.

18.36.010 Through lots.

Through lots shall not be allowed; however, if the short subdivision or subdivision abuts an arterial street, the lots on such streets may be through lots, provided the access is prohibited onto the arterial and access is taken from the secondary street and it is determined that such a layout is in the best interest of safety and general welfare. [Ord. 10833 § 1, 1997; Code 1980 at § 18.28.010].

18.36.020 Lot design.

A. All lots shall be of sufficient size to meet the site area requirements specified within the area’s land use designation under “density” found within the applicable neighborhood plan in which the property is located; provided, however, that this minimum shall not be required in the following instances:

1. When there exists no specified minimum lot size in the subject area land use designation, in which case the lot size shall be determined by the subdivider subject to any other applicable codes or requirements.

2. Cluster lots which meet the requirements specified in Chapter 18.32 BMC.

3. Lot line adjustments pursuant to Chapter 18.10 BMC for lots presently having less site area than the required minimum lot size.

4. For existing lots of record not located in the Lake Whatcom watershed and under single ownership having a total site area in excess of the required neighborhood density in which case the number of possible lots shall be determined by dividing the total amount of site area by the specified neighborhood density. Property which contains existing structures that straddle common property lines shall be consolidated and considered on lot of record.

a. Proposals with a fraction of less than one-half shall be rounded down to the next lower whole number.

b. Proposals with a fraction of three-fourths or greater shall be rounded to the next higher whole number and can be approved administratively.

c. Proposals with a fraction equal to one-half and less than three-fourths may be rounded to the next higher whole number upon site plan approval by the hearing examiner, provided all of the following criteria are met:

i. Be harmonious with the general policies and specific objectives of the comprehensive plan.

ii. Enable the continued orderly and reasonable use of adjacent properties by providing a means for expansion of public roads, utilities, and services.

iii. Be designed so as to be compatible with the essential character of the neighborhood.

iv. Be adequately served by public facilities and utilities including drainage provisions.

v. Not result in the destruction, loss, or damage to any natural, scenic, or historic feature of major consequence.

5. In the event the proposed subdivision results in lots smaller than the required density in the relevant neighborhood plan, the planning and community development director has the authority to approve the short subdivision if the resulting new lots are larger than those previously existing and results in a more functional lot design; provided, that the overall property satisfies the density requirement specified in the applicable neighborhood plan. All newly created lots shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 18.36 BMC.

6. Lot Averaging. As long as the parent parcel (subject property) has sufficient land area to short subdivide and meet density requirements as specified in the neighborhood plan, a lot averaging mechanism may be utilized for the creation of more functional and desirable lot designs. However, no lot shall be less than 90 percent of the minimum area required per lot based on the maximum density or allowable dwelling unit calculation. All newly created lots shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 18.36 BMC.

7. All lots created by a short subdivision shall meet the design standards specified in Chapter 18.36 BMC. However, the planning and community development director may approve a division of land less than the required standards, provided such division of property results in better lot design than previously existed. Better lot design is defined as meaning such items as larger in area, more practical site design because of topography, wetland or other environmental constraints, or the lot design will result in lots nearer to conformance to required standards.

8. Single-family attached duplex lots as provided in subsection (E) of this section.

B. Each lot shall have a consistent width of not less than 30 feet of frontage on a deeded or dedicated right-of-way except as provided in subsection (C) of this section. Pipestem width less than 30 feet shall not be allowed in either the Birchwood or Columbia neighborhoods. The minimum lot width at the building setback line shall be consistent with that specified in subsection (E) of this section. Cul-de-sac lots utilizing less than a 40-foot frontage standard shall have the front yard setback line increased to 30 feet from the property line.

C. Lots having a pipestem width of less than 30 feet shall only be permitted in a residential subdivision and short subdivision if the following are met:

1. The minimum width of the minor or access portion of the lot shall not be less than 20 feet. A 15-foot setback shall be provided from the edge of any new driveway to any existing adjacent residential dwelling unit;

2. The access portion (pipestem) of the lot shall not be included in computations for meeting minimum density requirements of the neighborhood plans;

3. A five-foot setback from the improved driveway surface to abutting property lines shall be provided and recorded on the face of the plat unless, in the judgment of the planning and economic development director, such a requirement would not be feasible due to topographical conditions;

4. No pipestem lot shall be permitted in short subdivisions where the ownership is common with adjacent property;

5. Not more than two side-by-side pipestems shall be allowed unless determined by the technical review committee that the design is necessary due to site conditions;

6. Joint access for pipestem and adjacent lots under common ownership at the time of division of property shall be required. An access easement shall be recorded on the face of the plat.

D. Pipestem lots in commercial and industrial subdivisions shall be permitted only if the following are met:

1. The minimum width of the minor or access portion of the lot shall be 40 feet; the lot width standard is 60 feet. Minimum width of the minor or access portion may be decreased to 30 feet if joint access with adjacent property is maintained and in the judgment of the city engineer, no adverse traffic impacts will result.

2. The access portion of the lot shall not abut property with a residential land use designation.

3. No pipestem lot shall be permitted in short subdivisions where the ownership is common with adjacent property.

4. Side-by-side pipestems are permitted only if joint access is granted. Joint access for pipestem and adjacent lots under common ownership at the time of division of property shall be required. An access easement shall be recorded on the face of the plat.

E. The following lot design criteria shall apply to newly created lots:

Zoning

Min. Lot Size (Sq. Ft.)

Min. Interior Lot Width

*Min. Corner Lot Width

Min. Lot Depth

**Min. Street Frontage

Residential Single and Duplex

7,200 or >

60'

70'

60'

30'

6,875

55'

65'

60'

30'

6,000

50'

65'

60'

30'

5,000 ***

50'

60'

60'

30'

5,000 and less

40'

50'

60'

30'

*    Required only when abutting a designated arterial.

**    Fifteen feet for side-by-side pipestems with common driveways, joint access easement and maintenance agreement. Street frontage may be reduced as allowed in subsection (C) of this section. A minimum of 30 feet of street frontage shall be provided for all properties located in the Birchwood and Columbia neighborhoods. (Side-by-side pipestem designs are subject to technical review committee approval.)

***    Interior lot width can be reduced to 40 feet in existing blocks platted with lots 40 feet x 125 feet. Corner lot width shall increase to 50 feet when abutting an arterial street.

Zoning

Min. Interior Lot Width

*Min. Corner Lot Width

Min. Lot Depth

**Min. Street Frontage

Residential Multi Multiple

60'

60'

60'

30'

*    Required only when abutting a designated arterial.

**    Street frontage may be reduced as allowed in subsection (C) of this section. Side-by-side pipestems shall not be allowed unless approved by the technical review committee.

Single-family lots within a short subdivision or subdivision having a planned use qualifier shall utilize the standards provided for residential single and residential multi duplex as stated above. Multifamily tracts created by a short subdivision or subdivision having a planned use qualifier shall conform with the residential multi, multiple standards as stated above.

Zoning

Min. Interior Lot Width

*Min. Corner Lot Width

Min. Lot Depth

**Min. Street

Industrial

60'

60'

60'

30'

Commercial

60'

60'

60'

30'

*    Width requirements can be reduced if access can be provided in accordance with public works requirements.

**    Frontage requirements can be reduced to zero if approved in a planned contract or a master plan where joint/common access is provided, utility easements are provided, and access design is approved by the fire marshal.

Zoning

Min. Interior Lot Width

Min. Corner Lot Width

Min. Lot Lot Depth

Min. Street Frontage

Public, Buildable Lot

0'

0'

0'

30'

Public, Nonbuildable Lot

0'

0'

0'

0'

F. Lot Width Exception – 300-Foot Rule. Exceptions from the minimum lot width requirements shall be approved by the director of planning and community development for property not located within the Lake Whatcom watershed, provided 50 percent or more of the total number of lots within or partly within 300 feet of the exterior boundary of the subject property have a lot width which is less than or equal to that of the subject property. To be counted as one of the lots within 300 feet of a parcel must be a developed lot or a buildable lot within the same zoning subarea as the subject property.

G. The following design standards shall apply to attached single-family duplex lots:

1. Combined lot area shall satisfy the applicable neighborhood plan requirements. Each lot shall have a site area not less than one-half that of the applicable neighborhood plan requirement under “density.”

2. Lot Width and Frontage. Corner lot width and frontage shall not be less than 35 feet, interior lot width and frontage shall not be less than 30 feet. Lot width shall be consistent for the entire length of the lot.

a. Exception. Side-by-side pipestem lots will be allowed, provided each lot can provide a minimum of 15 feet of frontage. A reciprocal easement must be provided for access over the pipestems portion of the lot. Only one driveway will be allowed. [Ord. 2002-10-069 § 38; Ord. 10833 § 1, 1997; Ord. 10469 § 2, 1993; Ord. 9550 § 23, 1986; Ord. 9135 § 4, 1982; Code 1980 at § 18.28.020].

18.36.030 Block design.

The maximum length of a block is 1,320 feet. The maximum width is 500 feet. Where blocks exceed 500 feet in length, pedestrian easements may be required if deemed necessary. [Ord. 10833 § 1, 1997; Code 1980 at § 18.28.030].