Chapter 20.10
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sections:

20.10.010    Location and marking of property corners for building permits.

20.10.025    Retail establishments – Maximum size.

20.10.030    Use of manufactured homes and recreational vehicles.

20.10.035    Accessory dwelling units.

20.10.040    Temporary uses.

20.10.045    Home occupations.

20.10.047    Confidential shelters.

20.10.048    Co-housing.

20.10.050    Site area.

20.10.060    Open space.

20.10.070    Height.

20.10.080    Yards.

20.10.090    Special conditions.

20.10.100    Prerequisite considerations.

20.10.010 Location and marking of property corners for building permits.

A. The location and marking of property corners by a land surveyor licensed by the state of Washington is required prior to the pouring of any foundation or footings for any new main building.

B. The construction of any new main building is exempt from this requirement, provided the proposed foundation is five feet or more from any required setback line, or from any property line when no setback is required. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.025 Retail establishments – Maximum size.

A. An individual retail establishment, including but not limited to membership warehouse clubs, discount stores, specialized product stores and department stores, shall not exceed 90,000 square feet of gross floor area. This restriction shall apply in all zones, including all general use types and use qualifiers. If this section conflicts with any other provisions of this title, this section shall prevail.

In the Cordata Neighborhood Zoning Map Area 15 and Meridian Neighborhood Zoning Map Areas 3, 5, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 31, 32, and 33, as shown in Exhibit A attached to the ordinance codified in this section, the size limit may be exceeded if the proposal meets all of the following conditions:

1. The facility is not a superstore. “Superstore” means a retail establishment that exceeds 90,000 square feet of gross floor area, sells a wide range of consumer products primarily for household or personal use and devotes more than 10 percent of the total sales floor area to the sale of nontaxable merchandise. “Nontaxable merchandise” means products, commodities, or items the sale of which is not subject to Washington State sales tax. “Sales floor area” means only interior building space devoted to the sale of merchandise, and does not include restrooms, office space, storage space, automobile service areas, or open-air garden sales space. This definition excludes membership warehouse clubs where shoppers pay a membership fee in order to take advantage of discounted prices on a wide variety of items such as food, clothing, tires, and appliances and many items are sold in large quantities or bulk; and

2. The proposal satisfies the following environmental mitigation measures:

a. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDTM) certification at the silver level (or equivalent green building system). Projects shall apply for the LEEDTM rating system the director determines is most suitable for the project type; and

b. The area of new or expanded impervious surfacing shall have a green factor score of at least 0.3.

B. For the purpose of subsection (A) of this section, gross floor area shall consist of the sum of the gross horizontal areas of all floors within the inside perimeter of the exterior walls of the structure or tenant space and roofed or partially walled outdoor areas reserved for the display, storage, or sale of merchandise, including accessory uses inside the primary retail establishment. Structured parking is excluded. The gross floor area of adjacent stores shall be aggregated in cases where the stores (1) are engaged in the selling of similar or related merchandise and operate under common ownership or management; (2) share check stands, a warehouse, or a distribution facility; or (3) otherwise operate as associated, integrated or cooperative business enterprises.

C. A building space occupied by an existing single retail establishment larger than 90,000 square feet may change occupancy to a different retail establishment of the same or smaller size except the space may not be converted to a superstore as defined in BMC 20.10.025(A)(1).

D. If this section conflicts with any other provisions of this title, this section shall prevail except it shall not affect the minor expansion rights of nonconforming stores under BMC 20.14.010(E). [Ord. 2013-02-007 § 1; Ord. 2010-12-074; Ord. 2010-04-023; Ord. 2007-02-011].

20.10.030 Use of manufactured homes and recreational vehicles.

A. A “designated manufactured home” may be used as a single-family dwelling unit, provided it meets all of the following:

1. It is a “new manufactured home,” which means any manufactured home required to be titled under RCW Title 46, which has not been previously titled to a retail purchaser, and is not a “used mobile home” as defined in RCW 82.45.032(2); and

2. It is set upon a permanent foundation, as specified by the manufacturer, and the space from the bottom of the home to the ground be enclosed by concrete or an approved concrete product which can be either load bearing or decorative; and

3. It complies with energy efficiency standards for manufactured homes as specified in BMC 17.10.020; and

4. It complies with all zoning, design and land use regulations applicable to single-family dwelling units at the subject location.

B. No manufactured home or designated manufactured home may be used as a residence unless it complies with the provisions of subsection (A) of this section or it is a designated manufactured home allowed by Chapter 20.38 BMC as part of a manufactured home park in a residential multi planned development.

C. No recreational vehicle shall be used as a residence. “Recreational vehicles” as defined in BMC 20.08.020 shall not be occupied for any commercial use, except when permitted as a watchman’s quarters at a construction site or other temporary structure pursuant to Section R107 of the International Residential Code. [Ord. 2005-06-048; Ord. 9641 § 1, 1987; Ord. 9253 § 3, 1983; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.035 Accessory dwelling units.

A. Purpose and Authority. The director shall have the authority to approve accessory dwelling units which are located within or attached to a single-family residence and existing detached accessory dwelling units, consistent with single-family neighborhood character and the regulations and provisions herein. It is not the intent of these regulations to provide for accessory dwelling units on every residential property and they shall not be deemed to create a right or privilege to establish or maintain an accessory dwelling unit which is not strictly in compliance with these regulations.

B. Attached Accessory Dwelling Unit.

1. An attached accessory dwelling unit must not exceed 40 percent of the square footage of the conditioned floor area measured from the outside of the exterior walls of the single-family residence, excluding garages, and shall contain a minimum square footage as required by the building code and a maximum square footage of 800 square feet. Only one accessory dwelling unit may be permitted per single-family residence. An owner of an existing split level single-family home (home with more than one floor) may request to convert up to 50 percent of the area to an accessory dwelling unit, provided the accessory dwelling unit may not contain more than 800 square feet and the following criteria are satisfied:

a. When existing parking is displaced, new parking must be located on site;

b. New parking spaces shall be located off the alley if practical;

c. Parking in the front portion of the lot shall be discouraged; and

d. Required parking for the ADU within the front yard setback shall be prohibited.

2. Only one entrance for the entire structure may be visible from the front street. For the purpose of this chapter, the front street shall be defined as the street with the address. All additions constructed to house an ADU must have similar roof pitch, siding, and windows (to the extent allowed by the building code) as the existing single-family dwelling.

3. All additions must meet all land use requirements for single-family residences as outlined in BMC 20.30.040.

4. The primary residence or the accessory dwelling unit must be owner occupied. A covenant, approved by the department of planning and community development, must be signed and recorded which specifies this requirement and the requirement for purchaser registration contained in subsection (B)(6) of this section. In addition, an affidavit must be submitted to the department on or before January 1st of every odd-numbered year attesting to owner occupancy.

5. The total number of persons who may occupy the accessory dwelling unit shall not exceed three, regardless of relationship.

6. Purchasers of homes with an accessory dwelling unit must register with the department of planning and community development within 30 days of purchase.

7. One additional parking space on private property shall be provided for each bedroom located within the accessory dwelling unit. Each accessory dwelling unit shall provide a minimum of one parking space. These parking spaces shall be in addition to those required for the single-family residence. There shall be no net loss of existing parking due to the construction of an accessory dwelling unit.

8. No more than two bedrooms shall be located within the accessory dwelling unit.

9. A building permit must be obtained from the building services division and shall be subject to the following requirements:

a. Public Works Requirements.

i. A single-family home and an accessory dwelling unit may share a common side sewer line to the sewer main.

ii. A single-family home and an accessory dwelling unit shall have a minimum of one water meter.

b. Building Code Requirements. Building code requirements shall be modified as specified in BMC 20.10.035 – Exhibit A. These requirements shall supersede the requirements of BMC Title 17 to the extent they conflict.

10. Permitting Process. An accessory dwelling unit is required to obtain approval following the procedures established in Chapter 21.10 BMC.

C. Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit.

1. Authority. No new accessory dwelling unit may be located within a detached structure. Unpermitted detached accessory dwelling units existing prior to January 1, 1995, may be permitted. Approval shall be consistent with the accessory dwelling unit regulations and process outlined in BMC 20.10.035. The detached accessory dwelling unit shall be reviewed using the building code in place at the time its owner brings the unit forward for permit.

D. Existing Illegal Units. Application may be made for any accessory dwelling unit existing prior to January 1, 1995, to become legally permitted, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. If application is made within 18 months from the date of the ordinance codified in this chapter (December 26, 1996), no penalty shall be imposed for the maintenance of the nonpermitted accessory dwelling unit. After such date and/or 30 days after denial of a permit for an accessory dwelling unit, the owner of any nonpermitted unit shall be subject to the penalties provided in this code.

An application to legalize an existing accessory dwelling unit shall include an application for an accessory dwelling unit permit (submitted to the department of planning and community development) and a building permit application, showing changes made to the residence to accommodate the accessory dwelling unit.

BMC 20.10.035 – Exhibit A

Converting an Existing Structure to Include a New ADU

An existing single-family residence is altered, to create a new ADU within the structure, for a total of two dwelling units. One units is owner occupied.

Utilities:

The entire structure may be served by one shared underground service lateral, from the utility’s main to the structure, for water, sewer and natural gas. An accessible shut-off valve must be in place upstream of the gas meter, on the exterior of the structure. The water shutoff must be accessible to the occupants of both units.

Electrical:

A single shared electrical service, a single meter, and a single main service panel would be allowed; provided, that (a) occupants of both dwelling units have equal and unrestricted access to the main electrical shut-off device; and provided further, that (b) the capacity of the service panel shall be sufficient to safely handle the electrical loads attributed to two dwelling units, as determined by the electrical code in effect at the time application is made for permits relevant to the conversion.

Plumbing:

Both dwelling units may share common supply and waste plumbing systems and a common water heater appliance, so long as the occupants of both dwelling units have equal and unrestricted access to the water heater appliance.

Heating:

Both dwelling units may be provided their space heat by a shared, common forced air system (contrary to 1994 UMC 317.8); provided, that (a) listed fire/smoke dampers are properly installed at all duct penetrations through all structural elements (walls, floor, ceiling, etc.) which separate the two dwelling units, and (b) listed carbon monoxide detector/alarm devices are installed in each of the dwelling units.

Smoke Detectors:

Smoke detectors shall be installed throughout both dwelling units in compliance with this code’s requirements for new construction in effect at the time application is made for permits associated with the conversation. All detectors, in both dwelling units, shall be interconnected so that the activation of any one detector at any location anywhere within the entire structure shall also activate all other detectors, in both dwelling units, throughout the entire structure.

Exiting:

All components of the required exit systems in both dwelling units shall comply, as near as practicable, with code requirements in effect at the time application is made for permits associated with the conversion, especially with regard to egress windows in all rooms used for sleeping.

Fire Separation:

Listed fire separation assemblies are preferred where the code requires a “one-hour” separation between dwelling units. Listed assemblies shall be provided wherever the construction of walls or floor/ceiling assemblies is new, constructed during the conversion. Where existing walls and/or floor/ceiling assemblies compose part or all of the separation, building services division will accept nominal two-inch studs or joists, on regularly spaced centers, enclosed completely in one-half-inch gypsum wall board or an equivalent lath and plaster. Doors in tenant separation walls may be either listed in 20-minute assemblies, or one-and-three-fourths-inch-thick solid-core tight-fitting doors, equipped with a self-closing device and smoke gasketing material on both sides and the top of the door.

Ceiling Height:

The minimum ceiling height for ADUs located within existing structures shall be seven feet.

New Structures and Additions to Existing Structures

Normal code compliance is appropriate for all newly built structures which incorporate a single-family unit with an ADU, except for the following two provisions:

Electrical:

The overall structure may be served by a single service and a single meter. Each dwelling unit must, however, be provided its own, separate main panel and disconnect. Occupants of each dwelling unit must be able to turn off the electrical power to their own dwelling unit without disrupting electrical service to the other dwelling unit.

Plumbing:

The entire structure, including both dwelling units, may share a common water supply and waste plumbing systems. Each dwelling unit must, however, be provided its own separate hot water appliance, and occupants of each dwelling unit must have equal and unrestricted access to the main water shut-off valve.

[Ord. 2004-09-065; Ord. 2002-10-069 § 41; Ord. 10643 § 1, 1995].

20.10.040 Temporary uses.

A. The director is authorized to approve the following temporary uses:

1. Christmas tree sales in any general use type except residential single for a time period not to exceed 45 days.

2. Circuses and carnivals may be permitted in any general use type except residential single and residential multi with the concurrence of the director of public works.

3. Temporary vegetable and farm crop vendors in commercial and/or industrial general use types not to exceed 60 days.

4. Contractors’ office and equipment storage on the premises of a construction project holding a valid building permit not to exceed the period of construction.

5. Temporary structures to house hobby and/or noncommercial construction projects such as pleasure boat construction, antique restoration, and similar uses. The temporary use may not be permitted for more than a one-year period and must not, in the opinion of the director, cause any hazardous conditions nor be detrimental to neighboring uses in regards to aesthetics, privacy, light, air, and/or general welfare.

6. Annual neighborhood activities conducted by nonprofit organizations for the purpose of raising funds for community improvements or other nonprofit causes. The use shall be limited to once a year, not longer than 72 hours in duration, and shall include such activities as home tours, community garage sales, art fairs, auctions, etc.

7. Special events as allowed under Chapter 13.13 BMC. [Ord. 2017-02-007 § 3; Ord. 9582 § 2, 1986; Ord. 9401 § 1, 1984; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.045 Home occupations.

A. Authority. The director is authorized to approve home occupation permits consistent with the regulations and provisions herein.

B. Regulations.

1. Home occupations must be conducted within the main residential building by the occupant. The occupation may include such uses as personal, business, or professional services, or offices and repair shops for household items; however, veterinarian offices and clinics, hospitals, mortuaries, major and/or minor automotive repairs, eating and/or drinking establishments, stables, or kennels are prohibited.

2. There shall be no exterior modification of the building in order to accommodate the occupation, nor shall there be any outward manifestation of the occupation. No home occupation shall be located anywhere but in the main building. The primary use of the premises shall be residential and at no time shall the home occupation be the predominant use.

3. No more than one assistant or employee, in addition to the resident(s), may engage in the occupation on the premises. One off-street parking space shall be provided for the use of the employee.

4. A flat, unlighted sign flush against the building is allowed. Such sign shall not exceed two square feet in area. The sign shall state only the name/address/phone number of the occupant and the occupation.

5. No retail sales of goods in connection with the home occupation shall occur on or about the subject premises.

C. Permit Procedure.

1. Exempt. If the home occupation is limited to those activities which involve bookkeeping and office for a business conducted elsewhere, has no outward manifestation of the business, and no customers or employees coming to the home, it shall be considered “exempt.” An exempt home occupation shall be considered an accessory use and permitted outright with no land use permit required.

2. A nonexempt home occupation is required to obtain approval following the procedures established in Chapter 21.10 BMC. The director shall have authority to place such restrictions and conditions on the permit as deemed necessary to protect the neighborhood from any detrimental effect which may arise from the proposed use. Once a home occupation permit has been issued, it shall not be transferable to another person or location, nor shall the specified conditions be changed in any manner except upon reapplication. If after issuance of the permit, the use violates any of the conditions of the permit, or if the director otherwise finds the use to have a detrimental effect on the surrounding neighborhood, the director shall have the authority to place additional restrictions on the permit or to revoke the permit and order the use abated. [Ord. 2004-09-065; Ord. 2002-10-069 § 42; Ord. 10169 § 11, 1991; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.047 Confidential shelters.

A. The director of planning and community development may grant a special accommodation approval to “confidential shelters” as defined in BMC 20.08.020. Applications shall be processed administratively by the department. No public notice is required. The decision of the director is not subject to administrative appeal. Confidential shelters are subject to the following requirements:

1. The applicant shall provide satisfactory evidence that the organization operating the shelter has a demonstrated capability to operate the program (such as by having a record of successful operation of a similar program, maintaining a board of directors with appropriate experience, and/or obtaining program recognition through grants, etc.).

2. The applicant shall submit a site and floor plan for approval and demonstrate to the satisfaction of the director that adequate provision has been made for parking, screening and mitigation of impacts and that the building complies or will comply with housing and building codes as determined by the building official. The site and facilities shall be of a size and nature to provide for adequate mitigation of impacts based on the number of residents and staff while maintaining a single-family residential appearance. The director may impose conditions to satisfy these requirements. Any required certificate of occupancy shall be obtained.

3. The director shall have the authority to revoke the grant of special accommodation if the conditions of approval are not satisfied or if unacceptable impacts cannot be adequately mitigated. [Ord. 1998-06-034 § 2].

20.10.048 Co-housing.

A. Co-housing developments may be allowed in use districts where listed as a permitted use if they comply with the following requirements listed in this subsection. Co-housing projects that comply with the standard residential development regulations within a use district are exempt from this subsection.

B. Approval Process. Co-housing projects opting to develop under this subsection and located in the residential single, residential multi duplex or residential multi multiple use district shall be processed following the procedures in Chapter 21.10 BMC.

C. Special Requirements. The hearing examiner may approve an application for a co-housing project if it is found to comply with the following criteria:

1. The project applicant must be a legal entity created for the purpose of developing a co-housing project. The organization shall be transformed into a residential owners’ association upon completion of the development and subsequent occupation of the dwelling units. Membership of the association shall be open only to owners of the dwelling units in the development. It is intended that co-housing projects be primarily owner occupied. Commercially owned rental projects are not permitted.

2. The housing type may consist of any housing type (e.g., townhouses, flats, etc.). Individual lots are not required for each unit. The project density shall not exceed the allowed density, regardless of the type of housing, specified in the applicable neighborhood plan subarea based on the number of proposed dwelling units. For example, in residential single zones that specify an overall cluster density, or in residential multi zones that require different amounts of land area per unit for single-family versus multifamily development, the highest listed density for any housing type in the subject subarea shall be considered the maximum potential density for co-housing. The maximum number of units which may be approved for a particular project may be less than the maximum potential if the site is within an environmentally sensitive area of the Lake Whatcom watershed or if it cannot meet the criteria for approval at the proposed density. Any proposal for division of the property shall comply with city codes regarding subdivision.

3. Uses within the co-housing project shall be limited to those permitted uses listed in the residential single use district and those allowed under the provisions of this subsection. Any request for a conditional use on the co-housing site may be considered through the appropriate permit review procedures for conditional uses as prescribed by city code. The co-housing contract shall specify the uses approved for the specific site.

4. Height. The height limit of the underlying zone shall apply. Common buildings may be considered main buildings for the purposes of determining height limits.

5. Usable Space. At a minimum, usable space in an amount equal to that required for a proposal of the same number of units under BMC 20.32.040(F) shall be required.

6. Yards. In residential single zones, the minimum setback from the perimeter of the site shall be 15 feet from all property lines except from arterial streets. The setback from arterial street sides shall be as provided in BMC 20.30.050(F)(1)(a) and (b), provided the minimum required setback under this provision shall not be greater than 20 feet from the edge of the right-of-way.

7. Parking. Co-housing developments shall satisfy all parking regulations contained in Chapter 20.12 BMC; provided, that the hearing examiner may increase or decrease the required number in order to mitigate expected impacts based on the proposed development design and/or occupancy or based on proposed use and occupancy restrictions. Open parking areas shall not be located within 15 feet of any property line unless the hearing examiner determines that a reduced setback will provide adequate buffering to protect adjacent properties and uses. In no case shall the setback be reduced below five feet without variance approval.

8. Landscaping. Co-housing developments shall satisfy all landscaping requirements for similar uses contained in BMC 20.12.030. Additionally, open parking areas shall be screened from adjacent property lines by a minimum three-foot to four-foot-high hedge or fence. Refuse and recycling bins shall be screened from view of adjacent properties by fencing and landscaping.

9. Open Space. In residential single zones, at least 15 percent of the project site area shall be maintained as common open space. For the purposes of this provision, common open space shall be any undeveloped area designated, dedicated or otherwise reserved for public and/or private use and benefit as a natural area, greenway corridor or for recreational purposes as may be specified on the approved site plan. In other zones, the open space requirements of the underlying use district shall apply.

10. Common buildings for uses consistent with the definition of co-housing may be permitted, provided no common building shall exceed 5,000 square feet in floor area.

11. A sidewalk shall be constructed within all abutting city street rights-of-way. A local improvement district commitment or other method of obtaining a financial contribution to sidewalk construction may be accepted in place of construction if the city does not desire immediate construction.

12. Walkways shall be required to link building entrances, streets, recreational areas and parking.

13. Streets and utilities shall be designed to fulfill reasonably anticipated future need and be located to enable the continued orderly and reasonable use of adjacent property. Streets and utilities shall be extended across the full width of the property unless it is clearly demonstrated that the extension will not be needed for development of adjacent property.

14. Abutting streets shall be improved to a three-quarter standard, based on the specified street standard in Chapter 13.04 BMC or the street standard specified in the neighborhood plan.

15. Activities that are part of a home occupation may take place in a portion of a common building if specifically approved through a home occupation permit. All other rules and limitations regarding home occupations shall apply. Common buildings shall not be designed for commercial uses. Common buildings or groups of residences are not to be used to conduct business activities that exceed the magnitude of activity normally associated with home occupations that are conducted within single-family residence. Business activities shall not be the primary function of a common building and in no case shall more than 50 percent of the area of a common building be used for home occupations. The number of home occupations and the area used for each may be regulated in order to limit cumulative impacts. The co-housing contract may provide for additional home occupation limitations.

16. Design Guidelines.

a. The development, from the viewpoint of the public street, shall present a view that is residential in nature and similar to, or compatible with, other residential uses on that street. For example, views of residences and landscaping rather than views of blank walls or parking lots.

b. Large parking lots shall be avoided. Parking areas shall be broken up with landscaping and placed along the sides and rear of the site whenever possible.

c. Existing wetlands, streams, significant trees, topographical features and other natural features shall be saved, preserved and enhanced to the greatest extent possible consistent with reasonable and appropriate use of the subject site. Links between open spaces and pedestrian routes shall be facilitated whenever possible.

d. The design shall provide outdoor play area for children in individual yard and/or common areas unless occupancy of the project is limited to adults.

e. Group play areas, recreational areas or other areas intended for concentrated outdoor activity for group functions should be located away from project boundaries and adequately screened to minimize impacts on adjacent properties.

f. In single-family residential districts, the project should encourage a diversity of construction styles in order to maintain a character more in keeping with that of single-family residential developments in contrast to that of multifamily developments.

17. The proposed development must also be found to:

a. Address any special conditions, prerequisite considerations or significant environmental elements identified in the neighborhood plan;

b. Be consistent with the goals and policies of the comprehensive plan;

c. Make adequate provisions for drainage, vehicular and pedestrian access (including emergency vehicle access), water, sewer, recreational areas and any other relevant features necessary to serve the public interest; and

d. Be designed to promote the residential quality of the neighborhood and to avoid detrimental impacts on adjacent properties.

18. The standards herein are minimum standards and may be increased for a particular co-housing proposal where more stringent standards are necessary to protect neighboring properties, conform with existing development in the area, preserve natural resources or sensitive environments, provide for orderly development or conform with the comprehensive plan.

D. Any exceptions to the standards in subsection (C) of this section must be approved by the hearing examiner only after written submittal by the applicant detailing the reasons why the standards cannot be met. Grounds for exceptions shall be limited to those justifications for variances contained within Chapter 20.18 BMC. Exceptions to allowed uses or density may not be granted. [Ord. 2004-09-065; Ord. 2002-10-069 § 44; Ord. 1998-08-062 § 5].

20.10.050 Site area.

A. No building or structure shall hereafter be erected or located upon a lot unless in conformity with the minimum site area regulations of the general use type in which it is located, or as may be otherwise provided herein.

B. No lot or parcel of land now existing or hereafter established shall be so reduced or diminished that yards, open space or site area be made smaller than the minimum required by this title, nor shall any lot or parcel of land that is now smaller than the minimum required by this title be further reduced or diminished in any manner, except as may be provided by law. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.060 Open space.

Open space as required by this title shall be a continuing obligation. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.070 Height.

A. Buildings and structures shall not exceed the height limitation as specified in the applicable general use type development handbook. The property owner may elect to follow either height definition when there is an option; provided, that the director determines that the choice will not be unduly detrimental to the existing or future development of the adjacent properties.

B. Spires, towers, domes, steeples, flag poles, chimneys, smokestacks, and/or ventilators may be erected above the height limitation, provided no usable floor space above the height limit is added thereby. This exception shall not apply to wireless communication facilities. No overheight object shall be used for advertising of any kind. [Ord. 1998-07-057; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.080 Yards.

A. No yard shall be reduced in size so as to make it smaller than the minimum dimension required, except as allowed in the regulatory options found in the residential single (RS) and residential multi (RM) development standards.

B. No portion of any building or structure shall project into any required yard within a residential single (RS) or residential multi (RM) general use type, except as shown in Table 20.10.080, Permitted Yard Encroachments. Similar residential architectural features, mechanical equipment, and landscape structures not listed in Table 20.10.080 may be approved by the planning and community development director. Permitted encroachments into any yard are required to meet adopted building codes, and meet minimum vision clearance triangle on a corner lot.

 

Table 20.10.080 – Permitted Yard Encroachments 

 

 

 

P = Permitted

N = Not permitted

Encroachments

Front Yard Setback

Side Yard Setback on a Flanking Street

Side Yard Setback

Rear Yard Setback

Front Yard Setback Option (1)

Uncovered accessibility ramp

P

P

P

P

P

Accessory building

RS per BMC 20.30.100

RM per BMC 20.32.110

N

N

P

P

N

Landscape arbor or trellis

P

P

P

P

P

Awning/canopy for a window, porch or door

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

Cantilevered bay window

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum (5) (6) (7)

P

2' maximum

N

Green house window (manufactured window unit)

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum (7) (8)

P

2' maximum

N

Dormer(s)

P

2'/4' maximum (9)

P

2'/4' maximum (9)

P

2' maximum (5) (6) (7)

P

2' maximum

N

Chimney/fireplace

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

N

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

Fireplace with direct venting

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum (10)

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

Covered porch (2)

Single story main entry open on 3 sides

P

6' maximum

P

6' maximum

N

N

N

Roof; cornice, eave or overhang less than 4' in depth (4)

P

P

P

P

P

Uncovered deck less than 30" above grade (3)

P

P

P

P

P

Uncovered deck or balcony, exceeding 30" above grade (3)

P

6' maximum

P

6' maximum

P

2' maximum (6) (7)

P

5' maximum

N

Uncovered stairwell, stairway or steps not exceeding 4' above grade (2)

P

P

P

P

P

Uncovered stairways, stairwells exceeding 4' above grade

N

P

2' maximum

P

2' maximum

P

5' maximum

N

Fences and walls, per BMC 20.12.050

P

P

P

P

P

Hot tub

Swimming pool

Sport court

N

N

N

P

4' maximum

N

Mechanical equipment, such as: air condition unit, heat pump unit

N

N

N

P

4' maximum

N

Notes:

1.    Yard encroachments may be permitted per BMC 20.10.080(B).

2.    Uncovered steps leading into a porch or deck which are not exceeding four feet above grade are not counted towards the six feet front yard encroachment.

3.    Lower decks or balconies with decks or balconies above them are not considered roofed.

4.    Shall not be closer than three feet to a property line.

5.    Shall not exceed 12 feet in width and separated from like features by at least four feet.

6.    Prohibited within the side yard for residential single development.

7.    Prohibited within seven feet of a side property line for residential multi development.

8.    A manufactured green house window unit within the side yard is allowed as follows:

i.    Limited to the first floor;

ii.    Maximum width four feet; and

iii.    Maximum height four feet.

9.    A dormer may encroach a maximum of two feet when located above a corresponding bay window, or four feet when located above a corresponding front porch.

10.    A wall bump-out for a gas fireplace with direct venting is allowed as follows:

i.    Limited to the first floor;

ii.    Maximum width six feet; and

iii.    Maximum height six feet measured from finished floor.

C. For corner lots, the front yard shall be that yard which abuts a designated arterial. If neither or both of the abutting streets are designated arterials, the builder/owner shall have the option of selecting the front yard. The remaining yard shall be the side yard on a flanking street.

D. Whenever the right-of-way width is below minimum standards as specified in ordinance No. 8027, the centerline for setback purposes shall be the farthest edge of the existing right-of-way which was dedicated by the subject property. [Ord. 2011-07-036; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.090 Special conditions.

A. Special Districts. The following terms identified as special conditions in the land use classification system refer to overlay zones or additional regulations which may be applicable to a land use area where the term appears:

1. “Shoreline.”

2. “Flood.”

3. “View.”

4. “Clearing.”

Where no ordinance covering one of the above terms has been passed or shoreline master plan has been approved by the city, these terms shall not be applicable. In areas where one of the following terms are stated in the land use classification system, compliance with the provisions of the respective regulation will be required pursuant to the terms of that program or ordinance:

Term

Regulation

“Shoreline”

Shoreline Management Master Program

B. Special Concerns. The remaining words identified as special conditions in the land use classification system are special concerns which are site-specific in nature. The designation of a special concern in an area will not result in any requirements being imposed on development proposals in that area pursuant to this title other than those which require discretionary permits. Rather, these special concerns identify problems which may form the basis of conditions to be attached to a development proposal pursuant to discretionary approval under this title (variance, conditional use, or approval pursuant to the planned or institutional development regulations), subdivision approval (long plat), or the State Environmental Policy Act (Chapter 43.21C RCW as implemented by city Ordinance No. 8515, as amended).

Any conditions attached to discretionary approval of a project pursuant to this section shall be based upon the special concern as explained by language (if any) contained in either the introductory paragraph to the area classification system or in the preceding text as well as the goals of the comprehensive plan and shall be attached only to satisfy the appropriate standards for issuance of such approval; provided, that any conditions to proposals which are based upon such special concerns shall be formulated so as to allow the reasonable use of property for a purpose to which it is suitably adopted. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.10.100 Prerequisite considerations.

A. Purpose. Prerequisite considerations are enumerated in the neighborhood plan land use classification system of the comprehensive plan in order to prevent the overcrowding of land in relation to the existing provision of essential services, to lessen congestion of streets, to provide for orderly and coordinated development, to conserve and restore natural beauty and other natural resources and facilitate provision of adequate transportation, water, sewerage, and other public services.

B. Effect.

1. Prerequisite considerations are items which shall be addressed by the responsible official in conjunction with any proposal not exempt from the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) or by the decision-making body in regard to those projects which require discretionary approval.

2. Any conditions attached to discretionary approval of a project pursuant to this section shall be based upon the prerequisite consideration as explained by language (if any) contained in either the introductory paragraph to the area classification system or in the preceding text of the neighborhood plan, as well as the goals of the comprehensive plan.

3. Conditions based upon prerequisite considerations shall be formulated to correspond to the degree of impact which the specific development proposal is anticipated to have upon the situation giving rise to the prerequisite consideration; provided, that conditions to proposals which are based upon such prerequisite considerations shall be formulated so as to allow the reasonable use of property for a purpose to which it is suitably adapted.

4. In the event a mechanism exists which will ensure that a prerequisite consideration will be satisfied at an appropriate time, the responsible official or decision-making body may approve the development proposal conditioned upon such future performance. Where the responsible official or decision-making body decides that the prerequisite consideration is inapplicable to a development proposal and attaches no corresponding condition, the rationale for such decision shall be specifically set out in findings of fact.

C. The city of Bellingham shall adopt a capital improvement plan which shall address specifically the prerequisite considerations delineated in the Bellingham plan and include a priority within which the developmental problems recognized by the prerequisite considerations should be resolved.

D. User Information. If there are any prerequisite considerations listed in the applicable neighborhood plan land use classification system, consult the office of planning and development for guidance prior to project plan preparation. [Ord. 9024, 1982].