Chapter 20.32
RESIDENTIAL RURAL (RR) DISTRICT

Sections:

20.32.010    Purpose.

20.32.050    Permitted uses.

20.32.100    Accessory uses.

20.32.130    Administrative approval uses.

20.32.150    Conditional uses.

20.32.200    Prohibited uses.

20.32.250    Maximum density, minimum lot size and width.

20.32.251    Minimum lot size and maximum density.

20.32.252    Rural residential density overlay.

20.32.253    Maximum density and minimum lot size.

20.32.254    Minimum lot width and depth.

20.32.300    Lot clustering, reserve area and reserve tract.

20.32.305    Lot clustering. (Adopted by reference in WCCP Chapter 2.)

20.32.310    Design standards. (Adopted by reference in WCCP Chapter 2.)

20.32.315    Reserve area.

20.32.320    Reserve tract. (Adopted by reference in WCCP Chapter 2.)

20.32.350    Building setbacks.

20.32.400    Height limitations.

20.32.450    Lot coverage. (Adopted by reference in WCCP Chapter 2.)

20.32.650    Development criteria.

20.32.651    Plat language for proposed subdivisions.

20.32.652    Use of natural resources.

20.32.653    Landscaping.

20.32.654    Parking requirements.

20.32.655    Livestock regulations.

20.32.656    Drainage.

20.32.010 Purpose.

The purpose of the Residential Rural District is to maintain the low density rural residential character of the areas designated as rural neighborhoods or rural communities on the Comprehensive Plan map and implement the Comprehensive Plan policies that define the rural character in Whatcom County in accordance with RCW 36.70A.070(5). In addition, it is the intent of this district to provide the opportunity for the development of building sites which maximize the efficient use of both energy and land by allowing an option for clustering of residential lots. (Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 25, 1998; Ord. 82-58, 1982).

20.32.050 Permitted uses.

Unless otherwise provided herein, permitted and conditional uses shall be administered pursuant to the applicable provisions of Chapter 20.80 WCC (Supplementary Requirements) and Chapter 20.84 WCC (Variances, Conditional Uses and Appeals).

.051 One single-family dwelling per lot.

.052 Reserved.

.053 Public parks and recreation facilities included in an adopted city or county Comprehensive Plan or Park Plan.

.054 Agriculture, including animal husbandry, horticulture, viticulture, floriculture, silviculture, and beekeeping; and the cultivation of crops.

.055 Private, noncommercial boat docks when located on a manmade canal designed for boat traffic pursuant to the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program.

.056 Trails, trailheads, restroom facilities and associated parking areas for no more than 30 vehicles.

.057 One one-story detached accessory storage building per lot; provided, that the floor area shall not exceed 200 square feet and shall only be used for personal storage and not for habitation or business; and provided further, that the storage building shall contain no indoor plumbing but may be served with electrical power for lighting.

.088 Adult family homes as defined in Chapter 70.128 RCW.

.089 Boarding homes that are similar in size, facilities and occupancy to other residential structures permitted in the zoning district.

.090 Mental health facilities that provide residential treatment and are similar in size, facilities and occupancy to other residential structures permitted in the zoning district.

.091 Substance abuse facilities that provide residential treatment and are similar in size, facilities and occupancy to other residential structures permitted in the zoning district. (Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. Q), 2016; Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2005-079 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2004-026 § 1, 2004; Ord. 2004-014 § 2, 2004; Ord. 2000-040 § 1, 2000; Ord. 99-068, 1999; Ord. 99-062, 1999; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 26, 1998; Ord. 97-062; Ord. 96-056 Att. A § D1, 1996; Ord. 93-056, 1993; Ord. 88-40, 1988; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987).

20.32.100 Accessory uses.

.101 Home occupations pursuant to WCC 20.80.970.

.102 Private noncommercial boat docks, launches, ramps, floats, moorages and boathouses pursuant to the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program.

.103 Other accessory uses incidental to the primary permitted use.

.104 Temporary dwelling units which have full living accommodations including sleeping, self-contained cooking, bathing, and toilet facilities where the plumbing is connected to permanent site sewage and water systems, including those travel trailers and recreational vehicles that meet the above description, for use by owners during the period of construction of a permanent dwelling while building permit is valid, not to exceed two years.

.105 Family day care homes.

.106 Bed and breakfast establishments. (Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. D), 2016; Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2010-030 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2009-034 § 1 (Att. A), 2009; Ord. 2009-033 § 1 (Att. A), 2009; Ord. 87-23, 1987; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987).

20.32.130 Administrative approval uses.

The following uses are permitted subject to administrative approval pursuant to WCC 20.84.235.

.131 A temporary second dwelling unit of no more than 1,248 square feet in floor area, in the form of a manufactured home, a fully serviced travel trailer or motor home, to provide:

(1) A temporary dwelling space for family members who, due to professionally documented physical or mental disorders, or risks of such disorders, require supervision and care where such care is provided by members of the family who reside on the property; or

(2) A temporary dwelling space for a person providing care for the resident owner of the subject property when said owner needs supervision and care as described in (1) above.

Approval Requirements:

Administrative approval for temporary second dwelling units shall be approved if it is determined that the proposal meets the following requirements:

(1) Temporary second dwelling units shall only be permitted on fully serviced parcels on which the applicant can meet setback, ingress, egress, height restrictions, and lot coverage requirements.

(2) The size of the temporary dwelling shall be appropriate to the use and size of the parcel and shall be limited so as to comply with the standards set forth in (1) above.

(3) The temporary home shall be connected to an approved water supply and adequate capacity sewage disposal system approved by the Whatcom County health department.

(4) When care is no longer necessary, the temporary home shall be removed within 60 days.

(5) The permit shall be valid for one year. The permit may be extended on a yearly basis; provided, that an affidavit is furnished by the permittee affirming that the circumstances allowing the original permit remain in effect.

(6) A covenant shall be filed that restricts sale of the property while the temporary dwelling is in place.

(7) The use will not be hazardous or disturbing to existing or future neighboring uses.

(8) Evidence of adequate off-street parking space shall be provided.

(9) There shall be no occupancy of the temporary dwelling outside the conditions under which the temporary dwelling is permitted pursuant to this section.

(10) All mobile homes must demonstrate compliance with minimum HUD Fire Safety Standards and compliance with current Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

Penalties: False statements on supporting documentation submitted with the application or failure to comply with any of the approval requirements may be cause for revocation of the permit and prosecution.

.132 Accessory apartments or detached accessory dwelling units to single-family dwellings; provided, that all of the following approval requirements are met:

(1) In addition to an existing or permitted dwelling, there shall be no more than one accessory apartment or detached accessory dwelling unit per lot;

(2) The owner(s) of the single-family lot upon which the accessory apartment or detached accessory dwelling unit is located shall occupy as their primary domicile at least one of the dwelling units on that lot;

(3) Proof that adequate provisions have been made for potable water, wastewater disposal, and stormwater runoff for the additional dwelling unit must be obtained prior to application for a building permit;

(4) There shall be only one front entrance to the house visible from the front yard and street for houses with accessory apartments and only one additional entrance visible from the front yard for detached accessory dwelling units;

(5) Accessory apartments and detached accessory units shall be clearly a subordinate part of an existing residence;

(6) In no case shall an accessory apartment or detached dwelling unit be larger than 1,248 square feet in floor area;

(7) Long plats and short plats which are granted after January 25, 1994, shall be marked, specifically designating lots allowed to be developed with accessory apartments or detached accessory dwelling units at the option of the developer for future individual owners. Accessory apartments and detached accessory dwelling units shall be prohibited on:

(a) All lots in long plats which received preliminary plat approval after January 25, 1994, unless those lots have been specifically marked for such use through the long plat process;

(b) All lots within short plats which received approval after January 25, 1994, unless those lots have been specifically marked for such use through the short plat process;

(c) All reserve tracts within long plats and short plats created by the cluster subdivision method;

(8) A common driveway serving both the existing unit and any accessory unit shall be used to the greatest extent possible;

(9) A deed restriction is recorded with the Whatcom County auditor prior to building permit issuance, stating:

(a) Detached accessory dwelling units and associated land cannot be financed or sold separately from the original dwelling, except in the event the zoning permits such a land division; and

(b) One of the dwellings must be the primary domicile of the owner;

(10) Outside of an urban growth area, the minimum lot size for detached accessory units shall be on a lot of record no less than 4.5 acres, unless the parcel is large enough to accommodate two dwelling units consistent with the underlying zoning density;

(11) Accessory apartments and detached accessory dwelling units to single-family dwellings are allowed within the Lake Whatcom watershed, only under the following circumstances:

(a) Development of the parcel with the primary residence and accessory apartment or detached accessory dwelling shall conform to the density of the zoning district in which it is located. Adjacent properties in the same ownership may be bound by covenant to comply with the underlying zoning density; and

(b) All of the above approval requirements shall be met for so long as the accessory unit remains;

(12) Detached accessory dwelling units shall be located so as to minimize visual impact to the public right-of-way and to adjacent properties. Location in immediate proximity to the primary residence is preferred. Location closer to property lines than to the primary residence may be considered by the administrator when such location serves the goal of reducing overall visual impact to public right-of-way and adjacent properties, and such location still meets the setback requirements as stated in Chapter 20.80 WCC. To minimize environmental and visual impact the applicant may be required to provide fencing and/or planting to screen the unit from public right-of-way and adjacent properties;

(13) All mobile homes must demonstrate compliance with minimum HUD Fire Safety Standards and compliance with Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

.133 Mini-day care homes.

.134 One private, noncommercial, recreational vehicle or park model trailer and one accessory guest RV per lot within designated rural communities in the Foothills Subarea, as listed in WCC 20.97.337; provided, that the following minimum requirements and standards are met and/or followed:

(1) All recreational vehicles that remain on the site for more than 14 consecutive days shall be connected to a permitted on-site sewage system or public sewer.

(2) Maximum length of occupation of a recreational vehicle shall not exceed 120 days per calendar year; provided, that no accessory guest recreational vehicle shall stay on the lot for more than 14 consecutive days nor more than 30 days total per calendar year.

(3) All recreational vehicles shall be screened from neighboring properties not using RVs and from public roads. Such screening may consist of landscaped buffer areas, suitable native vegetation or a fence.

(4) Lots shall not be leased or rented out on a daily or overnight basis for recreational use.

(5) Accessory structures shall be limited to storage, shop, garage, carport and/or similar personal use only and shall not exceed a total of 200 square feet in floor area per lot; provided, that the 200-square-foot limitation shall not apply to that portion of a carport covering the RV.

(6) The locations of parked RVs on vacant lots shall observe normal building setback standards for a single-family residence.

(7) All recreational vehicles shall be supported by their own wheels or camper jacks, and not be fastened to accessory structures.

.135 Cottage industries employing no more than two people on site, other than family members residing on the premises; provided, that in addition to the criteria found in WCC 20.84.220 and 20.80.980:

(1) The zoning administrator, at his or her discretion, may place limitations on the square footage in an existing or new structure used for a cottage industry and construction of new buildings to house said activity shall not, in any case, exceed 1,250 square feet of total floor area. The total land area used for buildings and outside storage or other uses related to the cottage industry shall not exceed 10,000 square feet or 25 percent of the site, whichever is less.

(2) The parcel size shall not be less than one acre; provided, that a smaller parcel may be approved by the hearing examiner by conditional use.

(3) In the event materials will be stored outdoors, the zoning administrator shall require adequate landscaping, screening, or other devices in order that the material will not be visible by surrounding uses or roads.

(4) One nonilluminated sign, not to exceed eight square feet in size, mounted on the property, is permitted. A larger sign up to 32 square feet may be approved by the hearing examiner as a conditional use.

(5) Seasonal employees working less than 21 days per year will not be counted as employees if they are engaged in work directly related to agriculture or forestry. (Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. D), 2016; Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-043 Exh. A, 2011; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2010-016 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2009-034 § 1 (Att. A), 2009; Ord. 2006-061 § 1 (Att. A)(7), 2006; Ord. 2005-079 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2001-012 § 1, 2001; Ord. 2000-040 § 1, 2000; Ord. 99-068, 1999; Ord. 98-018 § 1, 1998; Ord. 95-031, 1995; Ord. 91-009, 1991; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987).

20.32.150 Conditional uses.

Items indicated by an “*” are not allowed outside rural communities unless the applicant can demonstrate that there is a need to locate outside those areas in order to comply with legal requirements or standards; or that the proposed location is the most efficient place for the proposed use with respect to providing needed services to the public.

.151 Public and community facilities including police and fire stations, libraries, community centers, recreation facilities, and other similar noncommercial uses, excluding correction facilities.*

.152 Public schools; and parochial or private schools; provided such schools shall be approved by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.*

.153 Churches, educational and religious training institutions, summer camps and cemeteries.

.154 Retirement and convalescent homes; social and health rehabilitation centers; day care centers; mini-day care centers and adult care centers not in a family dwelling; and other health-related services consistent with the purpose of the district.*

.155 Reserved.

.156 Golf course.

.157 Activity centers.

.158 Public or private parks that are not included in an adopted city or county Comprehensive Plan or Park Plan.

.159 Bed and breakfast inns.

.160 Confinement feeding operations and feedlots.

.161 Public campgrounds.

.162 Private, noncommercial boat docks, launches, ramps, floats, moorages and boathouses pursuant to the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program for owners of legal lots of record abutting the shoreline. The conditional use permit shall be approved if the hearing examiner finds that the proposal will not be hazardous or disturbing to neighbors and all applicable zoning requirements are satisfied. The criteria of WCC 20.84.220 shall not apply.

.163 Plant nurseries and greenhouses for storage, propagation and culture of plants, including sales as an accessory use provided:

(1) Must be located on a collector arterial or higher classified road.

(2) Covered sales area and associated display areas must not exceed 10 percent of the total area of development.

(3) There shall be fixed hours of operation.

(4) Parking lot, indoor sales or other potential impacts related to operations shall be buffered from neighbors.

(5) Signage shall be aesthetically compatible with the character of the neighborhood.

(6) All other criteria for conditional use permits must be met.

(7) Outdoor storage of fertilizer is prohibited.

(8) No aerial application of chemical products shall be allowed within 50 feet of dissimilar uses.

(9) This type of activity will be prohibited in the Lake Whatcom watershed and Lummi Island and in other areas deemed to be water quality sensitive, excluding retail nurseries operating chemical free.

.164 Athletic fields.

.165 Trailheads with parking areas for more than 30 vehicles.

.183 State education facilities.

.185 Type I solid waste handling facilities.

.186 Type II solid waste handling facilities.

.189 Boarding homes that are larger than other residential structures permitted in the zoning district.*

.190 Mental health facilities that provide residential treatment and are larger than other residential structures permitted in the zoning district.*

.191 Substance abuse facilities that provide residential treatment and are larger than other residential structures permitted in the zoning district.*

.192 Mitigation banks as a form of compensatory mitigation for wetland and habitat conservation area impacts when permitted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 16.16 WCC; provided, applications for mitigation banks shall be processed as a major development project pursuant to Chapter 20.88 WCC. (Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. Q), 2016; Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2009-034 § 1 (Att. A), 2009; Ord. 2009-033 § 1 (Att. A), 2009; Ord. 2005-068 § 2, 2005; Ord. 2004-026 § 1, 2004; Ord. 2004-014 § 2, 2004; Ord. 2001-012 § 1, 2001; Ord. 99-068, 1999; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 27, 1998; Ord. 98-018 § 1, 1998; Ord. 96-056 Att. A § E1, 1996; Ord. 95-031, 1995; Ord. 94-056, 1994; Ord. 94-002, 1994; Ord. 90-41, 1990; Ord. 88-93, 1988; Ord. 88-40, 1988; Ord. 88-13, 1988; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987; Ord. 82-58, 1982).

20.32.200 Prohibited uses.

All uses not listed as permitted, accessory, administrative approval, or conditional uses are prohibited, including but not limited to the following, which are listed here for purposes of clarity:

.201 Reserved.

.202 Adult businesses.

.203 Mental health facilities that provide crisis care.

.204 Substance abuse facilities that provide crisis care.

.205 Outpatient mental health facilities.

.206 Outpatient substance abuse treatment facilities, including opiate substitution treatment clinics.

.210 Secure community transition facilities for sex offenders. (Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. L), 2016; Ord. 2004-014 § 2, 2004; Ord. 99-070 § 2, 1999).

20.32.250 Maximum density, minimum lot size and width.

20.32.251 Minimum lot size and maximum density.

For the purpose of creating new building lots within the Residential Rural District, several land use densities are provided. The minimum lot size and maximum density requirements for new construction vary according to the method of subdivision and whether or not public water is available, as well as whether stormwater collection and detention facilities, where identified by the appropriate Comprehensive Plan policies, serve the project site. Where the conventional subdivision method is used to create new building lots, if public water is not provided, the minimum lot size shall be five acres or, if public water and, where specified in the Comprehensive Plan, stormwater drainage facilities are provided, the minimum lot size shall be 36,000 square feet for RR-1 or 18,000 square feet for RR-2 areas or 12,000 square feet for RR-3 areas. The lot cluster subdivision method only shall be used if public water is provided, and then the minimum lot size is based on the district’s setback requirements (WCC 20.80.200) and the Whatcom County health department regulations for on-site septic disposal, but shall not be less than that shown in WCC 20.32.253. (Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2005-037 § 1 Exh. A, 2005; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 28, 1998; Ord. 90-45, 1990; Ord. 87-23, 1987; Ord. 86-29, 1986; Ord. 82-58, 1982).

20.32.252 Rural residential density overlay.

In certain areas delineated on the official zoning map in the RR-2A or RR-5A zone, and designated as a rural neighborhood in the Comprehensive Plan, a density overlay may be applied in order to permit densities consistent with surrounding development and the established rural character of the area.

(1) Eligibility. Eligibility for the density overlay is limited to lots that meet the following:

(a) Public water must be available; and

(b) At least 70 percent of lots wholly or partially within 500 feet of the subject lot’s outer boundary must have contained a residence and been under five acres in size on May 22, 2011.

(2) Calculation. Within this overlay the permitted minimum lot size for a lot is equivalent to the mean lot size of all lots that contained a residence on June 1, 2011, and are wholly or partially within 500 feet of the lot’s outer boundaries, or one acre, whichever is greater. This calculation is subject to the following:

(a) No lots within a city, urban growth area, or LAMIRD (rural community, rural tourism, or rural business Comprehensive Plan designation) may be included in the mean lot size calculation; and

(b) Lot sizes existing on or before May 22, 2011, shall be used in the mean lot size calculation. (Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-043 Exh. A, 2011; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011).

20.32.253 Maximum density and minimum lot size.

The following districts with their associated lot sizes, as indicated below, are only allowed within rural neighborhoods and rural communities, as described in the Comprehensive Plan: RR-2A, RR-1, RR-2, and RR-3. The RR-5A and RR-10A Districts are allowed in the rural areas; the Comprehensive Plan contains policies regarding application of these districts within the residential rural designation. For boundary line adjustments on lots not conforming to minimum lot sizes in this zoning district, lot size averaging may be used by calculating the average lot size of legal lots of record within 500 feet of the outside perimeter of the lots proposed for boundary line adjustment.

District

Gross Density

Minimum Lot Size

Min. Reserve Area (Cluster Subdivisions)

Conventional

Cluster

RR-1, RR-2, RR-3, RR-2A, RR-5A: without public water

1 dwelling unit/5 acres

5 acres

N/A

N/A

RR-10A without public water

1 dwelling unit/10 acres

10 acres

N/A

N/A

With public water, and stormwater detention and collection facilities:

RR-1

1 dwelling unit/1 acre

36,000 sq. ft.

15,000 sq.ft.

30%

RR-2

2 dwelling units/1 acre

18,000 sq. ft.

15,000 sq.ft.

10%

RR-3

3 dwelling units/1 acre

12,000 sq. ft.

8,000 sq.ft.

25%

RR-2A

1 dwelling unit/2 acres

2 acres

15,000 sq.ft.

30%

RR-5A

1 dwelling unit/5 acres

5 acres

15,000 sq.ft.

30%

RR-10A

1 dwelling unit/10 acres

10 acres

15,000 sq.ft.

30%

RR-5A and RR-2A subject to rural residential density overlay

Maximum: 1 dwelling unit/1 acre per WCC 20.32.252(2)

See WCC 20.32.252

15,000 sq.ft.

30%

(Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. M), 2016; Ord. 2013-028 § 2 Exh. B, 2013; Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-043 Exh. A, 2011; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2005-037 § 1 Exh. A, 2005; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 30, 1998; Ord. 90-45, 1990; Ord. 87-23, 1987; Ord. 86-29, 1986; Ord. 84-38, 1984; Ord. 82-58, 1982).

20.32.254 Minimum lot width and depth.

District

Width at Street Line

Width at Bldg. Line

Minimum
Mean Depth

Conventional

Cluster

RR: without public water

300

N/A

80

100

RR: with public water and stormwater collection and detention facilities

30

30

70

80

The “Width at Street Line” standards do not apply to lots being modified through boundary line adjustment (BLA) subject to WCC 21.03.060(2)(f).

(Ord. 2017-030 § 1 (Exh. H), 2017; Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 2011-043 Exh. A, 2011; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2005-037 § 1 Exh. A, 2005; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 31, 1998; Ord. 86-29, 1986; Ord. 84-38, 1984; Ord. 82-58, 1982).

20.32.300 Lot clustering, reserve area and reserve tract.

(Ord. 2013-028 § 2 Exh. B, 2013).

20.32.305 Lot clustering. (Adopted by reference in WCCP Chapter 2.)

(1) The purpose of lot clustering is to provide an alternative method of creating economical building lots with spatially efficient sizes. Clustering is intended to reduce development cost and increase energy efficiency and reserve areas of land which are suitable for agriculture, forestry, or open space.

(2) The clustering option is also intended to help preserve open space and the character of areas and reduce total impervious surface area thereby reducing runoff while assuring continued viable undeveloped natural vegetated corridors for wildlife habitat, protection of watersheds, preservation of wetlands, preservation of aesthetic values including view corridors, and preservation of potential trail and recreation areas. (Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 2013-028 § 2 Exh. B, 2013; Ord. 90-45, 1990).

20.32.310 Design standards. (Adopted by reference in WCCP Chapter 2.)

The creation of new building lots, pursuant to this section, shall be governed by the following recommended design standards:

(1) Clustered building lots may be only created through the subdivision or short subdivision process.

(2) Building lots shall be designed and located to the fullest extent possible to be compatible with valuable or unique natural features, as well as physical constraints of the site.

(3) The majority of building sites shall be arranged in a cluster or concentrated pattern to be compatible with physical site features and have no more than two common encroachments on existing county roads. The arrangement of clustered building lots is intended to discourage development forms commonly known as linear, straight-line or highway strip patterns.

(4) Common access to clustered building lots shall be provided by short length roads or loop roads. In urban growth areas and urban growth area reserves, interior streets shall be designed to allow access to the “reserve tract” for the purpose of future approved development in urban growth areas and urban growth area reserves. (Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 2013-028 § 2 Exh. B, 2013; Ord. 90-45, 1990).

20.32.315 Reserve area.

(1) An easement on the subdivision plat shall establish a reserve area per the definition in WCC 20.97.344 that is protected in perpetuity so long as it is not within an urban growth area. The minimum percentage of the parent parcel required to be within a reserve area is shown in WCC 20.32.253.

(2) A reserve area may contain infrastructure necessary for the subdivision, including but not limited to underground utilities, stormwater ponds, and on-site septic system components, and, in reserve areas designated for agriculture, structures used for on-site agricultural uses permitted in WCC 20.32.054. Above-ground hard surface infrastructure such as roads and water tanks may be included in a reserve tract, but the area they occupy shall not be included in the reserve area percentage required in WCC 20.32.253. (Ord. 2013-028 § 2 Exh. B, 2013).

20.32.320 Reserve tract. (Adopted by reference in WCCP Chapter 2.)

For the purposes of this section, “reserve tract” is defined as that portion of a proposed subdivision or short subdivision which is intended for agricultural, forestry, or open space purposes. All “reserve tracts” created through the subdivision process shall be subject to the following provisions:

(1) After a site is initially subdivided pursuant to this chapter, the “reserve tract” may be retained by the subdivider, conveyed to residents of the subdivision or conveyed to a third party.

(2) The “reserve tract” may be considered as a building lot; provided, that such lot is included in the overall density calculation of the original parcel of record and that development within a “reserve area” easement is consistent with the uses permitted in reserve areas in this chapter.

(3) The “reserve tract” may be further subdivided only through the long subdivision process and only under the following circumstances:

(a) The county finds that in developing adjacent tracts it would help to further the objectives listed in WCC 20.32.305(2) by dividing the reserve tract and increasing the area of reserve proportionately on the adjacent land being subdivided so that there is no net reduction in reserve area; and when the reserve tract is owned by the original developer or a third party, no property owner within the original subdivision will be significantly adversely affected or suffer a substantial decrease of property value as a result of dividing the reserve tract.

(b) When the Comprehensive Plan and zoning have been updated as part of the normal process (other than a revision initiated by the private sector or done for a specific area) and the public process has been gone through, subject to findings that there is no adverse impact to critical areas and development is in compliance with rural land use Comprehensive Plan policies, and when the reserve tract is owned by the original developer or a third party, no property owner within the original subdivision will be significantly adversely affected or suffer a substantial decrease of property value as a result of dividing the reserve tract.

(4) The purpose of the reserve tract as stated in subsections (1), (2) and (3) of this section shall be communicated in writing on the face of the plat or short plat. The number of developable building sites remaining (if any) with the original parcel of record, based on the assigned density, shall also be prominently displayed on the plat or short plat. Whatcom County shall make every effort to assist all agents in communicating clearly such information to all purchasers and prospective purchasers of building lots or “reserve tracts.” Any remaining density beyond the number of lots created on the plat may be assigned to either the lots or the reserve tract, but future subdivision shall not reduce the size of the reserve area below the minimum percentage of the original parent parcel required in WCC 20.32.253.

(5) The above requirements in subsections (2) to (4) of this section shall be recorded as a deed restriction at the time of filing of the final plat or short plat, and shall constitute an agreement between Whatcom County and the owner of record. Said deed restriction may be amended by mutual agreement between said parties after review for consistency and compliance with the Official Whatcom County Zoning Ordinance, the Whatcom County Subdivision Ordinance and the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan. (Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 2013-028 § 2 Exh. B, 2013; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 32, 1998; Ord. 90-45, 1990; Ord. 82-58, 1982).

20.32.350 Building setbacks.

Building setbacks shall be administered pursuant to WCC 20.80.200 (Setback Requirements). (Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012).

20.32.400 Height limitations.

Maximum height shall be limited to 35 feet. Height of structures shall also conform, where applicable, to the general requirements of WCC 20.80.675. (Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 85-70, 1985; Ord. 84-38, 1984).

20.32.450 Lot coverage. (Adopted by reference in WCCP Chapter 2.)

No structure or combination of structures shall occupy or cover more than 5,000 square feet or 20 percent, whichever is greater, of the total area, not to exceed 25,000 square feet. Buildings used for livestock or agricultural products shall be exempt from this lot coverage requirement. (Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 2012-032 § 2 Exh. B, 2012; Ord. 88-29, 1988).

20.32.650 Development criteria.

(Ord. 96-056 Att. A § A1, 1996).

20.32.651 Plat language for proposed subdivisions.

When a proposed subdivision, binding site plan, short subdivision or exempt land division will be located adjacent to or across a right-of-way from an existing Forestry District, the developer and any subsequent purchasers or successors in interest shall agree to refrain from any legal action to restrain or collect damages from the owners of such adjacent properties, or from Whatcom County, arising out of any reasonable and lawful activity on said forestry lands which occurs in the normal course of their established use. The agreement shall appear as a covenant or deed restriction upon the plat, tract or instrument of conveyance and shall run with the land. (Ord. 99-058, 1999; Ord. 92-015, 1992; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987).

20.32.652 Use of natural resources.

All discretionary project permits for land on or within one-half mile of the area designated as Agriculture, Rural, Commercial Forestry or Rural Forestry or within 300 feet of an area designated as Mineral Resource Lands in the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, or upon which farm operations are being conducted, shall be subject to the right to farm, right to practice forestry and mineral land disclosure policies contained in WCC Title 14, Use of Natural Resources. (Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 33, 1998; Ord. 96-056 Att. A § A2, 1996; Ord. 92-015, 1992).

20.32.653 Landscaping.

Refer to WCC 20.80.300 for landscaping requirements. (Ord. 89-117, 1989).

20.32.654 Parking requirements.

Parking shall conform to the requirements of WCC 20.80.500. However, recreation vehicles, and boat parking and storage shall be limited to side and rear yards.

20.32.655 Livestock regulations.

The keeping of livestock shall be administered pursuant to WCC 20.80.800 (Supplementary Requirements).

20.32.656 Drainage.

All development activity within Whatcom County shall be subject to the stormwater management provisions of WCC 20.80.630 through 20.80.635 unless specifically exempted.

No project permit shall be issued prior to meeting submittal requirements relating to stormwater management in the appropriate chapters of the Whatcom County Code. (Ord. 2017-045 § 1 (Exh. A), 2017; Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 96-056 Att. A § A2, 1996; Ord. 94-022, 1994).