Chapter 20.84
VARIANCES, CONDITIONAL USES, ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL USES AND APPEALS

Sections:

20.84.100    Variances.

20.84.150    Reserved.

20.84.200    Conditional uses.

20.84.210    Application.

20.84.220    Criteria.

20.84.225    Revisions to conditional use permits.

20.84.230    Reserved.

20.84.235    Administrative approval uses.

20.84.236    Revisions to administrative approval use permits.

20.84.240    Reserved.

20.84.250    Reserved.

20.84.260    Reserved.

20.84.100 Variances.

.110 The hearing examiner shall have authority to grant a variance from the provisions of this ordinance and of WCC Title 22, the Guide Meridian Improvement Plan, when, in the opinion of the hearing examiner, the conditions set forth in WCC 20.84.120 have been found to exist. In such cases, a variance may be granted which is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this ordinance so that the spirit of this ordinance shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured, and substantial justice done; provided, that no variance shall be granted which authorizes a use which is not permitted by the underlying zoning.

.120 Before any variance may be granted, it shall be shown that the following circumstances are found to apply:

(1) That any variance granted shall not constitute a grant of special privilege, be based upon reasons of hardship caused by previous actions of the property owner, nor be granted for pecuniary reasons alone;

(2) Because of special circumstances applicable to the subject property, including size, shape, topography, location or surrounding, the strict application of the zoning ordinance is found to cause a hardship and deprive the subject property of a use or improvement otherwise allowed in the identical zone classification. Aesthetic considerations or design preferences without reference to restrictions based upon the physical characteristics of the property do not constitute sufficient hardship under this section;

(3) The granting of the variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare, or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and zone in which the subject is situated. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. D), 2018; Ord. 2017-030 § 1 (Exh. Q), 2017; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987).

20.84.150 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 2016-011. (Ord. 2010-030 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010).

20.84.200 Conditional uses.

(Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. D), 2018).

20.84.210 Application.

Conditional use permit applications shall be processed per the provisions of Chapter 22.05 WCC. Conditional use permits shall be nontransferable unless said transfer is further approved by the hearing examiner. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. D), 2018).

20.84.220 Criteria.

Before approving an application, the hearing examiner or zoning administrator shall ensure that any specific standards of the use district defining the use are fulfilled, and shall find adequate evidence showing that the proposed use at the proposed location:

(1) Will be harmonious and in accordance with the general and specific objectives of Whatcom County’s Comprehensive Plan and zoning regulations.

(2) Will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so as to be harmonious and appropriate in appearance with the existing or intended character of the general vicinity, and that such use will not change the essential character of the same area.

(3) If located in a rural area (as designated in the Comprehensive Plan), will be consistent with rural land use policies as designated in the rural lands element of the Comprehensive Plan.

(4) Will not be hazardous or disturbing to existing or future neighboring uses.

(5) Will be serviced adequately by necessary public facilities such as highways, streets, police and fire protection, drainage structures, refuse disposal, water, sewers, and schools; or that the persons or agencies responsible for the establishment of the proposed use shall be able to provide adequately any such services.

(6) Will not create excessive additional requirements at public cost for public facilities and services, and will not be detrimental to the economic welfare of the community.

(7) Will not involve uses, activities, processes, materials, equipment and conditions of operation that will be detrimental to any persons, property, or the general welfare by reasons of excessive production of traffic, noise, smoke, fumes, glare or odors.

(8) Will have vehicular approaches to the property which shall be so designed as not to create an interference with traffic on surrounding public streets.

(9) Will not result in the destruction, loss or damage of any natural, scenic or historic feature of major importance. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. D), 2018; Ord. 2018-020 Exh. A, 2018; Ord. 2017-030 § 1 (Exh. K), 2017; Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2004-014 § 2, 2004).

20.84.225 Revisions to conditional use permits.

The hearing examiner may administratively approve revisions to conditional use permits; provided, that the proposed changes are within the scope and intent of the original permit. “Within the scope and intent of the original permit” shall mean the following:

(1) Lot coverage and height may be increased a maximum of 10 percent from the provisions of the original permit; provided, that revisions involving new structures not shown on the original site plan shall require a new permit; and provided further, that any revisions authorized under this paragraph shall not exceed height, lot coverage, setback or any other requirements of the regulations for the area in which the project is located; and provided further that any revisions authorized under this paragraph shall be reviewed for consistency with the relevant chapters and policies in the Comprehensive Plan;

(2) Landscaping may be added to a project without necessitating an application for a new permit; provided, that the landscaping is consistent with conditions (if any) attached to the original permit and is consistent with the regulations for the area in which the project is located;

(3) The use authorized pursuant to the original permit is not changed;

(4) No additional over-water construction will be involved for shoreline conditional use permits;

(5) No substantial increase in adverse environmental impact will be caused by the project revision. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. D), 2018; Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987).

20.84.230 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 2018-032. (Ord. 2002-007 § 1, 2002; Ord. 96-031 § 2, 1996).

20.84.235 Administrative approval uses.

(1) Administrative approval applications shall be processed per the provisions of Chapter 22.05 WCC.

(2) Planning and development services shall approve or deny all administrative approval use applications. Decisions for all administrative approval use permits except adult businesses shall be based upon compliance with:

(a) The criteria established for the proposed use in the appropriate zone district;

(b) The Comprehensive Plan policies governing the associated land use designation;

(c) In rural areas, consideration will be given to the cumulative impacts of permitted uses in relation to the governing Comprehensive Plan policies and zoning district; and

(d) The requirement of this section and of WCC 20.84.220.

Decisions for administrative approval use permits for adult businesses shall be based solely upon the criteria in subsection (3) of this section.

(3) Criteria for Adult Businesses. Prior to granting administrative approval for an adult business, planning and development services shall find that the proposed use at the proposed location satisfies or will satisfy all the following criteria:

(a) The adult business will be consistent with WCC 20.66.131.

(b) The adult business shall be closed from 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. if it contains:

(i) An “adult eating or drinking establishment” as defined by WCC 20.97.008(2); or

(ii) An “adult theater” as defined by WCC 20.97.008(3); or

(iii) An “other adult commercial establishment” as defined by WCC 20.97.008(4); or

(iv) One or more viewing booths.

(c) If the adult business includes one or more viewing booths, the interior of the adult business will incorporate all of the following measures:

(i) Each viewing booth shall have at least a three-foot wide opening where a customer enters and exits the booth that is without doors, physical barriers, or visual barriers; and

(ii) Each viewing booth shall have at least one 100-watt light bulb that is properly working and turned on when business is open. The light bulb shall not be covered or otherwise shielded except with a commercially available lighting fixture. A minimum of one 12-inch by 12-inch durable metal sign shall be located at the entrance to each viewing booth area stating that lights shall remain on; and

(iii) Aisles or hallways adjacent to viewing booths shall be a minimum of five feet wide; and

(iv) There shall be no holes or openings in common walls between viewing booths.

For adult businesses containing one or more viewing booths, a condition of administrative approval shall require an unannounced inspection every six months during business hours by Whatcom County to ensure that measures in subsections (3)(c)(i) through (iv) of this section are being implemented on an ongoing basis. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. D), 2018; Ord. 2011-013 § 2 Exh. B, 2011; Ord. 2003-039 Exh. A, 2003; Ord. 2002-007 § 1, 2002; Ord. 2001-038 § 2, 2001; Ord. 97-069, 1997; Ord. 95-031, 1995; Ord. 91-009, 1991).

20.84.236 Revisions to administrative approval use permits.

Planning and development services may approve revisions to administrative approval use permits; provided, that the proposed changes are within the scope and intent of the original permit. “Within the scope and intent of the original permit” shall mean the following:

(1) Lot coverage and height may be increased a maximum of 10 percent from the provisions of the original permit; provided, that revisions involving new structures not shown on the original site plan shall require a new permit; and provided further, that any revisions authorized under this subsection shall not exceed height, lot coverage, setback or any other requirements of the regulations for the area in which the project is located; and provided further, that any revisions authorized under this subsection shall be reviewed for consistency with the relevant chapters and policies in the Comprehensive Plan;

(2) Landscaping may be added to a project without necessitating an application for a new permit; provided, that the landscaping is consistent with conditions (if any) attached to the original permit and is consistent with the regulations for the area in which the project is located;

(3) The use authorized pursuant to the original permit is not changed;

(4) No additional over-water construction will be involved for shoreline conditional use permits;

(5) No substantial increase in adverse environmental impact will be caused by the project revision. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. D), 2018; Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

20.84.240 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 2018-032. (Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 2001-038 § 2, 2001; Ord. 99-056, 1999; Ord. 96-031 § 2, 1996).

20.84.250 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 2018-032. (Ord. 96-056 Att. A § U2, 1996; Ord. 93-80, 1993; Ord. 87-41, 1987; Ord. 85-33, 1985).

20.84.260 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 2018-032. (Ord. 2017-030 § 1 (Exh. L), 2017; Ord. 2006-061 § 1 (Att. A)(3), 2006).