Chapter 21.07


21.07.010    Purpose.

21.07.020    Binding site plan alternative.

21.07.030    Binding site plan procedure.

21.07.040    Development requirements.

21.07.050    Roads.

21.07.060    Public and community sites.

21.07.070    Easements.

21.07.080    Water supply – Health requirement.

21.07.090    Sewage disposal.

21.07.100    Fire protection.

21.07.110    Modifications to approved preliminary binding site plans.

21.07.120    Requirements for a fully completed application for preliminary binding site plans.

21.07.130    Additional information for preliminary binding site plans.

21.07.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish or reference the procedure and requirements for the application, review and approval of preliminary binding site plans. The procedure is intended to provide orderly and expeditious processing of such applications. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.020 Binding site plan alternative.

As an alternative to applying for short subdivision or long subdivision approval, an application for binding site plan approval may be submitted for the following:

(1) Land divisions into lots zoned for industrial or commercial use;

(2) Land divisions for the purpose of creating lease spaces in a mobile home park or RV park when no other residential structures are permitted; and

(3) Land divisions that result from subjecting a portion of a lot to condominium ownership as provided in Chapter 64.32 or 64.34 RCW. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.030 Binding site plan procedure.

(1) Preliminary Approval of Binding Site Plans.

(a) The applicant seeking preliminary binding site plan approval shall submit to the administrative official copies of the materials stipulated in WCC 21.07.120.

(b) Upon receipt of a complete application and the payment of fees, the department of planning and development services shall:

(i) Provide notification in accordance with WCC 2.33.060.

(ii) Notify and provide copies of project plans to a city when the binding site plan is within that city’s urban growth area, agencies potentially having jurisdiction relevant to the application, and public or private utility organizations if within one-eighth mile (660 feet) from the area submitted in the application. Such cities, agencies, and utility organizations shall be given 15 calendar days to respond. If they do not respond within 15 days, the administrator, SEPA official and technical review committee may conclude their review of the application without such comments.

(c) Upon review of the application the county shall schedule and immediately notify the applicant and the appropriate city, if the proposed land division is located within that city’s urban growth area, of the time and place of the technical review committee meeting at which the application will be considered.

(d) Before the technical review committee meeting, the county shall review the application and prepare preliminary recommendations for:

(i) Staff recommendation and proposed county conditions of approval for the project if applicable;

(ii) Any additional data required to complete the review of the application; and

(iii) Appropriate time extensions required allowing the applicant to provide additional information.

(e) At the technical review committee meeting, members of the technical review committee shall present and discuss the county’s preliminary findings with the applicant. These findings shall include county recommendations and proposed county conditions of approval.

The technical review committee shall also provide the applicant with a written request detailing (i) any additional data or information required, (ii) why such data is required, and (iii) proposed time extensions to allow the applicant to revise the application or collect additional data.

Should the applicant object to either the substance or timing of requirements for additional information, the applicant may appeal these requests to the Whatcom County hearing examiner. This appeal must be made within 14 calendar days of the technical review committee meeting or all information requests shall be binding.

(f) Within 14 calendar days after the technical review committee meeting (or within 14 calendar days of receiving requested information from the applicant), the technical review committee shall prepare a final staff report (including all recommendations and all proposed conditions of approval) and submit it in written form to both the applicant and the Whatcom County hearing examiner.

(g) The hearing examiner shall schedule and hold an open record hearing, review the application and make a decision or recommendation, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 20.92 WCC.

(h) Approval of a preliminary binding site plan shall be accompanied by written findings that:

(i) Appropriate provisions have been made for the public health, safety, and general welfare and for such open spaces, drainage ways, stormwater management, streets or roads, pedestrian and bicycle paths, alleys, other public ways, transit stops, potable water supplies, sanitary wastes, parks and recreation, playgrounds, schools and schoolgrounds and all other relevant facts, including sidewalks and other planning features that assure safe walking conditions for students who only walk to and from school, and the public use and interest will be served by the platting of such binding site plan and dedication; and

(ii) The proposal is in conformity with applicable land division, zoning, critical areas, shoreline management, and other land use regulations.

(2) Within 30 calendar days of preliminary binding site plan approval, the applicant shall submit four copies of a revised preliminary binding site plan. These revised drawings shall depict modifications to the layout of lots, roads, open space, or any other geometrical changes to the plat that were required by conditions of approval of the preliminary binding site plan. The hearing examiner shall review the revised preliminary binding site plan and, if it complies with the terms of preliminary binding site plan approval, the hearing examiner, property owner and surveyor shall sign the four copies of the revised preliminary binding site plan. Once signed, one copy of the revised preliminary binding site plan shall be given to the applicant, one copy shall be retained in the file of the hearing examiner, one copy shall be retained in the file of planning and development services, and one copy shall be retained in the file of the division of engineering.

(3) Unless an applicant for preliminary binding site plan approval requests otherwise, a preliminary binding site plan shall be processed simultaneously with applications for rezones, variances, planned unit developments, and similar quasi-judicial or administrative actions to the extent that procedural requirements applicable to these actions permit simultaneous processing. All preliminary binding site plan proposals accompanied by a major project permit or planned unit development application will be processed in a procedure consistent with and subordinate to the major project permit or planned unit development requirements.

(4) An applicant may place a preliminary binding site plan application, which has not yet been approved, on hold for a cumulative maximum of two years. After the two years, the county shall continue processing the application and either approve or deny the application. This two-year period shall not include time the applicant is performing studies required by the county when the study is provided within the time frame agreed to by the county and the applicant.

(5) Expiration and Time Extensions.

(a) Approval of a preliminary binding site plan shall become invalid unless a general binding site plan and all specific binding site plans are submitted in proper form for approval, within five years of the date of preliminary binding site plan approval. This expiration date may be extended as follows:

(i) An applicant files a written request with the Whatcom County Council prior to expiration of the five-year expiration period.

(ii) The Whatcom County council shall have authority to grant three one-year extensions subsequent to the original preliminary plat approval. Each one-year extension may be granted if after taking into consideration technical, economic and other matters beyond the control of the applicant the council finds that there is reasonable justification for the granting of an extension. In granting each one-year extension, the council may take into consideration such changes in rules, regulations, ordinances, or development standards, or portions thereof, that have occurred since the time the original approval was granted. The council may condition the extension so as to require compliance with any such subsequently adopted rules, regulations, ordinances, development standards, or portion thereof, that the council deems necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Requests for extension shall be made in writing to the Whatcom County council prior to expiration of preliminary binding site plan approval.

(b) As an alternative to being subject to the expiration and time extension rules in subsection (5)(a) of this section, an applicant may seek approval of a phasing plan at the time of preliminary binding site plan approval. A preliminary binding site plan that has been approved with a phasing plan shall expire 10 years from the date of preliminary approval unless Whatcom County establishes a different expiration period at the time of preliminary approval. Each phase submitted after five years from the date of preliminary approval shall comply with the Whatcom County Development Standards in effect as of the date construction plans are submitted for each phase. (Ord. 2004-031 § 1; Ord. 2002-017 § 1; Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.040 Development requirements.

(1) All binding site plans shall comply with the applicable standards, requirements and procedures of the Whatcom County Development Standards and local, state, and federal laws and regulations. The county, to the extent practicable, will require new land divisions located within city urban growth areas to conform to city development standards, in accordance with adopted interlocal agreements.

(2) Improvements are required to be installed and completed by the subdivider prior to general or specific binding site plan approval, unless security is provided under WCC 21.08.030.

(3) Improvements and other requirements shall be provided to the extent that each specific binding site plan will be adequately served by all roads, utilities, drainage facilities, easements and other amenities necessary to its existence in the event that subsequent phases are not completed. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.050 Roads.

Roads shall be designed with appropriate consideration for existing and projected roads, anticipated traffic patterns, topographic and drainage conditions, public convenience and safety, and the proposed uses of the land served.

(1) Dedications for the realignment and widening of the adjacent rights-of-way, in accordance with county standards, shall take place whenever a binding site plan abuts a county road. Frontage roads or parallel access roads may be required to eliminate direct access to arterial and collector roads.

(2) Frontage improvements to the public roadway(s) adjacent to the subject property shall be completed to the current functional classification prior to recording the general or specific binding site plan, unless security is provided under WCC 21.08.030.

(3) Minor and local access roads should discourage through traffic.

(4) All binding site plans shall abut and be accessed by a constructed and maintained public road or a private road as allowed under the Whatcom County Development Standards. The number of access points shall create efficient on- and off-site circulation patterns and facilitate emergency response. A traffic analysis may be required by the county engineer in order to analyze present and future traffic circulation patterns to determine the appropriate location and number of access points to the site, and to ascertain the appropriate classification and character of the proposed roads.

(5) Where reasonably necessary to join with existing roads or needed for future circulation, road rights-of-way and/or easements shall be extended to the outside boundaries of the binding site plan.

(6) Public road rights-of-way and/or easements shall be extended to the boundaries of binding site plans that abut public lands and public bodies of water, if requested by the administrator of said public lands. Such access roads need not be provided at an interval more frequent than one-half mile.

(7) Private roads may be permitted in a binding site plan when in compliance with the Whatcom County Development Standards. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.060 Public and community sites.

The dedication of sites for schools, parks, and other public or community purposes may be required to the extent that such dedication is suitable to and reasonable for the needs anticipated by full development of the binding site plan. Dedicated school sites must meet the requirements of Chapter 246-366 WAC. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.070 Easements.

(1) Easements shall be provided where applicable for development related facilities.

(2) All easements shown on binding site plans shall include:

(a) The beneficiary of the easement;

(b) The purpose of the easement; and

(c) A clear depiction of the easement (including dimensions) on the face of the binding site plan.

(3) The owner may specify the burdening of the easement. Examples of burdening may include the average daily trips for ingress and egress easements, the equivalent single-family units for water, sewer, and on-site sewage disposal systems, and the maximum peak flow rate expressed in accepted units for drainage easements. The owners of the subservient estates are not entitled to rely upon the county to enforce the limitations of the easements so granted, and no cause of action shall lie against the county for errors or omissions occurring in connection with the administration of, or issuance of, permits for development of properties that burden the easements referred to herein. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.080 Water supply – Health requirement.

(1) Water from a public water system(s) shall be provided to serve each lot or lease space in a binding site plan.

(2) The applicant shall demonstrate that adequate water right(s) exist to serve the binding site plan, except when water withdrawal is exempt from obtaining a water right permit under RCW 90.44.050.

(3) If a group B public water system is created to serve the binding site plan, the number of wells shall be limited to the minimum needed to serve the water needs of the binding site plan as determined by the health department.

(4) All requirements of Chapter 246-290 WAC, Group A Public Water Systems, or Chapter 246-291 WAC, Group B Public Water Systems, must be met prior to specific binding site plan approval. (Ord. 2004-031 § 1; Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.090 Sewage disposal.

(1) Within urban growth areas, public sewer shall be required in binding site plans unless the on-site sewage disposal requirements of WCC 24.05.220, Developments, subdivisions, and minimum land area requirements, can be met.

(2) Outside of urban growth area and small town Comprehensive Plan designations, binding site plans shall not be approved that require extension or expansion of public sewer except when:

(a) Public sewer is necessary to protect the public health, safety or environment; and

(b) Public sewer is financially supportable at rural densities and does not permit urban development.

(3) On-site sewage disposal systems shall meet the requirements of WCC 24.05.220, Developments, subdivisions, and minimum land area requirements.

(4) All portions of a community on-site sewage system that are held in common ownership shall be constructed and approved prior to specific binding site plan approval. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.100 Fire protection.

Binding site plans shall incorporate adequate capability for fire protection in accordance with sound engineering practices and locally adopted codes and development standards and shall be approved by the county fire marshal. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.110 Modifications to approved preliminary binding site plans.

(1) The technical review committee may approve minor changes to a preliminary binding site plan. In order to qualify as a minor change, the proposal must not adversely impact neighbors or the environment, and the density, uses and basic design of the approved preliminary binding site plan must be maintained.

(2) The hearing examiner or county council, whichever approved the original preliminary binding site plan, may approve major changes to the binding site plan. Major changes are those that, in the opinion of the technical review committee, would adversely impact neighbors or the environment, alter the density, alter the uses or alter the basic design of the preliminary binding site plan. The SEPA official shall review major changes and determine whether the original SEPA determination is still valid or a new determination required. The hearing examiner or county council shall hold a public hearing prior to issuing the decision. The appropriate city shall be notified of the request and given the opportunity to comment on major changes, if the land division is located within that city’s urban growth area. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.120 Requirements for a fully completed application for preliminary binding site plans.

Requirements for a fully completed application must be provided in order to vest an application.

(1) Written and Other Data and Fees.

checkboxSeven copies of written data.

checkboxCompleted application form.

checkboxName, address and phone number of owner(s), applicant, and contact person.

checkboxThe names, addresses and telephone numbers of the involved engineers, surveyors, and consultants.

checkboxIntended uses.

checkboxList of variances and waivers requested.

checkboxNames and addresses of all persons, firms, and corporations holding legal interests in the land, such as easements, of which the applicant has knowledge.

checkboxAssessor’s parcel number (of the parent parcel).

checkboxList of names and addresses of owners of property within 300' of site’s boundaries (based on the latest assessor’s equalized tax roll), together with corresponding parcel numbers and assessor’s parcel map.

checkboxProposed covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs).

checkboxSEPA checklist.

checkboxPreliminary stormwater proposal, preliminary traffic analysis, utility, critical area study, and soils reports, as specified in the applicable development standards. All reports shall be certified by qualified professionals experienced in the applicable field of science.

checkboxBrief statement covering the number of lots, proposed uses of lots, method of water supply and sewage disposal, approximate road length, total acreage; percentage of total acreage used for roads, lots, open space and other uses, and average lot size and number of lots per gross acre.

checkboxFees as specified in the Unified Fee Schedule.

(2) Map Data.

checkboxAcceptable map size is 18" x 24" to 24" x 36".

checkboxSeven map copies of map proposal.

checkboxDate of revisions, if any.

checkboxName of owner.

checkboxName, address, and telephone number of the surveyor or consultant preparing the map proposal.

checkboxName of proposed binding site plan.

checkboxNames or numbers of any adjacent divisions.

checkboxGeneral layout of proposed land division.

checkboxApproximate locations of existing utilities, infrastructure, roads, drainage and rights-of-way within 300' of the boundary of the proposed land division.

checkboxVicinity map at a scale not less than 1" = 2000'.

checkboxCommon engineering scale (1" = 100' or larger), sheet numbers, and north arrow.

checkboxSection, township, range, municipal and county lines in the vicinity.

checkboxLocation of monuments and fences located by any boundary survey and the date of the survey.

checkboxGeneral boundaries of the site with general dimensions shown, perimeter boundary marked with a bold line.

checkboxLegal description of the land being subdivided.

checkboxProposed access (including proposed improvements to on-site and off-site roadways).

checkboxOther proposed on-site or off-site utilities and facilities.

checkboxThe location and widths of all proposed roads, rights-of-way, and easements.

checkboxWhen appropriate, location of natural features, including bodies of water, natural drainage areas, native vegetation, critical areas, and buffers.

checkboxLocation of buildings, and parking on-site or contiguous to the site.

checkboxGeneral location of existing and proposed facilities including; sanitation, water service, easements, landscaping, common areas, phasing boundaries, and (for mobile home and RV parks) typical details of individual lease spaces.

checkboxExisting and proposed street names.

checkboxGeneral plans of proposed water distribution systems, sewage disposal systems, and drainage systems. The plans shall include system location and sizes, sources of water supply, location and size of storage reservoirs, location of drainage outlet, and other major features and shall be certified by a professional engineer.

checkboxLayout of proposed alleys, walkways, bicycle paths, and parcels to be dedicated or reserved for school, park, playground, well site or other use.

checkboxSequential numbers to all lots within binding site plan and identify proposed phases.

(Ord. 2016-045 § 1 Att. A; Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.130 Additional information for preliminary binding site plans.

Additional information is not required for vesting, but is required prior to county processing of the application.

checkboxTitle report.

checkboxWritten verification, as applicable, from agencies attesting to the availability of:

check    Water supply.

check    Sewage disposal.

check    Fire protection service.

check    Public school system.

checkboxCode compliance checklist for WCC Title 20 and this title, on a form provided by the county, including:

check    Project area.

check    Area in lots, square feet, and percentage of total.

check    Zoning designation and zone density.

check    Number of lots.

check    Average lot size, area, and maximum lot size.

check    Area of streets, area in right-of-way, and percentage of total.

check    Area of parks, open space, and percentage of total.

check    Area of impervious surface proposed.

check    Soil types and classifications.

check    Utility service types and name of provider.

check    School and fire district.

checkboxBoundary survey, prepared and certified by a professional land surveyor.

checkboxAdditional reports, as required, prepared by qualified professionals may include the following:

check    Traffic study.

check    Stormwater design report.

check    Soils and/or geological report.

check    Wetlands delineation and/or report.

check    Soil testing results for pesticides for binding site plans on land historically used for raising row crops.

checkboxTopographic map of sufficient contour interval, acceptable to the county engineer or director of planning and development services, or his/her designee, to show the topography of the land to be subdivided.

(Ord. 2000-056 § 1).