Division IV. General Site Planning and Development Standards

This division provides standards and guidelines for site planning, development, and the operation of specific land uses and components of development, that are intended to minimize the adverse effects and operating characteristics of land uses. These standards are, therefore, more related to specific types of land use and components of development (for example, parking and loading facilities, landscaping, etc.) than the zoning district or area of the community in which a proposed site may be located.

Chapter 19.40
GENERAL PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT AND USE STANDARDS

Sections:

19.40.010    Purpose and applicability.

19.40.020    Creekside development.

19.40.030    Exterior lighting.

19.40.040    Height measurement and height limit exceptions.

19.40.050    Hillside development.

19.40.060    Landscape standards.

19.40.070    Open space for multifamily residential projects.

19.40.080    Open space for commercial and mixed use projects.

19.40.090    Performance standards.

19.40.100    Screening and buffering.

19.40.110    Setback regulations and exceptions.

19.40.120    Undergrounding of utilities.

19.40.130    Protection of scenic vistas.

19.40.010 Purpose and applicability.

A. Purpose. The provisions of this chapter are intended to ensure that new or modified uses and development produce an environment of stable and desirable character which is harmonious with existing and future development, and protects the use and enjoyment of neighboring properties, consistent with the General Plan.

B. Applicability.

1. All Zoning Districts. The standards of this chapter apply to all zoning districts (e.g., residential, commercial, manufacturing, etc.), and therefore, are combined in this chapter.

2. Considered in Combination. These standards shall be considered in combination with the standards for each zoning district in Division II, Community Design, and for each subarea in Division III, Project Design.

3. In Case of Conflict. Where there may be a conflict, the standards specific to the zoning district shall override these general standards.

4. Compliance. All new or modified structures and uses shall comply with the standards of this chapter as determined applicable by the city planner, except as specified in Chapter 19.82 SMC, Nonconforming Structures, Uses and Parcels. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.020 Creekside development.

A. Purpose. Creek corridor habitats support plants and animals; recharge aquifers; and filter some pollutants. Creek corridors are valuable as open space areas, and are of recreational and scenic interest. For these reasons, it is the intent of the city to provide adequate buffer areas between creek corridors and adjacent development in order to protect this valuable community resource as a natural, scenic, and recreational amenity.

B. Applicability. The provisions of this section apply to any property adjoining or including any of the following waterways:

1. Sonoma Creek;

2. Nathanson Creek; and

3. Fryer Creek.

C. Streambed Analysis. At the time of permit application, applicants with parcels adjoining any of the above specified waterways may be required to prepare a site-specific streambed analysis prepared by a hydrologist, civil engineer, or other qualified professional to determine the precise boundary/top of bank of the waterway. If required, a streambed analysis should normally include:

1. Detailed mapping of at least 1:100 scale;

2. Identification of the direction and flow of material run-off from the site, or immediately adjacent to the site;

3. The need for mitigation measures (e.g., rip-rap, energy dissipation structures or flow stabilizing devices) to keep flow velocities close to pre-development levels; and

4. Other information that the city planner determines is necessary to properly analyze and mitigate potential impacts of the proposed development on the waterway.

The requirement for a streambed analysis may be waived by the city planner or the planning commission, as applicable, if it is determined that the project, because of its size, location, or design will not have a significant impact on the waterway, or that sufficient information already exists and that further analysis is not necessary.

D. Creekside Development Standards. The following standards shall be implemented by the applicable review authority in the review of any planning permit involving development or other activity within the creek setback, as set forth below.

1. A minimum 30-foot wide setback from the top of bank shall be required for all zoning districts, except along Sonoma Creek, where a 50-foot setback shall be required. Additional setback area may be necessary to protect sensitive environmental resources (e.g., vernal pools). Setbacks adjacent to creekside paths or open spaces shall be measured from the outside boundary of the path or open space.

2. No structure, parking access, parking space(s), paved areas, or swimming pool shall be constructed within a creek or creekside setback area, unless a use permit is obtained in compliance with SMC 19.54.040, Use permits.

3. No grading or filling, planting of exotic/nonnative or nonriparian plant species, or removal of native vegetation shall occur within a creek or creekside setback area.

4. Where drainage improvements are required within the setback area, they shall be placed in the least visible locations and naturalized through the use of river rock, earthtone concrete, and landscaping with native plant materials.

5. Within creek setback areas, the use of permeable surfaces (e.g., wood decks, sand-joined bricks, and stone walkways) shall be incorporated into a project’s design, where feasible, in order to minimize off-site flows and to facilitate the absorption of water into the ground.

6. Land use changes within the setback area that cause an increase in impervious surfaces or sedimentation may result in channel erosion. This may require measures to stabilize the creek’s bank.

a. Creek rehabilitation is the preferred method of stabilization. The objective is to maintain the natural character of the creek and riparian area. The process may include enlarging the channel at points of obstruction, clearing obstructions at points of constriction, limitation of use in areas of excessive erosion, and restoration of riparian vegetation.

b. Concrete channels and other mechanical measures of stabilization shall not be used unless no other alternative exists.

c. If a creek bank stabilization other than rehabilitation or vegetative method is required, hand-placed stone or rock rip-rap are the preferred methods.

E. Modifications to Creekside Development Standards. The planning commission may modify the creekside development standards outlined in subsection (D) of this section in compliance with SMC 19.54.040, Use permits.

F. Creekside Development Guidelines. The following guidelines shall be considered by the applicable review authority in the review of any discretionary planning permit involving development or other activity within the creek setback, as set forth below.

1. Setbacks may be required for all ministerial projects (e.g., building permits, etc.). Dedications, where consistent with the Circulation Element of the city’s General Plan and the Bicycle Plan, may be required by the planning commission for all land use activities requiring a discretionary permit (e.g., use permits, planned development permits, etc.), if warranted by the nature and intensity of the proposed use.

2. Public access and visibility to creeks, and the separation of residences and other uses from creeks should be provided through the use of single-loaded frontage roads in combination with multi-use trails.

3. Development should be oriented to creeks for access and visibility whenever possible. Developments that backup to creeks are discouraged.

4. The provision of multi-purpose creekside trails and public open space is strongly encouraged outside of the riparian habitat area. Open space areas should include planting for riparian enhancement with native shrubs and trees, paths and trails, lighting, benches, play and exercise equipment, and trash receptacles.

5. Creekside trails should link to other trail and open space systems that are existing or planned in the surrounding area as shown in the Circulation Element of the General Plan.

G. Findings and Decision. The following findings shall be made, in addition to those identified in SMC 19.54.040(E), Findings, Decision, to approve a conditional use permit for the modification of creekside development standards:

1. The creek bank in the vicinity of the modification has been demonstrated as being historically stable; and

2. Riparian resources will not be significantly diminished by the modification. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.030 Exterior lighting.

The following standards and guidelines shall be administered by the planning commission and the design review and historic preservation commission through the review of discretionary planning permits. These provisions shall not apply to ministerial permits, except for the standards set forth in subsection (E) of this section.

A. Exterior Fixtures. Lighting fixtures shall be architecturally compatible with the character of the surrounding structure(s) and shall be energy efficient. Fixtures shall be appropriate in height, intensity, and scale to the use they are serving. Generally, pole-mounted fixtures shall be low in height (up to 20 feet) and be equipped with light shields to reduce or eliminate light spillage beyond the project’s boundaries.

B. Intensity. The level of parking lot light projected onto any ground or wall surface shall not be less than two footcandles nor more than five footcandles at the base of the light fixture. Pedestrian courts, plazas, and walkways shall have a light level at the ground surface of one footcandle. The electrical or lighting plan shall demonstrate the dispersal of light on the ground surface and compliance with the requirements of this section. Building-mounted decorative lights shall not exceed five footcandles measured five feet from the light source.

C. Security Lighting. Security lighting shall be provided in all nonresidential zoning districts at building entrances/exits. Security lighting shall provide a minimum of two footcandles and a maximum of three footcandles at the ground level of the entrance.

D. Shielding. Where the light source is visible from outside the project boundary, shielding shall be required to reduce glare so that neither the light source nor its image from a reflective surface shall be directly visible from any point five feet or more beyond the property line. This requirement shall not apply to single-family residential uses, traffic safety lighting, or public street lighting.

E. Height. Light standards should not normally exceed 15 feet in height, especially within and adjacent to residential developments. The review authority may allow taller standards in large parking lots that are not adjacent to residential uses or in other special settings.

F. Recreational Court Lighting. The following standards shall apply to the lighting of outdoor recreational courts:

1. Type. Fixtures shall be of a type that is rectangular on a horizontal plane. The outside of the fixture, arm, and supporting pole shall be coated with a dark, low reflectance material;

2. Location. Light fixtures shall not be located closer than 10 feet to the nearest property line;

3. Height. The maximum height of the light fixtures shall be 18 feet measured from the court surface;

4. Number. Not more than one light fixture for each 900 square feet of court surface is allowed, with a maximum of eight poles and fixtures for each recreational court;

5. Supports. Light fixtures shall be supported by an arm extending at least four feet from a support pole;

6. Design. Light fixtures shall be designed, constructed, mounted, and maintained so that, with appropriate shielding, the light source is completely cut off when viewed from any point five feet or more beyond the property lines of the subject parcel. The incident light level at a property line shall not exceed one footcandle measured from finished grade to a height of 12 feet. The incident light level upon any habitable structure on an adjoining property shall not exceed 0.05 footcandle;

7. Hours of Operation. Recreational court lighting shall not be operated between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays and between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays;

8. Coating of Surface. In the event that an illuminated court surface is visible from another parcel, the court surface shall be treated with a low reflectance, dark-colored coating; and

9. Waiver of Provisions. Provisions of this subsection may be waived or modified by the planning commission through the approval of an exception in compliance with SMC 19.54.050. (Ord. 06-2013 § 3, 2013; amended during June 2011 supplement; Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.040 Height measurement and height limit exceptions.

All structures shall meet the following standards relating to height, except for fences and walls, which shall comply with Chapter 19.46 SMC, Fences, Hedges and Walls.

A. Maximum Height. The height of structures shall not exceed the standards established by Division III, Project Design. The maximum height shall be measured as the vertical distance from the finished grade of the site to an imaginary plane located the allowed number of feet above and parallel to the grade. See Figure 4-1. Structures in hillside areas shall comply with the height regulations identified in SMC 19.40.050, Hillside development.

B. Exceptions to Height Limits. Exceptions to the height limits for structures shall apply in the following manner:

1. Third-Floor Residential Units. Within the Commercial, Gateway Commercial, and Mixed Use zoning districts, a maximum height of 36 feet may be allowed in order to accommodate third-floor multifamily residential development. The allowance of this additional height shall be subject to use permit review, in compliance with SMC 19.54.050.

2. Elevator Penthouses and Other Roof-Mounted Structures. Roof-mounted structures for the housing of elevators, stairways, tanks, ventilating fans, or similar equipment shall be allowed, up to a maximum of five feet above the allowed structure height. The total square footage of all structures above the allowed height shall not exceed 25 percent of the total roof area of the main structure.

3. Chimneys, Spires, Antennas, Etc. Chimneys, flag poles, antennas and similar structures shall be allowed, up to a maximum of eight feet above the allowed structure height.

4. Additional Height. Additional height or roof area may be allowed subject to the approval of an exception in compliance with SMC 19.54.050. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.050 Hillside development.

A. Purpose. This section establishes regulations and guidelines to preserve and protect views to and from the hillside areas within the city, to preserve significant topographical features and habitats, and to maintain the identity, character, and environmental quality of the city.

B. Applicability.

1. Hillside Areas and Hillside Zoning District. The standards and guidelines contained in this section apply to all uses and structures within areas that have a slope of 10 percent or greater, or areas with slopes that exceed 15 percent over 25 percent or more of the site and to all development within the Hillside zoning district.

2. Basis for Slope Determinations. For the purpose of this section, slope shall be computed on the natural slope of the land before grading, as determined from a topographic map having a scale of not less than one inch equals 100 feet and a contour interval of not more than five feet.

3. Conditional Use Permit Required. New development within a hillside area shall be subject to the approval of a conditional use permit in compliance with SMC 19.54.040.

C. Additional Application Requirements. In addition to the standard application submittal requirements, the city council may, by resolution, establish additional informational requirements for applications involving hillside development.

D. Development Standards.

1. Structure Height. The height of structures in a hillside area shall not exceed the maximum established by the applicable zoning district. Measurement of structure height shall be as provided in SMC 19.40.040, Height measurement and height limit exceptions.

2. Grading and Drainage.

a. Grading shall be designed to:

i. Conserve natural topographic features and appearances by minimizing the amount of cut and fill and by means of land form grading to blend graded slopes and benches with the natural topography; and

ii. Retain major natural topographic features (i.e., canyons, knolls, ridgelines, and prominent landmarks).

b. All graded areas shall be protected from wind and water erosion. Interim erosion control plans shall be required, certified by the project engineer, and reviewed and approved by the city engineer.

c. Slopes created by grading shall not exceed a ratio of 3:1, without a soils report and stabilization study indicating a greater permissible slope and shall not exceed 30 feet in height between terraces or benches.

3. Street Layout. To the extent feasible based on property conditions, streets shall follow the natural contours of the terrain in order to minimize the need for grading. Cul-de-sacs and loop roads are encouraged where necessary to fit the natural topography subject to the approval of the city engineer and fire department.

E. Design Guidelines. Within the hillside area and the Hillside zoning district, the following design guidelines should be implemented whenever applicable:

1. Terrain Alteration. The project should be designed to fit the terrain rather than altering the terrain to fit the project. Development patterns that form visually protruding or steeply cut slopes for roads or lots shall be avoided.

2. Lot Pad Grading. Lot pad grading should be limited to the boundaries of the structure’s foundation, vehicle parking space and a yard area as shown on the approved grading plan. Pads should not exceed 5,000 square feet in total area.

3. Site and Structure Design. Site design should utilize varying structure heights and setbacks, split-level foundations, and retaining walls to terrace structures with the direction of the slope.

4. Lot Line Locations. Lot lines should be placed at the top of slope areas to help ensure that the slope will not be neglected by the uphill owner.

5. Design and Location of Structures.

a. The form, mass, and profile of the individual buildings and architectural features should be designed to blend with the natural terrain and preserve the character and profile of the natural slope. Techniques that should be considered include:

i. Split pads, stepped footings, and grade separations to permit structure to step up the natural slope;

ii. Detaching parts of a dwelling (e.g., garage); and

iii. Avoiding the use of gable ends on downhill elevations. The slope of the roof should be oriented in the same direction as the natural slope.

b. Excavate underground or utilize below grade rooms to reduce the visual bulk of a structure.

c. Use roofs on lower levels as open space decks for upper levels.

d. Exterior structural supports and undersides of floors and decks not enclosed by walls may be permitted provided fire safety and aesthetic considerations have been adequately addressed.

e. Building materials and color schemes should blend with the natural landscape of earth tones and natural vegetative growth.

6. Retaining Walls. Retaining walls that result in large uniform planes shall be avoided. Retaining walls shall be divided into elements and terraces with landscaping to screen them from view. Generally, no retaining wall should be higher than five feet. When a series of retaining walls is required, each individual retaining wall should be separated from adjacent walls by a minimum of five feet.

7. Slope Restoration. Transitional slopes shall be replanted with self-sufficient trees, shrubs, and ground cover that are compatible with existing surrounding vegetation in order to enhance the blending of manufactured and natural slopes.

8. Reduced Public Street Widths. On-street parking lanes may be omitted from public streets when the result is a substantial decrease in cutting and/or filling. Where no on-street parking is provided, off-street parking areas shall be provided to yield a ratio of two additional spaces per dwelling unit. Streets may be reduced to 24 feet in width with no on-street parking, or 32 feet in width with on-street parking on one side.

9. Preservation of Ridgelines. Ridgelines shall be preserved. Structures shall not be located closer to a ridgeline than 100 feet measured horizontally on a topographic map or 50 feet measured vertically on a cross section, whichever is more restrictive. In no case shall the roofline or any other portion of a structure extend above the line of sight between a ridgeline and any public right-of-way, whether the ridgeline is above or below the right-of-way.

E. Evaluation of Applications. The planning commission shall evaluate a conditional use permit application for hillside development based on the following objectives, in addition to the findings for conditional use permits required through SMC 19.54.040:

1. The preservation of natural topographic features and appearances by maintaining the natural topography to the greatest extent possible;

2. The protection of natural topographic features and appearances through limitations on successive padding and terracing of building sites and the preservation of significant ridgelines, steep slopes, natural rock outcroppings, drainage courses, prominent trees and woodlands, vernal pools, and other areas of special natural beauty;

3. The utilization of varying setbacks, building heights, foundation designs, and compatible building forms, materials, and colors that help blend buildings into the terrain;

4. The utilization of clustered sites and buildings on more gently sloping terrain to reduce grading alterations on steeper slopes;

5. The utilization of building designs, locations, and arrangements that protect views to and from the hillside area;

6. The preservation and introduction of plant materials so as to protect slopes from soil erosion and slippage and minimize the visual effects of grading and construction of hillside areas; and

7. The utilization of street designs and improvements that minimize grading alterations and harmonize with the natural contours of the hillsides. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.060 Landscape standards.

A. Purpose. The provisions of this section are intended to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the city by providing standards related to the quality and functional aspects of landscaping and to increase the compatibility between abutting land uses and public rights-of-way by providing landscape screening and buffers.

B. Applicability. All projects that require planning permit or subdivision approval by the city shall provide and maintain landscaping in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, as applicable to the specific features of the project.

C. Areas Required to Be Landscaped. Landscaping shall be provided in the following locations:

1. Setbacks. All setback and open space areas required by this development code shall be landscaped, except where a required setback is occupied by a sidewalk or driveway, or where a required setback is screened from public view and it is determined by the review authority that landscaping is not necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter.

2. Unused Areas. All areas of a project site not intended for a specific use (including pad sites in shopping centers held for future development) or designated as natural open space shall be landscaped unless it is determined by the review authority that landscaping is not necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter.

3. Parking Areas. Parking areas shall be landscaped in compliance with Chapter 19.48 SMC, Parking and Loading Standards.

D. Landscape Standards and Guidelines. Landscaping shall be designed and installed as follows:

1. General Design Standards. The following features shall be incorporated into the design of landscaped areas:

a. Landscaping shall be designed for water efficiency, in conformance with the requirements of the low-water use landscaping ordinance.

b. Landscaping shall be planned as an integral part of the overall project design and not simply located in left over space after parking areas and structures have been planned.

c. Landscaped areas shall be provided with an automatic irrigation system.

d. Pedestrian access to sidewalks and structures shall be considered in the design of all landscaped areas.

e. Landscape planting shall be provided within adjacent public street rights-of-way, in compliance with Chapter 19.62 SMC, Subdivision Design and Improvement Requirements.

Landscaping may include lawn, ground cover, trees, shrubs, and other live plant materials. Landscaping may also include small amounts of accessory decorative outdoor landscape elements (e.g., ponds, fountains, sculpture, and paved or decorated surfaces) excluding driveways, parking, and storage areas.

2. Plant Materials. Plant materials shall be selected and installed to comply with the following requirements:

a. A mix of plant materials and sizes shall be provided consistent with the city’s low-water use landscaping ordinance. Variety is encouraged in order to provide visual interest as well as reduce the chance of landscape failure due to disease infestation. Trees shall not be smaller than 15-gallon container stock and shrubs shall not be smaller than five-gallon container stock;

b. Trees and shrubs shall be planted so that at maturity they do not interfere with utilities and traffic safety sight areas;

c. Trees and shrubs shall be planted and maintained in a manner that protects the basic rights of adjacent property owners. Street tree varieties shall be consistent with the city’s adopted street tree list;

d. Trees planted near public sidewalks or curbs shall be of a species and installed in a manner that prevents physical damage to sidewalks, curbs, gutters and other public improvements;

e. Tree varieties planted within street rights-of-way shall be consistent with the city’s street tree list and shall comply with street tree planting standards;

f. Ground cover should normally be live plant material (exceptions include rocks placed around trees to prevent overwatering). Limited quantities (10 percent maximum) of gravel, bark, or similar materials may be used in combination with a living ground cover;

g. Turf areas should be designed to minimize water runoff onto hardscape.

E. Landscape Plan Requirements.

1. Preliminary Landscape Plan. A preliminary landscape plan shall be submitted in conjunction with or following the approval of an application for a land use entitlement (e.g., conditional use permit, tentative map, planned unit development), for new development, and the significant expansion or redevelopment of an existing use subject to review by the design review and historic preservation commission.

2. Content. Preliminary landscape plans and final landscape plans shall contain information as specified in the instructions for preparing landscape plans, provided by the department.

3. Review and Approval. After initial application review in compliance with SMC 19.52.060, Initial application review, the design review and historic preservation commission shall review each preliminary landscape plan to verify its compliance with the provisions of this section. The design review and historic preservation commission may approve the submittal in compliance with this section, or may disapprove or require changes to a submittal that is not in compliance.

4. Final Landscape Plan. Following approval of the land use entitlement, a final landscape plan shall be submitted as part of the application for a building permit. Final plans shall be approved by the city planner prior to the start of on-site construction or soil disturbance and prior to the issuance of a building permit. Projects requiring commission approval due to their size or use shall require plans be prepared by a licensed landscape architect or licensed contractor. Evidence shall also be provided that a licensed landscape contractor will be responsible for plant and irrigation installation.

F. Maintenance Required. Landscape areas shall be maintained in a healthful and sound condition at all times. Irrigation systems and their components shall be maintained in a fully functional manner. Regular maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, checking, adjusting, and repairing irrigation equipment; aerating and dethatching turf areas; replenishing mulch; fertilizing; pruning; and weeding in all landscaped areas. (Ord. 06-2013 § 3, 2013; amended during June 2011 supplement; Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.070 Open space for multifamily residential projects.

This section provides requirements, guidelines, and incentives for the provision of private and common open spaces and related amenities for newly developed or redeveloped multifamily residential uses throughout the city. The intent of this section is to ensure that multifamily residential developments in the city are provided with high-quality private and common open space integral to the design of the development.

A. Open Space Required. All multifamily residential projects except duplexes shall provide permanently maintained outdoor open space for each dwelling unit (private open space) and for all residents (common open space). Unless different standards are applied through specific planning area regulations as set forth in Division III, Project Design, usable outdoor open space, not including required front or street-side yards, shall be provided as set forth in Table 4-1, below:

Table 4-1

Minimum Open Space Requirements for Multifamily Development

Type

Area Required

Common outdoor space:

300 square feet per dwelling unit

Private outdoor space:

 

Studio and one-bedroom units

75 square feet per dwelling unit

Two-bedroom units

150 square feet per dwelling unit

Three-bedroom units and larger

225 square feet per dwelling unit

Project proponents are encouraged to provide open space areas that exceed the minimum amount required. The city may offer incentives in compliance with subsection (E) of this section.

B. Configuration of Open Space. To ensure that required open space is well-designed, usable, and accessible, the review authority shall employ the following standards and guidelines in evaluating proposed open space:

1. Required open space shall be located on-site.

2. Open space should be provided as continuous, usable site elements that reinforce or enhance other aspects of the site plan, such as pedestrian networks, view corridors, and environmental features.

3. Common open space areas should be oriented to pedestrian circulation and should incorporate seating, enhanced paving materials, lighting, shade trees and/or trellises, and landscaping. Fountains, works of art, and similar features are also encouraged.

4. Open space areas shall be easily accessible. Common open space areas should be readily accessible from the majority of units in the development. Private open space should be immediately accessible from a kitchen, dining room, family room or master bedroom within the unit it serves.

5. All open space areas shall be of sufficient size to be usable by residents:

a. Private open space areas shall have a minimum dimension of seven feet and a configuration that would accommodate a rectangle of at least 100 square feet;

b. Common open space areas shall have a minimum dimension of 15 feet.

6. The orientation of private and common open space should take advantage of natural sunlight and should be sheltered from the noise and traffic of adjacent street or incompatible uses.

C. Allowed Uses. Required common open space shall be available for passive and active outdoor recreational uses for the enjoyment of all residents of the multifamily development. These spaces shall not include driveways, public or private streets, utility easements where the ground surface cannot be appropriately used for open space, parking spaces, or other areas primarily intended for other functions.

D. Maintenance. Required common open space shall be controlled and permanently maintained by the owner of the property or by project homeowners through a homeowners association or maintenance agreement.

E. Open Space Incentives. Development incentives to encourage pedestrian-oriented open spaces that exceed the above requirements may be granted at the discretion of the planning commission. The types of incentives that may be available to eligible projects include:

1. Reduced parking requirements (for pedestrian-oriented open space and amenities of an especially high quality);

2. Increased lot coverage;

3. Reduced front and street-side setbacks. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.080 Open space for commercial and mixed use projects.

This section provides requirements and guidelines for the provision of open spaces and related amenities for newly developed or redeveloped commercial uses, including mixed use and live-work development, throughout the city. The intent is to make commercial and mixed use environments more livable, pedestrian-oriented, and humane through the provision of public and private open spaces, including plazas, courtyards, and outdoor dining and seating areas.

A. Open Space Required. All commercial and mixed use projects shall provide permanently maintained outdoor open space, except as provided for in subsection (F) of this section, Exemptions. Unless different standards are applied through planning area regulations found in Division III, Project Design, usable outdoor open space shall be provided as set forth in Table 4-2, below:

Table 4-2

Minimum Open Space Requirements for Commercial and Mixed Use Development

Type

Area Required

 

Commercial

Change in use, with no increase in building area

N.A.

New development, on site <10,000 sq. ft.

7%

New development, on site 10,000 to 20,000 sq. ft.

9%

New development, on site >20,000 sq. ft.

11%

Mixed Use

New development

300 sq. ft. per unit, any combination public and private

Live-Work1

New development

250 sq. ft. per unit, any combination public and private

Notes:

1.    See SMC 19.50.050 for specific regulations pertaining to live/work development.

Project proponents are encouraged to provide open space areas that exceed the minimum amount required. The city may offer incentives in compliance with subsection (E) of this section.

B. Configuration of Open Space. To ensure that required open space is well-designed, usable, and accessible, the review authority shall employ the following standards and guidelines in evaluating proposed open space:

1. Required open space shall be located on-site.

2. Open space should be provided as continuous, usable site elements that reinforce or enhance other aspects of the site plan, such as pedestrian networks, view corridors, and environmental features.

3. Common open space areas should be oriented to pedestrian circulation and should incorporate seating, enhanced paving materials, lighting, shade trees and/or trellises, and landscaping. Fountains, works of art, and similar features are also encouraged.

4. Private open space for residential and live-work units should be immediately accessible from a kitchen, dining room, family room or master bedroom within the unit it serves.

5. Open space areas intended for residents shall be of sufficient size to be usable by residents:

a. Private open space areas should have a minimum dimension of seven feet and a configuration that would accommodate a rectangle of at least 100 square feet;

b. Common open space areas should have a minimum dimension of 15 feet.

6. The orientation of private and common open space should take advantage of natural sunlight and should be sheltered from incompatible uses.

C. Allowed Uses. Required open space shall not include driveways, public or private streets, utility easements where the ground surface cannot be appropriately used for open space, parking spaces, or other areas primarily intended for other functions, except for stormwater detention and infiltration functions where the ground surface can be appropriately used for open space during dry weather.

D. Maintenance. Required common open space shall be controlled and permanently maintained by the owner of the property or by multiple project owners through a condominium association or maintenance agreement.

E. Open Space Incentives. Development incentive bonuses to encourage pedestrian-oriented open spaces, open spaces which preserve areas in a pristine natural condition, intensive green roofs that reduce stormwater runoff while providing accessible open space for pedestrians, and open spaces that reduce stormwater runoff through detention or infiltration that exceed the above requirements may be granted at the discretion of the planning commission. The types of bonus incentives that may be available to eligible projects include:

1. Reduced parking requirements (for pedestrian-oriented open space and amenities of an especially high quality);

2. Increased lot coverage;

3. Reduced setbacks.

F. Exemptions. The provision of required open space may be reduced or waived by the review authority (planning commission or design review and historic preservation commission) under the following circumstances:

1. Minor commercial development or additions involving less than 500 square feet of new building area;

2. Infill or replacement development in the Downtown district. (Ord. 05-2015 § 4, 2015; Ord. 06-2013 § 3, 2013; amended during June 2011 supplement; Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.090 Performance standards.

All land use activities shall comply with the following provisions regarding the prohibition of adverse impacts:

A. Adverse Impacts Prohibited. Any use or activity that results in an adverse impact to the character and environment of a surrounding area by producing repeated and consistently intolerable levels of air pollution, electrical or electronic disturbance, hazardous materials, glare, noise, odor, vibration, waste products, or similar disturbances, shall be prohibited.

B. Determination of a Public Nuisance. Upon    discovery of the activity, the city shall investigate and utilize, where necessary, whatever instruments or consulting specialists that may be required to determine whether or not a public nuisance exists.

C. Abatement of a Public Nuisance. An identified public nuisance shall be abated in compliance with Chapter 14.30 SMC. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.100 Screening and buffering.

This section provides standards for the screening and buffering of adjoining land uses, equipment and outdoor storage areas, and trash storage areas.

A. Screening Between Different Land Uses. Fences and walls shall be provided and maintained between different zoning districts in the following manner:

1. Wall Height. An opaque screen consisting of plant material and a solid masonry wall or wooden fence, a minimum of six feet in height, shall be installed along parcel boundaries whenever a commercial or industrial development adjoins a residential zoning district and whenever a multifamily zoning district adjoins a single-family residential zoning district. The maximum height of the walls shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 19.46 SMC, Fences, Hedges and Walls.

2. Wall Treatment. The walls or fences shall be architecturally treated on both sides, subject to the approval of the city planner or the design review and historic preservation commission, as applicable.

3. Pedestrian Access. Pedestrian access may be provided between the commercial properties and adjoining common open area(s) within residential developments.

4. Waiver by Planning Commission. The planning commission may waive or modify the requirements for screening walls or fences if one or more of the following findings can be made:

a. The development plan adequately provides for the integration of different land uses (e.g., shared parking areas) in such a way that conflicts between the different uses will be avoided;

b. An existing wall or fence is in place that meets or would be modified to conform to the intent of this section;

c. A lesser level of screening is appropriate due to the nature of the adjoining uses.

B. Mechanical Equipment.

1. Screened from Public View. Roof- or ground-mounted mechanical equipment (e.g., air conditioning, heating, ventilation ducts and exhaust, water heaters, etc.), loading docks, service yards, storage and waste areas, and utility services shall be screened from public view from adjoining public rights-of-way, and adjoining area(s) zoned for residential or open space uses, including views from above the subject project.

2. Architectural Compatibility. The method of screening shall be architecturally compatible with other on-site development in terms of colors, materials, architectural style, and shall include appropriately installed and maintained landscaping subject to SMC 19.40.060, Landscape standards, and the approval of the city planner or the design review and historic preservation commission, as applicable.

C. Solar Equipment. The placement of solar heating or electrical generation equipment shall be regulated as follows:

1. Roof-Mounted Equipment. Roof-mounted solar collector panels shall be flat, matching the roof pitch, and placed as close as possible to the surface of the roof. All plumbing, piping, and other connections shall be suitably covered with metal flashing painted to match the color of the roof.

2. Ground-Mounted Equipment. Ground-mounted solar collector panels and related equipment shall be placed no closer than five feet to any property line and shall be screened from public view. The height of ground-mounted structures, including collector panels, shall not exceed seven feet.

3. Appurtenant Equipment. Appurtenant equipment and fixtures shall be screened from public view.

4. Use Permit Requirements. The placement of solar equipment shall be subject to design review as set forth in SMC 19.54.080 under the following circumstances:

a. Roof-mounted solar panels proposed for any structure located in the Historic Overlay district.

b. Roof-mounted solar panels with an area of greater than 200 square feet.

c. The proposed placement of solar equipment that does not comply with the provisions set forth in subsections (C)(1) or (C)(2) of this section.

D. Outdoor Storage and Work Yards. Uses with outdoor storage of materials or operations shall comply with the following:

1. Solid Sight-Obscuring Wall and Gate(s). Outside uses shall have a solid sight-obscuring masonry wall or wooden fence not less than six feet, or more than eight feet in height, of a type and design approved by the review authority. The wall shall include sight-obscuring gates. The wall and gate(s) shall be maintained to continuously conform to the satisfaction of the city planner; and

2. All Operations Within Walled Area. Site operations in conjunction with the outdoor uses, including the loading and unloading of materials and equipment, shall be conducted entirely within a walled area.

E. Outdoor Building Supply Area(s). Outdoor building supply areas shall be screened with walls, fencing, meshing, landscaping, or similar material to minimize visibility of the storage area(s), subject to the approval of the review authority.

F. Trash Enclosures. Any outdoor storage of garbage cans, dumpsters, recycling bins or other similar containers shall be enclosed by a solid wooden fence, masonry wall, or other similar enclosure. The enclosure shall be located on the site so as to minimize potential noise, odor, and visual impacts on adjacent properties and prevent the transport of trash, spilled materials or leaks outside of the designated trash area either by wind or stormwater runon. (Ord. 05-2015 § 5, 2015; Ord. 06-2013 § 3, 2013; amended during June 2011 supplement; Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.110 Setback regulations and exceptions.

This section establishes standards to ensure the provision of open areas around structures for: access to and around structures; access to natural light, ventilation, and direct sunlight; separation of incompatible land uses; space for landscaping, privacy, and recreation; and visibility and traffic safety.

A. Setback Requirements.

1. Compliance. All structures shall comply with the setback requirements established by Division III, Project Design, and with any special setbacks established for specific uses by this development code and by the city’s adopted Uniform Building Code.

2. Extending Over Property Lines Prohibited. Portions of a structure, including eaves or roof overhangs, shall not extend beyond a property line or into an access easement or public right-of-way.

3. Unobstructed. Each required setback area shall be open and unobstructed from the ground upward, except as provided in this section.

B. Measurement of Setbacks. Setbacks shall be measured as follows:

1. Front Setback. The required front setback shall be measured at right angles from the nearest point on the front property line to the nearest point of the wall of the structure, except as follows:

a. The measurement shall be taken from the nearest point of the structure to the nearest point of the property line adjoining the public right-of-way determined by the city planner to constitute the front yard. (Whenever a future right-of-way line is officially established, required setbacks shall be measured from the established line(s));

b. For flag lots, the measurement shall normally be taken from a parallel line established where the access strip meets the buildable area of the parcel closest to the public right-of-way to the nearest point of the wall of the structure.

2. Side Setbacks. The side setback shall be measured at right angles from the nearest point on the side property line of the parcel to the nearest point of the wall of the structure, establishing a setback line parallel to the side property line, which extends between the front and rear yards.

3. Street-Side Setback. The side setback, on the street side of a corner parcel, shall be measured at right angles from the nearest point on the side property line adjoining the public right-of-way to the nearest point of the wall of the structure.

4. Rear Setback. The rear setback shall be measured at right angles from the nearest point on the rear property line of the parcel to the nearest point of the wall of the structure, establishing a setback line parallel to the rear property line, which extends between the side yards, except:

a. The rear setback on the street side of a double frontage lot shall be measured from the nearest point of the rear property line adjoining the public right-of-way. If an access easement or public right-of-way line extends into or through a rear setback, the measurement shall be taken from the nearest point of the easement or right-of-way line; and

b. Where the side property lines converge to a point, a line five feet long within the parcel, parallel to and at a maximum distance from the front property line, shall be deemed to be the rear property line for the purpose of determining the depth of the required rear setback.

C. Allowed Projections into Setbacks. The following architectural features may extend beyond the wall of the structure and into the front, side, and rear setbacks, only as follows:

1. Balconies, Porches, and Stairways. The following setback standards shall apply to balconies, porches, and stairways:

a. Balconies and similar open, uncovered features shall not project into any required setback unless the feature is three feet or less in height above finished grade, in which case it may extend into required setbacks in compliance with subsection (C)(1)(c) of this section;

b. Covered, unenclosed porches, located at the same level as the entrance floor of the structure, may extend into required setbacks in compliance with subsection (C)(1)(c) of this section;

c. Uncovered outside stairways and landings, that are not attached to a deck, are not enclosed, and do not extend above a ground floor entrance, may extend into required setbacks as follows:

i. Up to 10 feet into a required front or street-side setback, but not closer than 10 feet to a front or street-side property line;

ii. Up to three feet into a required side setback, but not closer than three feet to a side property line;

iii. Up to three feet into a required rear setback, but not closer than 10 feet to a rear property line;

d. These requirements shall not apply to uncovered landings, patios, or walkways constructed not more than six inches above finished grade.

2. Canopies, Chimneys/Fireplaces, Cornices, Eaves, and Roof Overhangs. Cantilevered architectural features on the main structure, including bay windows, canopies, chimneys/fire places up to eight feet in width, cornices, eaves, fireplaces, roof overhangs, and solar devices may extend up to three feet into a required setback, but not closer than three feet to a side or rear property line.

3. Setback Requirements for Specific Structures and Equipment.

a. Decks, driveways, patio slabs, and walkways shall be allowed in required setbacks, provided they do not exceed a height of six inches above finished grade. This provision shall not exclude the use of steps providing access between areas of different elevation on the same property.

b. An inner court providing access to a dwelling group (constructed and located face-to-face) shall provide a minimum width of 15 feet between rows for single-story structures with an additional five feet of width for each additional floor above the first floor.

c. Ground-mounted equipment (e.g., air conditioners, fans, filters, heaters, swimming pool pumps, etc.) shall be allowed in required side or rear setbacks, provided:

i. The equipment, including housing, is not closer than three feet to any side or rear property line; and

ii. The equipment does not exceed a height of four feet measured from the finished grade at the base of the unit.

d. Guard railings or fences for safety protection around depressed ramps may be located in required setbacks provided:

i. An open-work railing or fence is used; and

ii. The height of the railing or fence complies with the requirements of the city’s adopted Uniform Building Code.

e. Wooden and/or masonry planter boxes shall be allowed in all required setbacks when maintaining a maximum height of 42 inches.

f. Patios.

i. Attached covered patios having no enclosures, screening, or walls on at least three sides shall not project more than 10 feet into a required rear setback.

ii. Detached covered patios shall meet the requirements for residential accessory structures identified in SMC 19.50.080, Residential accessory uses and structures.

g. Retaining Walls.

i. Retaining walls up to 42 inches in height are exempt from setback requirements.

ii. Retaining walls up to six feet in height may be located within a required setback provided the exposed side of the wall faces into the subject parcel. If the exposed side of the retaining wall faces out of the subject parcel, the maximum height within the setback shall be four feet.

h. Swimming pools and spas are allowed in side and rear setbacks provided they are not closer than five feet to a side or rear property line.

D. Projections into the Public Right-of-Way. In commercial and mixed use zoning districts, projections into the public right-of-way may be allowed as provided for below.

1. Signs, Awnings and Canopies. Subject to the approval of the design review and historic preservation commission in accordance with SMC 19.54.080, Site design and architectural review, signs, awnings, and similar nonpermanent structures may project into the public right-of-way. The minimum clearance of such structures shall be seven feet and the minimum distance from an adjoining curb or street edge shall be three feet. Supporting posts or columns shall not be permitted under this provision.

2. Balconies and Building Projections. Subject to the approval of the planning commission in accordance with SMC 19.54.040, Use permits, balconies and other permanent building features may project into a public right-of-way. The minimum clearance of such structures shall be eight feet and the minimum distance from an adjoining curb or street edge shall be three feet. Supporting posts or columns shall not be permitted under this provision.

3. Posts, Columns, and Supports. Subject to the approval of the city council through the review of an encroachment permit, posts, columns and other permanent building features may be permitted within the public right-of-way. Such features shall not impede pedestrian access and shall be set back a minimum of three feet from any adjoining public street.

E. Use and Maintenance of Setback Areas. Setback areas and yards (defined as areas on a property not developed with a structure), including driveways and parking areas, shall be used and maintained in accordance with the following standards and requirements:

1. Structures. Yards and required setback areas shall not be occupied by structures other than:

a. Fences, as allowed under Chapter 19.46 SMC, Fences, Hedges and Walls.

b. Accessory structures located within setback areas in compliance with SMC 19.50.080, Residential accessory uses and structures.

c. Projections into setbacks as provided for under subsection (C) of this section.

d. Structures for which a variance or an exception have been obtained, in accordance with the applicable provisions of Division V.

e. Legal nonconforming structures.

2. Use. The use of yards and required setback areas shall be limited to the following:

a. Permitted uses under the applicable zoning district as set forth in Division II;

b. Conditionally permitted uses under the applicable zoning district as set forth in Division II for which a conditional use permit has been obtained;

c. Home occupations operated in conformance with SMC 19.50.040;

d. Legal nonconforming uses.

3. Storage. Front or street-side yards and setbacks shall not be used for the storage of garbage, rubbish, debris, parts, building materials (except in the course of permitted construction), or inoperable motor vehicles, except for screened storage facilities, such as building materials yards, allowed through a use permit in the Commercial and Mixed Use zones.

4. Maintenance. Setbacks and yards shall be maintained so as to be free from garbage and debris and accumulations of refuse and yard waste. No yard or setback area shall be maintained in a manner that supports or attracts concentrations of vermin or feral animals. (Ord. 06-2013 § 3, 2013; amended during June 2011 supplement; Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.120 Undergrounding of utilities.

All on-site cable television, electric, and telephone facilities, fire alarm conduits, lighting wiring, and other wiring conduits and similar facilities shall be placed underground at the time of development. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.40.130 Protection of scenic vistas.

A. Purpose. It is the purpose of this section to provide standards for the protection of important scenic vistas throughout the city as identified in the General Plan, Community Development Element (Town Design).

B. Applicability. The provisions of this section apply to any new development for which a discretionary planning or subdivision permit is required that has the potential to affect any of the scenic vistas identified in the General Plan (see the “Town Design Elements” map in the Community Development Element).

C. Scenic Vista Defined. For the purpose of this section, a “scenic vista” means a public view, benefitting the community at large, of significant features, including hillside terrain, ridgelines, canyons, geologic features, and community amenities (e.g., parks, landmarks, permanent open space).

D. Standards for View Corridors. New structures shall be constructed and located in a manner that preserves scenic vistas by maintaining view corridors, whenever possible. Examples of corridors include:

1. Unbuilt space between buildings;

2. View opportunities created from undeveloped lots;

3. Airspace created from public parks and open spaces; and

4. Open spaces created from the deliberate spacing of buildings on the same lot or adjacent lots.

5. Development in hillside areas, especially near ridgelines, shall comply with the standards in SMC 19.40.050, Hillside development. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).