Chapter 17.124


17.124.010    Purpose.

17.124.020    Definition.

17.124.030    Applicability of provision.

17.124.040    Administration and approval process.

17.124.050    Expiration of approval – Standards for extension of time.

17.124.060    Modification of approved plans.

17.124.070    Approval criteria.

17.124.080    Application submission requirements.

17.124.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

(1) Establish criteria for regulating the type, size and location of accessory structures in residential zoning districts;

(2) Allow the property to be more useful while not altering the residential character of the principal structures; and

(3) Allow for accessory structures within commercial and industrial zoning districts. (Ord. 2875 § 1.156.010, 2003)

17.124.020 Definition.

(1) “Accessory structure” means a subordinate structure located on the lot, the use of which is clearly incidental to and associated with the principal structure.

(2) Where an accessory structure is attached to the principal structure in a substantial manner, as by a roof, such accessory structure shall normally be considered as a part of the principal structure.

(3) Where an accessory structure is detached, it must comply with all the requirements of this chapter and code.

(4) Examples of accessory structures are barns, garages, carports, playhouses, sheds, private greenhouses, gazebos, storage buildings, boathouses and docks, wind-generating devices, swimming pool pumphouses, radio- and television-receiving antenna towers and dishes and, pursuant to subsection (5) of this section, storage containers.

(5) “Storage container” means any factory-built container or part thereof designed or used for freight or storage and includes, but is not limited to, Conex boxes and sea-land containers. Such containers are typically originally designed for transport, but when intended to be used in a fixed location for more than a year are considered accessory structures for the purposes of this chapter. Placement for less than a year is governed by Chapter 17.116 SHMC, Temporary Uses. (Ord. 3105 § 2, 2009; Ord. 2875 § 1.156.020, 2003)

17.124.030 Applicability of provision.

(1) Review of accessory structures by the director is required except for the following situations:

(a) Buildings or structures within residential zoning districts which do not exceed 200 square feet in gross floor area and 15 feet or less in height, measured from base to highest point of the structure;

(b) Accessory buildings or structures attached to the principal building or structure, as long as they use the same architectural features such as roof lines and exterior building materials. “Attached” means wall-to-wall or any permanent roof attachment such as breezeways. Said structures shall be considered as building additions and shall require building permits and compliance with the applicable setback standards for the principal building or structure;

(c) Accessory buildings or structures for sites that have been approved or should be approved under site design or conditional use processes of this code must additionally comply with those requirements; and

(d) Fences and walls within all zoning districts shall be consistent with SHMC 17.72.090.

(e) Storage container(s) in industrial zones. This provision does not preclude the necessity of site design review, conditional use permit, or temporary use permit for such use(s), as applicable, however.

(2) All of the provisions and regulations of the underlying zone apply unless modified by this chapter.

(3) Multiple accessory structures that individually fall within the parameters of subsection (1)(a) of this section but are within 36 inches from each other as measured from any portion of each structure shall be considered one structure for the purpose of this section. (Ord. 3253 § 2 (Att. A), 2020; Ord. 3164 § 3 (Att. B), 2012; Ord. 3105 § 2, 2009; Ord. 2875 § 1.156.030, 2003)

17.124.040 Administration and approval process.

(1) The applicant for an accessory structure proposal shall be the recorded owner of the property or an agent authorized in writing by the owner.

(2) The director shall approve, approve with conditions or deny any application for an accessory structure. The director shall apply the standards set forth in SHMC 17.124.070 when reviewing an application. (Ord. 2875 § 1.156.040, 2003)

17.124.050 Expiration of approval – Standards for extension of time.

(1) Accessory structure approval by the director shall be effective for a one-and-one-half-year period from the date of approval.

(2) The accessory structure approval by the director shall lapse if:

(a) Substantial construction or installation of the approved accessory structure plan has not begun within a one-and-one-half-year period; or

(b) Construction on the site is a departure from the approved plan.

(3) The director shall, upon written request by the applicant and payment of the required fee, grant an extension of the approval period not to exceed one year; provided, that:

(a) No changes are made on the original accessory structure plan as approved by the director;

(b) The applicant can show intent of initiating construction of the site within the one-year extension period; and

(c) There have been no changes to the applicable comprehensive plan policies and ordinance provisions on which the approval was based.

(4) Notice of the decision shall be provided to the applicant. The director’s decision may be appealed by the applicant as provided by SHMC 17.24.310(1). (Ord. 3144 § 2 (Att. A), 2011; Ord. 3105 § 2, 2009; Ord. 2875 § 1.156.050, 2003)

17.124.060 Modification of approved plans.

(1) An applicant may request approval of a modification to an approved plan by:

(a) Providing the director with two copies of the proposed modified accessory structure plan; and

(b) A narrative which indicates the rationale for the proposed modification addressing the changes listed in subsection (2) of this section.

(2) The director shall grant the modification; provided, that the structure design and location conforms with the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 2875 § 1.156.060, 2003)

17.124.070 Approval criteria.

(1) Dimensional Approval Criteria.

(a) The following dimensions shall apply to all accessory structures:

(i) For parcels within a residential zone that are less than two and one-half acres in size, any accessory building within a residential zone shall have no more than 600 square feet of gross floor area;

(ii) For parcels within a residential zone that are two and one-half acres in size or larger, any accessory building shall have no more than 1,000 square feet of gross floor area; and

(iii) In no case shall the accessory building(s) and principal structure exceed the maximum lot coverage allowed by the base zone;

(b) Except as provided in subsection (1)(c) of this section, accessory structures in residential zones shall maintain the same rear and side yard setbacks as the principal building in accordance with the standards of the zone;

(c) All freestanding and detached towers, antennas, wind-generating devices and TV receiving dishes in residential zones shall have setbacks equal to or greater than the height of the proposed structure. Suitable protective anti-climb fencing and a landscape planting screen, in accordance with Chapter 17.72 SHMC, Landscaping and Screening, shall be provided and maintained around these structures and accessory attachments; and

(d) See Chapter 17.68 SHMC, Building Height Limitations – Exceptions, for exceptions.

(2) Nondimensional Approval Criteria.

(a) Accessory structures or buildings shall comply with all requirements for the principal structure, except where specifically modified by this chapter;

(b) If an application proposed for an accessory structure meets the following criteria, the director shall approve the application proposal:

(i) No accessory building or structure shall be allowed in any required front or interior yard;

(ii) The applicant shall present documentation of the possession of any required license by any federal, state or local agency;

(iii) Any accessory building or structure attached to the principal building or structure must comply with all setbacks of the zoning district (“attached” means wall-to-wall or any permanent roof attachment such as breezeways);

(iv) No accessory building or structure shall encroach upon or interfere with the use of any adjoining property or public right-of-way including but not limited to streets, alleys and public or private easements;

(v) Except for dishes less than 24 inches in diameter, TV receiving dishes may be erected upon the roof of a structure only within a commercial or industrial zone;

(vi) All accessory structures shall be built in accordance with the applicable building code as administered by the building official;

(vii) The style and exterior materials must be similar to the principal building; and

(viii) Roof pitch must be same as principal building if accessory building exceeds 15 feet in height;

(c) Accessory structures which are nonconforming are subject to the requirements of Chapter 17.104 SHMC, Nonconforming Situations, where an alteration, extension or reconstruction is requested;

(d) In instances where an alteration, extension or reconstruction to an existing detached accessory structure is requested, the applicant shall apply for an accessory structure permit in accordance with SHMC 17.124.040; and

(e) A conflict of interpretation concerning whether a structure is an accessory structure shall be resolved in accordance with the provisions of SHMC 17.24.090.

(3) Storage Containers. In addition to the other approval criteria of this chapter, storage containers in any commercial (e.g., HC, GC, MC), mixed use (e.g., MU, RD), or public lands (e.g., PL) zoning district shall comply with the following standards:

(a) Only one shall be allowed for properties that are less than or equal to one acre in size. A maximum of two may be allowed for properties greater than one acre in size.

(b) Each storage container shall be painted a neutral, earth-tone or otherwise site-compatible color. Color shall be uniform for the entire storage container. If storage containers will be placed within 50 feet of each other on the same property, they shall be of the same color.

(c) Signs are prohibited on storage containers, except those required that contain public safety information for the storage container.

(d) Shall be located and screened to minimize visibility from surrounding streets and neighboring properties.

(e) No storage container shall violate applicable zoning standards and shall not encroach into pedestrian or vehicle circulation areas, required parking areas, landscape areas, emergency access ways or vision clearance areas pursuant to Chapter 17.76 SHMC.

(f) No storage container shall be allowed to be placed or remain to be placed in a state of disrepair. Examples of states of disrepair include but are not limited to any damage that compromises the intended shape (i.e., disfigurement) and/or function of the storage container, significant rust, or graffiti.

(g) Use shall be restricted to storage only. Any form of human occupancy shall be prohibited.

(h) Shall not be used for any primary use.

(i) A permanent foundation is not required, but storage container shall be placed on a level surface of asphalt, concrete or other similar type materials approved by the city.

(j) Shall not exceed a height of 10 feet.

(k) Shall not be stacked.

(l) Shall not exceed a gross floor area of 360 square feet for each individual storage container. (Ord. 3264 § 2 (Att. A), 2021; Ord. 3180 § 1 (Att. A), 2015; Ord. 3164 § 3 (Att. B), 2012; Ord. 3105 § 2, 2009; Ord. 2875 § 1.156.070, 2003)

17.124.080 Application submission requirements.

(1) All applications shall be made on forms provided by the director and shall be accompanied by:

(a) Three copies for review by the director of site plan(s) and necessary data or narrative which explains how the accessory structure proposal conforms to the standards:

(i) Sheet size for an accessory structure site plan(s) and required drawings shall be drawn on sheets preferably not exceeding 18 inches by 24 inches;

(ii) The scale of the site plan shall be an engineering scale; and

(iii) All drawings of structure elevations shall be at standard architectural scale, being one-fourth-inch or one-eighth-inch;

(b) One copy of a current assessor’s map; and

(c) The required fee.

(2) The proposed accessory structure site plan shall include the following information:

(a) The location of all existing and proposed structures on the site and directly abutting the site, and their orientation;

(b) The location of existing and proposed utility lines and easements;

(c) The location of any streets abutting the site;

(d) The location of any accessway to the proposed structure; and

(e) The size (square footage) of the accessory structure.

(3) The proposed accessory structure architectural plans shall include the following information:

(a) At least two elevations of any proposed structure; and

(b) Enough information for determining height, type of siding, slope of roof, and type of roofing. (Ord. 2875 § 1.156.080, 2003)