Chapter 17.07


17.07.010    Intent.

17.07.020    Applicability.

17.07.030    Contents of complete site plan review application.

17.07.040    Site plan review and approval procedures.

17.07.050    Improvement requirements.

17.07.060    Nonconforming structures.

17.07.070    Completion or performance bond.

17.07.080    Amendments to an approved site plan.

17.07.090    Expiration of an approved site plan.

17.07.100    Fees.

17.07.110    Other permits and approvals.

17.07.120    Appeals.

17.07.010 Intent.

The intent of this chapter is to provide a mechanism for evaluating and approving proposed land use activities and construction projects in the city which require a minimum of up-front expenditure on the part of the applicant. The review utilizes a basic site plan, basic floor plan, and basic exterior elevations submitted by the applicant to determine compliance with city zoning and other development policies and regulations, as well as identifies public improvements that may be required. The site plan review process is designed to coordinate and communicate the various requirements of the city to the applicant in a consolidated manner, and provide the applicant with guidance in the preparation of more detailed civil engineering drawings, and/or building construction drawings. In addition, where provisions of the city code require that certain street frontage improvements be constructed in advance, provisions in this chapter are intended to provide the city with the flexibility to accept a no protest to future LID for street frontage improvements in lieu of constructing the improvements on a case-by-case basis as determined by the city and upon the request of an applicant. (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.020 Applicability.

A. Site plan review is a Type I administrative decision, and is required in addition to any other permit review and approvals required by the city or other agencies. However, site plan review should be conducted, to the extent possible, concurrently with any permit and environmental review process required by city code.

B. Site plan review and approval under this chapter shall be required prior to the approval or use of land for commercial, multifamily residential, industrial, or public purpose, including associated activities or structures.

C. Site plan review, as provided for in this chapter, is required for new construction, substantial improvements to existing buildings, and changes in use which increase associated requirements such as parking or storm water management requirements.

D. Based on the type of land use and/or the scale and complexity of the proposed project, the director may, upon the written request of the project proponent, at his/her discretion, waive the requirement for site plan review or waive one or more of the required elements of a complete application as described in BMC 17.07.030. The request for a waiver must be made on forms supplied by the city and accompanied by the applicable fee. Any request for a waiver must specify each provision of the code that is requested to be waived and the basis for the waiver, otherwise no such waiver shall be deemed to have been issued. The waiver is effective for one year from the date of issuance.

E. Site plan review, as provided for in this chapter, is not required for the following:

1. One- and two-family residences.

2. Alterations, additions or remodels of one- and two-family residences.

3. Shops, garages, sheds, decks, porches or similar structures intended to serve one- and two-family residences.

4. Manufactured homes.

5. Signs.

6. Plats, short plats, binding site plans, and boundary line adjustments.

7. Accessory dwelling units.

8. Other minor land use or construction activity, as determined by the community development director.

F. The site plan review process, as provided for in this chapter, may be required by the community development director to provide for the detailed review of development applications that may have been previously approved at a conceptual level, such as planned unit developments or conditional use permits, but have not received any land disturbance permit, building permit, final plat approval or other similar development approval. (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.030 Contents of complete site plan review application.

Site plan review application forms shall be provided by the community development services department. Site plan review shall commence upon submittal of a complete site plan review application, together with accompanying documents and plans as follows:

A. Survey and Legal Description.

1. A survey by a certified surveyor with the state of Washington that contains a complete legal description of the property and descriptions of any easements or other encumbrances that may impact the development or use of the property. In limited circumstances where setbacks to property boundaries are not in question, the community development director may accept a title report in place of a survey.

2. The completeness and accuracy of this information is the responsibility of the applicant.

B. Site Plan.

1. Applicant name and address.

2. A project summary box including, at a minimum, the following information: legal description; assessor’s parcel number(s); site address; city zoning; site area; lot coverage; building gross floor area; square footage of activity areas by use; number of parking spaces; and impermeable surface area.

3. Vicinity map, north arrow, and scale indicated.

4. Property lines with corners and dimensions shown.

5. Easements and rights-of-way.

6. Existing and/or proposed frontage improvements.

7. Existing and/or proposed utilities, including storm water facilities.

8. Existing buildings and structures, including structures on adjacent lots within 10 feet of the property line.

9. Proposed structures including setbacks from property lines.

10. Existing and/or proposed ingress and egress, including dimensions of driveways and curb cuts.

11. Existing and/or proposed parking and loading areas including number of spaces (including handicap spaces), dimensions of spaces, aisle widths, etc.

12. Other existing and/or proposed physical improvements on the site such as fences, signs, area lighting, landscaping, etc.

13. Natural features such as significant stands of trees, streams, wetlands, steep slopes, etc.

14. If the site is not basically level, a concept plan showing existing topography and proposed grading.

15. Phasing plan, if applicable.

16. Design review information pursuant to Chapters 17.120 and 17.121 BMC, if applicable.

C. Floor Plan and Building Elevations.

1. Building elevations with exterior dimensions.

2. Floor plan with dimensions and square footages of identified use areas by type.

3. Location of doors and windows.

4. Interior walls and partitions.

D. SEPA environmental checklist if the project is subject to SEPA review. (Ord. 2879 § 1 (Exh. A § 5), 2016; Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.040 Site plan review and approval procedures.

After issuance of written approval by the city, the site plan is intended to establish the spatial relationships between all the various elements of a development project. All subsequent plans or requests for approval submitted to the city subsequent to site plan approval, including but not limited to landscape plans, civil construction drawings, and/or building plans, must be consistent with the approved site plan, or an amendment to the site plan review approval must be filed. Any issuance of a building permit that is not based upon an approved site plan shall be deemed invalid. For these reasons, while associated construction drawings may be submitted concurrently with a site plan review application, they are generally not reviewed prior to approval of the site plan. The site plan review and approval procedures include:

A. Submittal of a complete site plan review application consistent with the provisions of BMC 17.07.030.

B. All site plan review applications shall be submitted concurrently with or prior to the submittal of building permit or land disturbance permit applications. Site plan review shall be coordinated with the review of associated development applications to the extent practicable.

C. Following the submittal of a complete site plan review application, the community development services department shall circulate the materials to pertinent city departments and public agencies. The pertinent city departments and public agencies shall review the application for compliance with city zoning, environmental review requirements, and development policies, plans, and regulations that may be applicable to the proposed project.

D. The community development services department may conduct preapplication review upon request. Such preapplication requests shall be submitted on forms provided by the community development services department, and scheduled for review in the same manner as complete site plan review applications.

E. After considering comments from pertinent city departments and public agencies, the approving authority shall complete a site plan review response letter indicating any revisions and/or additions to the site plan that are necessary in order to achieve compliance with city standards and requirements. In addition, the site plan review response letter shall clearly indicate which conditions of approval must be completed prior to issuance of building permits, and which conditions of approval must be completed prior to issuance of occupancy certificates. The letter shall be mailed to the applicant.

F. The applicant shall make any required revisions and/or additions to the site plan, including right-of-way improvements and nonmotorized transportation improvements identified through the review process and return it to the community development services department for final approval and stamping.

G. The community development director shall approve the site plan when it is determined that the plan is consistent with the Blaine comprehensive plan, zoning, and development regulations by issuing a notice of decision pursuant to BMC 17.06.120. The director shall distribute stamped approved copies of the site plan to the applicant, public works department, building division, fire district, and other persons, departments, or agencies as appropriate.

H. No final certificate of occupancy shall be issued for any building until such time as all required conditions of approval have been completed, except that temporary certificates of occupancy may be issued upon the posting of a bond or other suitable financial surety adequate to insure the completion of all required conditions of approval. (Ord. 2970 § 1 (Exh. A), 2021; Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.050 Improvement requirements.

The project proponent shall ensure that all improvements are constructed to the specifications of an approved plan set and are consistent with the Blaine Municipal Code, comprehensive plan, and the public works guidelines and development standards. All improvement requirements are the responsibility of the project proponent and must be inspected prior to acceptance by the city.

A. The level of on-site and right-of-way improvements are divided into two categories: minor improvements and major improvements. Minor improvements shall not exceed any of the following thresholds. All other improvements are considered major improvements including residential development.

Minor improvements shall not exceed any of the following thresholds:

1. Three thousand five hundred square feet of new commercial or industrial buildings;

2. Five thousand square feet of existing building(s) converted to new occupancy type of a greater impact or more intensive use;

3. Five thousand square feet of new impervious surface.

B. Minor improvements shall construct only the minimum street frontage necessary to serve the development by improving adjacent substandard public infrastructure. In circumstances where the public health, safety or general welfare is potentially compromised, the community development director may require additional public infrastructure or site improvements.

1. The city may accept a no protest to LID agreement for street frontage improvements, not including public utilities. The no protest to LID agreement shall be:

a. Approved by the public works director; and

b. Recorded with the Whatcom County auditor prior to issuance of building permits.

C. Major improvements shall construct all the public infrastructure necessary to serve the development including but not limited to adjacent right-of-way improvements, utility extensions, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, bike lanes, street lighting and street trees. Substandard roadways shall be improved to meet the minimum standard as defined in the development guidelines and public works standards. Provisions for parks, open space and trails shall be provided as consistent with the comprehensive plan, park and recreation plan and nonmotorized transportation plan.

1. In limited circumstances where the applicant can demonstrate that there is no significant enhancement to the public health, safety and general welfare through the construction of street frontage improvements, the city may accept a no protest to LID agreement in lieu of constructed street frontage improvements provided:

a. Streets improved to the minimum standard are not adjacent to the project or in the immediate vicinity, as determined by the public works director; and

b. The no protest to LID agreement is approved by the public works director; and

c. The no protest to LID agreement is recorded with the Whatcom County auditor prior to issuance of building permits.

2. If a no protest to LID agreement for street frontage improvements is acceptable to the city as requested by the proponent, then the following additional requirements shall apply to major improvements to facilitate construction of future street improvements by the city:

a. The proponent shall complete a vertical and horizontal engineering profile to the satisfaction of the public works director to the nearest intersections on the primary frontage; and

b. The proponent shall complete a full engineering street design to the satisfaction of the public works director along the primary frontage and connecting to the nearest intersection. (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.060 Nonconforming structures.

Nonconforming structures shall not have their level of nonconformity increased through approval of a site plan review. (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.070 Completion or performance bond.

A performance bond or a security satisfactory to and accepted by the city in writing in the amount of 150 percent of the value of the incomplete required improvements may be posted in lieu of installation of improvements; such bond or other security shall based on an estimate prepared by a licensed engineer in the state of Washington, and must be recommended for approval by the public works director and approved by the city council. The performance bond or other security shall specify exactly what improvements are covered and a time schedule for completion. The performance bond or other security may be released upon completion and acceptance of all improvements and the posting of a maintenance bond for two years at 10 percent of the value of the performance bond or other security. Prior to approval and acceptance of the performance bond, the project proponent shall submit a performance bond processing fee to the city as may be set forth in the city’s applicable rates and fees schedule. (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.080 Amendments to an approved site plan.

All amendments to an approved site plan shall be processed in the same manner as identified in BMC 17.07.040, except that, depending on the extent or complexity of the amendments, the community development director may waive one or more elements of the procedures identified in BMC 17.07.040. Upon approval and stamping of an amended site plan, the community development director shall distribute the amended site plan in the same manner as identified in BMC 17.07.040(H). (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.090 Expiration of an approved site plan.

An approved site plan shall be valid for one year from the date of approval, after which it shall expire and be considered null and void. The following exceptions may be granted:

A. The approved site plan may be extended once for an additional period not to exceed one year upon written request of the applicant which includes the reasons for the requested extension. The written request shall be submitted to the community development director and postmarked prior to the date of the expiration of the approved site plan in order to be considered. The director shall grant such requests only upon a showing by the applicant that he is likely to resolve outstanding issues which have precluded initiation of the project by the submittal of a building permit application.

B. If a complete building permit application or a complete land disturbance permit with stamped engineering drawings for the proposed project is submitted within one year of the date of approval of the approved site plan, or the expiration date as approved under subsection (A) of this section, the approved site plan shall expire on the same date as the building permit or land disturbance permit expires, if that should occur. (Ord. 2811 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.100 Fees.

The fee for site plan review shall be as provided in the city’s fee ordinance. Any and all additional costs associated with the review of the application, including city costs associated with retaining consultants to provide third-party review of the application, shall be paid by the applicant prior to the time the cost is incurred. The community development director may require the applicant to deposit funds with the city to be used to pay for necessary third-party review. (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.110 Other permits and approvals.

Nothing in this chapter shall preclude or eliminate the need to obtain other permits or pay fees in accordance with any other requirements identified in this code. (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)

17.07.120 Appeals.

Appeals of a final decision shall be submitted pursuant to BMC 17.06.180, Appeals. (Ord. 2787 § 2 (Exh. A), 2011)