Chapter 20.62


20.62.010    INTENT.

20.62.020    PERMITTED USES.

20.62.040    CONDITIONAL USES.


20.62.070    DESIGN STANDARDS.



20.62.100    SIGN STANDARDS.

20.62.010 INTENT.

The intent of the general commercial (GC) district is to provide locations for high intensity commercial uses serving the entire community while preserving views, forested areas, and buffering impacts to adjacent residential areas. The corridor accommodates access to businesses by automobile while also creating a pedestrian-friendly, transit-supporting corridor. (Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


The following uses are permitted outright:

(a)    Automobile service and repair;

(b)    Co-location of wireless communications facilities per BMC 20.46.140;

(c)    Community facility;

(d)    Day care;

(e)    Drinking place;

(f)    Education and school;

(g)    Entertainment use;

(h)    Finance, insurance and real estate;

(i)    Fully enclosed boat storage;

(j)    General office and business service;

(k)    General retail;

(l)    Hospital;

(m)    Hotel and lodging place;

(n)    Medical office and clinic;

(o)    Museum and gallery;

(p)    Park, playground, and open space;

(q)    Personal service;

(r)    Physical fitness and health club;

(s)    Public administration use;

(t)    Residential of all types except group residential facility - Class II;

(u)    Restaurant;

(v)    Senior housing complex;

(w)    Transportation facility;

(x)    Veterinary clinic. (Ord. 5326 §7, 2017: Ord. 5319 §10, 2017: Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5008 §10, 2007: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


The following uses may be permitted provided a conditional use permit is approved pursuant to BMC 20.58.020:

(a)    Hardware and materials supply stores including garden supply, provided:

(1)    The structure(s) is less than twenty thousand (20,000) square feet of gross floor area;

(2)    Outdoor storage and product display shall be screened from view by a solid fence or wall;

(3)    No loading areas shall be located in a front yard or side yard abutting or located across from a residentially zoned property; and

(4)    Outside storage is limited to five thousand (5,000) square feet.

(b)    Gas stations and car washes, provided:

(1)    No more than two (2) points of ingress/egress are allowed per street frontage. Ingress/egress points shall be separated in accordance with City engineering requirements.

(2)    Buffering is provided pursuant to BMC 20.50.050, and in addition, trees at least ten (10) feet in height of two (2) inch caliper, measured four (4) feet above ground at time of planting and/or construction shall be included at intervals not greater than fifteen (15) feet.

(c)    Dry storage of marine vessels commonly referred to as dry stacking, provided:

(1)    Located along Pennsylvania or Thompson Avenue;

(2)    The maximum height of dry stacking may not exceed fifty (50) feet; and

(3)    The dry stacking facility will not substantially obscure existing views to the water from existing residences.

(d)    Light industrial/manufacturing, excluding marijuana production or processing for distribution, provided:

(1)    The applicant can demonstrate that the use will not significantly detract from the visual character of the neighborhood;

(2)    Building Design. All structures shall have the appearance of a multistory building that emulates a commercial office or multifamily structure;

(3)    Development/Design Standards. Must meet all the development and design criteria in BMC 20.62.060 and 20.62.070;

(4)    No odor, dust or smoke byproduct will be detectable off site and the use meets the noise provisions of Chapter 6.32 BMC;

(5)    Light sources, both direct and nondirect, shall be selected and placed so that glare produced by any light source does not extend beyond the property lines, except onto adjacent sidewalks; and

(6)    Mini-storage facilities are allowed provided:

(i)    Site Design. All storage units shall gain access from the interior of the site. Doors for the storage units may not face the public right-of-way with the exception of alleys;

(ii)    Outdoor Storage. Storage of boats, RVs, vehicles, etc., or storage of outdoor pods or shipping containers are considered outdoor storage subject to BMC 20.62.070(b);

(iii)    Hours of Operation. Mini-storage facilities located adjacent to a residential zone shall not operate or allow tenant access between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.; and

(iv)    Uses. Each storage unit shall be used for storage only. No commercial or manufacturing activities, vehicle repair or services, or related activities, whether for business or personal purposes, are permitted in any storage unit. (Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


(a)    Lot development shall be in accordance with the following standards, unless allowed for otherwise by law:

(1)    Maximum front yard setback: ten (10) feet. At least sixty-five (65) percent of the building’s front facade must meet the maximum front yard setback. The setback may be increased if the Director finds that such increase is the minimum necessary to facilitate a superior site design. In order to obtain approval for an increased setback, the applicant shall submit a written analysis establishing how the project facilitates superior site design, is the minimum necessary, is consistent with specific goals and policies within the Comprehensive Plan, and is compliant with all applicable sections of the BMC. The following list identifies examples of circumstances where increased setbacks may be found to be appropriate:

(i)    When the site includes more than one (1) street frontage;

(ii)    To accommodate existing topography, utilities, or other physical site constraints that make compliance with the setback infeasible;

(iii)    To accommodate phasing of infill development;

(iv)    On sites that are significantly developed with existing legally established nonconforming uses or structures whereby strict code compliance will not facilitate effective circulation; or

(v)    For projects that in the opinion of the Director provide enhanced public amenities within the setback area which include, but are not limited to, the following: public plazas, increased landscaping, architectural features, improved pedestrian connections.

(2)    Minimum side yard setback: zero (0) except when adjacent to the low or medium density residential zones where a ten (10) to twenty (20) foot visual screen is required pursuant to BMC 20.50.050(b).

(3)    Minimum rear yard setback: zero (0), except when adjacent to the low or medium density residential zones where a ten (10) to twenty (20) foot visual screen is required pursuant to BMC 20.50.050(b).

(4)    No residential density requirements; provided, that:

(i)    Site design provides for internal circulation connections for both pedestrians and vehicles between all portions of the site;

(ii)    Landscaping and/or screening adjacent to residential zones shall be provided per BMC 20.50.040(c).

(5)    Maximum building coverage: fifty (50) percent unless increased per subsection (b) of this section. In no case shall maximum lot coverage exceed seventy-five (75) percent.

(6)    Maximum development coverage is seventy-five (75) percent unless increased per subsection (b) of this section. In no case shall maximum lot coverage exceed ninety-five (95) percent.

(7)    Maximum height: forty-five (45) feet, except that structures within one hundred (100) feet of the low or medium density residential zones shall not exceed thirty-five (35) feet in height.

(8)    Maximum building heights within the downtown regional center are pursuant to the Downtown Subarea Plan and shall supersede subsection (a)(7) of this section.

(b)    A development that provides the following may have its maximum development and lot coverage increased by adding bonus percentages to the maximum base area percentage, provided the total does not exceed the maximum allowed above:

(1)    Commercial/residential mixed use development: twenty (20) percent bonus;

(2)    Development containing seventy-five (75) percent of the building footprint with three (3) and four (4) story buildings: ten (10) percent bonus;

(3)    Ten (10) percent bonus if a sidewalk ten (10) feet in width or greater is installed extending to the front of the building and continuing along the entire arterial frontage of the parcel;

(4)    Pedestrian through-corridor that provides pedestrian access to a location approved by the Director: five (5) percent bonus;

(5)    Fifty (50) percent of off-street parking is provided underground or within a building designed for occupancy: twenty (20) percent bonus. (Ord. 5364 §15, 2018: Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5222 §6, 2013; Ord. 5046 §7, 2008; Ord. 5008 §11, 2007: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


The following design standards shall be applied to all new structures and redeveloped structures. Residential development of three (3) units or fewer are exempt from this section. When development involves the remodel or expansion of existing structures, the Director may modify these requirements to reasonably fit the scope and scale of the remodel or expansion.

(a)    Primary Design Features. The following criteria shall be applied to all primary building facades and facades facing public streets:

(1)    Top and Base. Buildings shall convey a visually distinct base and top. A "base" can be emphasized by a different masonry pattern, more architectural detail, visible plinth above which the wall rises, storefront, canopies, or a combination. The top edge is highlighted by a prominent cornice, projecting parapet or other architectural element that creates a shadow line.

(2)    Orientation. All properties adjacent to a public right-of-way shall orient structures toward the primary street. Properties located at intersections should orient their structures toward the intersecting corner.

(3)    Minimum Transparency. At least sixty (60) percent of all facades facing the public sidewalk, or sidewalks providing circulation within a site, measured to eight (8) feet above the sidewalk or surface grade, shall be comprised of transparent windows or doors.

(4)    Blank Facades. Building facades shall not present a blank facade to view from public rights-of-way, common parking areas, or residential properties. Such facades may be broken by windows, trellises, columns, variations in plane, or other devices that add variation and interest to the facade.

(5)    Mechanical Equipment Screening. Rooftop and ground-level mechanical equipment shall be screened from view from public streets. Screening materials shall be architecturally similar to the primary structure.

(b)    Secondary Design Features. Three (3) secondary design features are required from the following list:

(1)    Multiple Roof Lines. Structures shall have at least three (3) horizontal roof lines, as viewed from the front facade.

(2)    Modulation. The horizontal plane of a structure shall not extend for more than thirty (30) feet, as measured from any one (1) point of the structure, without a significant architectural variation of at least two (2) feet in depth.

(3)    Facade Materials. At least three (3) different facade materials shall be incorporated into the exterior appearance of the structure (wood, brick, stucco, tile, shingles, other).

(4)    Additional Transparency. An additional fifteen (15) percent transparency to what is required per subsection (a)(3) of this section.

(5)    Weather Protection. Recessed or protruding building features, of no less than four (4) feet in depth, which extend along at least fifty (50) percent of the front facade.

(6)    Main Entry. Pedestrian entrances are preferred from buildings facing the street. Entries shall be easily identifiable from the street or sidewalk; this can be accomplished through architectural or ornamental features.

(7)    Public Amenity. Outdoor eating area, artwork, street furniture, plantings in window boxes, public trash receptacles, or other alternative public amenity approved by the Director. Any proposed amenity shall be architecturally compatible with the principal structure. Any approved amenity shall be maintained for the life of the project. (Ord. 5319 §11, 2017: Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5046 §8, 2008: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


On-site parking shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 20.48 BMC, and the following standards shall be met:

(a)    On-site parking shall be to the rear or to the side of buildings on the site and shall not occupy more than fifty (50) percent of the site frontage facing the arterial street frontage(s). The site frontage includes all of the area between the right-of-way and front building wall which applies to the entire length of the property regardless of building width. Corner lots have two (2) site frontages as they are positioned on two (2) street frontages.

(b)    All efforts shall be taken to avoid installing parking on street corners. Parking located between the building frontage and street corners shall be fully screened. Screening shall consist of the following:

(1)    A four (4) foot tall decorative wall within the front yard landscaping area that fully screens the parking areas. The wall shall be located such that it blocks views of the parking from the right-of-way. For long spans of frontage (one hundred (100) feet or more), the wall shall include modular articulation to add architectural variety.

(2)    Shrubs or other alternative materials may be substituted for the wall, provided it is demonstrated that the shrubs/alternative will provide equal to or better visual screening than the wall. Shrubs shall be a minimum of three (3) feet tall at time of installation and shall be additional to the landscaping required in Chapter 20.50 BMC.

(3)    Openings may be required within a wall section in order to provide a sidewalk from the right-of-way to the building entry. The entry shall be the minimum necessary to accommodate a sidewalk that is a minimum of five (5) feet in width, clearly marked, and distinguished from driving surfaces by using decorative paving, stamped/stained concrete, or raised walkways with alternative materials (such as brick, cobblestone, decorative pavers). Paint striping does not meet this requirement.

(c)    Access to parking may be from adjacent nonprincipal arterial streets, or from driveways off of the principal arterial.

(d)    Driveways providing access to parking area shall be well marked. (Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5222 §7, 2013: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


The landscaping requirements set forth in Chapter 20.50 BMC shall be satisfied. (Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5046 §9, 2008: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


Signage shall meet the standards of Chapter 20.52 BMC. For freestanding signs, the maximum size and height standards of Figure 20.52(a) shall apply. (Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)