Chapter 20.70


20.70.010    INTENT.


20.70.040    CONDITIONAL USES.


20.70.070    DESIGN STANDARDS.



20.70.100    SIGN STANDARDS.

20.70.010 INTENT.

The intent of the district center core (DCC) zone is to provide a mixed-use "town center" to support the surrounding neighborhoods and general public. The DCC provides opportunities for a variety of services including commercial and residential development that demonstrates planning and design to create a pedestrian friendly community while still accommodating a certain level of regional auto-dependent uses. (Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


The following uses are permitted outright:

(a)    Bed and breakfast;

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

(c)    Community facility;

(d)    Day care facility;

(e)    Drinking place;

(f)    Entertainment use;

(g)    Finance, insurance and real estate;

(h)    General office and business services;

(i)    General retail;

(j)    Group residential facilities - Class I;

(k)    Hotel and lodging place;

(l)    Hospital, medical office and clinic;

(m)    Motion picture theater;

(n)    Museum and gallery;

(o)    Nursing/convalescent home;

(p)    Park, playground and open space;

(q)    Personal services business;

(r)    Physical fitness and health club;

(s)    Public or private park, playground or open space;

(t)    Public administration;

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

(v)    Restaurant;

(w)    School and education;

(x)    Senior housing complex;

(y)    Transportation facility;

(z)    Veterinary clinic. (Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5251 §5, 2014: Ord. 5008 §15, 2007: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


The following conditional uses may be permitted in the Charleston district center, provided a conditional use permit is approved pursuant to BMC 20.58.020 subject to the corresponding conditions:

(a)    Mobile vending unit, provided:

(1)    A "mobile vending unit" is defined as any motorized or nonmotorized vehicle, trailer, or other device located on private property, designed to be portable and not permanently attached to the ground, from which food or other retail items are vended, served, or offered for sale.

(2)    No smoke, obnoxious odors, dust, light or glare, vibration, noise exceeding levels permissible per Chapter 6.32 BMC, or other environmental impacts or pollution shall be detectable off site.

(3)    Weekdays between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. all equipment, merchandise, food trucks, and other materials associated with the use shall be removed from the site. Alternative proposals for leaving mobile vending units overnight may be considered by the Director only in cases where mobile vending units are completely self-contained, secured, and do not require disassembly for transport to another location.

(4)    Mobile vending units are responsible for the proper disposal of waste and trash associated with the operation. At a minimum, mobile vending units shall remove all generated waste and trash from their approved location at the end of each day, or as needed to maintain public health and safety. No liquid waste or grease is to be disposed of in tree pits, storm drains, sanitary sewers, onto the sidewalks, streets or other public or private space. A written waste management plan indicating plans for waste handling, sanitation, litter collection/prevention, recycling, and daily cleanup procedures shall be submitted with the use permit application.

(5)    Minimum number of parking stalls per BMC 20.48.080(l) shall be waived. Any parking provided on site shall conform to Chapter 20.48 BMC, except that mobile vending units may request alternate site design proposals if accepted by the City.

(6)    The Director may modify or waive design criteria per BMC 20.70.070 and landscaping criteria per BMC 20.70.090.

(7)    Conditions of Approval. Conditions such as site orientation, fencing, buffering, parking location, lighting, access, hours of operation, and others may be imposed as a condition of approval if it is found they are necessary to mitigate identifiable adverse impacts and ensure compatibility with nearby uses.

(8)    Application Requirements. An application shall include all components listed per BMC 20.58.080(e). The Director may modify these requirements based on the size, scope and complexity of the project.

(b)    Light industrial uses, provided:

(1)    Conditional use eligibility is limited to existing properties fronting Cambrian Avenue, Mead Avenue, and Wycoff Avenue; any property south of 6th Street shall not be eligible.

(2)    No smoke, dust, light or glare, vibration, noise exceeding levels permissible per Chapter 6.32 BMC, or other environmental impacts or pollution shall be detectable off site.

(3)    Indoor storage shall only be permitted as an accessory use utilized solely by the permitted on-site use. No commercial storage shall be permitted.

(4)    Outdoor storage is prohibited.

(5)    Marijuana production and/or processing is prohibited.

(6)    Light industrial uses, which include residential uses as an accessory use, shall be excluded from mixed-use requirements per BMC 20.70.060(h). (Ord. 5435 §2, 2021)


Lot development shall be in accordance with the following unless allowed for otherwise by law:

(a)    Maximum front yard setback: ten (10) feet. At least sixty-five (65) percent of a building’s front facade shall 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:

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

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

(3)    To accommodate phasing of infill development;

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

(5)    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.

(b)    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).

(c)    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).

(d)    There is no maximum density for residential use.

(e)    Maximum building coverage: sixty (60) percent base maximum; provided, that through the use of any combination of the following, building coverage may be increased up to eighty-five (85) percent maximum:

(1)    Projects containing mixed uses: ten (10) percent bonus.

(2)    Projects with a three (3) or four (4) story building: ten (10) percent bonus; projects with five (5) or more story building: fifteen (15) percent bonus.

(3)    Projects providing a pedestrian-oriented plaza or area of at least one hundred fifty (150) square feet along a pedestrian walkway at an intersection corner, bus stop or other key pedestrian area approved by the City. Such areas shall contain seating for at least four (4) people, a trash receptacle and three (3) or more of the following: a pedestrian shelter, a drinking fountain, a bike rack, pedestrian-scale lights, pavers on the walkway surfaces, a kiosk, a street vendor station providing food or beverages, trees, an appropriately sized statue or sculpture, or a public restroom. Interior courtyards with these amenities qualify if they would be readily apparent and accessible to pedestrians on adjoining sidewalks: twenty (20) percent bonus.

(4)    Projects providing a through-block corridor that facilitates pedestrian access in a location approved by the City: five (5) percent bonus.

(5)    Projects providing at least fifty (50) percent of their required parking underground or within the building: twenty (20) percent bonus.

(f)    Maximum development coverage: maximum development coverage by impervious surfaces, seventy-five (75) percent; provided, that through the use of any combination of the mechanisms listed in subsections (e)(1) through (5) of this section, up to ninety-five (95) percent maximum development coverage may be allowed.

(g)    Maximum building height: eighty (80) feet except:

(1)    Structures within fifty (50) linear feet of parcels zoned for low density residential shall not exceed four (4) stories in height; and

(2)    Structures within fifty (50) and one hundred (100) linear feet of parcels zoned for low density residential shall include architectural features to gradually transition the building height from four (4) stories to a maximum height of eighty (80) feet at the one hundred (100) foot distance from the low density residential zoned parcel.

(h)    Mixed-Use Requirement. All structures that include residential uses located adjacent to, are oriented towards, or are viewable from a public right-of-way (not required on private streets) shall provide retail/commercial uses along a minimum of fifty (50) percent of the ground floor building facade. Exceptions to this requirement will be made for projects that comply with BMC 20.70.070(a)(6). (Ord. 5364 §7, 2018: Ord. 5351 §3, 2018: Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5251 §6, 2014: Ord. 5222 §14, 2013; Ord. 5046 §15, 2008; Ord. 5008 §16, 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 is 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.

(6) Ground-Floor. Ground-floor frontage of a structure facing a public right-of-way must conform to either subsection (a)(6)(i) or (ii) of this section, except as provided in subsection (a)(6)(iii) of this section:

(i) Constructed for Pedestrian-Oriented Uses. At least fifty (50) percent of the floor area abutting the linear sidewalk level shall be designed and constructed for "pedestrian-oriented" uses.

(ii) Constructed for Future Pedestrian-Oriented Uses. At least fifty (50) percent of the floor area abutting the linear sidewalk level shall be designed and constructed to accommodate potential future conversion to "pedestrian-oriented" uses and may be occupied by any use permitted in BMC 20.70.020. The areas designed and constructed to accommodate future conversion shall meet the following standard, in addition to any other required design standards: The sidewalk level facade must include an entrance or entrances to accommodate a single or multiple tenants or be structurally designed so entrances can be added when converted to the building uses listed in BMC 20.70.020.

(iii) Exception. For structures that abut two (2) or more public rights-of-way and contain topography or other site constraints that would make the placement of the pedestrian-oriented use on the ground floor difficult for the public to utilize, the pedestrian-oriented requirement in subsections (a)(6)(i) and (ii) of this section may be reduced to one (1) street frontage.

(b) Secondary Design Features. Four (4) 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. 5351 §4, 2018: Ord. 5319 §12, 2017: Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5222 §15, 2013; Ord. 5046 §16, 2008; Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


Parking shall meet the standards of Chapter 20.48 BMC and the following requirements. For legally established existing buildings that comply with BMC 20.48.020(b) the parking will be exempt from the following requirements:

(a)    For nonresidential uses, the minimum parking requirement is one (1) space per employee.

(b)    On-site parking for nonresidential uses shall not exceed four (4) spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet of floor area.

(c)    On-site parking shall be to the rear or side of buildings and shall not occupy more than fifty (50) percent of the site frontage facing the arterial street(s). The site frontage includes 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.

(d)    All efforts shall be taken to avoid placing parking on street corners. Parking located between the building frontage and street corners shall be fully screened as follows:

(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.

(i)    Alternate architectural features or shrubs 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.

(ii)    Openings and architectural features may be required within a wall section in order to tie the wall feature into the architecture of the building and to provide pedestrian access. 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.

(e)    Access to parking shall be provided per the following priority:

(1)    First, from an alley if available; if an alley is not available, then from local street;

(2)    If neither is available, then from a nonprincipal arterial street;

(3)    If none of the above are available then from a principal arterial street.

(f)    Driveways providing access to parking shall be well marked.

(g)    Existing nonresidential structures adding no more than ten (10) residential units, and/or existing nonresidential structures expanding up to twenty-five (25) percent of the gross square footage of the building for any permitted use, shall be exempt from providing additional off-street parking, and exempt from substantial destruction requirements per BMC 20.54.070, provided:

(1)    Projects shall be located within the Charleston district center;

(2)    Mixed-use requirements per BMC 20.70.060(h) are maintained;

(3)    No existing on-site parking or required landscaping is removed. (Ord. 5435 §3, 2021; Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5222 §16, 2013: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


Landscaping shall meet the standards of Chapter 20.50 BMC and the following standards shall be met:

(a)    All development proposed on properties abutting Almira Drive NE shall provide a Type II visual screen as established in BMC 20.50.050(b). (Ord. 5301 §3 (Exh. B) (part), 2016: Ord. 5251 §7, 2014: Ord. 4950 §8 (Exh. A) (part), 2005)


Signs 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)