Chapter 17.59
HILLSIDE DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN STANDARDS

Sections:

17.59.010    Purpose and definition.

17.59.020    Guiding principles.

17.59.030    Applicability.

17.59.040    Submittal requirements.

17.59.050    Development and design standards.

17.59.010 Purpose and definition.

A. Purpose. The steep hillsides surrounding Lake Chelan are a defining natural feature and source of community identity for the city of Chelan. Views of the hillsides from public places are a community asset and preserving the hillsides is important for maintaining water quality in Lake Chelan. Due to limited land within the city, the hillsides also provide significant opportunities for new development including housing, tourist accommodations, agriculture, and agri-tourism uses. It is in the interest of the city and community to balance these competing interests and support community goals such as the preservation of public views, minimizing environmental impacts from new development, maintaining the community character of Chelan, providing affordable housing, and maintaining a strong year-round economy. The hillside development and design standards are intended to further these community goals and implement the comprehensive plan.

B. Definitions.

1. Minimize. Where the word “minimize” is used in this code, it means to reduce to the smallest possible amount, extent, size, or degree consistent with the intent of the guiding principles of this code.

2. Other Definitions. See Title 19. (Ord. 1533 § 8 (Exh. 92) (part), 2017).

17.59.020 Guiding principles.

The following guiding principles further define the intent and purpose of the hillside development and design standards and are not intended to be regulatory language:

A. Principle No. 1. Where feasible locate hillside development in areas that are not visible or have less visual impact from public places while preserving open space.

B. Principle No. 2. Design streets, sites, and buildings to integrate with the natural topography and minimize the need for regrading.

C. Principle No. 3. Hillside development should avoid impacting streams, ravines, wildlife habitats, ridgelines, and other natural features.

D. Principle No. 4. Design sites and buildings to minimize visual impacts from major public viewing areas. Consider use of techniques such as:

1. Clustering of buildings.

2. The use of vegetation to minimize the visual impact.

3. Building massing and modulation to minimize bulk and scale and the overall visual impact.

4. Use of facade materials that blend with natural environment.

E. Principle No. 5. Design sites and infrastructure to ensure public safety by minimizing impacts from erosion, dust, fires, floods, landslides, and other natural hazards both during and after construction.

F. Principle No. 6. Establish hillside development standards to maintain Chelan’s character, promote high-quality hillside development, and support implementation of the guiding principles.

G. Principle No. 7. Phase land disturbance to the maximum degree practicable. Focus grading in initial phases to construct the infrastructure for the project. Avoid mass grading, and defer clearing and grading of individual lots to the building permit stage. (Ord. 1533 § 8 (Exh. 92) (part), 2017).

17.59.030 Applicability.

The hillside development and design standards apply to any development application that involves slopes greater than twenty percent including subdivisions, site plan applications, conditional use permits, critical area permits, and building permits. These standards do not apply to permits and development agreements approved prior to the effective date of these standards. (Ord. 1533 § 8 (Exh. 92) (part), 2017).

17.59.040 Submittal requirements.

For all subdivisions involving erosion hazard areas or slopes above the threshold in Section 17.59.030, the following items shall be submitted for the pre-application review and are in addition to the requirements for a preliminary plat application identified in Section 16.04.090. In addition, the city may require third-party review from qualified professionals if necessary to determine compliance with the design and development standards. The applicant is required to pay all costs for third-party review. Modifications to site and building plans may be requested with a building permit application, but must be consistent with the approved subdivision.

A. A map identifying prominent natural features on the site and vicinity including vegetation and trees, streams, ravines, wildlife habitat, and others.

B. A map showing the conceptual street layout, typical street sections, grades, and access to developable properties.

C. A conceptual site plan showing the general layout of streets, parcels, buildings, driveways. The site plan and any supporting information shall show how natural features are protected and incorporated into the design of the subdivision.

D. Conceptual site plans for typical developable parcels including buildings, retaining walls, access, stormwater management, and landscaping.

E. Conceptual architectural renderings of typical buildings and sections from a licensed architect.

F. A summary of visual analysis for impacts on public views as designated in the city’s comprehensive plan.

G. A written statement describing design measures to minimize erosion, environmental and public view impacts.

H. Slope cross-sections that show the extent of proposed grading where the most grading is proposed, where there is the most intense development, where the site is most visible from public viewing areas, and along major streets.

I. Photographs of the property documenting existing conditions. (Ord. 1533 § 8 (Exh. 92) (part), 2017).

17.59.050 Development and design standards.

To comply with the development and design standards and address potential impacts, the project shall be designed to first avoid the impact. When avoiding the impact is not feasible or reasonable the project shall be designed to minimize the impact.

A. Subdivisions.

1. Streets.

a. The layout of parcels and streets shall be designed to minimize the overall length of streets.

b. Streets shall be located and designed to follow natural contours and minimize the need for regrading for both streets, parcel access, and buildings.

c. Subdivisions shall be designed to provide property access on both sides of the street wherever feasible to minimize the length and number of streets as well as the disruption to the hillside.

2. Clustering.

a. Clustering of parcels and buildings is strongly encouraged to minimize the disruption to steep slopes, to protect natural features, and minimize impacts on public views.

b. Residential cluster lot sizes shall be as specified in each zone. Where a cluster lot size is not specified in a residential zone, the administrator may reduce minimum lot sizes by up to fifteen percent to allow for clustering in order to minimize disruption to natural features and public views. Lot coverage shall be based on the minimum lots size in the district.

Exhibit 1. Clusters of buildings preserve open space and minimize visual impact.

3. Parcels/Building Lots.

a. Mass regrading of parcels to create flat building sites and buildings designed for flat sites is prohibited.

b. Parcels shall be located and configured to minimize the amount of grading needed for site development and access.

c. Buildings shall be oriented parallel to the slope to minimize cut and fill unless a proposed orientation has greater likelihood of meeting the code requirements. Retaining walls and rockeries must comply with Section 17.04.075 and shall only be permitted when necessary to support a structure and/or access road or driveway.

B. Building Location and Design.

1. Buildings shall incorporate the slope into the design of the building (see Exhibit 2). Buildings on steep slopes may step down slopes (see Exhibit 4) to break up the scale and mass of the building. Pier supported structures may be allowed where an applicant can demonstrate to the administrator’s satisfaction that it is unobtrusive within designated view corridors and that the design avoids fire hazards consistent with Chapter 15.06. See Exhibit 3.

2. Setbacks from the street shall be the minimum distance needed for parking and access (see Exhibit 3). The city may approve a reduction in the front yard setback to twenty feet to minimize grading and disruption to the hillside.

3. Where feasible without significant regrading, the design of low-profile buildings (see Exhibit 5) should be utilized to minimize the visual impact downslope and from public views as identified in the comprehensive plan.

4. Avoid use of retaining walls to minimize the visual impact downslope unless necessary for slope stability.

5. Buildings and retaining wall facades shall use natural materials that blend with the surrounding natural environment and hillside.

6. Minimize cut and fill to the amount necessary to support the building and access while protecting native vegetation.

Exhibit 2. Building design that incorporates the slope.

Exhibit 3. Building with minimal setback from the street to allow for access and parking; pier supported structures tend to jut from slopes rather than blend with slopes.

Exhibit 4. Building design steps down the slope.

Exhibit 5. Low-profile building minimizes the visual impact.

Source: Tate Studio Architects, 2016

C. Landscaping and Vegetation.

1. The use of native vegetation and drought tolerant landscaping is required. Species shall be those listed on the Washington Native Plant Society list of native vegetation for Eastern Washington or an equivalent resource as approved by the city.

2. To the extent feasible, native vegetation shall be preserved in the design of the site and locations of buildings.

3. Vegetation that is disturbed during site development shall be replaced with native vegetation. (Ord. 1533 § 8 (Exh. 92) (part), 2017).