40.550.010    Road Modifications

A.    Purpose.

    In cases where unusual topographic conditions, nature of existing development, unique or innovative development design or similar factors make strict adherence to the road standards undesirable, or cause undue hardships, or serve no useful purpose, the requirements of these standards may be modified.

B.    Classification of Modifications.

    Modification requests shall be classified as either a minor deviation, technical road modification, or major road modification. Acceptance of a request under one category shall not preclude the county from reclassifying the request upon further review.

1.    Minor Deviation. The purpose of a minor deviation is to allow minor modifications that occur routinely and that clearly meet the general approval criteria in Section 40.550.010(C).

a.    Minor Deviation Classification Guidelines. In order for a modification to be considered a minor deviation, the modification proposal shall meet all the following:

(1)    Does not require engineering analysis to demonstrate compliance with the approval criteria except as required by Section 40.550.010(B)(1)(c); and

(2)    Does not involve safety or off-site impacts; and

(3)    Involves minimal review to approve and document;

(4)    Does not involve the public interest; and

(5)    Is similar to other approved modifications that have shown to have no adverse impacts.

b.    Examples of Minor Deviations. Examples of minor deviations that may be approved include, but are not limited to:

(1)    Reduced cross-sectional requirements, in order to match existing roadway and curb line when there is no expectation to ever change the existing cross-section to the current standard.

(2)    Alternative pavement design, roadway cross-section, roadway geometry or construction material changes for local access roads.

(3)    Minor access spacing changes when no alternative is feasible.

(4)    Access to a higher classification roadway when no feasible alternative exists.

(5)    A minor increase to the length of a cul-de-sac.

(6)    A minor increase to the number of lots accessed from a cul-de-sac.

(7)    A minor increase to the maximum number of lots or dwelling units without a secondary access road.

(8)    Minor deviations may be approved for residential developments which generate no more than twenty (20) new ADT, when the cost of the required improvements per average daily trip generated by the development is shown to be disproportional to the requirements imposed by the county for other approved projects.

(9)    For frontage improvements along roads abutting small residential developments, if the street block face (including the subject parcel) has no frontage improvements or is unlikely to subdivide, the subject development may not be required to provide full frontage improvements. For purposes of exempting frontage improvements, the predominant condition of the street block face shall be defined by considering the existing frontage condition for all parcels fronting the half-street. If less than fifty percent (50%) of the street block face (including the subject parcel) have frontage improvements and are unlikely to subdivide, the subject development shall not be required to provide full frontage improvements. Where fifty percent (50%) or more have full street frontage improvements, or are likely to subdivide, half-street frontage improvements shall be required. For the purpose of this code section, small residential developments are defined as developments consisting of four (4) lots or less.

c.    Improvements to roads that abut a development site shall not be required if the development cannot access the road due to topographic or other constraints and the development results in no additional traffic on these roads. A traffic study including trip distribution analysis may be required.

d.    Minor deviations to sidewalk requirements may be granted if found to be consistent with the requirement to provide safe walking conditions to schools as required by RCW 58.17.110.

2.    Technical Road Modifications. Technical road modifications may be approved for minor changes to standards that include, but are not limited to, access, safety, road cross-sections, or construction materials. Due to an increased potential for on-site or off-site impacts, these modifications require a greater level of review, discretion and documentation than minor deviations.

a.    Technical Road Modification Classification Guidelines. In order for a modification to be considered a technical road modification, the proposal shall meet one or more of the following as applicable:

(1)    Limited engineering analysis by the applicant is sufficient to demonstrate the proposal meets the approval criteria in Section 40.550.010(C);

(2)    Potential safety impacts are expected to be minimal;

(3)    County review and approval requires moderate analysis, discretion, and documentation, and requires multiple review staff;

(4)    The proposed modification is expected to generate minimal public interest; and

(5)    The proposed modification requires an analysis of rough proportionality and nexus issues.

b.    Examples of Technical Road Modifications. Examples of technical road modifications that may be approved include, but are not limited to:

(1)    Any modification request, including those affecting cross-circulation requirements, which is based on a nexus, rough proportionality, hardship, or constructability claim.

(2)    Alternative pavement design, roadway cross-section, roadway geometry or construction material changes for collector and higher classification roadways.

(3)    Reduced right-of-way dedication requirements.

(4)    Removal of on-street parking.

(5)    Design speed reductions.

(6)    Sight distance reductions.

(7)    Add, eliminate, or modify medians, access locations or roadway channelization when no off-site impacts result.

(8)    Design or construction material changes that could have future cost impacts to the county.

(9)    Design changes to roadway grade standards.

(10)    Retaining walls located within the right-of-way.

(11)    Low impact development designs and cross-sections.

(12)    Alternate hammerhead turnaround designs.

3.    Major Road Modifications. Major road modifications are those that have the potential for significant impacts to the public or the county. These tend to be unique cases, requiring extensive analysis and documentation.

a.    Major Road Modification Classification Guidelines. When one (1) or more of the following apply, the modification will qualify as a major road modification:

(1)    The proposed modification requires an extensive analysis of public impacts, rough proportionality and nexus issues;

(2)    Extensive engineering analysis by the applicant is required to demonstrate the proposal meets the general approval criteria;

(3)    The potential exists for material impacts to public safety;

(4)    The potential exists for shifting improvement obligations on to future developers or the county;

(5)    The proposal may have material impacts to future development patterns;

(6)    The proposal requires significant county review and documentation;

(7)    The proposed modification can be expected to generate considerable public interest; and

(8)    Approval of the proposal may have public policy implications.

b.    Examples of Major Road Modifications. Examples of major road modifications that may be approved include, but are not limited to:

(1)    Addition or elimination of medians when potential impacts to local development may occur.

(2)    Cross circulation changes when the obligation may be passed on to other properties.

(3)    Design changes concerning traffic or pedestrian safety.

(4)    Access changes with potential material impacts to other parties.

(Amended: Ord. 2011-08-08; Ord. 2012-07-03; Ord. 2014-01-08)

C.    Approval Criteria.

1.    In reviewing a modification request, the county shall consider the applicable factors that include, but are not limited to, the following:

a.    Public safety, durability, cost of maintenance, function, and appearance;

b.    Advancing the goals of the comprehensive plan as a whole;

c.    Any modification shall be the minimum necessary to alleviate the hardship or disproportional impact;

d.    Potential benefits of low impact development or innovative concepts;

e.    Self-imposed hardships shall not be used as a reason to grant a modification request.

2.    Modifications to the standards contained in Chapter 40.350 may be granted when the applicant demonstrates at least one (1) of the following:

a.    Topography, right-of-way, existing construction or physical conditions, or other geographic conditions make compliance with standards clearly impractical for the circumstances;

b.    A minor change to a specification or standard is required to address a specific design or construction problem which, if not enacted, will result in an unusual hardship;

c.    An alternative design is proposed which will provide a plan that is functionally equivalent or superior to the standards;

d.    Application of the standards of Chapter 40.350 to the development would be grossly disproportional to the impacts created;

e.    A change to a specification or standard is required to ensure consistency with existing features adjacent to or affected by the site where those existing features are not expected to change over time.

3.    In addition to Sections 40.550.010.C.1 and 2 above, in considering a road modification request, the county recognizes that in order to address issues associated with rapid growth, the legislature enacted the Growth Management Act. The Act requires urban growth areas to be sized to accommodate growth and prevent urban sprawl by focusing development in underdeveloped portions of an urban area. Consistent with that legislation, the county will require that in the absence of geographic or development constraints, sufficient right-of-way shall be dedicated, and frontage improvements and cross circulation roads shall be constructed in urban growth areas in Clark County such that frontage and cross circulation roads will be substantially completed within the twenty (20) year period provided in RCW 36.70A.110.

D.    Procedures.

1.    All classifications of road modifications require an application that includes technical information to support the modification request.

2.    Modifications Requested with an Associated Preliminary Land Use Application.

a.    Minor deviations are reviewed and approved through the transportation review findings of the underlying land use application and do not require a separate application.

b.    Technical and major road modification requests shall be proposed under a separate application in conjunction with an application for the underlying development proposal in accordance with Chapter 40.500.

3.    Modifications Requested after the Preliminary Land Use Decision.

a.    Minor deviations may be approved during the engineering construction plan review process without a separate application.

b.    Technical or major road modifications requested after the preliminary land use decision shall be submitted with an application for post-decision review under Section 40.520.060 if the responsible official finds that the proposed modification has the potential to affect land use aspects of the original decision or has the potential for off-site impacts. If no post-decision review is required under Section 40.520.060, the modification shall be processed as a separate road modification application with the applicable fee listed in Title 6.

4.    Modifications Requested That Are Not Associated with Land Use Applications or Decisions. A stand-alone road modification may be requested as a separate road modification request at any time.

(Amended: Ord. 2011-01-01; Ord. 2012-07-03)