Chapter 18.32


18.32.010    Title.

18.32.020    Purpose.

18.32.030    Applicability.

18.32.040    Exemptions.

18.32.050    Definitions.

18.32.060    Application – Informal review.

18.32.070    Preliminary application.

18.32.080    Preliminary plat.

18.32.090    Preliminary supporting documents.

18.32.100    Standards – Generally.

18.32.110    Lot size.

18.32.120    Difficult development land.

18.32.130    Restricted access to arterials.

18.32.140    Drainage.

18.32.150    Pedestrian walkways.

18.32.160    Surveys – Monuments and markers.

18.32.170    Access to public street.

18.32.180    Lot width.

18.32.190    Road frontage.

18.32.200    Setbacks.

18.32.210    Street lights.

18.32.220    Compliance with fire protection requirements.

18.32.230    Erosion control plan.

18.32.240    Master plan.

18.32.250    Sewerage.

18.32.260    Water.

18.32.270    Roads – Plans, construction, dedication.

18.32.280    Road rights-of-way.

18.32.290    Parks.

18.32.300    Buffer strip.

18.32.310    Subdivisions bordering cities or towns.

18.32.320    Future use of streets.

18.32.330    Road improvements.

18.32.340    Solar heat.

18.32.350    Homeowners’ association – When required.

18.32.360    Block widths and lengths.

18.32.370    Administrator designated.

18.32.380    Preapplication conference.

18.32.390    Preliminary application procedure.

18.32.400    Environmental assessment and impact statements.

18.32.410    Distribution of copies of plat.

18.32.420    Return of findings and recommendations.

18.32.430    Health Officer’s review responsibilities.

18.32.440    Engineer’s review responsibilities.

18.32.450    Fire District review responsibility.

18.32.460    Review by other agencies.

18.32.470    Administrator recommendations.

18.32.480    Planning Commission hearing.

18.32.490    Planning Commission recommendations.

18.32.500    Notice of hearing – Generally.

18.32.510    Notice of hearing – Newspaper.

18.32.520    Notice of hearing – Adjacent property owners.

18.32.530    Notice of hearing – Posting.

18.32.540    Commission report to the Board.

18.32.550    Board procedures.

18.32.570    Time limit on action.

18.32.580    Notice of action.

18.32.590    Length of preliminary approval.

18.32.600    Submission of construction plans.

18.32.610    Alterations.

18.32.630    Final plat – Specific requirements.

18.32.640    Final plat – General requirements.

18.32.650    Agreement for improvements.

18.32.660    Agreement for improvements – Bond.

18.32.670    Agreement for improvements – Determination of amount.

18.32.680    Agreement for improvements – Failure to carry out – Call on bond or cash deposit.

18.32.683    Special provisions for waivers.

18.32.685    Waiver standards.

18.32.690    Fees and charges.

18.32.700    Enforcement.

18.32.710    Violations – Penalties.

18.32.720    Severability.

18.32.730    Effective date.

18.32.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Cowlitz County Urban Subdivision Code.” [Ord. 81-499, § 1, 3-2-81.]

18.32.020 Purpose.

The purposes of this chapter are as follows:

A. To promote the public health, safety and general welfare;

B. To prevent the overcrowding of land;

C. To lessen congestion in the streets and highways;

D. To provide for adequate light and air;

E. To facilitate adequate provision for water, sewerage, parks and recreation areas, sites or schools and schoolgrounds and other public requirements;

F. To provide for proper ingress and egress;

G. To require uniform monumenting of land subdivisions and conveyance of land by accurate legal description;

H. To provide for the orderly growth of Cowlitz County in conformance with the Cowlitz County Comprehensive Plan and applicable codes;

I. To encourage the appropriate use of the land;

J. To encourage the conservation of lands for the production of food and fiber. [Ord. 81-499, § 2(2.01 – 2.10), 3-2-81.]

18.32.030 Applicability.

A. The regulations contained in this chapter shall apply to the division or redivision of land into five or more lots, tracts, parcels or sites, any one of which is less than five acres in area, for the purpose of sale, lease or transfer of ownership, except as provided in CCC 18.32.040.

B. These regulations apply to those areas identified as suburban residential or urban residential in the Cowlitz County Comprehensive Plan and/or Zoning Code. [Ord. 98-008, § 1, 1-20-98; Ord. 81-499, § 3(3.01, 3.02, 3.03), 3-2-81.]

18.32.040 Exemptions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

A. Cemeteries and other burial plots, while used for that purpose;

B. Divisions made by testamentary provisions and/or the laws of descent;

C. Division of land for sale or lease to an agency or division of government vested with the power of eminent domain;

D. Divisions of land approved pursuant to the Cowlitz County Large Lot Subdivision Code or exempted pursuant to CCC 18.38.050(H);

E. Mobile home parks, as approved pursuant to Chapter 18.42 CCC;

F. Divisions of land approved pursuant to the Cowlitz County Short Subdivision Code or Rural Subdivision Code;

G. Boundary line adjustments between platted or unplatted lots or both, which do not create any additional lot, tract, parcel, site or division nor create any lot, tract, parcel, site or division which contains insufficient area and dimension to meet minimum requirements for width and area for a building site. [Ord. 98-008, § 2, 1-20-98; Ord. 81-499, § 4(4.01 – 4.05), 3-2-81.]

18.32.050 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following words or phrases shall be defined as follows:

“Access” means the right to ingress and egress from a public road vested in the owner or lessee of the land which adjoins a road or other highway.

“Administrator” means the Director of the Department of Building and Planning or his designee.

“Applicant” means the owner of the land proposed to be subdivided, or his representative.

“Arterial” means a road intended for high volumes of traffic and providing connections with major state and interstate roadways. An arterial is not intended to be a residential street, but has high potential for the location of significant community facilities as well as retail, commercial, and industrial facilities.

“Block” means a parcel of land bounded by streets, railroad right-of-way, waterways, parks, unsubdivided acreage or a combination thereof.

“Board” means the Board of County Commissioners.

“Bond” means any form of security, including a cash deposit, surety bond, collateral, property, or instrument of credit in an amount and form satisfactory to the Board, to cover the cost(s) including inflationary costs of constructing or installing any improvements required.

“Building site” means a parcel of land occupied or intended to be occupied by one main building and its accessory buildings, together with all other required yards, open space and setbacks.

“Collector” means a road intended to move traffic from local roads to arterials.

“Commission” means the Cowlitz County Planning Commission.

“Comprehensive Plan” means a coordinated plan for the physical development of the county; designating, among other things, elements and programs to encourage the appropriate use of the land to lessen congestion throughout the county in the interest of public health, safety and welfare and promote efficiency and economy.

“County” means Cowlitz County, Washington.

“Day” means day(s) that the office of the Administrator is open for business, unless otherwise specified.

“Dedication” means the deliberate appropriation of land by an owner for any general or public uses reserving to himself no other rights than such as are compatible with the full exercise and enjoyment of the public uses to which the property has been devoted.

“Department” means the Department of Building and Planning.

“Development” means any human-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to clearing, grubbing, grading, construction, fill, excavation, placement of buildings, or other similar improvements.

“Difficult development land” means land which the Administrator has found to be environmentally sensitive or unsuitable for subdivision due to the flooding, poor drainage, steep slopes, slide areas or potential slide areas, rock and soil formations, or other features likely to be harmful to the safety and general health of the future residents and adjacent landowners.

“Divisions of land” means any conveyance not otherwise exempt or provided for in this chapter which alters the legal description of any lot or parcel.

“Easement” means a written grant by property owner to specific individuals, corporations or to the public or its agencies to use his land for specific purposes.

“Engineer” means the Director of Public Works or his designee.

“Frontage” means the property line on the fronting street or extent of property along a road or street.

“Homeowners’ association” means the grouping or uniting of persons residing within a defined area into an incorporated entity to provide for the operation, maintenance and protection of a common enterprise.

“Improvement” means any structure or works including, but not necessarily limited to: roads, storm drainage systems, ditches and dikes, sanitary sewerage facilities, storm drainage containment facilities and water systems.

“Land surveyor” shall be as defined by the Engineers and Land Surveyors Act.

“Lot” means a fractional part of subdivided lands having fixed boundaries, and being of sufficient area and dimensions to meet current minimum zoning and Comprehensive Plan requirements for width and area. The term shall include tracts, parcels or sites.

“Master plan” means the map, sketch or other presentation showing the ultimate development pattern of a parcel of property that is to be developed in successive stages or subdivisions.

“Open record hearing” means a hearing conducted by a single hearing body or officer authorized by the local government to conduct such hearings, that creates the local government’s record through testimony and submission of evidence and information.

“Owner” means any person who has property rights as a fee owner, contract purchaser or mortgagee, or, who controls a deed of trust as beneficiary or grantor if such interest controls disposition of property.

“Person” means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, unincorporated organization, trust or any other legal or commercial entity, including a joint venture. The word “persons” shall also include a municipality, county or state agency.

Plat, Final. “Final plat” means an accurate map or representation of the subdivision showing lots, blocks, streets, alleys and other divisions and dedications prepared for filing for record with the County Auditor.

Plat, Preliminary. “Preliminary plat” means a neat and approximate drawing of the proposed layout of streets, blocks, lots and other elements of the plat or subdivision which shall furnish a basis for the Planning Commission’s approval or disapproval of the general layout of the plat or subdivision.

“Protective covenants” means an agreement which binds a landowner and his successors in interest to do or refrain from doing certain acts with relation to the property which is the subject of such agreement.

“Public water system” means any system or water supply intended or used for human consumption or other domestic uses, including source, treatment, storage, transmission and distribution facilities, when water is furnished to any community, collection, or number of individuals, or is made available to the public for human consumption, or domestic use, excluding water systems serving one single-family residence.

“Resubdivision” means the amendment of the boundaries or size of, or the creation of additional lots, in any lot previously recorded in a plat in the office of the County Auditor.

“Right-of-way” is a general term denoting land, property or interest therein, usually reserved for transportation, or utility purposes.

“Road” means the improved and maintained portion of a right-of-way which provides vehicular circulation or principal means of access to abutting properties.

Road, Private. “Private road” means a roadway intended for the use of one or more private individuals and developed and maintained by those private individuals who benefit from its construction.

Road, Public. “Public road” means a highway or roadway established and adopted by the proper authorities for the use of the general public and over which every person has a right to pass and use for all purposes of travel or transportation for which it is adopted and developed.

“Rural subdivision” means a subdivision that occurs within the county’s rural areas as defined within the county’s adopted Comprehensive Plan or Zoning Code as rural residential.

“State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)” means Chapter 43.21C RCW or as hereafter amended.

“Street” means a road of usually limited continuity which serves primarily to provide access to abutting property.

“Subdivider” means any person, firm or corporation undertaking the subdividing or resubdividing or any parcel of land.

“Subdivision” means a division of land, into five or more lots, tracts, parcels, sites or divisions for the purpose of sale or lease or transfer of ownership, and shall include all resubdivision of land.

“Urban subdivision” means any subdivision located in those areas designated in the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code as urban, suburban, multiple-family or commercial. [Ord. 96-064, § 1, 4-15-96; Ord. 81-499, § 5(5.01 – 5.43), 3-2-81.]

18.32.060 Application – Informal review.

Before making application for an urban subdivision, the applicant shall arrange to discuss the proposal by submitting five copies of a basic sketch plan to the Administrator pursuant to CCC 18.32.380. [Ord. 81-499, § 6.01, 3-2-81.]

18.32.070 Preliminary application.

The preliminary application shall be on a form provided by the Administrator and shall contain the following information:

A. Name, address and telephone number of the applicant;

B. Legal description of the property as it relates to section, township, range, subdivision and parcel and tax lot numbers, and number of acres;

C. Name of proposed subdivision, number of lots anticipated;

D. Proposed method of sewage disposal and the name of the purveyor of the service;

E. Proposed method of providing potable water and the name of purveyor of the service; and

F. Signatures of applicant(s) and/or owner(s). [Ord. 81-499, § 6.02, 3-2-81.]

18.32.080 Preliminary plat.

Twenty copies of the proposed plat shall accompany the application. Said copies shall have dimensions of at least 18 inches by 24 inches and contain the following information:

A. Name of proposed subdivision;

B. Name and address of the owner(s) and subdivider, if different from the owner;

C. Name, address of surveyor, and/or engineer;

D. Date, scale and north arrow; the scale shall range from between one inch equals 50 feet to one inch equals 200 feet, or metric equivalent, or other scale as may be approved;

E. Dimensions of the boundary lines, to scale, of the tract to be subdivided and each lot contained therein;

F. Number assigned to each lot and block;

G. Location, width and names of all existing and proposed public and private roads within or abutting the subdivision tract;

H. Location of all existing easements, watercourses, drainage ways and permanent buildings;

I. Contour lines illustrating site topography as follows:


Contour Intervals


2 feet

More than 3%

5.0 feet

Contour lines shall be extended to show at least 100 feet beyond the boundaries of the proposed subdivision.

Datum shall be sea level as established by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration or as approved by the Engineer;

J. Boundary lines of ownerships, subdivisions, and streets abutting the proposed subdivision. The boundary lines shall be extended at least 100 feet beyond the boundaries of the proposed subdivision;

K. A vicinity sketch clearly identifying the location of the property proposed for subdivision;

L. Area, dimensions, and location of any recreation, open space and common areas;

M. Number and location of any off-street parking spaces. [Ord. 81-499, § 6.03, 3-2-81.]

18.32.090 Preliminary supporting documents.

The following supporting documents shall accompany the application for preliminary subdivision approval:

A. A SEPA checklist, assessing the anticipated environmental impacts;

B. Copies of restrictions, covenants and agreements, if any, proposed and/or existing upon the land. Such restrictions, if required by the county, must be recorded either prior to or simultaneously with the recording or the final plat;

C. A master plan of the site if the subdivision is proposed to be developed in phases. The plan need not be completely engineered but shall be of sufficient detail to illustrate the property’s inherent features and probable development pattern. The master plan will be used as a guide in each successive stage of development until its completion;

D. Preliminary drainage plans, outlining the method of handling surface runoff;

E. Tentative grades of each road or as required by the Engineer;

F. List of names and addresses of all owners whose property abuts the boundaries of the proposed subdivision. [Ord. 81-499, § 6.04, 3-2-81.]

18.32.100 Standards – Generally.

The standards set out in CCC 18.32.110 through 18.32.360 shall be considered the minimum standards for development of an urban subdivision. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01, 3-2-81.]

18.32.110 Lot size.

All urban subdivisions shall conform to the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code and other applicable regulations in effect at the time an application is submitted. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(A), 3-2-81.]

18.32.120 Difficult development land.

Difficult development land shall not be subdivided unless the subdivider within 90 calendar days following the original submission, or longer time as agreed by the subdivider, provides acceptable plans for overcoming any harmful features. Reasonable conditions may be applied to urban subdivision approval to minimize harmful environmental conditions pertinent to the property. Protective improvements shall be constructed prior to final plat approval. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(B), 3-2-81.]

18.32.130 Restricted access to arterials.

Lots abutting an arterial shall be designed so that no residential properties have direct access onto it. Where driveway access from a collector may be necessary for several adjoining lots, a combined access may be required to limit possible traffic hazards. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(C), 3-2-81.]

18.32.140 Drainage.

Lot drainage shall be designed to provide drainage away from all buildings, and drainage facilities shall be designed and constructed pursuant to county standards. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(D), 3-2-81.]

18.32.150 Pedestrian walkways.

Pedestrian walkways shall be required in all urban subdivisions, and shall be designed and constructed within three years from the date of final subdivision approval, or immediately following the construction of each residence on a lot, whichever comes first. Design and construction must meet the approval of the Engineer. The urban subdivision shall include sidewalks and other planning features that assure safe walking conditions for students who only walk to and from school. [Ord. 16-040 § 1, 3-15-16.]

18.32.160 Surveys – Monuments and markers.

Surveys shall be required for all urban subdivisions according to the following:

A. A survey shall be prepared by or under the supervision of a land surveyor registered pursuant to Chapter 58.09 RCW.

B. Monuments and Markers. All lot corners, street centerlines, and controlling corners shall be located and described, and all corners shall be marked by a five-eighths-inch re-bar or approved equivalent driven into the ground a depth of 30 inches or more, and driven flush with the ground. All street centerlines and controlling corner monuments shall be marked with brass caps in monument cases, or as approved by the Engineer. All markers set shall be marked with the surveyor’s registration number. All monuments and markers shall be shown on the face of the final plat. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(F), 3-2-81.]

18.32.170 Access to public street.

Each lot in an urban subdivision shall be provided direct access by means of a public right-of-way connecting to an existing and developed public street. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(G), 3-2-81.]

18.32.180 Lot width.

The minimum lot width shall be the same as those widths established pursuant to Chapter 18.10 CCC, or as hereafter amended. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(H), 3-2-81.]

18.32.190 Road frontage.

Each lot in an urban subdivision shall abut a public road, or private roadway that was permitted by the county beginning October 25, 1999, or which road was thereafter regulated or permitted by the county, for a distance no less than 40 feet on a cul-de-sac and no less than 60 feet in all other instances. [Ord. 18-102 § 2(x), 11-6-18; Ord. 16-039 § 5, 3-15-16.]

18.32.200 Setbacks.

The front, side and rear yard setback requirements for all urban subdivisions shall be the same as those established pursuant to Chapter 18.10 CCC, or as hereafter amended. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(J), 3-2-81.]

18.32.210 Street lights.

Street lighting may be required at all intersections, or as recommended by the Engineer. Lighting facilities should be energy efficient. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(K), 3-2-81.]

18.32.220 Compliance with fire protection requirements.

All urban subdivisions shall comply with the requirements of the Washington State Uniform Fire Code, or such fire protection requirements as adopted or amended by the Board. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(L), 3-2-81.]

18.32.230 Erosion control plan.

Erosion control plans shall be required for all sites where the slope exceeds eight percent, prior to any clearing, grubbing, or any form of excavation or fill activity. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(M), 3-2-81.]

18.32.240 Master plan.

A generalized plan for the entire ownership shall be required to show that the road pattern and general arrangement for the urban subdivision can be coordinated with the planned and existing circulation pattern of the area. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(N), 3-2-81.]

18.32.250 Sewerage.

A sanitary sewerage disposal system shall be required. All plans and specifications shall be subject to approval from the Engineer, the purveyor and other appropriate agencies. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(O), 3-2-81.]

18.32.260 Water.

A public water system shall be required. All plans and specifications shall be subject to approval from the Engineer, the purveyor and other appropriate agencies. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(P), 3-2-81.]

18.32.270 Roads – Plans, construction, dedication.

The engineering plans and specifications for all roads shall be reviewed by the Engineer; and said plans and specifications must meet public road standards and be approved by the Engineer prior to the commencement of any road construction. The roads shall be constructed pursuant to the approved plans and specifications, prior to final subdivision approval; provided, the Engineer may accept performance bonding in lieu of actual construction, pursuant to CCC 18.32.650 through 18.32.680. However, the roads shall be constructed prior to the issuance of any residential development permits. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(Q), 3-2-81.]

18.32.280 Road rights-of-way.

All road right-of-way widths shall meet county standards as approved and adopted by the Board. Said rights-of-way shall be dedicated to the public. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(R), 3-2-81.]

18.32.290 Parks.

Open space and the construction of recreational facilities may be required. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(S), 3-2-81.]

18.32.300 Buffer strip.

Where residential subdivisions are to be developed adjacent to developed commercial or industrial sites, or arterials, buffer strips or other protective treatment (e.g., deeper lots) shall be required as may be practicable. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(T), 3-2-81.]

18.32.310 Subdivisions bordering cities or towns.

Subdivisions within a mile of cities or towns or which use municipal utilities may be required to meet the subdivision standards of the municipality as well as county standards. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(U), 3-2-81.]

18.32.320 Future use of streets.

The right-of-way of streets intended for future use as access to adjoining properties must be dedicated at the time of final subdivision approval. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(V), 3-2-81.]

18.32.330 Road improvements.

The developer may be required to contribute to a road improvement fund when existing county roads will be impacted by increased traffic. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(W), 3-2-81.]

18.32.340 Solar heat.

Whenever possible, subdivision should be oriented and designed to maximize solar heat gain in the winter. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(X), 3-2-81.]

18.32.350 Homeowners’ association – When required.

A homeowners’ association shall be required to maintain all open spaces and common areas, unless the areas are dedicated and accepted by the county. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(Y), 3-2-81.]

18.32.360 Block widths and lengths.

Except for reverse-frontage parcels, the width of blocks shall be sufficient to allow for two tiers of lots. Blocks shall be as long as is reasonable and consistent with topography and needs for convenient access, circulation, control, and safety of street traffic. The block length ordinarily shall not exceed 1,200 feet or be less than 500 feet. [Ord. 81-499, § 7.01(Z), 3-2-81.]

18.32.370 Administrator designated.

The Director of the Department of Building and Planning or his designee shall serve as the Administrator, with the responsibility of administering the provisions of this chapter.

The Administrator may require the use of such forms as deemed essential to the implementation of this chapter. [Ord. 81-499, § 8.01, 3-2-81.]

18.32.380 Preapplication conference.

A. Prior to the submission of the preliminary plat, the subdivider or his representative shall request a preapplication conference with the Administrator and the Engineer and other agencies to discuss the sketch plan. The purpose of this conference is to identify as many potential concerns as possible in order for the preliminary plat to be processed without unnecessary delay.

B. Discussion topics at this time may include such things as: Comprehensive Plan, zoning, street plan, availability of sewer and water, development concepts, soils, topography, other county permits, the environmental impact of the subdivision, and the future development of adjacent property. If, after the preapplication conference, the applicant desires to proceed with an application for preliminary subdivision approval, the information gained from the conference will be useful in designing the preliminary plat and in preparing any accompanying documents.

C. Participation in a preapplication conference and conclusions reached at the conference will in no way guarantee preliminary approval, or prohibit identification and discussion of additional concerns during the subdivision review process. [Ord. 81-499, § 8.02, 3-2-81.]

18.32.390 Preliminary application procedure.

The preliminary application shall be prepared pursuant to CCC 18.32.060 through 18.32.090, and shall be submitted to the administrator at least 60 days prior to the Planning Commission meeting at which consideration is desired.

When the Administrator determines that the proposed urban subdivision application contains the information and data as required in CCC 18.32.080 and 18.32.090, the Administrator shall assign a permanent file number. [Ord. 96-064, § 2, 4-15-96; Ord. 81-499, § 8.03, 3-2-81.]

18.32.400 Environmental assessment and impact statements.

Each preliminary subdivision proposal shall be accompanied by an environmental checklist. If it is determined that an environmental impact statement is required, the 60-day review period may be extended to provide the applicant with sufficient time to comply with SEPA. [Ord. 96-064, § 3, 4-15-96; Ord. 81-499, § 8.04, 3-2-81.]

18.32.410 Distribution of copies of plat.

When the Administrator determines that the proposed urban subdivision contains the required information and supplementary data, copies of the plat shall be distributed to the following:

A. Health officer;

B. Engineer;

C. Rural Fire District and/or Fire/Life Safety Coordinator;

D. Public Utility District No. 1;

E. Any city within one mile of the proposed plat;

F. Any city or special district that is to supply utilities;

G. State Department of Transportation when state highway facilities are adjacent to or likely to be impacted by the proposed plat, and/or when the proposed plat is within two miles of a state or municipal airport;

H. School district;

I. Any federal, state and local agency which may have an interest in the urban plat as determined by the Administrator. [Ord. 16-041 § 1, 3-15-16; Ord. 81-499, § 8.05, 3-2-81.]

18.32.420 Return of findings and recommendations.

The Administrator shall set a date for return of findings and recommendations from each agency. The date of return to be no less than 30 days from the date of the Planning Commission meeting at which the proposal is scheduled for consideration. [Ord. 96-064, § 4, 4-15-96; Ord. 81-499, § 8.06, 3-2-81.]

18.32.430 Health Officer’s review responsibilities.

The Health Officer or his designee shall notify the Administrator that:

A. The sanitary sewerage disposal methods contemplated for use do or do not conform with current standards;

B. The public water supply is or is not part of an existing water supply. [Ord. 81-499, § 9.01, 3-2-81.]

18.32.440 Engineer’s review responsibilities.

The Engineer shall notify the Administrator:

A. That the proposed road and other improvements do or do not meet with the planned and existing circulation and service plans of the county;

B. What rights-of-way and road standards are required for final subdivision approval;

C. That access to the boundary of subdivision is or is not provided by an opened, constructed and maintained city or county road;

D. Of any engineered plans and/or special reports that may be required. [Ord. 81-499, § 9.02, 3-2-81.]

18.32.450 Fire District review responsibility.

The appropriate Fire District or the Fire/Life Safety Coordinator shall inform the Administrator of any standards necessary to provide fire protection and emergency vehicle access. [Ord. 81-499, § 9.03, 3-2-81.]

18.32.460 Review by other agencies.

Other agencies shall notify the Administrator of any concerns and make recommendations. [Ord. 81-499, § 9.04, 3-2-81.]

18.32.470 Administrator recommendations.

The Administrator shall review the reports and comments of the Health Officer, Engineer, Fire District, and other agencies, and shall make recommendations to the Commission to grant, condition or deny the subdivision, taking into consideration the following:

A. Whether it is in conformance with purposes, standards, and requirements of the Cowlitz County Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code, environmental policy code, and any other applicable codes and policies.

B. The physical characteristics of the subdivision site. The proposal may be disapproved or conditioned because of difficult development land. Construction of protective improvements may be required as a condition of approval.

C. Whether appropriate provisions are made for, but not limited to, the public health, safety and general welfare, for open spaces, drainage ways, streets or roads, alleys or other public ways, transit stops, potable water supplies, sanitary wastes, parks and recreation, playgrounds, schools and school grounds, and shall consider all other relevant facts, including sidewalks and other planning features that assure safe walking conditions for students who walk to and from school.

D. Whether the public interest will be served by the subdivision and dedication (if applicable). [Ord. 16-040 § 2, 3-15-16.]

18.32.480 Planning Commission hearing.

Following public notice pursuant to CCC 18.32.500 through 18.32.530, the Commission shall consider all relevant evidence at an open record public hearing. Any hearing may be continued by the Commission, within the limits allowed by law. The Commission shall review the preliminary subdivision as follows:

A. To determine conformance of the proposed subdivision to the general purposes of this title, the Comprehensive Plan, zoning standards, specifications and policies of the county.

B. To inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served by the subdivision and/or dedication. [Ord. 96-064, § 6, 4-15-96; Ord. 81-499, § 11.01, 3-2-81.]

18.32.490 Planning Commission recommendations.

The Commission may recommend conditions to assure that the subdivision complies with this title. [Ord. 81-499, § 11.02, 3-2-81.]

18.32.500 Notice of hearing – Generally.

All hearing notices shall include a legal description of the location of the proposed subdivision and a location description in nonlegal language. [Ord. 81-499, § 12.01, 3-2-81.]

18.32.510 Notice of hearing – Newspaper.

Upon receipt of a preliminary subdivision application and after completion of a final environmental impact statement (if necessary) or negative declaration, the Administrator shall set a date for public hearing before the Commission and shall give notice by publication of at least one notice, not less than 10 calendar days prior to the hearing, in a newspaper of general circulation. [Ord. 81-499, § 12.02, 3-2-81.]

18.32.520 Notice of hearing – Adjacent property owners.

The Administrator shall mail copies of the public hearing notice to adjacent property owners. Said notice shall be mailed not less than 10 days prior to the hearing. Adjacent landowners are the owners of real property, as shown by the records of the County Assessor, located within 300 feet of any portion of the boundary of the proposed subdivision. [Ord. 96-064, § 7, 4-15-96; Ord. 81-499, § 12.03, 3-2-81.]

18.32.530 Notice of hearing – Posting.

The Administrator shall post on or near the property proposed for subdivision, three notices of public hearing not less than 10 days prior to the hearing. [Ord. 81-499, § 12.04, 3-2-81.]

18.32.540 Commission report to the Board.

Not later than 14 calendar days following the Commission approval or disapproval, the Commission shall submit its written report, findings of fact and recommendations to the Board. The Commission may recommend that the proposed plat be approved, conditionally approved, or disapproved. [Ord. 81-499, § 13, 3-2-81.]

18.32.550 Board procedures.

A. Upon receipt of the recommendations on any preliminary plat, the Board shall, at its next public meeting, set the date for the public meeting where it shall consider the recommendations of the Planning Commission and may adopt, modify or reject the Commission’s recommendations based upon the record at the public hearing. If, after considering the matter at a public meeting, the Board deems a change in the Commission’s recommendations approving or disapproving any preliminary plat is necessary, the Board shall adopt its own recommendations and approve or disapprove the preliminary plat.

B. The Board shall inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served by the establishment of the subdivision and dedication. The Board shall determine if appropriate provisions are made for, but not limited to, the public health, safety and general welfare, for open spaces, drainage ways, streets, alleys, other public ways, water supplies, sanitary wastes, parks, playgrounds, sites for schools and school grounds, and shall consider all other relevant facts and determine whether the public interest will be served by the subdivision and dedication. If the Board finds the proposed plat makes appropriate provisions for the public health, safety and general welfare and for such open spaces, drainage ways, streets, alleys, other public ways, water supplies, sanitary wastes, parks, playgrounds, sites for schools and school grounds and that the public use and interest will be served by the platting of such subdivision, then it shall be approved.

C. If the Board finds that the proposed plat does not make such appropriate provisions or that the public use and interest will not be served, then the Board shall disapprove the proposed plat. In making a decision on the preliminary plat, the Board shall also consider items A and B in CCC 18.32.480. Dedication of land to any public body may be required as a condition of subdivision approval and the dedication shall be clearly shown on the final plat. [Ord. 96-064, § 8, 4-15-96; Ord. 81-499, § 14, 3-2-81.]

18.32.570 Time limit on action.

Preliminary plats of any proposed subdivision and dedication shall be approved, disapproved or returned to the applicant for modification or correction within 90 days from the date of filing thereof unless the applicant consents to an extension of such time period; provided, that if an environmental impact statement is required as provided in RCW 43.21C.030, the 90-day period shall not include the time spent preparing and circulating the environmental impact statement. [Ord. 81-499, § 16, 3-2-81.]

18.32.580 Notice of action.

Upon approval, disapproval or modification of the preliminary plat, the Administrator shall notify the applicant by mail within 10 days of the action. The notice shall include any conditions approved by the Board. [Ord. 81-499, § 17, 3-2-81.]

18.32.590 Length of preliminary approval.

A. Approval of the preliminary plat shall be effective for five years from the date of approval by the Board, during which time a final plat or plats shall be submitted. During this time the terms and conditions upon which the preliminary approval was given will not be changed, except as provided in CCC 18.32.610.

B. All requests for an extension of time must be submitted to the Administrator prior to expiration of the preliminary plat. Upon application by the subdivider, the Commission may extend the approval period for an additional year. If an extension of time is granted, the preliminary plat may be subject to all new and amended regulations, requirements, policies or standards which are adopted after the original date of approval, unless there has been substantial on-site work completed for the plat. Knowledge of expiration date and initiation of a request for extension of approval time is the responsibility of the subdivider. [Ord. 96-064, § 9, 4-15-96; Ord. 82-067, § 1, 3-15-82; Ord. 81-499, § 18, 3-2-81.]

18.32.600 Submission of construction plans.

A. After preliminary subdivision approval and prior to beginning the construction and installation of improvements or performance bonding in lieu thereof, the subdivider shall submit to the Engineer detailed construction plans and specifications and road approach permits, when applicable, for all required improvements.

B. Such plans shall conform to the requirements of the Engineer. Upon the Engineer’s approval of the construction plans and specifications, the subdivider may commence to construct and install the improvements to completion, unless performance bonding or other option as set forth in CCC 18.32.650 through 18.32.680 is accepted. [Ord. 81-499, § 19, 3-2-81.]

18.32.610 Alterations.

Once the preliminary plat has been approved by the Board, it shall not be altered unless approved by the applicant, Administrator and the Engineer. Any change in the design of the preliminary plat that will adversely affect the abutting ownerships shall be required to be resubmitted in compliance with this title. [Ord. 81-499, § 20, 3-2-81.]

18.32.630 Final plat – Specific requirements.

The final plat shall be drawn in black ink on a sheet of mylar or paper, having dimensions of 18 inches by 24 inches, or approved substitute, and on a Standard Recorders Plat sheet, having dimensions of 18 inches by 25 inches, with a three-inch hinged binding on the left border, and shall contain the information, certificates, and statements required by this chapter. The scale may range from 50 feet to the inch to 200 feet to the inch or metric equivalent or other scale as may be approved. If more than one sheet is required, the sheets shall be numbered and indexed. The final plat shall contain, but not be limited to, the following:

A. Name of the subdivision;

B. Date, scale, north arrow and basis of bearing, legend, lot numbers;

C. Block and lot boundary lines and street rights-of-way and centerlines, with dimensions, bearings or deflection angles, radii, arcs, points of curvature and tangent bearings. Lot boundaries and street bearings shall be shown to the nearest second with basis of bearing. All distances shall be shown to the nearest second with basis of bearing. All distances shall be shown to the nearest one-hundredth foot;

D. Section and donation land claim lines within and adjacent to the plat;

E. Whenever the county or a city has established the centerline of a street adjacent to or within the proposed subdivision, the location of this line and monuments found or reset;

F. All other monuments found or established in making the survey of this subdivision or required to be installed by the provisions of this chapter;

G. Name, exact width, location and/or nature of all roads and easements, including road approach permit numbers;

H. The following certificates:

1. Certificate – County Public Works Director.

Examined and Approved this _______ day of ______________, 20____.

Cowlitz County Public Works Director

2. Certificate – Health Officer.

Examined and Approved this _______ day of ______________, 20____.

Health Officer

3. Certificate – Assessor.

Examined and Approved this _______ day of ______________, 20____.

Cowlitz County Assessor

4. Certificate – Treasurer.

I hereby certify that all taxes on the land described hereon have been fully paid to and including the year _____________

(seal) _______________________
Cowlitz County Treasurer

5. Certificate – Administrator.

Examined and Approved this _______ day of ______________, 20____.

Cowlitz County Department of
Building and Planning Director

6. Certificate – Board.

Examined and Approved this _______ day of ______________, 20____.


(seal) _______________________



ATTEST _______________________
Clerk of the Board

I. The certificate and signature of the Engineer or land surveyor who platted the property, in substantially the following form:

SURVEYOR’S CERTIFICATE: This map correctly represents an actual survey of a portion of Section ____, Township ____, Range ____, W.M., made by me or under my direction in conformance with the requirements of the Survey Recording Act, at the request of _________________, in __________, 20___.

(SEAL) Surveyor

Certificate No.

J. Dedication, Acknowledgement, and Endorsement. A full and accurate description of the subdivided tract and the following information shall appear in the following sequences on the final plat, lettered in ink either by hand or mechanical device:

1. Owner’s Certificate.

Let it be known that ______________, the undersigned being owner(s) in fee simple of the land hereby subdivided, hereby declares this subdivision and dedicate(s) to the use of the public forever, all streets or easements or whatever public property there is shown on the plat and the use thereof for any and all public purposes; also, the right to make all necessary slopes for cuts or fills upon the lots, blocks, tracts, etc., shown on this plat in the reasonable original grading of all streets, shown hereon.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hand(s) and seal(s) this _____ day of ______________, 20____.

Signed and sealed _____________

2. Notary Public – Certificate and Stamp.

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT on this ____ day of ___________, 20____, before me, the undersigned Notary Public, personally appeared _______________ [owner(s)], to me known to be the person(s) who executed the foregoing dedication and acknowledged to me that _________ signed and sealed the same as _____________ free and voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes therein mentioned.

WITNESS my hand and official seal the day and year last above written.

NOTARY PUBLIC in and for the State of WASHINGTON, residing at ________________________

3. Auditor’s Certificate.

Filed for record at the request of ________ __________, this ____ day of _________, 20___, at ______ minutes past ________ o’clock __.M., and recorded in volume _____, of Plats, on page _____, Records of Cowlitz County, Washington.

Signed ___________________
Cowlitz County Auditor

Signed ___________________
Deputy Auditor

[Ord. 16-113 § 1, 9-20-16.]

18.32.640 Final plat – General requirements.

A. Dedications. All dedications of land shall be clearly and precisely indicated on the face of the final plat.

B. Completion of Improvements. All construction of street, drainage, and utility improvements shall be completed prior to final subdivision approval, except as provided in CCC 18.32.480 and 18.32.490.

C. Title Report. Every plat containing a dedication for record must be accompanied by a title report confirming that the title of the lands as described and shown on the final plat is in the name of the owner(s) signing the certificate.

D. Plats within Flood Zone. No final plat shall be approved covering any lands situated in a flood-control zone as provided in Chapter 86.16 RCW without the proper written approval of the Department of Ecology, State of Washington.

E. Final Plat Approval. When the Administrator finds that the conditions of preliminary subdivision and the requirements of this chapter have been met, (s)he shall present the plat to the Board for final subdivision approval. The Board shall indicate final approval by affixing their signatures to the final plat.

F. Filing for Record. The original of the final plat shall be filed for record with the County Auditor. One reproducible copy of a stable base material shall be furnished to the Public Works Department. Paper copies shall be provided to the Assessor and the Department.

G. Filing by Subdivider. Approval of the final plat shall be null and void if the plat is not recorded within 30 days after the date the last required signature has been obtained. [Ord. 81-499, § 21.03, 3-2-81.]

18.32.650 Agreement for improvements.

A. Before the Board’s approval is certified on the final plat, the subdivider shall either install required improvements and repair any existing roads and other public facilities damaged in the development of the subdivision, or execute and file with the Board, an agreement between himself and the county specifying the period within which required improvements and repairs shall be completed. The agreement shall provide that if the work is not completed within the period specified, including any approved extensions of time, the county may complete the work and recover the full cost and expense thereof from the subdivider. The agreement may provide for the construction of the improvements in units and for extension of time under specified conditions.

B. In addition, the agreement must contain a provision whereby the subdivider will be responsible for the successful operation and repair of the improvements for a one-year period following the inspection and acceptance of this installation except, that all drainage improvements shall be for a two-year period. The agreement shall allow for the construction of pedestrian walkways to be completed within three years of the recording of the final plat, or immediately following the construction of each residence, whichever occurs first. [Ord. 81-499, § 22.01, 3-2-81.]

18.32.660 Agreement for improvements – Bond.

The subdivider shall file with the agreement set forth in CCC 18.32.650, to assure his performance thereof, one of the following:

A. A surety bond executed by surety company authorized to transact business in the State of Washington, in a form approved by the Prosecuting Attorney;

B. A personal bond approved by the Prosecuting Attorney, cosigned by at least one additional person, together with evidence of financial responsibility and resources of those signing the bond sufficient to provide assurance of ability to proceed in accordance with the agreement;

C. Cash; or

D. Letter of credit, approved by the Prosecuting Attorney, from a financial institution stating that the money is held for the purpose of development of the stated project. [Ord. 81-499, § 22.02, 3-2-81.]

18.32.670 Agreement for improvements – Determination of amount.

Such assurance of full performance shall be for a sum determined by the Engineer as sufficient to cover the cost of improvements and repairs, including related engineering and incidental expenses. [Ord. 81-499, § 22.03, 3-2-81.]

18.32.680 Agreement for improvements – Failure to carry out – Call on bond or cash deposit.

If the subdivider fails to carry out provisions of agreement and the county has unreimbursed costs or expenses resulting from such failure, the county shall call on the bond or cash deposit for reimbursement. If the amount of the bond or cash deposit exceeds the cost and expenses incurred, the remainder shall be released. If the amount of the bond or cash deposit is less than the cost and expense incurred by the county, the developer shall be liable to the county for the difference. [Ord. 81-499, § 22.04, 3-2-81.]

18.32.683 Special provisions for waivers.

It is recognized that in some cases pertaining to particular plats circumstances may justify the granting of waivers from the standards of this chapter. Petitioners for waivers shall describe fully the specific waiver sought and the grounds for the application, and shall bear the burden of proof that approval of such application conforms to the standards of CCC 18.32.685. The Planning Commission shall develop separate recommendations on waiver applications and forward them to the Board along with the recommendation on the preliminary plat. The Commission’s recommendation and the Board’s action may be for a lesser degree of variance from a standard then sought by the applicant, and may include conditions. [Ord. 96-064, § 10, 4-15-96.]

18.32.685 Waiver standards.

In order for a waiver to be recommended by the Commission and approved by the Board, it must be determined that:

A. There are special topographic or other physical conditions affecting the property that are not common to other properties in the area;

B. Hardship, as distinguished from mere inconvenience, would result from strict compliance with the standards of this chapter;

C. The waiver complies with the spirit and intent of this chapter and will not be detrimental to the public health, safety, welfare or environment, or injurious to other property in the vicinity; and

D. A waiver will not have the effect of nullifying the spirit and intent of the Comprehensive Plan and land use ordinance. [Ord. 96-064, § 11, 4-15-96.]

18.32.690 Fees and charges.

The fees and charges for processing preapplications, applications for preliminary and/or final plat approval, checking and approving plans and specifications, performing inspections, recording final plats, and other administrative actions under this chapter, shall be as from time to time established by resolution by the Board. [Ord. 87-015, § 2, 2-2-87.]

18.32.700 Enforcement.

No person shall sell or lease or transfer the ownership, or offer for sale, lease, or transfer of ownership any real property which is subject to this chapter without full compliance with this chapter. All development permits for the improvement of any parcel which is divided without conformance to this chapter shall be withheld until the provisions of this chapter are met. [Ord. 81-499, § 24, 3-2-81.]

18.32.710 Violations – Penalties.

It is a civil infraction for any person to violate this chapter or assist in the violation of this chapter. Violations are subject to the provisions of Chapter 2.06 CCC. Any violation is a public nuisance. Each day a violation exists is a separate violation. Payment of any penalty imposed for a violation does not relieve a person from the duty to comply with this chapter. [Ord. 93-102, § 24, 7-6-93.]

18.32.720 Severability.

If any section, subsection, or other portion of this chapter is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such section, subsection, or portion thereof shall be deemed a separate provision of this chapter and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter. [Ord. 81-499, § 26, 3-2-81.]

18.32.730 Effective date.

This chapter shall be in full force and effect from the date of adoption by the Board. [Ord. 81-499, § 27, 3-2-81.]