Chapter 15.320
BUILDING SETBACK AND INTENSITY STANDARDS

Sections:

15.320.010    Purpose.

15.320.020    Interpretation of tables.

15.320.030    Building setback and intensity standards table – Residential zones.

15.320.040    Building setback and intensity standards – Nonresidential zones.

15.320.050    Density calculations.

15.320.060    Height exceptions.

15.320.070    Setback measurements.

15.320.080    Permitted projections into yards.

15.320.090    Setbacks from alleys.

15.320.100    Setback modifications.

15.320.110    Lot or site divided by zone boundary.

15.320.120    Fences, walls, and hedges.

15.320.010 Purpose.

A.    To promote forms of development that reinforce and/or enhance the desired character of Ellensburg neighborhoods;

B.    To promote compatibility between developments; and

C.    To minimize environmental impacts of development. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.020 Interpretation of tables.

A.    The building setback and intensity standards tables address the building setback and intensity of development specific to individual zoning districts. The zoning district is located on the vertical column and the form/intensity topic being addressed is located on the horizontal row of these tables.

B.    Where an ECC reference/link appears after the building setback and intensity topic, then the use is subject to standards set forth in that section or chapter.

C.    If a number appears in the box at the intersection of the column and the row, refer to the development condition with the corresponding number immediately following the table. If there are multiple numbers, then all development conditions apply.

D.    ECC 15.320.050 through 15.320.130 provide clarification and exceptions to the building setback and intensity standards herein. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.030 Building setback and intensity standards table – Residential zones.

Table 15.320.030. Building setback and intensity standards table – Residential zones. 

Topic

R-S

R-L

R-M

R-H

R-O

DEVELOPMENT INTENSITY AND CONFIGURATION

Minimum lot area

None1

None1

None1

None1

None1

Minimum frontage

None1,2

None1,2

None1,2

None1,2

None1,2

Density, minimum (ECC 15.320.050)

 

6 du/acre3

8 du/acre3

15 du/acre

8 du/acre3

Density, maximum (base)8 (ECC 15.320.050)

6 du/acre

8 du/acre

No limit

No limit

No limit

Density, maximum with bonus (see Chapter 15.330 ECC)

12 du/acre4

16 du/acre4

No limit

No limit

No limit

Maximum building height

35 ft

35 ft

35 ft5

45 ft5

35 ft5

BUILDING SETBACK (see ECC 15.320.070 through 15.320.130)

Minimum front yard setback6, 7

15 ft

15 ft

15 ft

15 ft

15 ft

Garage front yard setback

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

Minimum rear yard setback

20 ft

20 ft

20 ft

20 ft

20 ft

Minimum rear yard setback, accessory buildings (including garages)

5 ft10

5 ft10

5 ft10

5 ft10

5 ft10

Minimum rear yard setback, detached accessory dwelling unit (see ECC 15.540.040)

5 ft10

5 ft10

5 ft10

5 ft10

5 ft10

Minimum side yard setback (includes corner lot interior lot line)9

5 ft/10 ft11

5 ft/10 ft11

5 ft/10 ft11

5 ft/10 ft11

5 ft/10 ft11

Minimum side yard setback (corner lot exterior lot line)

10 ft

10 ft

10 ft

10 ft

10 ft

Minimum garage side yard setback (corner lot exterior lot line)

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

Development conditions:

1.    Lot sizes may be variable provided they are sized and shaped sufficient to accommodate permitted uses and conform to applicable design and density standards.

2.    New lots shall have access directly to a public right-of-way or may obtain access from a courtyard access (ECC 15.420.050(C)) or shared driveway (ECC 15.420.060(A)(2)).

3.    The density minimum shall apply only to new subdivisions greater than one acre in size.

4.    Exception: Projects complying with Net Zero Energy provisions may exceed the maximum density limits as set forth in ECC 15.330.020(A).

5.    For buildings, or portions thereof, with pitched roofs, the maximum height may be increased by five feet. Applicable roof slopes must be at least 4:12 to qualify for this additional height.

6.    Porches and covered entries may project up to six feet into the front yard.

7.    No front yard is required for buildings adjacent to designated “storefront streets.”

8.    Base maximum density refers to the maximum density allowed without utilizing density bonuses.

9.    Townhouses and zero lot line homes are exempt from side yard standards internal to a development. However, such uses shall meet applicable side yard standards for adjacent lots outside of the development.

10.    Accessory buildings or accessory dwelling units, where built on top of an existing garage, may be built to a property line abutting an alley, provided sufficient turning movement and emergency vehicle access is provided within the alley.

11.    For lots 6,000 square feet or less, the minimum side yard shall be five feet on each side. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.040 Building setback and intensity standards – Nonresidential zones.

Table 15.320.040. Building setback and intensity standards table – Nonresidential zones. 

Standard

C-N

C-T

C-H

C-C

C-C II

I-L

I-H

P-R

DEVELOPMENT INTENSITY AND CONFIGURATION

Minimum lot area

None1

None1

None1

None1

None1

None1

None1

None1

Density, minimum (ECC 15.320.050)

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Density, maximum (ECC 15.320.050)

None

None

None

None

None

NA

NA

NA

Maximum building height (see ECC 15.320.060 for height exceptions)

35 ft

35 ft

35 ft

45 ft

70 feet

35 feet3

None

None3

BUILDING PLACEMENT (see ECC 15.320.070 through 15.320.130)

Minimum front yard

10 ft2

10 ft2

10 ft2

None2

None3

10 ft2

10 ft

10 ft4

Garage front yard setback

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

22 ft

Minimum rear yard (see ECC 15.520.020 for supplemental standards)

None5

None5

None5

None5

None5

None5

None5

None4

Minimum side yard (see ECC 15.520.020 for supplemental standards)

None5

None5

None5

None5

None5

None5

None5

None4

Development conditions:

1.    Lot sizes may be variable provided they are sized and shaped sufficient to accommodate permitted uses and conform to applicable design and density standards.

2.    For exceptions and detailed standards, see Chapter 15.510 ECC, Site Orientation.

3.    For areas within 100 feet of a residential zone, the maximum building height shall be 35 feet, except where provided for in ECC 15.310.050(B).

4.    For P-R zoned sites adjacent to residential zones, setback standards shall be the same as the adjacent residential zone. Where more than one zone borders the applicable site, setback standards shall be the same as the zone closest to the proposed structures. Where a nonresidential zone is closest to the applicable structure, then there are no side or rear setback requirements.

5.    Where the subject property borders a residential zone, the minimum side or rear setbacks shall be the same as the adjacent residential zone.

6.    See ECC 15.330.030 for FAR bonus provisions. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4769 § 14, 2017; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.050 Density calculations.

A.    Calculations for Determining Minimum Density – Net Area. All site areas shall be used in the calculation of minimum allowed residential density or project floor area except:

1.    Street rights-of-way, easements, or other areas reserved or dedicated for public use (such as parks, open space, and stormwater retention facilities) except private easements that serve as primary access to no more than five lots; and

2.    Submerged lands, landslide hazard areas and buffers, Category I-IV wetlands and buffers, and Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 streams and buffers.

B.    Calculations for Determining Maximum Density – Gross Developable Acreage.

1.    All site areas may be used in the calculation of the maximum allowed residential density or project floor area except as outlined under the provisions of subsection (B)(2) of this section.

2.    Submerged lands, landslide hazard areas and buffers, Category I-IV wetlands and buffers, and Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 streams and buffers shall not be credited toward the maximum density or floor area calculations. Property used for new roadways, trails, stormwater facilities, or other features used by residents may be counted as part of the site area for density calculations. Property transferred to the city for the construction of public roadways or other public feature shall be counted as part of the site area if the city and property owner reach such an agreement as part of the transfer.

C.    Density Calculations. Minimum and maximum density for an individual site shall be calculated by multiplying the gross developable acreage by the applicable number of dwelling units. When calculation results in a fraction, the fraction shall be rounded to the nearest whole number as follows:

1.    Fractions of 0.50 and above shall be rounded up.

2.    Fractions below 0.50 shall be rounded down.

D.    Prohibited Reduction. Any portion of a lot that was used to calculate compliance with the standards and regulations of this title shall not be subsequently subdivided or segregated from such lot. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.060 Height exceptions.

The following structures may be erected above the height limits set forth in ECC 15.320.030 and 15.320.040:

A.    An additional two feet in height is allowed for structures with green roofs occupying at least 50 percent of the area of the roof;

B.    Roof structures housing or screening elevators, stairways, tanks, rooftop wind generators, ventilating fans or similar equipment required for building operation and maintenance may exceed the height limit by up to 10 feet in the C-C and C-C II zones. Such structures constructed for nonresidential or multifamily uses are subject to screening standards in ECC 15.520.060;

C.    Fire or parapet walls may exceed the height limit by up to 10 feet in the C-C and C-C II zones; and

D.    Skylights, flagpoles, chimneys, church steeples, crosses, spires, communication transmission and receiving structures, and similar structures. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.070 Setback measurements.

A.    Front Yard Setback. The front yard is measured from the street right-of-way or the edge of a surface improvement (sidewalk) which extends beyond a right-of-way, whichever is closer to the proposed structure, to a line parallel to and measured perpendicularly from the street right-of-way or the edge of the surface improvement at the depth prescribed for each zone. For dual frontage properties, the front yard is measured from the street right-of-way that is the property’s street address and primary access.

B.    Side Yard Setback. The side yard setback is measured from the side lot line adjacent to another private property to a line parallel to and measured perpendicularly from the side lot lines at the depth prescribed for each zone.

C.    Rear Yard Setback. The rear yard setback is measured from the rear lot line adjacent to another private property or an alley to a line parallel to and measured perpendicularly from the rear lot lines at the depth prescribed for each zone.

D.    Corner Lots. For corner lots with two street frontages, setbacks from the addressed street side shall conform to the front yard setback for the underlying zoning district. The setbacks for the flanking side shall conform to the exterior side yard setbacks for the underlying zoning district.

E.    For measurements on a pointed or irregular lot refer to definition of lot line in ECC 15.130.120. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.080 Permitted projections into yards.

The following structures may extend into or be located in required setbacks:

A.    Fireplace structures, bay or garden windows, enclosed stair landings, closets, or similar structures may project 30 inches into a front or rear yard, provided such projections are:

1.    Limited to two per facade; and

2.    Not wider than 10 feet;

B.    Eaves, cornices, and signs may not project more than:

1.    Three feet into a front or rear yard; and

2.    Two feet into the side yard;

C.    Porches and covered entries may project up to six feet into the front yard subject to conformance with any required site vision standards set forth in Section 3, Street Standards, of the city’s public works development standards applicable to the lot;

D.    Uncovered porches and decks, which exceed 18 inches above the finished grade, may project up to six feet into the front or rear yards;

E.    Storefront weather protection projections into the public right-of-way are acceptable, provided they don’t interfere with street trees or extend beyond the edge of the sidewalk;

F.    The following features may project into any front yard:

1.    Unenclosed porches and entry features may project six feet into the front yard;

2.    Mailboxes and newspaper boxes;

3.    Fire hydrants and associated appendages;

4.    Bus shelters; and

5.    Monument signs;

G.    The following features may project into any yard:

1.    Telephone poles and lines;

2.    Power poles and lines;

3.    Cable TV and internet lines;

4.    Light and flagpoles;

5.    Sprinkler systems;

6.    Trellises not exceeding eight feet in height, not wider than 10 feet;

7.    Culverts and underground water, sewer, and accessory facilities for the provision of utilities, such as drains;

8.    Electrical equipment cabinets and similar utility boxes and vaults;

9.    Surface and stormwater water management facilities;

10.    Fences per ECC 15.320.130;

11.    Uncovered porches and decks not exceeding 18 inches above the finished grade; and

12.    Rockeries, retaining walls and curbs provided these structures do not exceed a height of six feet from the property line grade; and

H.    No projections are allowed into a regional utility corridor or access easement. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.090 Setbacks from alleys.

Accessory buildings and accessory dwelling units, where built on top of an existing garage, may be built to a property line abutting an alley, provided sufficient turning movement and emergency vehicle access is provided within the alley. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.100 Setback modifications.

A.    In addition to providing the standard street setback, a lot adjoining a half-street or designated arterial shall provide an additional width of street setback sufficient to accommodate construction of the planned half-street or arterial.

B.    For residential lots adjacent to designated local streets and built to applicable standards set forth in Section 3, Street Standards, of the city’s public works development standards, setbacks shall be measured from the back of the sidewalk rather than the right-of-way edge, provided no residential structures are built within the public right-of-way.

C.    Administrative Variance.

1.    Purpose. To allow limited flexibility in the application of the development standards herein.

2.    Applicability. The director may allow an administrative variance for proposals that are within 10 percent of compliance of applicable dimensional standards set forth for building height and building placement.

3.    Procedures. An administrative variance is subject to the Type II review process set forth in Chapter 15.210 ECC.

4.    Decision Criteria. Proposals shall fall within the scope of the definition for “variance” set forth in ECC 15.130.220, and shall meet the purpose(s) of the applicable development standards. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.320.110 Lot or site divided by zone boundary.

When a lot is divided by a zone boundary, the following rules shall apply:

A.    When a lot contains both residential and nonresidential zoning, the zone boundary between the zones shall be considered a lot line for determining permitted building height and required setbacks on the site;

B.    When a lot contains residential zones of varying density:

1.    Any residential density transfer within the lot shall be allowed from the portion with the lesser residential density to that of the greater residential density;

2.    Compliance with these criteria shall be evaluated during review of any development proposals in which such a transfer is proposed; and

C.    Uses on each portion of the lot shall only be those permitted in each zone pursuant to Chapter 15.310 ECC. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013. Formerly 15.320.120.]

15.320.120 Fences, walls, and hedges.

A.    Residential Uses and Zones.

1.    Front yard and between facade and street: 42 inches maximum height. Homes with accessory day care uses are allowed fences up to 48 inches tall, provided the portion of the fence above 42 inches is at least 50 percent transparent;

Figure 15.320.130(A)(1). Acceptable fences and walls for the front yard of residential uses. The left image uses a picket fence. The middle image uses a low wrought iron fence. The right image uses a low masonry retaining wall.

2.    Corner lot, side yard, flanking street: 42 inches maximum fence or wall height for areas less than five feet from the property line or sidewalk, whichever is less (but not within the right-of-way). For homes with accessory day care uses, the maximum height in this area may be increased to 48 inches, provided the portion of the fence above 42 inches is at least 30 percent transparent. For areas at least five feet from the property line or sidewalk, whichever is less (but not within the right-of-way), the maximum fence or wall height is eight feet;

3.    Side and rear yards: eight feet maximum fence or wall height, except that the maximum height of any fence less than five feet from a sidewalk shall be 42 inches. For homes with accessory day care uses, the maximum height in this area may be increased to 48 inches, provided the portion of the fence above 42 inches is at least 30 percent transparent;

Figure 15.320.130(A)(2). Acceptable and unacceptable fences on corner lots for side yard/flanking streets or along reverse frontage lots where the back yard abuts a street. The left example is a low picket fence. Taller fences like that in the middle image are acceptable along the side and rear yard, but are not allowed within five feet of a sidewalk. The right image shows an acceptable example where the fence is set back away from the sidewalk to allow space for landscaping.

4.    Fences, walls and hedges less than three feet from an alley are limited to 42 inches in height. Fences or walls set back three feet or more from the alley may be up to six feet in height. Fences or walls at least 10 feet from an alley may be up to eight feet in height;

Figure 15.320.130(A)(3). Acceptable fences along an alley. The 42-inch fence on the left is allowed along the edge of an alley. The taller six-foot fence in the middle is allowed with a three-foot minimum setback from the alley.

5.    Residential developments are subject to edges and fences provisions as set forth in ECC 15.420.030, which addresses gated communities and reverse frontage lots; and

6.    Multifamily uses are subject to the following provisions:

a.    Side/rear yard design provisions set forth in ECC 15.520.020; and

b.    Blank wall treatment provisions as set forth in ECC 15.530.060.

B.    All Other Uses and Zones.

1.    Fences less than 10 feet from a streetfront property line or sidewalk, whichever is less (but not within the right-of-way), are limited to 42 inches in height. Day care uses are allowed fences up to 48 inches tall in this area, provided the portion of the fence above 42 inches is at least 30 percent transparent. Otherwise, the maximum height for fences shall be eight feet. Also see Section 3, Street Standards, of the city’s public works development standards for sight distance requirements along streets and site access points;

2.    Nonresidential uses are subject to side/rear yard design provisions set forth in ECC 15.520.020; and

3.    Nonresidential uses are subject to blank wall treatment provisions as set forth in ECC 15.530.060.

C.    Fence and Wall Measurements.

1.    Fence and freestanding wall height shall be measured from the horizontal projection of the predominant ground level of either the finished grade where such grade has been established, or from the horizontal projection of the predominant existing grade in the vicinity of the fence; and

2.    Fence height shall be measured to the upper surface of the fence panel.

D.    Fence Material Standards.

1.    Chain Link Fences.

a.    Chain link fences are prohibited in residential zones and in yards associated with residential uses; and

b.    Chain link fences are allowed in nonresidential zones subject to height limits set forth in subsection (B) of this section. Where visible from the street, such fences taller than 42 inches shall be screened with landscaping per the blank wall treatment standards set forth in ECC 15.530.060. Chain link fences visible from the street are encouraged to use blue or black vinyl coating.

2.    No fence, wall or hedge shall contain barbed wire, electrical current or charge of electricity, broken glass or similar hazardous materials or devices except where livestock is to be contained by barbed or electrically charged wire, in which case the fence shall be located not closer than five feet from the property line. Where an adjacent existing fence, wall, or hedge on a property line dividing properties under separate ownership establishes a barrier, then such barbed wire fence or electrically charged fence may be placed on the property line with the mutual consent of the property owners. Fences enclosing storage areas in industrial zones (I-L and I-H) may use barbed wire so long as such wire is located not less than six feet above grade. [Ord. 4807 § 46, 2018; Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013. Formerly 15.320.130.]