Chapter 19.07
SMALL LOTS, DUPLEXES, ACCESSORY BUILDINGS

Sections:

19.07.010    Small lot single-family dwelling, and duplex development standards.

19.07.020    Regulations for accessory buildings.

19.07.030    Accessory dwelling units.

19.07.010 Small lot single-family dwelling, and duplex development standards.

Single-family dwellings to be built on lots having less than five thousand square feet in any zone and duplexes on any sized lot in any zone shall meet the development standards contained herein unless approved as part of a multiple-family development pursuant to Chapter 19.15. It is the intent of these development standards that single-family dwellings on small lots and duplexes be compatible with neighboring properties, friendly to the streetscape, and in scale with the lots upon which they are to be constructed. The planning director is authorized to promulgate guidelines, graphic representations, and examples of housing designs and methods of construction that do or do not satisfy the intent of these standards.

A.    The dwelling or duplex shall have:

1.    Doors and windows which face the street; and

2.    A distinct entry feature such as a porch or weather covered entry way with at least thirty-six square feet of weather cover, and a minimum dimension of four feet. Covered porches open on three sides may encroach six feet into a required front setback.

B.    If there is no alley access, the front of the garage shall be set back five feet from the front of the dwelling, and the dwelling(s) shall have entry, window and/or roofline design treatment which emphasizes the house more than the garage. The director may approve an alternative to the five-foot setback for the garage consistent with guidelines promulgated by the director that provide for a prominent entrance to the dwelling as viewed from the street, and architectural elements that minimize the bulk of the garage and garage door(s) and emphasize the dwelling unit orientation to the street. The alternative must provide equivalent or superior architectural design than would be provided by meeting the standards of this section.

C.    For lots less than five thousand square feet, lot coverage by buildings shall not exceed fifty percent. Gross floor area of the dwelling, excluding the garage, shall not exceed fifty percent of the lot area. For dwellings with a basement that is more than seventy-five percent below grade, the square footage of the basement shall not be included in the calculation of the gross floor area of the building.

D.    On lots located north of 41st Street, a minimum roof pitch of 6:12 is required.

E.    On lots located north of 41st Street, windows facing the street shall be vertically proportioned (taller than they are wide).

F.    When the individual dwelling units in a duplex are attached by a nonresidential portion of the structure, such as a garage or storage building, the attachment between dwellings shall measure at least fifty percent of the length of each wall to which it attaches and be a minimum of one story in height. (Ord. 3618-18 § 9, 2018: Ord. 2720-03 § 4, 2003: Ord. 2657-02 §§ 22, 23, 24, 2002; Ord. 2146-96 § 9, 1996.)

19.07.020 Regulations for accessory buildings.

The following requirements apply to all buildings which are accessory to residential uses in all zones except as otherwise allowed in the historical overlay zones:

A.    Accessory buildings or uses may not be established until the principal dwelling or dwellings are constructed on the lot.

B.    Detached accessory buildings are limited to accessory uses. The following spaces are allowed within a detached accessory building: bathrooms, hobby rooms, home occupations, home offices, recreation rooms, or laundry rooms. The following rooms are not allowed in accessory buildings: bedrooms, dining rooms, or kitchens.

C.    The footprint of all accessory buildings, whether attached or detached, shall not exceed the lesser of:

1.    Fifteen percent of the total lot area; or

2.    One thousand square feet. For lots with three or more dwellings in a zone that allows multiple-family buildings, the one thousand square foot limitation does not apply; or

3.    Seventy-five percent of the gross floor area of the dwelling (attached accessory buildings are not included in the dwelling’s gross floor area);

provided, that up to five hundred square feet of an attached garage constructed as an integral part of the dwelling and attached to the dwelling with a substantial roof structure having a minimum attachment of ten feet to both the garage and the dwelling shall be exempted from the size limitations listed in subsection C.1 or C.2 of this section; or that any porch located between the front lot line and the dwelling shall be exempted from the size limitations listed in subsection C.1, C.2, or C.3 of this section.

D.    Accessory buildings, whether attached or detached, shall not be located in front setback areas or street side setback areas for corner lots, except as provided by Section 39.150.D.2.

E.    Except as otherwise prohibited by EMC Title 18 and divisions of land approved pursuant thereto, accessory buildings, whether attached or detached, may be located within the principal building’s rear setback; provided, that:

1.    The accessory building meets all side setback requirements; and

2.    A minimum setback of five feet is provided from the rear lot line, unless the rear lot line abuts an alley, in which case there shall be no required rear setback; and

3.    The portion of an accessory building within the rear setback is limited to accessory uses.

F.    Accessory buildings on a corner lot with doors or openings for vehicles facing and accessing the side street shall be set back a minimum of ten feet from the side street lot line or a minimum of twenty feet from the public sidewalk, whichever is greater. If there is no public sidewalk, the city engineer shall determine if there shall be a setback greater than ten feet from the side street lot line.

G.    Accessory buildings shall not be located within the interior side setback area, unless the side lot line abuts an alley, in which case there shall be no required side setback from the alley.

H.    The city engineer and planning director shall determine the rear setback for accessory buildings on double fronting lots (lots with street frontages along the front and rear property lines).

I.    Subdivision of the property shall not result in the accessory building(s) failing to comply with any of the requirements of this section. Compliance with this provision may require that accessory buildings be removed or reduced in size in order for the property to be subdivided.

J.    Accessory buildings shall not exceed fifteen feet in height except as follows:

1.    Attached accessory buildings may be constructed to the maximum height allowed by the zone in which it is located; provided, that the attached accessory building meets all setbacks required for the principal building.

2.    The planning director, using the review process described in EMC Title 15, Local Project Review Procedures, may allow attached or detached accessory buildings meeting all setbacks or within the principal building’s rear setback to exceed the fifteen-foot height limitation; provided, that all of the following requirements are met:

a.    The accessory building(s) shall not exceed twenty feet in height.

b.    The accessory building(s) shall be compatible with the dwelling and/or neighborhood character. To make this determination, the planning director may consider such factors that include, but are not limited to, view obstruction, roof pitch, building materials, screening and landscaping, aesthetic impact on surrounding properties and streetscape, incompatible scale with dwellings on surrounding properties, and impact on neighborhood character. The planning director shall also have the authority to impose greater setback requirements, landscape buffers, or other locational or design requirements as necessary to mitigate the impacts of accessory buildings which are taller than otherwise allowed by this section.

c.    A covenant acceptable to the city attorney’s office shall be recorded on the title to the property stating that the property owner acknowledges the requirements of this section, and stating that the use of any accessory structure is limited to accessory activities permitted by the zone in which the property is located, and that the accessory building shall not be converted to a living area or used for any purposes which are not in full compliance with zoning and building code requirements.

K.    Metal siding or corrugated metal roofing material shall be prohibited on all accessory buildings with a gross floor area larger than two hundred square feet, unless materials similar in appearance are used in the majority of the principal building or if approved by the planning director. The planning director, using the review process described in EMC Title 15, Local Project Review Procedures, may allow accessory buildings with metal siding or corrugated metal roofing. The planning director shall have the authority to impose greater setback requirements, building height limitations, landscape buffers, or other locational or design requirements as necessary to promote compatibility with neighboring properties.

L.    Detached accessory buildings larger than two hundred square feet shall have a minimum roof pitch of 6:12 or a roof pitch equal or greater than the roof pitch of the dwelling if the roof pitch of the dwelling is less than 6:12.

M.    The planning director, using the review process described in EMC Title 15, Local Project Review Procedures, may allow attached and/or detached accessory building(s) to exceed the one thousand square foot footprint limitation listed in subsection C.2 of this section; provided, that all of the following requirements are met:

1.    The lot shall have a minimum lot area of eighteen thousand square feet or greater; and

2.    The total square footage of all accessory building(s), whether attached or detached, shall not exceed the lesser of:

a.    Fifteen percent of the lot area; or

b.    Seventy-five percent of the gross floor area of the principal building; or

c.    Two thousand square feet.

3.    The accessory building(s), whether attached or detached, shall not be located between the principal building and adjoining street(s) (excluding alleys).

4.    The accessory building(s) shall be compatible with the dwelling and/or neighborhood character. To make this determination, the planning director may consider such factors that include, but are not limited to, view obstruction, roof pitch, building materials, screening and landscaping, aesthetic impact on surrounding properties and streetscape, incompatible scale with dwellings on surrounding properties, and impact on neighborhood character. The planning director shall also have the authority to impose greater setback requirements, landscape buffers, or other locational or design requirements as necessary to mitigate the impacts of accessory buildings which are larger than otherwise allowed by subsection C of this section.

5.    A covenant acceptable to the city attorney’s office shall be recorded on the title to the property stating that the property owner acknowledges the requirements of this section, and stating that the use of any accessory structure is limited to accessory activities permitted by the zone in which the property is located, and that the accessory building shall not be converted to living area or used for any purposes which are not in full compliance with zoning and building code requirements.

N.    Structures that are covered or partially covered with tarps, fabric, metal, plastic or any other similar type of materials shall:

1.    Be prohibited between any portion of the principal building and abutting streets. This prohibition shall apply to any area of the lot that is located between the street and a line that is parallel to the street and extended from any facade of the principal building that faces the street to the side lot line(s), or to the rear lot line on the street side of a corner lot;

2.    Be removed within two years of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section if such structure does not comply with the locational requirements of subsection (N)(1) of this section or, if such structure does not comply with the locational requirements of subsection (N)(1) of this section, it shall be immediately and permanently removed in the event of disrepair or in the event of damage caused by weather, fire, collision, accident or other forms of damage; and

3.    Be immediately removed or repaired in the event of disrepair or in the event of damage caused by weather, fire, collision, accident or other forms of damage.

O.    Shipping containers or other similar storage units do not qualify as accessory buildings under this section and shall be prohibited in residential zones. (Ord. 3066-08 § 1, 2008; Ord. 2973-07 § 3, 2007: Ord. 2657-02 § 25, 2002; Ord. 2538-01 § 6, 2001; Ord. 2310-98 § 1, 1998: Ord. 2146-96 § 10, 1996.)

19.07.030 Accessory dwelling units.

The regulations in this section shall apply to accessory dwelling units (ADUs), whether attached or detached. The term “ADU” as used in this section shall apply to either attached or detached accessory dwelling units. The term “DADU” as used in this section shall apply only to detached accessory dwelling units. In the event there is a conflict between the provisions of this section or any other provision of the EMC, the provisions of this section shall control.

A.    Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), Where Permitted. An ADU shall be permitted as an accessory use to the principal dwelling unit in the zones indicated in Use Table No. 5.1 on any legally established lot, provided it complies with the provisions of this section. In the core residential area and other zones that allow single-family attached or multiple-family dwellings, the development standards applicable to those zones shall apply to development of more than one dwelling on a lot rather than this section.

B.    Review Process. ADUs shall be permitted subject to Review Process I as defined in EMC Title 15.

C.    Owner Occupancy Required. Either the principal dwelling unit or the ADU shall be occupied by the owner of the property as his or her principal residence. Prior to issuance of a permit for an accessory dwelling unit, the property owner shall submit to the city a signed affidavit affirming that the owner occupies the principal dwelling as his or her principal residence, and will occupy either the principal dwelling or accessory dwelling after completion of the accessory dwelling unit. The owner shall record a covenant with the Snohomish County auditor, approved by the director, that shall run with the land as long as the ADU is maintained on the property. The property owner shall submit proof that the covenant has been recorded with the Snohomish County auditor’s office prior to issuance of the building permit.

D.    An ADU shall not be segregated from the ownership of the principal dwelling through a subdivision, condominium, or any other process.

E.    Only one ADU is permitted on a lot.

F.    An ADU shall not be permitted on a lot with more than one dwelling unit.

G.    The property owner shall certify to the city no later than April 1st of each year that the owner occupies one of the dwellings as his or her principal residence. Any person who fails to report or falsely certifies that he or she resides in a dwelling unit at the stated address shall be subject to the enforcement and penalty provisions of Chapter 1.20.

H.    A permit for an ADU shall automatically expire, and the building shall be brought into conformance with the zoning code, whenever:

1.    The ADU is substantially altered and is no longer in conformance with the standards of this section;

2.    The owner ceases to reside in either the principal or the accessory dwelling unit.

I.    An ADU shall not exceed seventy-five percent of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, or eight hundred square feet, whichever is less; provided, that the city may allow increased size if the ADU is located completely on a single floor in order to efficiently use all floor area. This process is available only for buildings existing:

1.    On the effective date of Ordinance No. 3534-17 (March 8, 2017); or

2.    At least three years prior to the date of application for conversion to an accessory dwelling unit.

J.    Minimum Rear Setback.

1.    Alley Lots. An ADU shall have no minimum rear setback.

2.    Non-Alley Lots. Twenty feet; provided, that the city, using Review Process II as defined in EMC Title 15, may allow a DADU to have a minimum rear setback of five feet if the building does not exceed eighteen feet in height within the rear twenty feet of the lot.

K.    Building Height. The maximum permitted building height for a detached ADU shall be:

1.    Alley lots: twenty-four feet.

2.    Non-alley lots: twenty-four feet; provided, however, that the maximum height shall not exceed eighteen feet in height when located within the rear twenty feet of the lot.

3.    The planning director may authorize a greater height limit to match existing roof pitch of the principal dwelling using Review Process II as defined in EMC Title 15, up to a maximum height of twenty-eight feet.

L.    Lot Coverage. The maximum lot coverage standard for the underlying zone shall apply to all buildings on the lot; provided, that it may be increased, using Review Process II as defined in EMC Title 15, by an additional five percent of the lot area if necessary to allow a DADU on an existing developed lot that meets all other requirements of this section.

M.    Design Standards. An ADU shall meet the design standards in this section. A property owner may request that the planning director modify the design standards, using Review Process II as defined in EMC Title 15. The planning director shall consider the impact that the requested modification will have on abutting properties in terms of aesthetics, privacy, view impacts, and compatibility with the character of other dwellings.

1.    Attached ADUs. The single-family appearance and character of the dwelling shall be maintained when viewed from the surrounding neighborhood. Only one entrance to the residential structure may be located on any street side of the structure; provided, however, that this limitation shall not affect the eligibility of a residential structure which has more than one entrance on the front or street side on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section.

2.    Historic Overlay Zones. On lots located in the historic overlay zone, an attached ADU shall comply with the standards of subsection N.1 of this section. A DADU shall comply with the development and design standards of the H overlay zone for infill dwelling units.

3.    Detached ADUs. The planning director shall promulgate a design manual of examples and best practices for the design of DADUs and compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood. The city shall have the authority to require changes to the design of a DADU that is not consistent with best practices identified in the design manual. In addition:

a.    The DADU shall be designed to give the appearance that it is secondary to the principal dwelling.

b.    Siding, roofing, windows and building trim materials shall visually match those used on the principal dwelling.

c.    The roof pitch shall be similar to the predominant roof pitch on the principal dwelling.

N.    Legalization of Illegal ADUs.

1.    An illegal ADU is an ADU which does not fully comply with the provisions of this section and all other applicable codes. An illegal ADU, whether attached or detached, may be legalized provided it can be made to fully comply with the provisions of this section and all other applicable codes.

2.    If the property owner takes all actions necessary to legalize the ADU within two years of the effective date of this section, the additional fees required by Section 16.72.070 shall be waived. (Ord. 3618-18 § 10, 2018: Ord. 3546-17 § 1, 2017; Ord. 3534-17 § 7, 2017)