Chapter 18.55
DESIGN CRITERIA1

Sections:

18.55.010    Land division design.

18.55.020    Lot design.

18.55.030    Density.

18.55.040    Cluster subdivision.

18.55.050    Small lot detached development.

18.55.060    Open space and recreation.

18.55.070    Pedestrian and bicycle access.

18.55.080    View considerations.

18.55.010 Land division design.

(1) Land divisions should be designed so that traffic is distributed in a logical manner toward a collector street system, to avoid intrusion and over-burdening of residential streets, and to connect with planned or existing streets.

(2) Streets should be coordinated with existing intersections to avoid offsetting new intersections, and should intersect at a 90-degree angle plus or minus 15 degrees.

(3) No street, or combination of streets, shall function as a cul-de-sac longer than 600 feet.

(4) Block perimeters should be no longer than 1,320 feet for nonmotorized access, and 2,640 feet for streets.

(5) Land divisions on steep slopes should be designed so that streets are constructed generally parallel, rather than perpendicular, to the slope.

(6) Streets should be designed in conformance with adopted standards for sight distance at intersections, as prescribed in FWRC 19.135.300 et seq.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(2)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 98-330, § 3, 12-15-98; Ord. No. 97-291, § 3, 4-1-97; Ord. No. 90-41, § 1(16.210.10 – 16.210.60), 2-27-90. Code 2001 § 20-151.)

18.55.020 Lot design.

(1) All lots should be of ample dimensions to provide a regular shaped building area which meets required setbacks.

(2) All lots shall be designed to provide access for emergency apparatus.

(3) All lots should be designed to take advantage of topographic and natural features, view orientation and privacy.

(4) In general, all lots shall be accessed by a public street right-of-way. In certain cases, lots may be accessed by an ingress/egress and utilities easement or alley subject to the requirements established in the city of Federal Way public works development standards. Residential lots should not have access onto arterial streets.

(5) Alley access is encouraged for lots in zero lot line townhouse to avoid a garage-dominant front yard streetscape.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(2)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 98-330, § 3, 12-15-98; Ord. No. 97-291, § 3, 4-1-97; Ord. No. 90-41, § 1(16.220.10 – 16.220.40), 2-27-90. Code 2001 § 20-152.)

18.55.030 Density.

(1) All lots in conventional subdivisions, both long and short subdivisions, binding site plans, and small lot detached developments shall meet the minimum lot size requirements of FWRC Title 19. Minimum lot sizes and density for zero lot line townhouse development are as allowed in FWRC 19.205.010. Minimum lot sizes and density for cottage housing are as allowed in FWRC 19.205.020.

(2) Lots created in cluster subdivisions may be below the minimum lot size requirements of FWRC Title 19, Zoning and Development Code, provided the total number of lots created does not exceed the number which would be permitted in a conventional subdivision on a site of the same total area, after reservation of required open space as allowed in FWRC 18.55.040. The maximum number of lots permitted will be calculated by subtracting the required 15 percent for open space and 20 percent for streets from the gross land available, then dividing by the minimum lot size of the underlying zoning district.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(2)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 01-381, § 3, 1-16-01; Ord. No. 98-330, § 3, 12-15-98; Ord. No. 98-309, § 3, 1-6-98; Ord. No. 97-291, § 3, 4-1-97; Ord. No. 90-41, § 1(16.230.10, 16.230.20), 2-27-90. Code 2001 § 20-153.)

18.55.040 Cluster subdivision.

(1) Purpose. The term “cluster subdivision” applies to both long and short subdivisions. The purpose of cluster subdivisions is to provide design flexibility, sensitivity to the surrounding environment, and innovation consistent with the site and the comprehensive plan; promote compatibility with housing on adjacent properties through lot size and design; promote affordable housing; promote reduction of impervious surface; promote usable open space; and promote the retention of native vegetation.

(2) Standards.

(a) The gross land area available for cluster subdivisions must be a minimum of two acres.

(b) Lots created in a cluster subdivision may be reduced in size below the minimum required in FWRC Title 19, up to one-half of the size of the underlying zoning requirement, but in no case smaller than 5,000 square feet, per lot; provided, that minimum setback requirements are met. This provision cannot be used together with FWRC 19.110.010(4)(a) (affordable housing bonus).

(c) When the cluster subdivision abuts a single-family zoned neighborhood, the lots in the proposed development immediately adjacent shall be no less than the neighboring lot size, or the underlying zoning minimum lot size minus 10 percent, whichever is smaller.

(d) Refer to FWRC 19.120.110 for additional development standards for sites with slopes of 15 percent or greater.

(e) Open space.

(i) Open space created through cluster subdivisions shall be protected from further subdivision or development by covenants filed and recorded with the final plat of the subdivision.

(ii) Any subdivision created by this section must provide all open space on-site and it must be all usable except up to five percent can be buffer.

(iii) All usable open space must be readily identifiable with the development and easily accessible by the residents. Usable open space should be the central focus and an amenity for the project.

(f) Cluster subdivisions can be constructed with zero lot lines under the following conditions:

(i) No more than two units shall share a common wall.

(ii) Zero lot line cannot occur in zones of RS 9.6 or greater.

(iii) Each dwelling unit shall be built to respect privacy of abutting homes.

(iv) Zero lot line development cannot exceed 10 percent of the lots proposed unless it is in a multifamily zone.

(v) Each unit shall be intended for owner occupancy.

(g) Cluster lots are not eligible for accessory dwelling units under FWRC 19.195.180 or 19.200.180.

(3) Approval criteria. The innovative or beneficial overall quality of the proposed development shall be demonstrated by the following criteria:

(a) The subdivision provides innovative development, otherwise not allowed, but which promotes the goals of the comprehensive plan for architectural compatibility with single-family housing on adjacent properties.

(b) The subdivision results in 15 percent common open space of which at least 10 percent of the gross land area must be usable on-site open space, which is identified with the development and easily accessible to residents.

(c) Native tree retention in accordance with FWRC 19.120.130 et seq.

(d) Cluster lots immediately adjacent to existing neighborhoods have incorporated design elements through lot size and architecture to be compatible as approved by the community development services director.

(e) The cluster subdivision will not result in destruction or damage to natural, scenic, or historic features.

(f) Each dwelling unit shall meet the design standards in the FWRC community design guidelines for cluster subdivisions.

(Ord. No. 09-610, § 3(Exh. A), 4-7-09; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(2)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 01-381, § 3, 1-16-01; Ord. No. 98-330, § 3, 12-15-98; Ord. No. 98-309, § 3, 1-6-98; Ord. No. 97-291, § 3, 4-1-97; Ord. No. 90-41, § 1(16.240.10 – 16.240.30), 2-27-90. Code 2001 § 20-154.)

18.55.050 Small lot detached development.

(1) Purpose. The purpose of small lot detached development is to promote additional housing ownership opportunities within multifamily (RM) residential zoning districts, and provide design flexibility and innovation consistent with the site and the comprehensive plan.

(2) Approval process. Small lot detached development must obtain designation as an innovative housing demonstration development based on an approval process defined in an adopted ordinance. To qualify as an innovative housing demonstration development, the proposed development shall comply with the following minimum requirements:

(a) Designation as an innovative housing demonstration development shall be based on approval of a conceptual site plan.

(b) Designation as an innovative housing demonstration development shall be based on approval of conceptual architectural renderings showing elevations, design, materials, and colors of dwelling units.

(3) Approval criteria. The innovative or beneficial overall quality of the proposed development shall be demonstrated by the following criteria:

(a) It provides a variety of housing and site design innovations.

(b) It promotes the goals of the comprehensive plan for architectural compatibility with residential development on adjacent properties.

(c) It provides elements that contribute to a sense of community within the development by including elements such as front entry porches, common open space, and pedestrian connectivity.

(d) It provides a mechanism, acceptable to the director of community development, to ensure the continued care and maintenance of all common areas, including, but not limited to, private tracts and common open space areas, by a homeowners’ association with authority and adequate funding to maintain the common areas.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(2)), 5-15-07. Code 2001 § 20-155.)

18.55.060 Open space and recreation.

(1) For the purpose of this chapter, open space shall be described in the following categories:

(a) Usable open space. Areas which have appropriate topography, soils, drainage and size to be considered for development as active recreation areas.

(b) Conservation open space. Areas containing special natural or physical amenities or environmentally sensitive features, the conservation of which would benefit surrounding properties or the community as a whole. Such areas may include, but are not limited to, stands of large trees, view corridors or view points, creeks and streams, wetlands and marshes, ponds and lakes or areas of historical or archaeological importance. Conservation open space and usable open space may be, but are not always, mutually inclusive.

(c) Buffer open space. Areas which are primarily intended to provide separation between properties or between properties and streets. Buffer open space may, but does not always, contain usable open space or conservation open space.

(d) Severely constrained open space. Areas not included in any of the above categories which, due to physical characteristics, are impractical or unsafe for development. Such areas may include but are not limited to steep rock escarpments or areas of unstable soils.

(2) All residential subdivisions, except for cottage housing and zero lot line townhouse development, shall be required to provide open space in the amount of 15 percent of the gross land area of the subdivision site. Open space requirements for zero lot line townhouse development are found in FWRC 19.205.010 and open space requirements for cottage housing are found in FWRC 19.250.070 and 19.250.080. Except for subdivisions created under FWRC 18.55.040, and small lot detached development created under FWRC 18.25.030, a fee-in-lieu payment may be made to satisfy open space requirements at the discretion of the parks director after consideration of the city’s overall park plan, quality, location, and service area of the open space that would otherwise be provided within the project. If the city determines that the location, quality, or extent of the required project open space, particularly on smaller plats, short plats, or other divisions of land, would not fulfill the intent or purpose of useful common open space, a payment of an equivalent fee in lieu of the required project open space shall be paid.

The fee in lieu of open space shall be calculated on 15 percent of the most recent assessed value of the property. In the absence of an assessment, the market value shall be based on an appraisal conducted by a state-certified real estate appraiser. If the applicant offers to pay money in lieu of open space, and if the city accepts the offer, the amount shall be determined based upon the square footage of open space which otherwise would have been required to be provided, times the then current market value per square foot of similarly situated property. For lots within an existing subdivision, where open space was already dedicated or a fee in lieu paid, the percent of open space required will be the difference between the open space dedicated prior and 15 percent. Any fees collected shall be utilized within the park comprehensive plan planning area that the subject property falls within, unless the applicant by voluntary agreement directs the expenditures of such fees in a different planning area. Open space created through small lot detached development shall be protected from further subdivision or development by covenants filed and recorded with the final plat of the subdivision. All usable open space must be readily identifiable with the development and easily accessible by the residents. Usable open space should be the central focus and an amenity for the project.

(3) Any combination of open space types may be used to accomplish the total area required to be reserved as follows:

Open Space Category

% of Gross Land Area

Usable

10% minimum

Conservation

No maximum or minimum

Buffer

2% maximum

Constrained

2% maximum

An administrative alteration of the open space category percentage requirements within the above categories may be made by the parks director on a case-by-case basis, but in no case shall the combination of categories total less than 15 percent unless otherwise provided for in FWRC 18.45.010. Review and approval of such cases shall be based on the following considerations:

(a) The change in percentage requirements would result in a superior open space plan than could be accomplished under the standard percentage requirements.

(b) The availability and types of open space located within the immediate area.

(c) The presence on site of environmental features that are unique, rare or of local importance.

(d) The opportunities for the preservation of significant views and creation of public access points of interest.

(e) The relationship of the proposed open space to the city’s park plan.

(4) Open space which is part of an adopted parks, recreation, trails or open space plan may be dedicated to the city for such purposes.

(5) Open space not part of an adopted parks, recreation, trails or open space plan shall be owned in common undivided interest by all property owners within the land division as members of a homeowners’ association or corporation as set out in a declaration of covenants and restrictions, and approved by the city.

(6) Subject to approval by the city, ownership in open space may be transferred to a special interest group or organization which shall assume the responsibility of maintaining the open space for its intended purpose.

(Ord. No. 10-652, § 5, 4-6-10; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(2)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 98-330, § 3, 12-15-98; Ord. No. 98-309, § 3, 1-6-98; Ord. No. 97-291, § 3, 4-1-97; Ord. No. 90-41, § 1(16.250.10 – 16.250.60), 2-27-90. Formerly 20-155. Code 2001 § 20-156.)

18.55.070 Pedestrian and bicycle access.

(1) In addition to the sidewalks required in FWRC 19.135.010 regarding requirements to rights-of-way and vehicular easements, pedestrian and bicycle access should be provided for established or planned safe school routes, bikeways, trails, transit stops, and general circulation.

(2) Pedestrian and bicycle access shall be provided in 20 feet of dedicated right-of-way. Paved width shall be 12 feet. Pedestrian-scale lighting shall be provided if the two ends of the access corridor are not intervisible. No sight-obscuring fences or landscaping shall be permitted abutting access corridors.

(3) Pedestrian and bicycle access shall be provided to develop a nonmotorized network with a block perimeter of no greater than 1,320 feet, as measured on centerlines. This requirement may be modified if connections cannot be made due to:

(a) Topographical constraints.

(b) Environmentally sensitive areas.

(c) Adjacent development is not being conducive.

(4) Pedestrian and bicycle access corridors shall be considered as usable open space in determining open space requirements.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(2)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 98-330, § 3, 12-15-98; Ord. No. 97-291, § 3, 4-1-97; Ord. No. 90-41, § 1(16.260.10 – 16.260.30), 2-27-90. Formerly 20-156. Code 2001 § 20-157.)

18.55.080 View considerations.

(1) Design of new land divisions adjacent to existing development should assess the potential blockage of existing views and utilize methods such as staggered or offset lot lines and building areas so as to reduce horizontal view blockage.

(2) Where feasible, land division design shall recognize and preserve important view corridors by proper location of street rights-of-way, view conservation easements or other means.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(2)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 98-330, § 3, 12-15-98; Ord. No. 97-291, § 3, 4-1-97; Ord. No. 90-41, § 1(16.270.10, 16.270.20), 2-27-90. Formerly 20-157. Code 2001 § 20-158.)


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Cross reference: Administration of the provisions regarding environmentally critical areas, Chapter 19.145 FWRC, Article I.