Chapter 18.05


18.05.010    Title.

18.05.020    Authority, purpose, and scope.

18.05.030    Code administration – Purpose.

18.05.040    Department of community development – Duties and responsibilities.

18.05.050    Planning commission – Duties and responsibilities.

18.05.060    Department of public works – Duties and responsibilities.

18.05.070    Department of environmental health – Duties and responsibilities.

18.05.080    Repealed.

18.05.085    Repealed.

18.05.090    Establishment of land use districts.

18.05.100    Official maps.

18.05.110    Land use district boundaries.

18.05.120    Critical area maps.

18.05.130    Applicability.

18.05.140    Water and sewer.

18.05.150    Applicability of Shoreline Master Program.

18.05.160    Applicability of permit requirements.

18.05.170    Nonconforming uses or structures.

18.05.180    Building code.

18.05.190    Subarea plans.

18.05.200    Minimum standards.

18.05.210    Title and headings not law.

18.05.220    Severability clause.

18.05.230    Waiver.

18.05.240    Enforcement.

18.05.010 Title.

This document is the Jefferson County Unified Development Code and may be cited as the “UDC” or the “code.” [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.020 Authority, purpose, and scope.

(1) Authority and Comprehensive Plan Consistency. This code is a principal tool for implementing the goals and policies of the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan, pursuant to the mandated provisions of the State of Washington’s Growth Management Act (Chapter 36.70A RCW (Revised Code of Washington)), Shoreline Management Act (Chapter 90.58 RCW), Subdivisions Code (Chapter 58.17 RCW), State Environmental Policy Act (Chapter 43.21C RCW), and other applicable state and local laws.

The land division provisions of this code (Chapter 18.35 JCC) are intended to supplement and implement Chapter 58.17 RCW as the land division ordinance of the county. If the provisions of this code conflict with any provision of Chapter 58.17 RCW, the RCW shall prevail.

No land shall be subdivided or developed for any purpose which is not in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan or applicable provisions of this code.

This code is intended to be used as a single integrated document. Each part contributes to a unified regulatory system.

(2) Purpose. The general purposes of this Unified Development Code are:

(a) To encourage land use decision-making in accordance with the public interest, protection of private property rights and the public good, and applicable laws of the state of Washington;

(b) To protect the general public health, safety, and welfare and encourage orderly economic development;

(c) To implement the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan goals and policies through land use and other regulations;

(d) To provide for the economic, social, and aesthetic advantages of orderly development through harmonious groupings of compatible and complementary land uses and the application of appropriate development standards;

(e) To provide for adequate public facilities and services in conjunction with development; and

(f) To promote general public safety by regulating development of lands containing physical hazards and to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of development.

(3) Scope. Hereafter, no building, structure, or land use activity shall be engaged, erected, demolished, remodeled, reconstructed, altered, enlarged, or relocated, and no building, structure or premises shall be used in Jefferson County except in compliance with the provisions of this code and then only after securing all required permits and licenses. Any building, structure, or use lawfully existing at the time of passage of the ordinance codified in this code, although not in compliance therewith, may be maintained as provided in JCC 18.20.260, Nonconforming uses and structures. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.030 Code administration – Purpose.

The purpose of JCC 18.05.030 through 18.05.070 is to provide an administrative land use regulatory system that will best satisfy the following basic needs:

(1) To separate the county’s land use regulatory function from its land use planning function;

(2) To ensure and expand the principles of fairness and due process in public hearings; and

(3) To provide an efficient and effective land use regulatory system which integrates the public hearing and decision-making processes for land use matters. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.040 Department of community development – Duties and responsibilities.

The duties and responsibilities of the director shall be as follows:

(1) Assist the board of commissioners in their consideration of alternative future directions and implementation of policies for future development of the county;

(2) Conduct research and prepare reports to the board of commissioners, planning commission and citizens concerning the priority projects and issues identified by the board of commissioners;

(3) Assist development proponents to achieve project goals in conformance with applicable land use regulations and in support of the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan and any other applicable land use goals and policies;

(4) Coordinate project, program, contractual and planning activities with other public agencies;

(5) Supervise enforcement of building, land use, and related environmental protection codes;

(6) Administer county land use and environmental protection regulations, the Shoreline Master Program and the National Flood Hazard Insurance Program;

(7) Serve as the county building official;

(8) Prepare budget recommendations and monitor expenditures;

(9) Hire, train, supervise and assist the building inspector and other staff members assigned to planning and building responsibilities;

(10) Assist in preparation of ordinances, resolutions, contracts, agreements, covenants and other legal documents related to community development and administration and enforcement of county land use and environmental protection ordinances;

(11) Seek grants and donations in support of the priority planning projects selected by the board of commissioners;

(12) Prepare job descriptions, performance appraisals, labor agreement addenda, administrative procedures, etc., in exercise of management and supervisory responsibilities;

(13) Represent the county under the direction of the board of commissioners; and

(14) Such other duties as may be assigned by the board of commissioners. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.050 Planning commission – Duties and responsibilities.

The duties and responsibilities of the planning commission shall be as follows:

(1) The planning commission shall review the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan and other planning documents to determine if the county’s plans, goals, policies, and development regulations are promoting orderly and coordinated development within the county. The commission shall make recommendations concerning this to the board of commissioners.

(2) The planning commission shall review development regulations of the county and make recommendations regarding them to the board of commissioners.

(3) The planning commission shall recommend priorities for and review studies of geographic subareas in the county.

(4) All other county boards, committees, and commissions shall coordinate their planning activities, as they relate to land use or the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan, with the planning commission.

(5) The planning commission may hold public hearings in the exercise of its duties and responsibilities as it deems necessary.

(6) The planning commission shall have such other duties and powers as heretofore have been or hereafter may be conferred upon the commission by county ordinances or as directed by resolution of the board of commissioners, the performance of such duties and exercise of such authority to be subject to the limitations expressed in such enactments. [Ord. 4-19 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.060 Department of public works – Duties and responsibilities.

The duties and responsibilities of the department of public works in the administration of this UDC shall be as follows:

(1) The Jefferson County department of public works shall review development proposals subject to this UDC regarding adequacy of area circulation, access, roads, drainage systems, signs, and other areas of its jurisdiction and forward its comments and recommendations to the department of community development. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.070 Department of environmental health – Duties and responsibilities.

The Jefferson County department of environmental health shall review development proposals subject to this UDC regarding the adequacy of sewage disposal and water supply systems, or other areas of its jurisdiction, and forward comments and recommendations to the department of community development. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.080 Hearing examiner.

Repealed by Ord. 12-19. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.085 Hearing examiner rules of procedure.

Repealed by Ord. 12-19. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.090 Establishment of land use districts.

This Unified Development Code applies to the land use designations and map symbols in Table 1-1, below, that are established by the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan Official Maps.

Table 1-1. Comprehensive Plan Land Use District Designations 


Land Use District

Zoning District

(See Chapter 18.18 JCC)

Urban Growth Areas


Urban Residential

Urban Low Density Residential (ULDR)

Urban Moderate Density Residential (UMDR)

Urban High Density Residential (UHDR)


Urban Commercial

Urban Commercial (UC)

Visitor-Oriented Commercial (VOC)


Urban Industrial

Urban Light Industrial (ULI)


Urban Public

Urban Public (UP)

Rural Lands

Rural Commercial


Rural Village Center



Convenience Crossroad



Neighborhood/Visitor Crossroad



General Crossroad


Rural Industrial


Resource-Based Industrial



Light Industrial/Commercial



Light Industrial



Heavy Industrial


Rural Residential

RR 1:5

Rural Residential 1:5


RR 1:10

Rural Residential 1:10


RR 1:20

Rural Residential 1:20


Resource Lands

Agricultural Resource Lands


Prime Agricultural Land



Agricultural Land of Local Importance


Forest Resource Lands


Commercial Forest



Rural Forest



Inholding Forest


Master Planned Resorts


Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort




Parks, Preserves and Recreation



County Waste Management Essential Public Facility



Airport Essential Public Facility




Public (P)

Overlay Designations


Mineral Resource Lands



West End Planning Area – Remote Rural



Brinnon Planning Area – Remote Rural



Airport Overlays

• Airport Overlay I

• Airport Overlay II

• Airport Overlay III



Small-Scale Recreation and Tourist


Areas subject to subarea plans fall under the guidelines of those particular regulations (see Article VII of Chapter 18.15 JCC). The boundaries of the various land use districts and subarea plans are shown on the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan Official Maps (see JCC 18.05.100). [Ord. 14-18 § 4 (Exh. B); Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.100 Official maps.

There is hereby made a part of this Unified Development Code a series of maps that shall be known officially as the “Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan Official Maps” (hereafter, “the official maps”). The official maps shall show all those areas of Jefferson County that fall under the jurisdiction of this code and the designated land use classes, land use districts and zoning districts for all areas of Jefferson County.

There shall be only one official copy of the official maps, which shall reside in the custody of the Jefferson County department of community development. Whenever any portion of the official maps is legally amended, the official copy shall be altered annually to reflect the amendment.

At the time of adoption of this Unified Development Code, one copy of the official maps shall be filed with the Jefferson County auditor. In addition, at least once every 12 months following the filing of the initial official maps with the auditor, the community development department shall make an additional copy of the official maps and file it with the initial official maps in the auditor’s office. If the official maps have not been amended during the 12-month period, the community development department may file with the auditor a notice to that effect, signed by the department director, in lieu of a copy of the official maps. The purpose of these annual filings is to maintain an official record of the changes occurring over time to the land use classes and districts. At no time shall the copies of the official maps filed with the auditor be altered in any way.

Where questions arise regarding the precise boundaries of any designated environment, the administrator shall make the final determination, subject to the provisions of Article VI of Chapter 18.40 JCC, Unified Development Code Interpretations. Unofficial copies of the official maps may be prepared for administrative purposes and for sale to the public. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.110 Land use district boundaries.

(1) Land use district boundaries, unless otherwise indicated by natural land forms, shall follow lot lines or the centerline of streets and alleys as shown on the official maps. Where the street layout on the ground varies from that shown on the official maps, the districts shown on the official maps shall be applied to the streets as actually laid out so as to carry out the intent and purpose of this code.

(2) Land use district boundary lines shall extend parallel from their landward location to a point of intersection at the center of all bodies of water. Bodies of water include all saltwater bodies, streams, and lakes. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.120 Critical area maps.

Critical area maps are provided only as a general guide to alert the viewer to the possible location and extent of critical areas. The maps should not be relied upon to establish the existence or boundaries of a critical area nor to establish whether all of the elements necessary to identify an area as a critical area actually exist. However, the maps may be relied upon by the administrator as a basis for requiring field investigation and special reports. In the event of a conflict between information shown on the maps and information shown as a result of field investigation, the latter shall prevail. At the request of an applicant, the administrator may conduct a site visit before requiring field investigations or special reports.

The definitions and classifications provided in this code are the controlling factors in determining the actual presence and extent of critical areas. [Ord. 14-18 § 4 (Exh. B); Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.130 Applicability.

This code provides land use regulations that apply to all land and land use activity and to all structures and facilities within Jefferson County. The provisions of this code shall prevail over any conflicting provision of the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan, except as provided in JCC 18.05.150. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.140 Water and sewer.

All development shall comply with the Jefferson County water and sewage disposal regulations and requirements of Chapter 18.30 JCC for water and sewer and Chapter 8.15 JCC, administered by the environmental health division of the Jefferson County health department. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.150 Applicability of Shoreline Master Program.

The provisions of this code augment those of the Shoreline Master Program. All developments within the jurisdiction of the Shoreline Master Program must conform with its provisions. In the event of any conflict between the Shoreline Master Program and other provisions of this code, the more restrictive shall prevail. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.160 Applicability of permit requirements.

Any permit or other approval required by this code is in addition to any shoreline permit required by the Shoreline Master Program. Proposed uses or development occurring wholly or partially within the jurisdiction of the Shoreline Master Program are subject to the permit requirements of the SMP. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.170 Nonconforming uses or structures.

(1) Existing nonconforming uses and structures that are not under the jurisdiction of the Shoreline Master Program shall be subject to JCC 18.20.260, Nonconforming uses and structures, and Chapter 18.40 JCC or such provisions for nonconforming uses in a subarea plan.

(2) Existing nonconforming uses and structures under the jurisdiction of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) shall be subject to the requirements specified within the SMP. If the SMP or subarea plan does not detail requirements for nonconforming uses and structures, then the provisions of WAC 173-27-080 shall control. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.180 Building code.

Where conflicts occur between the provisions of this code and the International Building Code, the more restrictive provision shall control. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.190 Subarea plans.

Where conflicts occur between this code and any regulation of any subarea plan, the regulation of the subarea plan shall control. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.200 Minimum standards.

Where this code references the International Building Code, the intent is to require only the minimum standards for new construction allowed under state law unless such standards conflict with other provisions of this code or Chapter 15.05 JCC, Building Codes. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.210 Title and headings not law.

The title, section and subsection headings as used in this Unified Development Code do not constitute regulation. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.220 Severability clause.

If any provision of this code or its application to any person, legal entity, or circumstances is held to be invalid, the remainder of this code and the application of the remaining provisions to other persons or circumstance shall not be affected. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.230 Waiver.

A waiver or failure to enforce any part of this code or any goal or policy in the Comprehensive Plan by Jefferson County or any of its agents shall not constitute a waiver of any other part of the code or Comprehensive Plan, nor shall such a waiver or failure to enforce constitute a future or continuing waiver of the specific part that was waived or not enforced. [Ord. 8-06 § 1]

18.05.240 Enforcement.

This title, its chapters, and articles, as well as permits or decisions issued under them may be enforced through the provisions of JCC Title 19, Code Compliance. Enforcement through JCC Title 19 is not exclusive and additional enforcement mechanisms may exist, such as actions in courts of competent jurisdiction or other local, state, or federal government agencies with enforcement authority. Enforcement of this title is within the discretion of the administrator and does not create a duty on the part of the county or the administrator. [Ord. 9-20 § 2 (Appx. B)]