Chapter 18.12
LEGAL LOT OF RECORD DETERMINATION AND LOT CONSOLIDATION

Sections:

18.12.010    Purpose and applicability.

18.12.020    Effect of legal lot of record determination.

18.12.030    Process for determination of legal lot of record.

18.12.040    Information required for legal lot of record determination.

18.12.050    Legal lot of record determination – Approval standards – General requirements and limitations.

18.12.060    Lots, tracts, or parcels of land that are not legal lots of record.

18.12.070    Development of substandard lots of record.

18.12.080    Residential development exception for substandard lots of record – Project review and approval criteria.

18.12.090    Lots created by testamentary provision or the laws of descent.

18.12.100    Violation of subdivision code and innocent purchaser for value.

18.12.010 Purpose and applicability.

(1) This chapter addresses the processes and standards for determining whether a lot or parcel is a legal lot of record, consistent with applicable state and local law. This chapter is intended to comply with RCW 58.17.210.

(2) A lot is a lot of record if it meets the definition of lot of record in JCC 18.10.120. A lot of record may be conveyed without violating the provisions of Chapter 58.17 RCW. To be eligible for a development permit, a lot of record also must be determined to be a legal lot of record as defined in JCC 18.10.120.

(3) This chapter provides for a legal lot of record determination process, which is an administrative process for determination of whether a lot or parcel is eligible for development. To determine whether the lot is a buildable lot, the applicant must apply for site development review approval pursuant to JCC 18.40.420 et seq. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.020 Effect of legal lot of record determination.

(1) If the department determines a lot to be a legal lot of record under this chapter, the property owner may record a copy of the director’s determination with the county auditor at their own expense.

(2) A determination by the director that a lot, tract, or parcel of land does not meet the requirements for a legal lot of record, lot of record, or innocent purchaser for value exception pursuant to JCC 18.12.100 shall be recorded by the director for purposes of innocent purchaser notification. The landowner shall be responsible for the expense of recording.

(3) In certain cases, the director may require the applicant or owner to provide a professional survey of the legal lot of record with a legal description, and to record the survey with the county auditor.

(4) Any future development permit requests on the same legal description may rely on the existing legal lot of record determination.

(5) A legal lot of record determination that a lot is eligible to be considered for development permits under this chapter shall not constitute a determination that the lot of record has met all other applicable requirements of the Jefferson County Code or any other applicable local, state, or federal law. A legal lot of record determination does not create vesting for any permit application; vesting of permit applications is governed by JCC 18.40.320. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to replace or supersede any requirements of any applicable public or private water purveyor. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.030 Process for determination of legal lot of record.

(1) A legal lot of record determination shall be made as a part of site development review pursuant to JCC 18.40.420.

(2) A legal lot of record determination shall not require a letter of completeness (JCC 18.40.110), a notice of development application and public comment period (JCC 18.40.160 and 18.40.220), or a notice of decision (Chapter 18.40 JCC).

(3) The land owner bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that the lot or parcel of land is a legal lot of record by a preponderance of the evidence, supported by appropriate written documentation per JCC 18.12.040.

(4) A lot or parcel of land that has been previously recognized by the county as a legal lot of record and recorded with the county auditor shall remain a legal lot of record, unless changed by the action of the owner. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.040 Information required for legal lot of record determination.

The department may require the landowner seeking a legal lot of record determination to submit documentation as specified by JCC 18.40.440. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.050 Legal lot of record determination – Approval standards – General requirements and limitations.

(1) All of the following standards apply to determine whether a lot is a legal lot of record:

(a) The lot was legally created, or is a lot owned by an innocent purchaser for value who meets the requirements of JCC 18.12.100 and RCW 58.17.210; and

(b) The lot of record qualifies under one of the following:

(i) It is equivalent in size to the density of the zoning district in which it is located; or

(ii) The lot meets one or more of the provisions identified in JCC 18.12.070(4) or (5), or 18.12.080.

(2) Lots restricted from development by prior county decision (i.e., plat notes, open space designation, or other means) shall not be considered buildable regardless of lot size, unless the restriction is removed through a codified process allowing removal of the restriction and the lot meets all current requirements of Jefferson County Code.

(3) A lot of record may be legally conveyed without violating the provisions of RCW 58.17.210, but is not a legal lot of record unless it satisfies the requirements of this chapter.

(4) Any contiguous group of lots or parcels of land, except for those lots properly platted after August 11, 1969, that is equivalent in size or larger to the density of the zone in which it is located, and in single ownership as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, can only be developed as single-family residences under current zoning and subdivision requirements.

(5) Any permit exempted from the requirements of this chapter under JCC 18.40.430 shall not be considered as a permit that satisfies any of the exception criteria in JCC 18.12.070. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.060 Lots, tracts, or parcels of land that are not legal lots of record.

(1) The following types of lots or parcels of land are not legal lots of record and will not be considered eligible for development under this chapter:

(a) Vacated rights-of-way;

(b) Tidelands;

(c) Parcels designated solely for access purposes; and

(d) Parcels created for tax segregation purposes.

(2) A separate assessor’s parcel number shall not be sufficient evidence that a lot meets the definition of lot of record or legal lot of record. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.070 Development of substandard lots of record.

(1) A substandard lot shall be presumed to be a legal lot of record and eligible for a development permit if the lot was properly platted and approved by the county on or after August 11, 1969; provided, that it is not restricted from development as described in JCC 18.12.050(2). Other substandard lots of record that do not meet the underlying density of the zoning district in which they are located shall only be considered for development permits if they are not restricted from development by prior county decision or action as described in JCC 18.12.050(2), are not the types of parcels listed in JCC 18.12.060(1) or (2), and meet one or more of the exceptions described in this section.

(2) A landowner must aggregate adjacent lots to the extent possible to bring the substandard lot to conforming status. An owner of contiguous, substandard lots as of the effective date of th ordinance codified in this chapter shall aggregate (combine) lots to meet the requirements of this chapter; and aggregation of substandard lots shall meet the underlying density if possible and be recorded as a boundary line adjustment pursuant to JCC 18.35.060 through 18.35.080. If the resulting aggregation of lots does not meet the zoning minimum lot size or underlying density, the lot must meet an exception in subsection (3) of this section, or the owner must apply for and receive a residential development exception pursuant to JCC 18.12.080 to be considered eligible for development.

(3) If more than one of the exceptions in subsection (4) of this section applies, the director shall approve the exception that is the most consistent with the purposes of the land use district in which it is located, as described in Chapter 18.15 JCC. The lot approved must be of the least nonconforming size possible with respect to current zoning requirements to meet the requirements of this section. If a landowner could aggregate lots to make a more conforming lot, the director shall require the landowner to do so to satisfy the requirements of this section.

(4) A substandard lot may be considered a legal lot of record and eligible for a development permit if it meets minimum land area requirements for on-site sewage systems as determined by the department of public health and one of the following provisions:

(a) The configuration of the lot has been previously approved by the county through an administrative procedure prior to the effective date of this chapter;

(b) The lot of record is part of an adopted “limited area of more intensive rural development” (LAMIRD) pursuant to the Comprehensive Plan, can satisfy the requirements for siting an on-site sewage system and water supply, and the density proposed allows for infill development at densities comparable to the surrounding area;

(c) The lot of record or aggregation of lots is located in the Irondale and Port Hadlock urban growth area overlay district, and can satisfy the requirements of the Jefferson County Code for water (either private or connection to a public water system) and for wastewater (either on site or connection to a public sewer system);

(d) The lot contains an existing dwelling unit for which the owner obtained a permit for its construction and approval to occupy from the county;

(e) The lot was approved by the county for a residential on-site sewage system, accessory dwelling unit or primary residence, or any land use permit for the purpose of siting a primary residence, and the approval has not expired;

(f) The lot of record was created in accordance with all applicable zoning and subdivision requirements in effect at the time it was created and meets one of the following requirements:

(i) The lot of record is five acres or larger and is located in any rural land use district; or

(ii) The lot of record is 10 acres or larger and is located in any resource lands land use district;

(g) The lot of record is not within a special flood hazard area, or channel migration zone expected to impact the property within 100 years, the department of health has determined it can meet drinking water and wastewater requirements, and the director determines that development of the lot is necessary for emergency purposes, and the benefits of recognizing the lot as a legal lot of record outweigh the potential detriments;

(h) The lot of record is not within a special flood hazard area, or channel migration zone expected to impact the property within 100 years and the director in their sole discretion determines that development of the substandard lot:

(i) Consists of a nonresidential use that is consistent with the applicable land use district,

(ii) Would further one or more policies of the Comprehensive Plan, and

(iii) The county department of public health has determined it can meet drinking water and wastewater requirements.

(5) Any lot of record that is recognized as eligible for development under Chapter 18.40 JCC shall be considered a legal lot of record. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.080 Residential development exception for substandard lots of record – Project review and approval criteria.

(1) Residential Development Exception for a Substandard Lot of Record. The director will consider a residential development exception only if none of the provisions of JCC 18.12.070 apply to allow for development on a substandard lot. A residential development exception for a single lot determination is a Type II application pursuant to Chapter 18.40 JCC. Approval of a residential development exception constitutes a determination that the lot is a legal lot of record under JCC 18.12.020. The director may grant the exception if the applicant demonstrates that the application for a residential development exception meets all of the following criteria:

(a) The department of public health has reviewed the substandard lot and determined that the proposed means of sewage disposal and water supply on and to the substandard lot is adequate and will likely not cause degradation to groundwater or surface water quality;

(b) The director has determined that the substandard lot is served with an adequately designed means of ingress and egress, and with adequate drainage facilities, none of which interfere with or impair existing or planned public roads and drainage facilities in the vicinity;

(c) The existence of the substandard lot is not the result of the property owner segregating or dividing the property or otherwise creating the condition that results in the need for a residential development exception;

(d) The property owner cannot consolidate an adjacent lot(s) pursuant to JCC 18.12.070(2);

(e) The substandard lot is directly adjacent to existing lot, tract, or parcel with existing permitted or legally nonconforming residential development, or at the director’s discretion the plat has already been substantially developed at the time of determination;

(f) The proposed activity on the substandard lot will not adversely affect the public safety and welfare of persons occupying the property, adjacent or nearby property owners, or the general public;

(g) The proposed activity on the substandard lot will not cause or increase flooding, degradation of critical areas or species, degradation to natural resources such as shellfish beds, or degradation of areas preserved for public enjoyment such as parks, beaches, and other natural areas;

(h) The proposed activity on the substandard lot will not adversely affect adjacent or nearby property owners, or interfere with their enjoyment of their property;

(i) The activity proposed on the substandard lot is the minimum necessary to allow for residential use of the property, including agricultural, forestry, or recreational activities by meeting the minimization standards of JCC 18.22.640, 18.22.660, and 18.22.740; and

(j) The director determines that issuance of the permit will not adversely affect the public interest, as required by RCW 58.17.210.

(2) Determination of a Residential Development Exception for All or Part of a Plat Pre-August 11, 1969. Certain plats may substantially meet the requirements of this title and Chapter 58.17 RCW. If a substandard lot cannot be developed under the provisions of JCC 18.12.070(4) or subsection (1) of this section, a lot owner or representative may apply for an evaluation of the entire plat. The residential determination for all or part of a plat is a Type II C(d) application pursuant to Chapter 18.40 JCC. The director may determine that lots within all or part of a plat can be recognized as legal lots of record, if they meet the following requirements:

(a) The plat was legally created between June 9, 1937, and August 11, 1969;

(b) Further development of the plat would not substantively alter rural character as defined in JCC 18.10.180 based on existing location and patterns of development within the plat;

(c) Recognition of lots within the plat would not impact forestry resources according to the following provisions:

(i) Lots are not zoned as forest resource lands (CF-80, IF-20, RF-40);

(ii) Lots that are vacant or not developed with residential uses and are more than 250 feet from any CF-80 parcel;

(iii) Lots that are vacant or not developed with residential uses and are more than 100 feet from any RF-40 parcel.

(d) Development of each lot within the plat can comply with Chapter 18.22 JCC;

(e) Every lot proposed for development within the plat can satisfy the water availability requirements of RCW 19.27.097 and any applicable water resource inventory area (WRIA) administrative rule adopted by the Washington State Department of Ecology;

(f) Development of the plat will not harm environmental resources such as shorelines, shellfish areas, and salmonid habitat, nor will it impact water quality or quantity; and

(g) The director receives a report from the director of public works that concludes that further development of the plat will not create significant adverse environmental impacts to the transportation system, after evaluating the following:

(i) Levels of service of existing roadways and possible effects caused by development of the plat;

(ii) Ingress and egress to the plat;

(iii) Road engineering;

(iv) Management of stormwater runoff from roads;

(v) Whether the developed plat can meet current stormwater regulations;

(vi) Any existing community stormwater drainage system; and

(vii) Utility access and maintenance easements for county maintenance; and

(h) The director receives a report from the director of environmental public health that concludes that further development of the plat will not create significant adverse environmental impacts to public health, after reviewing the following:

(i) Water availability and potential impacts to water and other environmental resources that may be affected by development of the plat; and

(ii) Proposed methods for sewage disposal. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.090 Lots created by testamentary provision or the laws of descent.

Lots created through testamentary provisions or the laws of descent shall be governed by the following requirements:

(1) Testamentary lots that meet the current lot size or underlying density requirements of the zoning district in which they are located shall be treated the same as a legally subdivided lot and shall be considered a legal lot of record;

(2) Substandard testamentary lots will be treated the same as substandard lots of record under JCC 18.12.070 and 18.12.080; and

(3) Any testamentary lot created after August 11, 1969, is not subject to any requirement to aggregate lots, but is still subject to all other requirements of JCC 18.12.070 and 18.12.080. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]

18.12.100 Violation of subdivision code and innocent purchaser for value.

(1) Knowingly transferring or selling a lot in violation of land division regulations is a gross misdemeanor pursuant to RCW 58.17.300. Development of any lot, tract or parcel of land divided in violation of state law or this title is prohibited. No building permit, on-site sewage system permit or other development permit shall be issued for any lot, tract or parcel, divided in violation of this title or Chapter 58.17 RCW. The prohibition contained in this section shall not apply to an innocent purchaser for value without actual notice.

(2) Innocent Purchaser for Value Exception. The director may approve the creation of a lot, parcel or tract that otherwise violates this title or Chapter 58.17 RCW under the limitations contained in this section. Any lot that qualifies for an innocent purchaser for value exception must still satisfy the requirements of JCC 18.12.050 to become a legal lot of record.

(a) To qualify for an innocent purchaser for value exception, the applicant must prove the following:

(i) The applicant purchased the lot, tract or parcel for value; and

(ii) The applicant did not have actual notice that the lot, tract or parcel had been part of a larger lot, tract or parcel that was subdivided.

(b) All contiguous lots created in violation of Chapter 58.17 RCW that are under the same ownership at the time of application for innocent purchaser status shall be recognized only as a single lot and shall be combined through a boundary line adjustment.

(c) A determination under this section shall be a Type II decision. The applicant for an innocent purchaser for value exception under this section bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that the application meets the applicable requirements by a preponderance of the evidence, supported by adequate documentation. [Ord. 9-22 § 3 (Appx. B)]