Chapter 15.09
ADMINISTRATION* Revised 5/20 Revised 12/20 Revised 4/21

Sections:

15.09.010    Development plan review. Revised 12/20

15.09.020    Zoning permit. Revised 12/20

15.09.030    Conditional use permit. Revised 12/20

15.09.032    Minor conditional use permit. Revised 12/20

15.09.040    Variances. Revised 12/20

15.09.042    Administrative variances. Revised 12/20

15.09.045    Administrative design review. Revised 12/20 Revised 4/21

15.09.046    Downtown design review – Downtown Design Review Guidelines and Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction Standards. Revised 12/20

15.09.047    Industrial design review. Revised 5/20 Revised 12/20

15.09.049    Repealed.

15.09.050    Amendments. Revised 5/20 Revised 12/20

15.09.055    Zoning of annexed lands. Revised 12/20

15.09.060    Administrative interpretation generally. Revised 12/20

15.09.065    Interpretation of uses. Revised 12/20

15.09.070    Appeal of administrative interpretations. Revised 12/20

15.09.080    Revocation of permits or variances. Revised 12/20

15.09.090    Performance standards procedures. Revised 12/20

15.09.095    Cleanup of solid waste and hazardous waste facilities. Revised 12/20

15.09.300    Responsibility for establishment of lot lines and setback lines. Revised 12/20

*Cross reference(s) – Planning office, ch. 2.30; land use and planning board, ch. 2.57.

15.09.010 Development plan review. Revised 12/20

A. Review of development plans shall be carried out by the planning department for all buildings and structures hereafter erected, constructed, structurally altered, repaired, or moved within or into any district requiring development plan review and whenever a city permit is required, and for the use of vacant land or for a change in the character of the use of land or buildings, within any district requiring development plan approval.

B. The development plan review is an administrative review, the primary purpose of which is to define and describe the needs of the particular site covered by a development plan in reference to the requirements of this title. The planning director shall make the final decision on development plan review. Development plan review is categorized as a Process I application and shall be subject to the applicable requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC. Any appeal from the final decision of the planning director shall be to the hearing examiner in accordance with the requirements of Chapters 2.32 and 12.01 KCC. In addition to the other requirements of this title, the planning department shall approve a development plan only after the following standards, as a minimum, when applicable, have been incorporated into the development plan:

1. Storm drainage must be handled by each proposed development in conformance with existing storm drainage plans and in conformance with city policies for storm drainage.

2. A planned street system is a primary element of any development plan proposed within the city and must be compatible with the city’s circulation plans. Development which is proposed in areas of the city which have a planned street system which is a part of the comprehensive plan or the city’s six year plan, and any other street plan, shall make provisions for such streets and must not cause implementation of such street plans to become unattainable because the street plan is considered secondary to the development plan.

3. A pedestrian circulation system must become a part of any development plan when the proposed development will generate or attract pedestrians. The planning department shall conduct site plan review to ensure that adequate parking is provided within close proximity to each unit entrance.

4. The proposed development shall be compatible with existing development adjacent to or within 500 feet of the property line of the proposed development. Compatibility shall not refer to architectural design features, but to siting of buildings and location of off-street parking.

5. Efforts shall be made to preserve trees, natural vegetation, creeks or other environmental amenities.

(Ord. No. 2942, § 1, 9-4-90; Ord. No. 3424, § 32, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

Cross reference(s) – Hearing examiner, ch. 2.32; binding site plans for division of certain land for condominiums, ch. 12.07.

15.09.020 Zoning permit. Revised 12/20

A. Zoning permits shall be required for all grading permits, buildings and structures hereafter erected, constructed, altered, repaired or moved within or into any district established by this title, and for the use of vacant land or for a change in the character of use of land or buildings within any district established by this title.

B. The zoning permit shall certify that the proposed use is in accordance with the requirements and standards of this title. A zoning permit shall not be issued until the development plan has been approved.

C. Zoning permits are categorized as Process I applications and shall be subject to the applicable requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC. Any appeal of the final decision of the planning director shall be to the hearing examiner pursuant to the applicable requirements of Chapters 2.32 and 12.01 KCC.

(Ord. No. 3424, § 33, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.030 Conditional use permit. Revised 12/20

A. Purpose.

1. Conditional use permits, revocable, conditional or valid for a time period may be issued by the hearing examiner for any of the uses or purposes for which such permits are required or permitted by the terms of this title. The purpose of the conditional use permit is to allow the proper integration into the community of uses which may be suitable only on certain conditions in specific locations in a zoning district, or if the site is regulated in a particular manner. A conditional use permit is categorized as a Process III application and shall be subject to the requirements of Chapters 2.32 and 12.01 KCC.

2. Any use existing at the time of adoption of this title which is within the scope of uses permitted by a conditional use permit in the district in which the property is situated shall be deemed a conforming use without necessity of a conditional use permit.

B. Application.

1. The owner or their agent may make application for a conditional use permit, which shall be filed in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

2. Development plans shall be submitted, drawn to scale, showing the actual dimensions and shape of the lot to be built upon, the exact sizes and locations on the lot of buildings already existing, if any, and the location on the lot of the proposed building or alteration. The plans shall show proposed landscaping, off-street parking, signs, ingress and egress and adjacent land uses. The plan shall include other information as may be required by the planning department.

C. Public hearing. The hearing examiner shall hold an open record public hearing on any proposed conditional use, and shall give notice thereof in accordance with the procedures established pursuant to Chapter 2.32 KCC and KCC 12.01.130 and 12.01.140.

D. Standards and criteria for granting. A conditional use permit shall only be granted after the hearing examiner has reviewed the proposed use to determine if it complies with the standards and criteria set forth below and in accordance with the requirements for Process III applications under Chapter 12.01 KCC. A conditional use permit shall only be granted if such finding is made.

1. The proposed use in the proposed location will not be detrimental to other uses legally existing or permitted outright in the zoning district.

2. The size of the site is adequate for the proposed use.

3. The traffic generated by the proposed use will not unduly burden the traffic circulation system in the vicinity.

4. The other performance characteristics of the proposed use are compatible with those of other uses in the neighborhood or vicinity.

5. Adequate buffering devices such as fencing, landscaping or topographic characteristics protect adjacent properties from adverse effects of the proposed use, including adverse visual or auditory effects.

6. The other uses in the vicinity of the proposed site are such as to permit the proposed use to function effectively.

7. The proposed use complies with the performance standards, parking requirements and other applicable provisions of this title.

8. Any other similar considerations may be applied that may be appropriate to a particular case.

E. Action of hearing examiner. Special conditions may be imposed on the proposed development to ensure that the proposed use will meet the standards and criteria of subsection (D) of this section in granting a conditional use permit. Guarantees and evidence that such conditions are being complied with may be required.

F. Appeals. The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final. Any appeal of the hearing examiner’s decision shall be pursuant to the appeal provisions of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

G. Period of validity. Any conditional use permit granted by the hearing examiner shall remain effective only for three years unless the use is begun within that time or construction has commenced. If not in use or construction has not commenced within three years, the conditional use permit shall become invalid.

H. Expansion. Any expansion of a conditional use may be required to apply for a new conditional use permit if the expansion:

1. Exceeds the threshold of a minor conditional use permit under KCC 15.09.032(C)(2); or

2. Involves a use with significant external impacts (noise, odor, vibration, glare, aesthetics), including but not limited to outdoor storage or impound lots.

(Ord. No. 2806, § 1, 10-18-88; Ord. No. 2863, § 2, 8-1-89; Ord. No. 3424, § 34, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 3600, § 8, 5-7-02; Ord. No. 3752, § 4, 5-17-05; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

Cross reference(s) – Planning office responsibilities and duties regarding hearings, § 2.30.070.

15.09.032 Minor conditional use permit. Revised 12/20

A. Purpose.

1. Minor conditional use permits, revocable, conditional or valid for a time period may be issued by the planning director for any of the uses or purposes for which such permits are required or permitted by the terms of this title. The purpose of the minor conditional use permit is to allow for uses with less of an impact to city infrastructure and surrounding properties than those uses identified as conditional uses, but which may require minor conditions to ensure proper community integration. A minor conditional use permit is categorized as a Process II application and shall be subject to the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

2. Any use existing at the time of adoption of this title which is within the scope of uses permitted by a minor conditional use permit in the district in which the property is situated shall be deemed a conforming use without necessity of a minor conditional use permit.

B. Application. The owner or agent may apply for a minor conditional use permit in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

C. Applicability. A minor conditional use may only be granted in the following situations, as deemed appropriate by the planning director:

1. To allow for minor conditional uses enumerated in the use charts under Chapter 15.04 KCC, or as otherwise afforded by this title;

2. To allow the expansion of an existing conditional use or minor conditional use which has previously been permitted within the zone classification, provided the requested expansion is no greater than 25 percent of the gross floor area of the existing conditional use and the proposal is exempt from environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA);

3. To allow for minor modifications of project scope or operational characteristics such as hours of operation for a previously approved conditional use or minor conditional use; or

4. To allow for the revision of conditions placed upon a conditional use or minor conditional use permit.

D. Conditions for granting. A minor conditional use permit shall only be granted after the planning director has reviewed the proposed use to determine if it complies with the standards and criteria set forth below, and in accordance with the requirements for Process II applications under Chapter 12.01 KCC.

1. The size of the site is adequate for the proposed use.

2. The performance characteristics (as outlined in KCC 15.08.050) and operational aspects of the proposed use are compatible with those of other uses in the neighborhood or vicinity.

3. Adequate buffering devices such as fencing, landscaping or topographic characteristics protect adjacent properties from adverse effects of the proposed use, including adverse visual or auditory effects.

4. Any other similar considerations to address potential impacts to public infrastructure, nearby properties, or the community generally, may be applied if appropriate to a particular case.

E. Action of planning director. Special conditions may be imposed on the proposed development to ensure that the proposed use will meet the standards and criteria of subsection (D) of this section in granting a minor conditional use permit. Guarantees and evidence that such conditions are being complied with may be required.

F. Appeals. The decision of the planning director shall be final unless appealed. Any appeal of the planning director decision shall be pursuant to the appeal provisions of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

G. Period of validity. Any minor conditional use permit granted by the planning director shall remain valid only for three years unless the use is begun within that time or construction has commenced. If not in use or construction has not commenced within three years, the minor conditional use permit shall become invalid.

(Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.040 Variances. Revised 12/20

The hearing examiner shall have the authority to grant a variance where practical difficulties, unnecessary hardships, and results inconsistent with the general purposes of this title might result from the strict application of certain provisions. A variance may not be granted to allow a use that is not in conformity with the uses specified by this title for the district in which the land is located. (Note: Sign variances are heard by the city hearing examiner.)

A. Application. The owner or their agent may apply for a variance, which shall be filed in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

1. A variance is categorized as a Process III application and shall be subject to the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

B. Public hearing. The hearing examiner shall hold an open record public hearing on any proposed variance in accordance with the requirements of Chapters 2.32 and 12.01 KCC.

C. Conditions for granting. Before any variance may be granted, it shall be shown and the hearing examiner shall find that:

1. The variance shall not constitute a grant of special privileges inconsistent with a limitation upon uses of other properties in the vicinity and zone in which the property on behalf of which the application was filed is located;

2. Such variance is necessary, because of special circumstances relating to the size, shape, topography, location, or surroundings of the subject property, to provide it with use rights and privileges permitted to other properties in the vicinity and in the zone in which the subject property is located; and

3. The granting of such variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and zone in which the subject property is situated.

D. Appeals. The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final. Any appeal of the hearing examiner’s decision shall be pursuant to the appeal provisions of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

E. Period of validity. Any variance authorized by the hearing examiner shall remain effective only for three years, unless the use is begun within that time or construction has commenced. If not in use or construction has not commenced within three years, the variance shall become invalid.

(Ord. No. 2863, § 3, 8-1-89; Ord. No. 3424, § 35, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 3600, § 9, 5-7-02; Ord. No. 3752, § 5, 5-17-05; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

Cross reference(s) – Planning department shall advise hearing examiner on all variances and conditional exceptions.

15.09.042 Administrative variances. Revised 12/20

A. Scope. The planning director shall have the authority to grant an administrative variance for up to 25 percent of the numerical zoning code standard for setbacks, lot coverage, and building height as provided in this title.

B. Application. The owner or their agent may apply for an administrative variance, which shall be filed in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC. An administrative variance is classified as a Process II application and shall be subject to the applicable requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

C. Conditions for granting an administrative variance. The planning director may grant an administrative variance if it is shown that:

1. The administrative variance does not detract from the desired character and nature of the vicinity in which it is proposed;

2. The administrative variance enhances or protects the character of the neighborhood or vicinity by protecting natural features, historic sites, open space, or other resources;

3. The administrative variance does not interfere with or negatively impact the operations of existing land uses and all legally permitted uses within the zoning district it occupies; and

4. Granting the administrative variance does not constitute a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare within the city.

D. Appeals. Appeals of the planning director’s decision shall be submitted within 14 calendar days of the date of the director’s decision and shall be in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

(Ord. No. 3333, § 1, 1-22-97; Ord. No. 3424, § 36, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 3600, § 10, 5-7-02; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.045 Administrative design review. Revised 12/20 Revised 4/21

A. Purpose and scope. Administrative design review is an administrative process, the purpose of which is to implement and give effect to the comprehensive plan, its policies, or parts thereof through the adoption of design criteria for development relative to site layout, landscape architecture, and exterior structure design. It is the intent of the city that this process will serve to aid applicants in understanding the principal expectations of the city concerning design, and encourage a diversity of imaginative solutions to development through the planning services division review and application of certain criteria. These criteria have been formulated to improve the design, siting, and construction of development projects so as to be compatible, both visually and otherwise, with the topographic, open space, urban, or suburban characteristics of the land or adjacent properties, while still maintaining allowable densities to be applied in a manner consistent with established land use policies, the comprehensive plan, this title, and community development goals of the city.

The adoption of design criteria is an element of the city’s regulation of land use, which is statutorily authorized. Application of the multifamily design process to the design criteria adopted in this section is established as an administrative function delegated to the planning services division pursuant to RCW Title 35A; therefore, in implementing the administrative design review process, the planning director may adopt such rules and procedures as are necessary to provide for expeditious review of proposed projects. Further rules may be promulgated for additional administrative review.

B. Application and review process. Administrative design review process is classified as a Process II application and shall be subject to the applicable requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC. The applicant must make application for the design review process in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC. Upon receipt of an application for design review, the planning director shall circulate the application to the public works director, building official, and the parks director for review. Prior to making a final decision, the planning director shall review any comments submitted for consideration. In the administration of this process, the planning director may develop supplementary handbooks for the public, which shall pictorially illustrate and provide additional guidance on the interpretation of the criteria set forth in subsections (C) and (D) of this section, as well as a detailed explanation of the design review process.

C. Residential design review. In order to diminish the perception of bulk, and provide visual interest along residential home facades that face public areas, architectural design considerations shall be applied. This design review shall be applied administratively as part of the building permit review process for each new home.

1. Orientation of homes. The entry facade of each dwelling unit shall be generally oriented toward the highest classification street from which access to the lot is allowed, unless otherwise approved by the planning director based on existing context of surrounding development.

2. Attached units. A building that contains a grouping of attached units shall not exceed a 200-foot maximum length and shall be separated from other groups of attached units by a minimum 15 feet.

3. Architecture. Each dwelling unit facade that faces a public area shall, at a minimum, incorporate architectural elements as follows:

a. Two elements of facade modulation or roofline variation. Facade modulation elements shall have a minimum width of eight feet and a minimum depth of three feet. Roofline variation elements shall have a minimum horizontal or vertical offset of three feet and a minimum variation length of eight feet;

b. The maximum horizontal facade length without one element of either facade modulation or roofline variation shall be 20 feet; and

c. Three architectural detail elements.

4. Garages. Dwelling units within subdivisions and short subdivisions shall provide diminished garage doors according to the percentage and locations approved with the subdivision and short subdivision.

D. Multifamily design review. The planning services division shall use the multifamily design guidelines as an adopted element of the city’s regulation of land use, which is statutorily authorized, in the evaluation or conditioning of applications under the multifamily design review process.

E. [Reserved].

F. Mixed use design review. The planning services division shall use the following criteria in the evaluation and/or conditioning of applications under the mixed use design review process when a project includes residential use:

1. The following criteria should apply to all mixed use with a residential component development:

a. Some common recreation space roofs, terraces, indoor rooms, courtyards.

b. Lighting features that are shielded, directing light downwards.

c. The residential portion of the building should incorporate residential details, such as window trim, trellises, balconies, and bay windows.

d. The residential component should have an obvious, generous entrance, within features suggesting a “front door,” for example, a lobby, trellis, gate, archway, or courtyard.

2. The following criteria shall apply to mixed use development:

a. If the residential component is located away from the main street, a landscaped pedestrian path should be provided between the entrance and public sidewalk.

b. Although the commercial and residential components may have different architectural expressions, they should exhibit a number of elements that produce the effect of an integrated development.

c. Surface parking should be generously landscaped to serve as an amenity. Lighting fixtures should not exceed the height of the first floor.

3. The following criteria shall apply to mixed use buildings with a residential component:

a. Parking lots, if used, should be divided into small increments, separated by landscaping and structures, so that parking does not dominate the site.

b. Articulated by use of different materials, generous windows with low sill heights, “store” doors, canopies, and planters.

c. Residential floors should be expressed in an obvious manner, with stepbacks, change in materials or color, and overhangs.

d. Commercial signs should be contained within the first floor commercial base and not extend up into the residential floor facades.

G. Transit-oriented community design review. The planning services division shall use the following criteria in the evaluation or conditioning of applications under the transit-oriented community design review process:

1. The Midway Design Guidelines as an adopted element of the city’s regulation of land use, which is statutorily authorized, shall apply to all development with a land use plan map designation of transit-oriented community.

2. Residential use design review. In addition to the Midway Design Guidelines, the following design requirements apply to residential uses and development:

a. Openings from the build-to line. When a residential unit has direct access to the public domain, a 10-foot front yard shall be provided. When residential units have access through a main location, such as an atrium, courtyard, or other main entryway, said access shall be at the build-to line.

b. Open space. Residential development shall provide not less than 20 percent of the gross land area for common open space, which shall be:

i. Designed to provide either passive or active recreation;

ii. If under one ownership, owner shall be responsible for maintenance;

iii. If held in common ownership by all owners of the development by means of a homeowners’ association, said association shall be responsible for maintenance. If such open space is not maintained in a reasonable manner, the city shall have the right to provide for the maintenance thereof and bill the homeowners’ association accordingly. If unpaid, such bills shall be a lien against the homeowners’ association; or

iv. Dedicated for public use if accepted by the city legislative authority or other appropriate public agency.

c. Storage of recreational vehicles. The storage or parking of recreational vehicles shall be prohibited.

H. Open and recreation space. The following guidelines apply to design and construction of open and recreation space that is required by subsection (D), (F), or (G) of this section:

1. Seating. Active or passive open spaces shall include seating such as benches or picnic tables. All furnishings must be of a durable commercial-grade type and design and shall be constructed of powder-coated or galvanized steel or recycled plastic lumber materials.

2. Open lawn area. At least one-third of the required open space shall be open lawn area planted with grass to provide space for sport or other open play opportunities. This area should be flat and rectangular in shape to the maximum extent feasible. Irrigation of a type that will not diminish safety for users of this open play area shall be provided for maintenance of this open lawn area.

3. Landscaping. Active or passive open spaces shall include trees and landscaping that buffers neighboring residences from the recreation area, shades play areas and equipment, and enhances the aesthetic and natural functions of the recreation area. Trees and landscaping shall not diminish or impede any open play area to be provided.

4. Playground equipment. Playground equipment shall be certified by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association and shall be installed to comply with the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards. Playground equipment shall incorporate play elements for both ages two to five and five to 12 and should offer a variety of play elements to include, but not limited to, climbers, rotating equipment, slides, overhead ladders, swings, and net climbers. Playground surfacing shall comply with ATSM standards and playground borders should be concrete. Underdrainage for playground areas shall be provided where placed atop a stormwater vault structure or other stormwater feature.

5. Sport courts. Paving for sport courts shall be two inches hot mix asphalt with four inches crushed rock underlay, or four inches of concrete. Sport courts shall be painted to include lines for court games such as basketball, pickleball, tennis, four-square, etc. Fixed sport equipment such as basketball hoops, pickleball or tennis nets, etc., shall be of a commercial grade for durability and ease of maintenance. Sport courts shall be located away from arterial or collector streets. Ten-foot-tall black vinyl-coated chain link fencing shall be provided to separate sport courts from adjacent streets, private properties, or sloped areas unless otherwise approved by the city.

6. Stormwater facilities. At the city’s discretion, the required recreation facilities may be placed atop or near underground vault(s) where these are utilized for stormwater detention or treatment instead of a surface pond(s), subject to the following:

a. The below-ground stormwater vault shall be designed to a minimum HS20 standard to support surface soils and landscaping, play equipment or other structures, and maintenance vehicles accessing the facility;

b. Areas containing above-ground equipment associated with the underground stormwater vault such as vents or manholes shall not count toward the required minimum recreation space;

c. Any above-ground stormwater facilities in or near an active recreation area shall be screened or separated from active play areas with fencing and five feet of Type II landscaping per KCC 15.07.040(B)(8) for safety, or as otherwise approved by city staff;

d. Adequate soil coverage and underdrainage shall be provided atop vault lids and between any underground stormwater facilities and open space or play areas. This shall be comprised of 12 inches of tilled soil and two inches of composted material incorporated into the tilled soil; or to the specifications of the City of Kent 2017 Surface Water Design Manual and the 2016 King County Surface Water Design Manual;

e. Recreation equipment shall be secured to the top of the vault lid or otherwise stabilized for permanence and safety in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and as approved by city staff;

f. Paved driveways designed and constructed to access stormwater facilities shall not count toward the required recreation space area unless:

i. The slope of the driveway is less than five percent.

ii. The driveway and its edges are free from hazards or obstructions.

iii. The paved driveway is contiguous with the open play area or other recreation facilities;

g. Vents or grates associated with the vault shall have openings no larger than two inches to maintain safety for park users.

7. Maintenance of recreation facilities. Recreation facilities shall be permanently maintained to accomplish the purpose(s) for which they were required. Any required recreation facilities that are damaged or degraded shall be restored or replaced with similar facilities and in a similar configuration as in the approved recreation plan, or as otherwise approved by the director. Failure to permanently maintain recreation facilities will result in a code violation in accordance with Chapter 1.04 KCC.

I. Appeals. The decision of the planning director to condition or reject any application under the administrative design review process is final unless an appeal is made by the applicant or any party of record to the hearing examiner within 14 calendar days of either the issuance of the director’s conditional approval under this section of any application, or the director’s written decision rejecting any application under this section. The appeal shall be conducted by the hearing examiner as an open record appeal hearing in accordance with the requirements of Chapters 2.32 and 12.01 KCC. The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final unless an appeal is made to the superior court within 21 calendar days after the hearing examiner’s notice of decision.

(Ord. No. 3409, § 58, 7-7-98; Ord. No. 3424, § 37, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 3830, § 20, 3-6-07; Ord. No. 4011, § 22, 12-13-11; Ord. No. 4225, § 14, 12-13-16; Ord. No. 4257, § 20, 11-21-17; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20; Ord. No. 4398, § 4, 3-16-21)

15.09.046 Downtown design review – Downtown Design Review Guidelines and Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction Standards. Revised 12/20

A. Purpose and scope.

1. Downtown design review is an administrative process, the purpose of which is to implement and give effect to the downtown subarea action plan and its policies or parts thereof. The Downtown Design Guidelines, adopted in subsection (D) of this section, apply to all development located within the downtown area, as shown on the map following this section, except as noted below:

a. Section 3 of the Downtown Design Guidelines, titled “Sidewalks and Streetscape Features,” shall not apply to that portion of the downtown area that fronts Meeker Street; instead, the Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction Standards adopted by council through Ordinance No. 4262 on December 12, 2017, shall apply, as those standards may be amended from time to time. All other sections of the Downtown Design Guidelines still apply.

It is the intent of the city that this process will serve to aid applicants in understanding the principal expectations of the city concerning development in the downtown area and encourage a diversity of imaginative solutions to development through the review and application of the Downtown Design Guidelines. These guidelines have been formulated to ensure that the design, siting, and construction of development will provide a quality pedestrian-oriented urban environment in a manner consistent with established land use policies, the comprehensive plan, and the zoning code of the city.

2. The adoption of the Downtown Design Guidelines is an element of the city’s regulation of land use, which is statutorily authorized. The downtown design review process adopted herein is established as an administrative function delegated to the city’s economic and community development department pursuant to RCW Title 35A. Therefore, in implementing the downtown design review process, the planning director may adopt such rules and procedures as are necessary to provide for review of proposed projects.

3. All development within the downtown area, or within the GC, GC-MU, CC-MU, or MR-M zoning districts along the Meeker Street Corridor between 64th Avenue South and Kent-Des Moines Road, which roadway section is hereby classified a Class B pedestrian street, shall be subject to the Downtown Design Guidelines. If development occurs within that portion of the Meeker Street Corridor that lies between Kent-Des Moines Road on the west and Central Avenue on the east, it shall further comply with the Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction Standards adopted by council through Ordinance No. 4262, as those standards may be amended from time to time.

4. The downtown design review process is distinct from the multifamily design review process set forth in KCC 15.09.045(D). Applications for multifamily development within the DC, DCE, DCE-T, GC-MU, CC-MU, MR-M, and MRT-16 zoning districts that are also within the downtown area or along the Meeker Street Corridor between 64th Avenue South and Kent-Des Moines Road shall be subject to this section.

B. Application and review process. The downtown design review process is administrative and is conducted as part of the permit review process. The applicant must make application for the design review process in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC. Upon receipt of an application for design review, the planning director shall circulate the application to the appropriate city departments and offices for review. Prior to issuing a final decision, the director shall review any comments submitted for consideration. In the administration of this process, the department may develop supplementary handbooks for the public, which shall pictorially illustrate and provide additional guidance on the interpretation of the criteria set forth in the Downtown Design Guidelines.

C. Downtown Design Guidelines and Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction Standards – Adoption. The planning director shall use the Downtown Design Guidelines in the evaluation and/or conditioning of applications under the downtown design review process. The Downtown Design Guidelines, entitled “Kent Downtown Design Guidelines,” are hereby adopted by this reference as authorized pursuant to RCW 35A.12.140 and shall be placed on file in the offices of the city clerk and the economic and community development department. With respect to the Meeker Street Corridor from Kent-Des Moines Road to Central Avenue, development projects shall additionally comply with the Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction Standards, adopted by council through Ordinance No. 4262 on December 12, 2017, as may be amended. For those development projects within the downtown area identified in the map below and along the Meeker Street Corridor, the Downtown Design Guidelines are superseded with those for the Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction Standards, and if there is a conflict between the two standards, the Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction Standards will control.

D. Appeals. The decision of the planning director to approve, approve with conditions, or reject any application under the downtown design review process is final unless an appeal is made to the hearing examiner within 14 calendar days of either the issuance of the planning director’s approval or rejection of any application under this section. Appeals to the hearing examiner shall be conducted as set forth in Chapters 12.01 and 2.32 KCC. The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final, unless an appeal is made to the King County superior court, within 21 calendar days of the date of the issuance of the decision, pursuant to Chapter 36.70C RCW.

(Ord. No. 3050, § 10, 7-7-92; Ord. No. 3409, § 60, 7-7-98; Ord. No. 3424, § 38, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 3457, § 1, 5-4-99; Ord. No. 3525, § 1, 9-19-00; Ord. No. 3742, § 6, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 3988, § 4, 1-4-11; Ord. No. 4093, § 5, 11-19-13; Ord. No. 4116, § 2, 6-17-14; Ord. No. 4175, § 3, 11-17-15; Ord. No. 4225, § 15, 12-13-16; Ord. No. 4337, § 1, 11-5-19; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.047 Industrial design review. Revised 5/20 Revised 12/20

A. Purpose and scope. Industrial design review is an administrative process, the purpose of which is to implement and give effect to the Rally the Valley Industrial Valley Subarea Plan as adopted into the comprehensive plan, and its policies or parts thereof. The industrial design guidelines, adopted in subsection (D) of this section, apply to development located in industrial zones I1, I2, and I3.

B. Application and review process. The industrial design review process is administrative and is conducted as part of the permit review process. The applicant must make application for the design review process on forms provided by the economic and community development department. In the administration of this process, the department may develop supplementary handbooks for the public, which may pictorially illustrate and provide additional guidance on the interpretation of the criteria set forth in the industrial design guidelines.

C. Applicability. Industrial design review shall apply to all new construction, enlargement of existing buildings and structures, as well as changes of use, as follows:

1. New construction or enlargement.

a. Buildings constructed or enlarged. For enlargement of existing building, 10 percent of improvement value shall be invested in building or site improvements consistent with the industrial design guidelines. Specific improvements shall be approved by the planning director as part of building permit review. Improvement value shall be assessed according to the most recently published International Code Council building valuation data.

b. Other structures or exterior use areas constructed or enlarged. For enlargement of existing structures or use areas, 10 percent of improvement value shall be invested in building or site improvements consistent with the industrial design guidelines. Specific improvements shall be approved by the planning director as part of building permit review. Improvement value shall be assessed according to the most recently published International Code Council building valuation data.

2. Change in use. When the occupancy of any land use, structure or building, or any part of a building, structure or land use, is changed to another use, the industrial design guidelines shall apply, with the following exceptions:

a. Change of use from warehousing and distribution to manufacturing uses.

b. Change of use from warehousing and distribution to complexes which include a combination of uses, including a mixture of office, storage, commercial, and manufacturing uses.

c. Change of use from warehousing and distribution to research, development, and testing.

3. For change in use, 10 percent of improvement value shall be invested in building or site improvements consistent with the industrial design guidelines. Specific improvements shall be approved by the planning director. Improvement value shall be assessed according to the most recently published International Code Council building valuation data.

D. Industrial design guidelines – Adoption. The planning director shall use the industrial design guidelines in the evaluation and/or conditioning of applications under the industrial design review process. The industrial design guidelines, entitled “City of Kent Industrial Design Guidelines,” are hereby adopted by this reference as authorized pursuant to RCW 35A.12.140 and shall be placed on file as adopted and amended hereafter in the offices of the city clerk and the economic and community development department.

E. Appeals. The decision of the planning director to approve, approve with conditions, or reject any application under the industrial design review process is final unless an appeal is made to the hearing examiner within 14 calendar days of either the issuance of the planning director’s approval or rejection of any application under this section. Appeals to the hearing examiner shall be conducted as set forth in Chapter 2.32 KCC. The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final, unless an appeal is made to the King County superior court, within 21 calendar days of the date of the issuance of the decision, pursuant to Chapter 36.70C RCW.

(Ord. No. 4355, § 11 (Exh. K), 3-3-20; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.049 Mixed use design review.

Repealed by Ord. No. 3409.

(Ord. No. 3345, § 6, 5-7-97)

15.09.050 Amendments. Revised 5/20 Revised 12/20

This title may be amended by the city council by changing the boundaries of zoning districts (rezones which change the official zoning map) or by changing any other provisions thereof (text amendments which add, delete, or otherwise modify the text of this title) whenever the public necessity and convenience and the general welfare require such amendment, by following the procedures of this section.

A. Initiation. An amendment may be initiated as follows:

1. Amendments to the text of this title and official zoning map amendments may be initiated by resolution of intention by the city council. Text amendments are heard by the land use and planning board and city council; zoning map amendments are heard by the hearing examiner. In the case of area-wide zoning or rezoning, both text amendments and zoning map amendments may be heard by the land use and planning board and city council in accordance with Chapter 12.01 KCC.

2. Amendments to the text of this title may be initiated by resolution of intention by the land use and planning board.

3. Official zoning map amendments (rezones), including the application of the “C” suffix, may be initiated by application of one or more owners, or their agents, of the property affected by the proposed amendment, which shall be made on a form prescribed by the planning department and filed with the planning department. The application shall be submitted in the manner required for Process IV applications. The hearing examiner shall consider the application in an open record predecision hearing in accordance with Chapters 2.32 and 12.01 KCC.

B. Public hearing. The hearing examiner shall hold an open record predecision hearing on any proposed amendment, and shall give notice thereof in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

C. Standards and criteria for granting a request for rezone. The following standards and criteria shall be used by the hearing examiner and city council to evaluate a request for rezone. Such an amendment shall only be granted if the city council determines that the request is consistent with these standards and criteria and subject to the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

1. The proposed rezone is consistent with the comprehensive plan.

2. The proposed rezone and subsequent development of the site would be compatible with development in the vicinity.

3. The proposed rezone will not unduly burden the transportation system in the vicinity of the property with significant adverse impacts which cannot be mitigated.

4. Circumstances have changed substantially since the establishment of the current zoning district to warrant the proposed rezone.

5. The proposed rezone will not adversely affect the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the city.

6. [Reserved].

D. [Reserved].

E. Rezone to mixed use overlay. The hearing examiner and the city council shall use the standards and criteria provided in subsection (C) of this section to evaluate a request for expanding the boundaries of the mixed use overlay boundary which is located in the GC and CC zoning districts. In addition, the hearing examiner and city council shall evaluate a request for expanding the mixed use overlay using the following standards and criteria as well. Such an amendment shall only be granted if the city council determines the request is consistent with these standards and criteria and subject to the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

1. The proposed rezone is contiguous to an existing mixed use overlay area, or is at least one acre in size.

2. The proposed area is located within close proximity to existing residential uses and existing commercial uses which would support residential use.

3. The proposed area is located in close proximity to transit stops, parks, and community facilities.

F. Rezoning to MR-T. The hearing examiner and the city council shall use the standards and criteria provided in subsection (C) of this section to evaluate a request for rezone to MR-T. In addition, the hearing examiner and city council shall evaluate a request for MR-T using the following standards and criteria as well. Such an amendment shall only be granted if the city council determines the request is consistent with these standards and criteria and subject to the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC.

1. The proposed rezone site is adjacent to or has convenient access to an arterial street to ensure that the traffic accessing the MR-T development minimizes the disruption to single-family residential neighborhoods.

G. Recommendation of hearing examiner. Following the public hearing provided for in this section, the hearing examiner shall make a report of findings and recommendations with respect to the proposed amendment and shall forward such to the city council, which shall have the final authority to act on the amendment.

H. City council action/appeal.

1. The city council shall, at a regular public meeting, consider the recommendation and issue a final decision. The decision of the city council is appealable to the King County superior court within 21 calendar days from the issuance of a notice of decision and in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC and Chapter 36.70C RCW.

2. If the application for an amendment is denied by the city council, the application shall not be eligible for resubmittal for one year from date of the denial, unless specifically stated to be without prejudice. A new application affecting the same property may be submitted if, in the opinion of the hearing examiner, circumstances affecting the application have changed substantially.

(Ord. No. 2863, § 4, 8-1-89; Ord. No. 3123, § 1, 6-15-93; Ord. No. 3345, § 7, 5-7-97; Ord. No. 3424, § 39, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 3470, § 14, 8-17-99; Ord. No. 4166, § 7, 9-1-15; Ord. No. 4355, § 11 (Exh. K), 3-3-20; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.055 Zoning of annexed lands. Revised 12/20

A. Purpose. It is the purpose of this section to provide a procedure to ensure that the initial zoning of annexed territories is in conformance with city goals, policies, and plans.

B. Determination of planning director. Whenever the council shall determine that the best interest and general welfare of the city would be served by annexing territory, the planning director will cause an examination to be made of the comprehensive plan of the city. If the city council determines that the comprehensive plan is not current for the area of the proposed annexation, the planning director will cause an application to be made to the land use and planning board for an update of the comprehensive plan. In addition, the planning director will cause an application to be filed with the land use and planning board for an initial zoning recommendation.

C. Recommendation of the land use and planning board.

1. Comprehensive plan. Upon application by the planning director, the land use and planning board shall hold at least one open record public hearing to consider the comprehensive plan for the area of the proposed annexation. Notice of the time, place, and purpose of such hearing shall be mailed to all property owners in the area to be annexed and given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the city and in the area to be annexed at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing. Upon completion of the hearing, the land use and planning board shall transmit a copy of its recommendations for the comprehensive plan to the council for its consideration.

2. Initial zoning. In addition, the land use and planning board shall hold at least one open record public hearing to consider the initial zoning for the area of the proposed annexation. Notice of the time, place, and purpose of such hearing shall be mailed to all property owners in the area to be annexed and given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the city and in the area to be annexed at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing.

D. City council action.

1. Comprehensive plan. Within 60 calendar days of the receipt of the recommendation from the land use and planning board for the comprehensive plan for the area of the proposed annexation, the city council shall consider the comprehensive plan at a public meeting. The council may approve or disapprove the comprehensive plan as submitted, modify and approve as modified, or refer the comprehensive plan back to the land use and planning board for further proceedings. If the matter is referred to the land use and planning board, the council shall specify the time within which the land use and planning board shall report back to the council with findings and recommendations on the matters referred to it. An affirmative vote of not less than a majority of the total members of the council shall be required for approval.

2. Initial zoning. Upon receipt of the recommendations of the land use and planning board for the initial zoning of the area of the proposed annexation, the council shall hold two or more public hearings at least 30 calendar days apart. Notice of the time and place and purpose of such hearing shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the city and in the area to be annexed at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing. The ordinance adopting the initial zoning may provide that it will become effective upon the annexation of the area into the city. The city clerk shall file a certified copy of the ordinance and any accompanying maps or plats with the county auditor.

(Ord. No. 3409, § 62, 7-7-98: Ord. No. 3424, § 40, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 4003, § 10, 9-20-11; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.060 Administrative interpretation generally. Revised 12/20

The planning director may make interpretations of the provisions of this title. Such administrative interpretations shall include determinations of uses permitted in the various districts, and approval or disapproval of development plans and zoning permits. Other interpretations may be made as specific circumstances arise which require such interpretations. The purpose of such administrative interpretations is to provide a degree of flexibility in the administration of this title while following the intent of the city council. Administrative interpretations are subject to applicable requirements of Process I applications per Chapter 12.01 KCC.

(Ord. No. 3424, § 41, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.065 Interpretation of uses. Revised 12/20

A. Land uses which are listed as principally permitted uses in the Land Use Tables shall be permitted subject to the review processes, standards, and regulations specified in KCC Title 15. If a use is not listed in the Land Use Tables, it shall be considered to be a prohibited use unless the planning director determines it to be a permitted use following the process outlined below. If a proposed use is not specifically listed in the Land Use Tables, an applicant may request from the planning director an interpretation as to whether or not such use is a permitted use. In determining whether a proposed use closely resembles a use expressly authorized in the applicable zoning district(s), the planning director shall utilize the following criteria:

1. The use resembles or is of the same basic nature as a use expressly authorized in the applicable zoning district or districts in terms of the following:

a. The activities involved in or equipment or materials employed in the use;

b. The effects of the use on the surrounding area, such as traffic impacts, noise, dust, odors, vibrations, lighting and glare, and aesthetic appearance.

2. The use is consistent with the stated purpose of the applicable district or districts.

3. The use is compatible with the applicable goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.

B. A record shall be kept of all interpretations and rulings made by the planning director. Such decisions shall be used for future administration. The planning director shall report decisions to the land use and planning board when it appears desirable and necessary to amend this code. The planning director’s determination is classified as a Process I application and shall be processed and subject to the applicable requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC and may be appealed as provided in Chapter 12.01 KCC.

C. Appeals. Any appeal from the planning director’s determination shall be an open record appeal hearing and shall be filed in accordance with the procedures established for Process I applications under Chapter 12.01 KCC.

(Ord. No. 3409, § 63, 7-7-98: Ord. No. 3424, § 42, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.070 Appeal of administrative interpretations. Revised 12/20

A. Any appeal of administrative decisions relating to the enforcement or interpretation of this title, unless otherwise specifically provided for in this chapter, shall be in writing, and shall be filed with the planning department within 14 calendar days after such decision, and in the manner set forth in Chapter 12.01 KCC.

B. The appeal shall be heard by the hearing examiner, and the hearing examiner shall render a decision in accordance with the requirements of Chapters 2.32 and 12.01 KCC.

(Ord. No. 3424, § 43, 11-17-98; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.080 Revocation of permits or variances. Revised 12/20

Any zoning permit, planned unit development permit, conditional use permit or variance granted in accordance with the terms of this title may be revoked if any of the conditions or terms of such permit or variance are violated, or if any law or ordinance is violated in connection therewith.

(Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.090 Performance standards procedures. Revised 12/20

The planning director shall have the power to authorize the following procedures prior to the issuance of a zoning permit for industrial uses as provided for in the several industrial districts:

A. Application for zoning permit. An application for a zoning permit for a use subject to performance standard procedures shall be submitted by the owner or the owner’s agent in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12.01 KCC. The applicant shall also submit in duplicate a plan of the proposed machinery, processes and products, and specifications for the mechanisms and techniques to be used in restricting the creation or emission of dangerous and objectionable elements as set forth in KCC 15.08.050(D). The applicant shall also provide such supporting scientific, technical or other data or information as is necessary to establish that the use will comply with the performance standards set forth in KCC 15.08.050.

B. Review by expert consultants. The planning director, upon obtaining approval of the costs by the city council, may refer the application for review and report to one or more expert consultants qualified to advise as to whether a proposed use will conform to the applicable performance standards specified in KCC 15.08.050 in a manner set forth in the application. A copy of such report shall be filed with the planning department for inspection by interested persons.

C. Review by planning director. Within 30 days after the planning department has received the application provided for in this section, or within such period as agreed to by the applicant, the planning director shall decide whether the proposed use will conform to the applicable performance standards, and on such basis shall authorize or refuse to authorize issuance of a zoning permit, or require a modification of the proposed equipment or operation. Any zoning permit so authorized and issued shall be conditioned upon, among other things, the applicant’s completed buildings and installations conforming in operation to the applicable performance standards.

D. Continued enforcement.

1. The planning department shall investigate any purported violation of performance standards. For the purpose of investigating such violations, the planning director may employ qualified experts.

2. After investigation, on due notice to the alleged violator, the planning director may order the violations corrected within a prescribed period of time, and if such violations are not so corrected may order the violator to cease and desist from carrying on that portion of the operation or process causing a violation.

E. Violations. If violation has occurred, the planning director shall report to the city attorney if the violation was willful or likely to occur again, and the city attorney may order the violator to take such steps as are necessary to ensure future compliance with this chapter. The procedure provided in this subsection shall not be exclusive, and, if the violation has been willful or without reasonable justification, the violator may be prosecuted as for a misdemeanor.

(Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.095 Cleanup of solid waste and hazardous waste facilities. Revised 12/20

Application of land use and zoning regulations contained in Chapter 15.04 KCC, off-street parking and loading requirements of Chapter 15.05 KCC, landscaping regulations of Chapter 15.07 KCC, general and supplemental provisions of Chapter 15.08 KCC, and administration provisions of Chapter 15.09 KCC relating to development plan review, zoning permits and conditional uses relating to the required cleanup of solid waste and hazardous waste facilities under this title shall be governed under procedures and requirements as set forth in KCC 11.02.060.

(Ord. No. 2745, § 4, 9-15-87; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)

15.09.300 Responsibility for establishment of lot lines and setback lines. Revised 12/20

Notwithstanding any provisions in this title to the contrary, the city shall have no duty to verify or establish lot lines or setback lines at a development. The location of lot lines or setback lines at a development and construction related thereto shall be the responsibility of the applicant and owner.

(Ord. No. 2662, § 2, 10-6-86; Ord. No. 4372, § 17, 10-20-20)