Chapter 15.25


15.25.010    Purpose.

15.25.020    Permitted location and size of planned unit development.

15.25.030    Permitted uses.

15.25.040    Initiation of planned unit residential developments.

15.25.050    Availability of public services.

15.25.060    Procedure for approval of planned unit residential development.

15.25.070    Pre-application conference.

15.25.080    Preliminary development plan.

15.25.090    Final development plan.

15.25.100    Changes to the development plan.

15.25.110    Expiration of authorization.

15.25.120    Open space.

15.25.130    Density increases.

15.25.140    Building setbacks and heights.

15.25.150    Filing fees.

15.25.010 Purpose.

The purpose of a planned unit residential development is to:

(1) Allow a more flexible plan of development than the traditional one house-one lot development;

(2) Promote more economical and efficient use of the land, provide a harmonious variety of housing choices and plot plans, and preserve open spaces.

(3) Encourage the development of affordable housing styles, such as tiny home developments. [Ord. 1222 § 2, 2023; Ord. 671 § 3.3.A, 1995.]

15.25.020 Permitted location and size of planned unit development.

A PURD may be located only in a residential zone and on a parcel of one acre or more. [Ord. 1222 § 2, 2023; Ord. 671 § 3.3.B, 1995.]

15.25.030 Permitted uses.

All permitted uses shall conform with a specific final development plan as specified in this section. The following uses are permitted:

(1) Residential units, either single-family detached or multiple attached units or tiny home residential units or a combination of detached single-family or multifamily units;

(2) All accessory and conditional uses as permitted in a residential zone;

(3) Recreational facilities, tennis courts, playgrounds, and community halls;

(4) Conditional uses permitted in a residential zone. [Ord. 1222 § 2, 2023; Ord. 671 § 3.3.C, 1995.]

15.25.040 Initiation of planned unit residential developments.

Planned unit residential development projects may be initiated by:

(1) The owner of all the property involved, if under one ownership; or

(2) An application filed jointly by all owners having title to all the property in the area proposed for the planned unit residential development project if there is more than one owner; or

(3) A governmental agency; or

(4) A person having an interest in the property to be included in the planned unit residential development. The PURD applications shall be in the name or names of the recorded owner(s) of the property included in the development. However, the application may be filed by holder(s) of an equitable interest in or having an option on such property. The applicant must provide evidence of full ownership interest in the land (either legal title or the execution of a binding sales agreement) before final plan approval. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.D, 1995.]

15.25.050 Availability of public services.

(1) Developers of planned unit residential development projects shall plan developments in a manner that will provide direct access to major collector streets where feasible, without creating additional traffic along minor streets in surrounding residential neighborhoods.

(2) Planned unit developments shall be designed in a manner that will not overtax existing sanitary sewers, water lines, storm water and surface drainage systems, and other utility systems resulting in higher net public costs, unless compensation or equivalent services are provided. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.E, 1995.]

15.25.060 Procedure for approval of planned unit residential development.

A PURD application must conform with the provisions of Chapter 15.30 LCMC, Subdivisions/Short Subdivisions. The planning commission shall review the PURD application concurrently with the subdivision application, if applicable. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.F, 1995.]

15.25.070 Pre-application conference.

Before filing any application for a planned unit residential development the applicant shall submit preliminary plans to the planning department for staff and planning commission information and review. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.G, 1995.]

15.25.080 Preliminary development plan.

(1) Following the preapplication conference, the applicant shall submit a formal preliminary application for staff and to the planning commission review. The preliminary development plan shall include the following documents:

(a) Application form indicating:

(i) Existing zoning;

(ii) Total site area;

(iii) Area of bodies of water;

(iv) Gross area of site: subsection (1)(a) (ii) minus (1)(a)(iii);

(v) Total number of dwelling units;

(vi) Density: subsection (1)(a)(v) divided by (1)(a)(iv);

(vii) Usable open space (percent of percent of subsection (1)(a)(ii));

(viii) Common open space (percent of subsection (1)(a)(vii));

(b) Legal description of site and statement of present ownership;

(c) Description of the natural setting, including slope, topography, soil type, significant land forms, bodies of water, trees and other vegetation, scenic assets and surrounding buildings. Areas requiring substantial recontouring or grading shall be described;

(d) Development schedule including dates of start, completion and phasing;

(e) Intent as to final ownership, including plans for rental, sale or combination;

(f) Site development map(s) depicting:

(i) Topographic lines at five-foot intervals;

(ii) Water bodies and critical areas;

(iii) Natural features including major land forms, rock out-croppings and flood hazard area;

(iv) Areas of significant tree cover and how they are affected by the plan;

(v) Property lines; easements;

(vi) Existing street names;

(vii) Configuration and function of all buildings, noting proposed heights of each and distance between property line and nearest building;

(viii) Vehicular circulation, parking area, loading areas and storage areas (indicate number of parking spaces for use);

(ix) Pedestrian circulation;

(x) Areas of private open space;

(xi) Recreational facilities, if any;

(xii) Preliminary landscaping showing areas of tree removal, retention or addition;

(xiii) Areas requiring substantial grading or recontouring;

(xiv) Graphic scale with north arrow, date and title;

(xv) A legible sketch of the vicinity within 500 feet of the proposed development showing significant features of the land including buildings;

(g) If the proposed site is within shoreline management jurisdiction an application for shoreline substantial development permit along with any other permits required, such as a floodplain permit or other local, state, or federal permits, shall be filed;

(h) An environmental checklist;

(i) Any additional information required by staff and the planning commission as necessary to evaluate the character and impact of the proposed PURD.

(2) The planning commission shall decide if the proposal meets the requirements and conforms to the intent of this code and the comprehensive plan. If unacceptable, the application shall be returned. The town’s SEPA official shall review the environmental checklist and issue a determination of environmental impact incurred as a result of the proposal.

(3) If the proposal is adjacent to unincorporated areas of Skagit County, notice of the application shall be given to the Skagit County department of planning and economic development.

(4) If the application meets the minimum requirements, it shall be reviewed at a public hearing held by the planning commission. If an environmental impact statement (EIS) is required, the final EIS shall be available for at least 10 days before the hearing on the proposal.

(5) Notice of planning commission public hearing:

(a) Notice shall be given by publication of at least one notice not less than 10 days prior to the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation within the town.

(b) Notices of the hearing shall be mailed to all property owners within 300 feet of the proposed development. Addresses for mail notices shall be obtained by the applicant based on the current rolls of the Skagit County assessor’s office or obtained from a title company doing business in Skagit County and submitted with the application on one-inch by two-and-five-eighths-inch mailing labels.

(c) Additional notice of such hearing may be required by local authorities to notify adjacent property owners and the public, i.e., posting on the property.

(6) The planning commission shall examine the proposal at the public hearing and consider the preliminary development plan, information presented by the applicant, any technical planning assistance and the public.

(7) The planning commission may approve, disapprove, or impose changes or conditions of approval within 30 days from the date of the hearing unless the applicant consents to an extension of such time period.

(8) A copy of the planning commission action, or written recommendations shall be forwarded to the applicant and the town council. The town council shall consider the recommendation at its next regularly scheduled meeting and shall, by resolution, approve or disapprove the preliminary development plan. Preliminary approval does not constitute a rezone or right to begin development.

(9) Within a maximum of six months following the approval of the preliminary development plan, the applicant shall file with the planning commission a final development plan containing the information required in detail. The planning commission may, upon determination of just cause, extend the period for filing of the final development plan up to six months.

(10) If the applicant fails to apply for final approval for any reason, the preliminary approval shall be deemed to be revoked and all that portion of the area included in the development plan for which final approval has not been given shall be subject to the zoning and subdivision codes otherwise applicable thereto. [Ord. 842 § 9, 2002; Ord. 671 § 3.3.H, 1995.]

15.25.090 Final development plan.

(1) The planning commission shall review the final development plan application and staff recommendations. One minimum requirement for approval shall be that the final development plan does not vary substantially from the previously approved preliminary development plan. The final development plan shall be deemed sufficiently consistent with the preliminary development plan provided modification by the applicant does not involve one or more of the following:

(a) Violate any provisions of this section;

(b) Vary the lot area requirement by more than 10 percent;

(c) Involve a reduction of more than 10 percent of the area reserved for common open space and/or usable open space;

(d) Increase the total ground area covered by buildings by more than five percent;

(e) Increase density or number of dwellings units by more than 10 percent;

(f) Provided, the increases do not exceed maximums previously established in this code.

If substantial compliance with the preliminary development plan is not established, the new plan must repeat the public hearing process for review of changes.

(2) In addition to the requirements for the preliminary development plan, the final development plan shall include:

(a) Description of types of dwelling units and number of bedrooms in each;

(b) Description of programs for insuring continued maintenance of common elements of the development;

(c) Landscaping plan indicating generally: the location, type and size of existing or new plant materials, street furniture and other physical features including transformers, hydrants, telephone pedestals, walls and fences, trash storage area, and retaining walls, location, type and height of proposed street and walkway lighting, location and design of signs to be included.

Final details may be required to be approved by the planning commission subsequent to final approval.

(d) Architectural plans depicting general typical floor plans with dimensions, elevations or renderings sufficient to indicate the basic architectural character of the development.

(3) The planning commission shall examine the final development plan and determine whether it conforms to the approved preliminary development plan. The planning commission shall make a decision on the final development plan within one month after the official date it has received the plan. If there is any significant discrepancy, the commission may permit the applicant to revise the plan and resubmit it as a final development plan within 30 days.

If the planning commission does grant such permission, the commission’s ultimate acceptance or rejection of the revised final development plan shall become final 10 days after the date of decision. The commission may also approve the plan without revision. The decision of approval without revision will become final 10 days after the date of decision.

(4) If the planning commission does not approve a final development plan, their specific reasons for disapproval shall be stated in writing and made part of the public record, as well as presented to the applicant.

(5) Final approvals subject to modifications or conditions shall be agreed to in writing by the applicant before recording and formal acceptance.

(6) Following formal acceptance and recording by the planning commission, the town council shall conduct necessary legislative actions relevant to the proposed project, such as accepting and recording site plans and plats, and accepting any dedicated properties, streets, and right-of-way. The original final PURD text, maps and approved documents shall be submitted for approval by the La Conner planning director and, once signature is obtained from the planning director approving said documents, each shall be recorded with the Skagit County auditor and a copy filed with the Skagit County assessor.

(7) At least one reproducible copy of the final recorded PURD text, maps, and approval documents, including recording information, shall be submitted to the town. Additional copies shall be submitted to the town as required.

(8) After necessary legislative actions by the town council, and recording of the PURD as set forth herein, building permits may be issued and construction begun. [Ord. 842 § 16, 2002; Ord. 671 § 3.3.I, 1995.]

15.25.100 Changes to the development plan.

(1) Any changes in the preliminary or final development plan, after approval through the above procedures shall be reviewed by the planning commission to determine if a new plan should be submitted.

(2) Changes in the development plan may be approved by the planning commission; provided, that such changes do not:

(a) Change the use or character of the development;

(b) Increase overall coverage of structures;

(c) Increase density;

(d) Reduce the amount of open spaces;

(e) Change the general location or amount of land devoted to specific uses.

(3) Changes may include minor shifting of the location of buildings, utility easements, public open spaces, or other similar features of the plan. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.J, 1995.]

15.25.110 Expiration of authorization.

(1) If no construction has begun within six months of final approval of the PURD, the approval shall expire. The planning commission may extend approval for an additional six-month period if an application for extension is received before the authorization expires. If no construction has begun at the end of this extension, the final development plan shall become null and void, and a new one shall be required for any development on subject property.

(2) Upon the abandonment of a particular project authorized under this chapter or upon the expiration of two years from the final approval of a PURD which has not by then been completed or commenced with an extension of time for completion granted, the authorization shall expire and the land and the structures thereon may be used only for a lawful purpose permissible within the zone in which the PURD is located. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.K, 1995.]

15.25.120 Open space.

(1) Open space is an identifiable greenbelt area which is accessible and available to all occupants of dwelling units for whose use the space is intended. This includes private as well as common open space.

(2) Open space does not include:

(a) An area of the site covered by buildings, roads, parking structures or accessory structures;

(b) Proposed street rights-of-way;

(c) Open parking areas and driveways for dwellings;

(d) School sites;

(e) Commercial areas;

(f) Land totally unsuited for building because of topographic features may be counted as open space.

(3) The total area of the development, minus undevelopable area and bodies of water, is the gross site area.

(4) Required usable open space in a PURD is a minimum of 50 percent of the gross site area, to include private yards.

(5) Required common open space is an identifiable greenbelt area and is a minimum of 50 percent of the usable open space. Common open space are lands used for scenic, recreational or landscaping purposes within the development and for the use of all residents of the PURD.

(6) Adequate guarantee must be provided to ensure permanent retention of “common open space” land area resulting from the application of these regulations, either by private reservation or protective covenants, for the use of residents within the development or by dedication to the public or a combination. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.L, 1995.]

15.25.130 Density increases.

(1) The number of dwelling units that may be constructed in a PURD shall be based upon one dwelling unit for each 4,000 square feet of gross site area. This density restriction shall not apply to tiny home developments.

(2) The planning commission may approve development up to 40 percent higher density, based on site plan review and the guidelines listed below which are to be treated as additives:

(a) Open space. A density bonus of up to 20 percent is allowed for providing up to 20 percent of gross site area as common open space (in addition to the common open space required in LCMC 15.25.120(e)) on an equivalent basis.

(b) A density bonus of up to 10 percent is allowed for landscaping, recreation facilities or improvements suitable to the site that enhance the quality of the development and benefit the residents of the PURD and the town of La Conner.

(c) A density bonus of up to 10 percent is allowed for visual focal points, use of existing physical features, sun and wind orientation, architectural style, energy efficient siting and/or design. [Ord. 1222 § 2, 2023; Ord. 671 § 3.3.M, 1995.]

15.25.140 Building setbacks and heights.

(1) Individual multifamily dwelling buildings must meet setbacks and height limits required in the zone in which it is located with respect to the outside perimeter of the PURD.

(2) Individual single-family residences must meet setbacks and height limits required in the zone in which it is located with respect to their respective lot lines.

(3) The planning commission shall specify an extended building setback line of up to 100 feet, but not less than 25 feet on lots that border agricultural land to prevent shadows or other intrusions onto or conflicting with agricultural land and uses.

(4) The minimum distance between buildings within a PURD shall be 10 feet.

(5) Setbacks of buildings from the perimeter of a PURD shall be compatible with the residential zone in which it is located, unless extenuating circumstances show a need for increasing perimeter setbacks. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.N, 1995.]

15.25.150 Filing fees.

(1) A fee set by the town council shall be paid to the town clerk at the time of application.

(2) If the PURD is filed at the same time as a preliminary plat for the same tract, to be processed simultaneously in accordance with a subdivision or short subdivision application, the fee shall be one and one-half times the fee for the subdivision application. [Ord. 671 § 3.3.O, 1995.]