Chapter 15.30


Article I. General Provisions

15.30.010    Purpose.

15.30.020    Authority.

15.30.030    Applicability.

15.30.040    Requirements.

15.30.050    Application procedure.

15.30.060    Filing of preliminary plat – Notice.

15.30.070    Preliminary plat review.

15.30.080    Factors to be considered – Conditions for approval.

15.30.090    Time limitation for approval of disapproval of plats – Extensions.

15.30.100    Agency recommendations for final approval.

15.30.110    Requirements of each plat or replat filed for record.

15.30.120    Final plat.

15.30.130    Final plat/short plat – Written approval and filing.

15.30.140    Final plat/short plat – Validity.

15.30.150    Review of decision.

Article II. Design Standards

15.30.160    Specifications.

15.30.170    Permanent markers.

15.30.180    Drainage.

15.30.190    Street improvements.

15.30.200    Water lines.

15.30.210    Sanitary sewers.

15.30.220    Utilities.

15.30.230    Maintenance of corporate streets and property owned by a private community organization.

15.30.240    Design standards for single-family residences.

15.30.250    Violations – Penalties.

Article I. General Provisions

15.30.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this section is to regulate the subdivision of land to prevent overcrowding; and to promote the public health, safety and general welfare, effective use of land, safe and convenient travel by the public on streets and highways; lessen congestion in the streets; facilitate adequate provisions for water, sewage, parks and recreation areas, fire protection, schools, and other public requirements; provide adequate light and air, proper ingress and egress, and housing needs; provide for expeditious review and approval of proposed subdivisions which conform to zoning standards, the comprehensive plan, and other applicable plans and policies; and to require uniform monumenting of land subdivisions and conveyancing by accurate legal description. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.A, 1995.]

15.30.020 Authority.

These regulations are established pursuant to the provisions of RCW Title 58, Boundaries and Plats, and shall not preclude full compliance thereto. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.B, 1995.]

15.30.030 Applicability.

(1) Every subdivision shall comply with the provisions of this chapter. A subdivision is the division or redivision of land into five or more lots, tracts, parcels, sites or divisions for the purpose of sale, lease or transfer of ownership. A short subdivision is the division or redivision of land into four or fewer lots, tracts, parcels, sites or divisions for the purpose of sale, lease or transfer of ownership.

(2) Provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

(a) Cemeteries and other burial plots while used for that purpose;

(b) Divisions made by testamentary provisions, or the laws of descent;

(c) A division for the purpose of leasing space for a mobile home or travel trailer within a mobile home park and in accordance with an approved site plan therefor;

(d) A division made for the purpose of alteration by adjusting boundary lines, between platted or unplatted lots or both, which does not create any additional lot, tract, parcel, site or division nor create any lot, tract, parcel, site, or division which contains insufficient area and dimension to meet minimum requirements for width and area for a building site;

(e) A division of land under threat of eminent domain or sale by an agency or division of government vested with the power of condemnation. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.C, 1995.]

15.30.040 Requirements.

(1) A proposed subdivision or short subdivision of land shall be considered under the zoning or other land use control ordinances in effect on the land at the time a fully completed application for preliminary plat approval of the subdivision, or short plat approval of the short subdivision, has been submitted to the town.

(2) Land in short subdivisions may not be further divided in any manner within a period of five years without the filing of a final plat, except that when the short plat contains fewer than four parcels, nothing in this chapter shall prevent the owner who filed the short plat from filing an alteration within the five-year period to create up to a total of four lots within the original short plat boundaries.

(3) A subdivision or short subdivision must meet all the requirements of this chapter before approval is granted. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.D, 1995.]

15.30.050 Application procedure.

(1) Any person wishing to divide land under the provisions of this code shall submit an application, on a form provided by the town, to the town planner together with a fee set by the town council, a preliminary plat, and information including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) A survey map of reproducible material, at least 18-inch by 24-inch in size with two-inch margins, signed by a registered land surveyor and eight copies containing:

(i) Name, address, and telephone number of property owner of record or certified designated agent, the developer and the land surveyor and/or registered engineer preparing the plat map;

(ii) Legal description of the property;

(iii) Existing zoning classification;

(iv) Date, scale of not less than 100 feet to the inch, and north arrow;

(v) Benchmarks and ground elevation at mean sea level when all or a portion of the plat is located in the floodplain and land contours with intervals of five feet;

(vi) Boundary lines of entire tract to be platted, individual lots and easements with approximate acreage and square footage of the whole tract and portion to be platted;

(vii) Number and dimensions of lots, building setback lines, and density;

(viii) Location, name and width of any existing easement, street and right-of-way within the subdivision/short subdivision and 200 feet thereof, grades, profiles and cross-sections of proposed streets, vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns;

(ix) Location of fire hydrants within 1,000 feet of the lot;

(x) Location of any existing structures;

(xi) Availability and location of utilities including water, sewer, and storm water drainage;

(xii) Parcels of land intended to be dedicated or temporarily reserved for public use or to be reserved in the deeds for the common use of property owners of the subdivision or short subdivision or dedication, or for open space;

(xiii) Location in respect to shorelines of La Conner;

(xiv) Acknowledged signatures of property owners and notary public stamp;

(xv) Signature block for approval of public works director, town planner, and/or town council.

(b) Evidence of title.

(c) If lots are to be served by a private street, copies of applicable covenants or documents with provisions covering, but not limited to, ingress, egress, utility easements, and maintenance shall be furnished to the town and recorded to or simultaneously with the subdivision or short subdivision.

(d) Unless an applicant for preliminary plat approval requests otherwise, the preliminary plat shall be processed simultaneously with applications for rezones, variances, planned unit developments, site plan approvals, shoreline substantial development, and similar quasi-judicial or administrative actions to the extent that procedural requirements applicable to these actions permit simultaneous processing.

(e) Development schedule.

(2) The planning director shall affix a file number to the preliminary plat and the date it is received. [Ord. 1191 § 2 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 963 § 7, 2005; Ord. 671 § 3.4.E, 1995.]

15.30.060 Filing of preliminary plat – Notice.

(1) Notice of the filing of a preliminary plat or a proposed subdivision adjacent to or within one mile of the town boundaries abutting land under the jurisdiction of Skagit County shall be given to county officials by the planning director.

(2) Notice of Public Hearing. Upon receipt of an application for preliminary plat approval, the planning director shall set a date for a public hearing as follows:

(a) Notice shall be published at least once not less than 10 days prior to the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation within the county and the town.

(b) Special notice shall be given to adjacent landowners, as shown on the records of the Skagit County assessor’s office or obtained from a title company doing business in Skagit County, located within 300 feet of any portion of the boundary of the proposed short subdivision.

(c) All public hearing notices shall include a description of the location of the proposed subdivision or short subdivision, either by legal description, identification of an address, written description, vicinity sketch, or other reasonable means. [Ord. 1211 § 2(A), 2022; Ord. 963 § 7, 2005; Ord. 842 § 6, 2002; Ord. 671 § 3.4.F, 1995.]

15.30.070 Preliminary plat review.

(1) The hearing examiner (subdivision) shall:

(a) Hold a public hearing on a preliminary plat for a subdivision;

(b) Approve or disapprove a preliminary plat for a subdivision;

(2) The town council (subdivision) shall:

(a) The sole authority to approve final plats and to adopt or amend platting ordinances shall reside in the town council.

(3) The planning director (short plat) shall:

(a) Post notice of short plat on the property.

(b) Mail the notice of application to all owners of property within 300 feet of proposed short plat.

(c) Approve or disapprove preliminary plat proposal.

(d) Approve final short plat. [Ord. 963 § 7, 2005; Ord. 898 § 8, 2003; Ord. 671 § 3.4.G, 1995.]

15.30.080 Factors to be considered – Conditions for approval.

(1) The planning director shall make written findings to determine if appropriate provisions are made for, but not limited to, the following:

(a) The public health, safety, and general welfare;

(b) Open space;

(c) Drainage ways;

(d) Streets or roads, alleys or other public ways;

(e) Transit stops;

(f) Potable water supplies;

(g) Sanitary wastes;

(h) Parks, playgrounds and recreation;

(i) Schools and schoolgrounds;

(j) All other relevant facts, including sidewalks and other planning features that assure safe walking conditions;

(k) Whether the public interest will be served by the proposed subdivision and dedication;

(l) Compliance with the town of La Conner comprehensive plan, shoreline management plan, and this code.

(2) A proposed subdivision shall not be approved unless the town makes written findings that all the provisions in subsection (1) of this section for a subdivision or short subdivision have been met.

(a) No dedication, provision of public improvements, or impact fees shall be allowed that constitutes an unconstitutional taking of private property.

(b) Construction of protective improvements may be required as a condition of approval if the subdivision or short subdivision is located within a floodplain, and such improvements shall be noted on the final plat.

(c) No plat shall be approved covering any land in a flood control zone per Chapter 86.16 RCW without prior written approval of the Washington State Department of Ecology. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.H, 1995.]

15.30.090 Time limitation for approval or disapproval of plats – Extensions.

(1) Preliminary plats shall be approved, disapproved, or returned to the applicant for modification or correction within 90 days from date of filing thereof unless the applicant consents to an extension of such time period or the 90-day limitation is extended to include up to 21 days.

(2) If an environmental impact statement (EIS) is required under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the 90-day period shall not include the time spent preparing and circulating the EIS. Final plats and short plats shall be approved or disapproved, or returned to the applicant within 30 days from the date of filing thereof, unless the applicant consents to an extension of such time period.

(3) A final plat or short plat meeting all requirements of this chapter shall be submitted to the planning director and/or town council within three years of the date of preliminary plat approval. [Ord. 963 § 7, 2005; Ord. 671 § 3.4.I, 1995.]

15.30.100 Agency recommendations for final approval.

(1) Each preliminary plat submitted for final approval by the town council shall be accompanied by recommendation for approval or disapproval from the following:

(a) Hearing examiner;

(b) Town planner;

(c) Public works director.

(2) The terms of the recommendations shall not be modified without the consent of the applicant. [Ord. 1191 § 2 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 671 § 3.4.J, 1995.]

15.30.110 Requirements of each plat or replat filed for record.

Each and every plat, or replat, of any property filed for record shall:

(1) Contain a statement of approval from the town engineer or a licensed engineer acting on behalf of the town, as to the layout of streets, alleys and other rights-of-way, sewage and water systems, and other structures. No engineer who is connected in any way with the subdividing and platting of the land for which subdivision or short subdivision approval is sought, shall examine and approve such plats on behalf of the town.

(2) Be accompanied by a complete survey of the section in which the plat or replat is located made to surveying standards adopted by the division of engineering services of the state of Washington Department of Natural Resources pursuant to RCW 58.24.040.

(3) Be acknowledged by the person filing the plat before the Skagit County auditor, or any other officer who is authorized by law to take acknowledgment of deeds, and a certificate of the acknowledgment shall be enclosed or annexed to such plat and recorded therewith.

(4) Contain a certification from the proper officer or officers in charge of tax collections that all taxes and delinquent assessments for which the property may be liable as of the date of certification have been duly paid, satisfied or discharged. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.K, 1995.]

15.30.120 Final plat.

Every final plat or short plat of a subdivision or short division filed for record must contain:

(1) A full and correct description of the lands divided as they appear on the plat or short plat, including a statement that the subdivision or short subdivision has been made with the free consent and in accordance with the desires of the owner(s).

(2) If the plat or short plat is subject to a dedication, the certificate of a separate written instrument shall contain the dedication of all streets and other areas to the public, and individual(s), religious society(s), or to any corporation, public or private as shown on the plat or short plat and a waiver of all claims for damages against any governmental authority which may be occasioned to the adjacent land by the established construction, drainage and maintenance of the road. The certificate or instrument of dedication shall be signed and acknowledged before a notary public by all parties having any ownership interest in the lands subdivided and recorded as part of the final plat.

(3) Every plat and short plat containing a dedication filed for record must be accompanied by a title report confirming that the title of the lands as described and shown on the plat is in the name of the owners signing the certificate or instrument of dedication.

(4) An offer of dedication may include a waiver of right of direct access to any street from any property, and if the dedication is accepted, any such waiver is effective. Such waiver may be required by the town as a condition of approval. Roads not dedicated to the public must be clearly marked on the face of the plat. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.L, 1995.]

15.30.130 Final plat/short plat – Written approval and filing.

(1) Upon approval of the subdivision or short subdivision, the approving authority shall inscribe and execute its written approval on the face of the plat. For short subdivisions, final approval shall be evidenced by signature of the town planner and public works director. For subdivisions, signature authority shall be the mayor.

(2) The original final plat/short plat shall be filed for record with the Skagit County auditor and a copy filed with the county assessor.

(3) At least one reproducible copy of the plat/short plat shall be submitted to the town for record. Additional copies shall be furnished to the town as required. [Ord. 1191 § 2 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 671 § 3.4.M, 1995.]

15.30.140 Final plat/short plat – Validity.

(1) Any lots in a final plat filed for record shall be a valid land use notwithstanding any change in zoning laws for a period of five years from the date of filing.

(2) A subdivision shall be governed by the terms of approval of the final plat, and the laws in effect at the time of approval under RCW 58.17.150(1) and (3) for a period of five years after final plat approval unless the town council finds that a change in conditions creates a serious threat to the public health or safety in the subdivision. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.N, 1995.]

15.30.150 Review of decision.

(1) Any decision approving or disapproving any plat shall be reviewable for unlawful, arbitrary, capricious or corrupt action or nonaction by writ of review before the Skagit County superior court. Standing to bring the action is limited to the following parties:

(a) The applicant or owner of the property on which the subdivision is proposed;

(b) Any property owner entitled to special notice;

(c) Any property owner who deems himself aggrieved thereby and who will suffer direct and substantial impacts from the proposed subdivision.

(2) Application for a writ of review shall be made to superior court within 30 days from any decision to be reviewed. The cost of transcription of all records ordered certified by the court for such review shall be borne by the appellant. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.O, 1995.]

Article II. Design Standards

15.30.160 Specifications.

(1) If the preliminary plat is approved, the developer, before requesting final approval, shall carry out minimum improvements in accordance with this code by actual installation to the satisfaction of existing town standards (American Public Works Manual).

(2) Plans for improvements shall be prepared by a qualified engineer, registered in the state of Washington. Two sets of prints of the proposed plans and specifications for all improvements shall be filed with the public works director. One set of “as-built” plans and specifications, certified and signed by an engineer registered in the state of Washington, shall be filed with the public works director prior to acceptance by the town council of any improvement installed by the developer.

(3) In lieu of the completion of the improvements required, the developer may furnish the town a surety bond or a certificate of deposit to ensure the actual construction of the improvements according to town standards. The bond shall be in the amount of 120 percent of the estimated cost of the improvements, to cover inflation. The amount and time limitation of the bond shall be determined by the public works director and/or town planner, subject to approval by the town council.

(4) No building shall be permitted on any lot or in any area of a subdivision if the proposed construction would require extension or enlargement of existing sanitary sewer systems, water lines, storm and surface drainage systems and other utility systems, resulting in higher net public costs, unless compensation or equivalent services are provided. [Ord. 1191 § 2 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.1, 1995.]

15.30.170 Permanent markers.

At least one four-inch by four-inch by 24-inch concrete monument, capped with a noncorrosive metal plate, shall be set at an exterior angle point of each subdivision. Iron pipes not less than three-quarters inch in diameter and 24 inches long shall be set at all lot corners and on asphalt roads. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.2, 1995.]

15.30.180 Drainage.

The design and construction of drainage facilities shall be such that watercourses traversing the subdivision and water emanating from within the subdivision will be carried through and off the subdivision without any injury to improvements, residential sites or adjacent properties. Design of drainage facilities within the subdivision shall be such that they will conform to the ultimate drainage plan for areas within the town of La Conner. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.3, 1995.]

15.30.190 Street improvements.

(1) The subdivider shall lay out, grade, and construct all streets designated on the approved plat that serve the subdivision.

(2) All roads constructed, whether dedicated public roads or corporate roads, shall be in strict compliance with American Public Works Manual Road Standards, and comply with Chapter 15.86 LCMC, Street Development Standards.

(3) Paved pedestrian walkways shall be provided on at least one side of all streets serving residential lots. Walkways may be sidewalks with curbs constructed in accordance with American Public Works Manual Standards, or extension of street paving at least four feet past the required street width, designated as a pedestrian area.

(4) Streets shall be wide enough to accommodate parallel parking on at least one side.

(5) Street lights shall be installed to provide adequate illumination of streets. [Ord. 963 § 7, 2005; Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.4, 1995.]

15.30.200 Water lines.

The developer shall install water lines and fire hydrants. Installation shall be in accordance with town standards. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.5, 1995.]

15.30.210 Sanitary sewers.

All subdivisions shall be connected to the sanitary sewer of the town of La Conner. Installation of sewer lines within the subdivision is the responsibility of the developer. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.6, 1995.]

15.30.220 Utilities.

All utilities shall be installed underground wherever possible, except where existing poles come to the property edge. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.7, 1995.]

15.30.230 Maintenance of corporate streets and property owned by a private community organization.

All corporate roads, easements, community utilities and properties shall be maintained by the owners of the property served by them and kept in good repair. It must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the public works director, town planner, and the town council prior to the recording of final plat that:

(1) There is a workable organization to guarantee maintenance with a committee or group to administer the organizational functions.

(2) There is a means for assessing maintenance costs equitable to property owners served by the private facilities.

(3) Corporate roads shall be labeled on the face of the final plat as a “corporate road” and designated as tract “A.” Under the dedication section of the final plat, it shall be shown that tract “A” is to be held in individual ownership by the owners of the lots served by the corporate road.

(4) Roads to be retained under corporate control shall show the following construction and maintenance obligations clause under the dedication section of the final plat:

The cost of construction and maintaining all roads not herein dedicated as “town roads” and all access roads to the plat, unless the same are dedicated as “town roads,” shall be the obligation of all of the owners of the lots in the plat and/or of any additional plats that may be served by said roads, streets, and/or alleys, and that obligation to maintain shall be concurrently the obligation of any corporation in whom title of said roads, streets and/or alleys beheld. In the event that the owners of any of these lots or the corporate owners of any of the roads, streets and/or alleys of this plat or any additional plats served by these roads, streets, and/or alleys shall petition the town council to include these roads, streets, and/or alleys in the road system, said petitioner shall be obligated to bring the same to the town standards in all respects prior to acceptance by the town.

(5) In no case shall the town accept a dedication or any obligation as to any such road, street and/or alley until the same and all roads, streets, and/or alleys connecting the same to the town road system have been brought to town road standards.

(6) If permission is obtained for the use of corporate roads or easements by means of approval of the town council, each lot shall have an equal and undivided interest in such road or easements.

(7) Where a new road connects to an existing concrete or blacktop or similarly surfaced road, the new road shall have surfacing similar to that on the existing road from the intersection of the old road surface to the right-of-way line of the existing road. The new surfacing shall be on a transition grade, approved by the public works director. [Ord. 1191 § 2 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.8, 1995.]

15.30.240 Design standards for single-family residences.

(1) Unsuitable Land. Land which the planning director or hearing examiner finds to be unsuitable for building purposes due to flooding, bad drainage, steep slopes, rock formations, or other features likely to be detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare of the future residents shall not be subdivided unless adequate safeguards are formulated by the developer and approved by the planning director or hearing examiner.

(2) Setback Lines.

(a) Setback lines may be required to be shown on plats for lots with unique physical and cultural characteristics or to reflect existing uses.

(b) Setback lines shall be provided for all residential structures and shall be indicated by a dashed line on all plats (typical insert).

(c) Unless otherwise approved by the hearing examiner or town council, setback lines shall conform to those required in the residential zone. [Ord. 1199 § 2, 2021; Ord. 963 § 7, 2005; Ord. 898 § 8, 2003; Ord. 671 § 3.4.P.9, 1995.]

15.30.250 Violations – Penalties.

(1) Any land owner or agent of the owner of land located in a subdivision or short subdivision who transfers or sells or agrees to sell or option any land by reference to or exhibition of or by any other use of a plat or map of a subdivision, before it has been approved and filed shall forfeit and pay a penalty of $1,000 for each lot or parcel so transferred, or sold or agreed or optioned to be sold. The description of the lot by metes and bounds in the instrument of transfer, agreeing or optioning, shall not exempt the transaction from the penalty, or from the remedies herein provided. The town authority may enjoin the transfer, sale agreement, or option by action in superior court or may recover the penalty in a civil action.

(2) Any person(s) who violates this section of the code shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of up to $500.00, and the town may pursue injunctive relief against violations and tax the cost of such action against the violator. [Ord. 671 § 3.4.Q, 1995.]