Chapter 17.05


17.05.010    Adoption of state policy.

17.05.020    Earth.

17.05.030    Air.

17.05.040    Water.

17.05.050    Plants and animals.

17.05.060    Energy and natural resources.

17.05.070    Environmental health.

17.05.080    Land and shoreline use.

17.05.085    Shoreline Management Act Guidelines.

17.05.090    Housing.

17.05.100    Aesthetics.

17.05.110    Light and glare.

17.05.120    Recreation.

17.05.140    Transportation.

17.05.150    Public services.

17.05.160    Utilities.

17.05.010 Adoption of state policy.

The city adopts the specific policies set forth in this chapter relating to individual elements of the environment as listed in the SEPA guidelines, Chapter 197-11 WAC, promulgated by the Conference on Environmental Policies and the Department of Ecology. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.020 Earth.

Existing ordinances administered by the building and engineering departments provide standards for safe development with respect to slope stability and the suitability of soil-bearing capacity for placement of structures. However, development may comply with these standards yet fail to minimize the disturbance of existing vegetation and soils, thereby affecting the use and amenities of nearby properties and the community in general (for example, by use of retaining structures, a project may be “safe” even though the natural terrain and vegetation are greatly disturbed). It is the intent of this chapter to:

A. Encourage land development practices which minimize disturbance to vegetation and soils, adopting development plans to the natural topographical features to the extent feasible and particularly avoiding disturbance of steep slopes, where the visual impact, erosion potential and opportunity for landslides is greatest;

B. Encourage prompt development and/or restoration of property after land clearing through phased clearing and grading, hydro-seeding, and other appropriate engineering techniques;

C. Encourage applications for plats, and other site plans, to be submitted as planned unit developments for greater flexibility in design, thereby helping to avoid disturbance of natural terrain and vegetation, and the consequent impacts mentioned above, which sometimes occur because of adherence to rigid standards;

D. Areas which are so steep that development at the allowed density is believed inadvisable shall be classified as environmentally sensitive areas. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.030 Air.

Various federal, state, regional and local agencies regulate the emission of dust, dirt, ashes, smoke, fumes, heat, vapors or gases which can impair the health of humans, animals and vegetation, or damage property beyond the parcel of the use creating the emission. Emissions of any odors which are not otherwise prohibited by law, but which are detrimental or disturbing to surrounding property or individuals, shall be mitigated by installation and maintenance of filters, or such other means as are technologically feasible, or by modification or denial of projects, or parts of projects. Where necessary, before-and-after observations and measurement of particulate matter and gases may be required by independent air quality consultants as a means of monitoring and insuring compliance, and requiring corrections. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.040 Water.

The city currently has a regulation administered by the public works department which regulates runoff and requires on-site stormwater retention, and requires interim controls of runoff and erosion during construction (Chapter 13.40 LMC). In addition, the public works department regulates the location and grade of buildings within areas subject to flooding, in connection with the National Flood Control Program per Resolution Nos. 75-7 and 75-8. It is city policy to:

A. Encourage development practices which respect and preserve the city’s watercourses, integrating wherever possible stormwater control facilities and natural creeks, ponds and other water bodies into the design of projects to preserve water quality, control sedimentation and to preserve and enhance the aesthetic quality of the waters and nearby developments;

B. Enhance the suitability of waters for fish and other aquatic life;

C. Preserve adjacent wetlands as habitat for small animal life which is presently supported in such areas;

D. All areas of significance as wetlands, streams and water bodies shall be classified as environmentally sensitive areas. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.050 Plants and animals.

The city presently has an ordinance which regulates clearing, Ordinance No. 1035, codified in Chapter 21.08 LMC. It requires a permit for clearing, and criteria to be used in evaluating permits, but does not explicitly require that trees be preserved. It is the policy of the city that:

A. Clearing permits and other administrative actions may be conditioned or denied in the case of absolute, unselective clearing which is not for immediate development or any of the exempted actions stated in LMC 21.08.060, or otherwise condoned or required in the interests of health, safety and welfare.

B. Unnecessary disruption to the landscape is to be avoided. Vegetation must not be cleared until shortly before construction begins.

C. The city shall discourage clearing of vegetation and removal of groundcover which maintains slope stability, reduces erosion, shades shorelines, and provides aquatic habitat.

D. The city shall identify all areas of biological significance. Such areas shall be classified as environmentally sensitive areas. Mitigative measures shall be required of developments, which could cause irreversible damage to such areas. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.060 Energy and natural resources.

It is the policy of the city to generally encourage efficient use of renewable and nonrenewable resources, and to encourage projects which incorporate energy conservation features in design and construction. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.070 Environmental health.

A. Most health-related services are provided by the Snohomish County health district, of which Lynnwood is a part. Any activity which would expose the city to health or safety hazards not covered by the regulations of the health department or other agencies should be discouraged. Proposals involving the potential risk of an explosion or the release of hazardous substances should be required to include specific measures which will ensure the public health, safety and welfare.

B. The State Noise Control Act of 1974, Chapter 70.107 RCW, and Chapter 173-60 WAC, regulate most sources of noise, except motor vehicle engine noise. According to WAC 173-60-110(2), local regulations (except nuisance regulations) cannot impose noise controls differing from the state law. It is the city’s policy to minimize the exposure of city residents to the harmful physiological and psychological effects or adverse impacts on property values due to excessive noise, in accordance with standards of the State Noise Control Act, and any other applicable laws, as presently existing or as hereafter adopted or amended.

1. Project should be so oriented that physical barriers to noise are located in the noise path from potential sources of excessive or potentially excessive noise to areas or buildings which might be adversely impacted. Doors and windows, and any exterior equipment such as roof-top air conditioning shall be so located or buffered that noise is minimized.

2. When deemed necessary, the responsible official is authorized to require applicants for city permits to provide documentation by a qualified consultant that the project will not exceed noise standards or violate nuisance regulations pertaining to noise, and provide recommendations from such a consultant as to how noise can be minimized. The responsible official is authorized to condition or deny projects which would violate state and local standards. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.080 Land and shoreline use.

The city has an adopted comprehensive plan which is the guide for land use decisions. The comprehensive plan is updated from time-to-time in response to applications or other events which prompt review. Amendments to the zoning map, property subdivisions, and other land development approvals, even when consistent with the comprehensive plan, may have significant adverse impacts, which site-screen standards such as fences and densely planted site-screens are not always capable of totally mitigating. It is the policy of the city that:

A. All proposals to amend the comprehensive plan shall be reviewed not only on the basis of whether or not the proposed use would have adverse impacts, but also shall be particularly scrutinized with respect to whether or not the proposal is precedent setting with a high probability of leading to additional amendments of a similar nature (i.e., cumulative impacts).

B. Amendments to the zoning map, property subdivisions, and other land development approvals, even when consistent with the comprehensive plan, may have significant adverse impacts. Precedent-setting actions and land development proposals with potential for adverse impacts should be disclosed to the public through circulation of an EIS, mitigated by modification of the project, or both.

C. In order to fulfill the intent of SEPA, Chapter 197-11 WAC, a series of related actions should be reviewed as one. For example, a proposed private construction project may require any or all of the following approvals which are all subject to SEPA: comprehensive plan amendment, rezone, plan, conditional use permit, variance (if in an environmentally sensitive area), building permit. Such a series of functionally related and interdependent actions should be considered from start to finish in their totality, as a single action; provided, that future elements of the total proposal that are speculative in nature need not be considered.

D. If a new use or zone that did not previously exist nearby is being introduced into an area, such as property adjacent to a single-family residential zone being reclassified to a nonresidential zone, or property adjacent to a stable single-family residential area being reclassified to multiple-family on the comprehensive plan or zoning map, it is the policy of the city that, in such cases, the intruding use or zone should bear the burden of the impacts; i.e., the transition from one use to another should occur within the property proposed to be changed. A portion of the property being changed may be required to be developed at approximately the intensity of use existing on the adjacent developed property which is zoned or developed more restrictively and any development rights thus lost can be transferred to the other portion of the property by developing it more intensively. In order for this policy to be implemented, rezones, plats and other such applications should be submitted as planned unit development applications, thereby creating necessary flexibility in site plans.

E. Fill-in development of vacant parcels which were passed over by earlier development, but which are served by utilities and streets which meet current standards should be encouraged in order to maximize efficiency of existing capital improvements.

F. All parties connected with development shall be encouraged to incorporate open space into developments through setbacks, view corridors and recreation areas. Avoiding development on steep slopes, retaining open drainage ways and preserving areas with natural or scenic value can achieve open space amenities often with little or no sacrifice of development potentials. (See LMC 17.05.100, Aesthetics).

G. Whenever possible, boundaries between uses should occur along physical features such as water or slopes. Streets as boundaries should be avoided except in the case of arterials of such a scale that any use which can tolerate the street would be unlikely to be adversely impacted by any uses located across the street.

H. Where intensely zoned properties are required to provide screening next to more restrictively zoned properties, the site plan should include sound and sight buffers such as mounded site-screen planters and/or placing of blank walls next to site-screen plantings, such walls being textured or otherwise modified to soften their appearance. Textured walls are particularly needed if the height of buildings of the more intense use is considerably greater than the height of the more restrictive property.

I. Accessory activities and uses such as off-street parking, loading and unloading or outdoor activity should be located away from property lines of more restrictive zoned property or less intense uses.

J. There are no shorelines, as defined in the Shorelines Management Act, in the city of Lynnwood. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.085 Shoreline Management Act Guidelines.

The city has adopted the Shoreline Management Act Guidelines for the purpose of establishing a program for the administration and enforcement of the permit system for shoreline development.

The Shoreline Management Act Guidelines contained in Chapter 173-14 WAC as now or hereafter amended are hereby adopted as the official program for the administration and enforcement of the permit system required by RCW 90.58.140. The process and procedure for the granting, denying, revising or rescinding of any and all shoreline permits shall comply with said guidelines. (Ord. 1627 § 1, 1988)

17.05.090 Housing.

The provision and maintenance of adequate housing for the residents of Lynnwood, for all income levels and all housing types is encouraged.

A. When reviewing nonresidential proposals which involve discretion, the extent to which nonresidential development would reduce existing housing stock, or reduce land available for residential development, should be weighed.

B. Residential areas shall be protected from encroachment by developments which detract from the desirability of the area, and thereby encourage people to seek housing elsewhere, or which would influence available residential land towards nonresidential use. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.100 Aesthetics.

A. Development which maintains and improves the existing aesthetic character of the community should be encouraged. It is the policy of the city that:

1. Existing vegetation should be preserved for the maximum possible time before being cleared for development.

2. Building designers should strive for an architectural style which will be harmonious with surrounding buildings.

3. Utility lines shall be underground wherever possible.

4. Owners of signs at business, commercial and industrial establishments should minimize use of flashing and blinking features, especially near residential development, and the choice of colors and lighting should be selected with the purpose of not being offensive to nearby residents. Passive colors are favored as opposed to bright colors.

5. Proposed new structures shall be reviewed and conditioned with respect to any adverse impacts relating to the height, bulk or orientation, including any accessory structures such as signs. Building surfaces exposed to public view from residential areas should be so constructed as to soften the visual impact by use of techniques including, but not limited to, texturing, use of conservative tones, vertical or horizontal extensions of walls to conceal mechanical equipment, and screening storage areas or debris with plans and fences. Orientation of access, driveways, walkways, and fenestration should be reviewed as it relates to possible loss of privacy on abutting properties. Protection of existing scenic areas open to the public should be maximized.

B. In order to implement this policy, the responsible official is authorized to require site plans, building elevations, descriptions of exterior materials, and colors or tones. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.110 Light and glare.

It is the policy of the city that any activity shall not produce light or glare so as to create a nuisance beyond the parcel within which the use is located. In particular:

A. Building materials with high light reflective qualities should not be used in construction of buildings where reflected sunlight or artificial light would throw intense glare on adjacent areas or streets.

B. Sources of artificial illumination, including signs, shall be hooded or shaded in those instances where direct light from high-intensity lamps would result in glare upon surrounding areas or cast excessive light upon any residential use or street. Where necessary, the height or location of light sources shall be modified in order to reduce the impact of light or glare, or to enhance the capability of shielding or screening light sources, and the intensity and/or orientation of light sources shall be modified where necessary to reduce light and glare to tolerable levels.

C. Landscaping shall be the preferred means of screening emission of light and glare to nearby properties, but should be supplemented where necessary by solid or other sight and glare barriers.

D. All new or modified outdoor lighting shall conform to Chapter 21.17 LMC, Outdoor Lighting Standards. (Ord. 3178 § 3, 2016; Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.120 Recreation.

Protection and expansion of existing open space areas for future generations should be promoted. It is the policy of the city to:

A. Encourage use of planned unit development procedures in order to facilitate the preservation of such areas;

B. Coordinate provisions for city parks, open space, and pedestrian and bicycle trails with recreational facilities in new developments. Such facilities may be provided as a condition to project approval. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.140 Transportation.

A. It is the policy of the city to:

1. Approve new streets which are beneficial to the public in consideration of efficiency of circulation, vehicular and pedestrian safety, influence on the amenities and livability of the community and neighborhoods, and economy of the use of the land;

2. Encourage, through land use and platting decisions, directing increased traffic volumes onto streets with sufficient capacity to provide safe and efficient traffic flow or where adequate traffic improvements will be provided in conjunction with the development, require adequate vehicular and pedestrian access to new developments, and minimize pedestrian-vehicular conflict points;

3. Access to properties should be oriented away from properties which are used, zoned or shown on the comprehensive plan less intensively;

4. Approve neighborhood street systems which are designed for a relatively uniform low volume of traffic, and which are designed to minimize through traffic movements and discourage excessive speeds in residential areas, but which also minimize the need for circuitous travel;

5. Facilitate, to the extent possible, maximum efficiency and safety to the through street systems;

6. Encourage shared driveways of properties which are similarly used;

7. Encourage land uses which would generate relatively low volumes of traffic, or complementary peak traffic periods, or would have the potential to increase the use of public transportation systems;

8. In order for the responsible official to review proposals with respect to these policies, plans should be provided for any proposed action (unless waived by the responsible official), showing ingress and egress.

B. Traffic studies may be required by the responsible official, when deemed necessary by the responsible official in order to evaluate the traffic impacts of the proposal. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.150 Public services.

It is the policy of the city to encourage and approve development at an intensity which is related to the adequacy of public services. If improvements are inadequate, proposed actions such as rezones to more intense uses should be discouraged. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)

17.05.160 Utilities.

It is the policy of the city that development should be encouraged and approved only where adequate utilities, including water, sewer, power, communications and drainage facilities are available or will be made available in conjunction with the proposal. Provision of utilities shall conform to and reinforce the land use types, patterns and intensities desired by the city. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 1984)