Chapter 22C.090
RESIDENTIAL DENSITY INCENTIVES

Sections:

22C.090.010    Purpose.

22C.090.020    Permitted locations of residential density incentives.

22C.090.030    Public benefits and density incentives.

22C.090.040    Density bonus recreation features.

22C.090.050    Rules for calculating total permitted dwelling units.

22C.090.060    Review process.

22C.090.070    Minor adjustments in final site plans.

22C.090.080    Timing.

22C.090.090    Enforcement.

22C.090.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide density incentives to developers of residential lands in exchange for public benefits to help achieve comprehensive plan goals of creation of quality places and livable neighborhoods, affordable housing, open space protection, historic preservation, energy conservation, and environmentally responsible design by:

(1) Defining in quantified terms the public benefits that can be used to earn density incentives;

(2) Providing rules and formulae for computing density incentives earned by each benefit;

(3) Providing a method to realize the development potential of sites containing unique features of size, topography, environmental features or shape; and

(4) Providing a review process to allow evaluation of proposed density increases and the public benefits offered to earn them, and to give the public opportunities to review and comment. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22C.090.020 Permitted locations of residential density incentives.

Residential density incentives (RDI) shall be used only on sites served by public sewers and only in the following zones:

(1) In R-12 through R-28 zones;

(2) Planned residential developments;

(3) In MU, CB and GC zones;

(4) SF, MF, and MU zones within the Whiskey Ridge master plan; and

(5) DC, MS, F, FR, MMF, MH1, MH2 zones within the downtown master plan. (Ord. 3219 § 1 (Exh. A), 2022; Ord. 3193 § 21, 2021; Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22C.090.030 Public benefits and density incentives.

(1) The public benefits eligible to earn increased densities, and the maximum incentive to be earned by each benefit, are set forth in subsection (4) of this section. The density incentive is expressed as additional bonus dwelling units (or fractions of dwelling units) earned per amount of public benefit provided. Where a range is specified, the earned credit will be determined by the community development director during project review.

(2) Bonus dwelling units may be earned through any combination of the listed public benefits. Substantially similar benefits cannot be applied to the same area or improvement type within a development, unless approved by the director.

(3) Residential developments with property-specific development standards requiring any public benefit enumerated in this chapter shall be eligible to earn bonus dwelling units as set forth in subsection (4) of this section when the public benefits provided exceed the basic development standards of this title. When a development is located in a special overlay district, bonus units may be earned if the development provides public benefits exceeding corresponding standards of the special district.

(4) The following are the public benefits eligible to earn density incentives through RDI review:

Benefit

Density Incentive

1. Affordable Housing

 

a. Benefit units consisting of rental housing permanently priced to serve nonelderly low-income households (i.e., no greater than 30 percent of gross income for household at or below 50 percent of Snohomish County median income, adjusted for household size).

A covenant on the site that specifies the income level being served, rent levels and requirements for reporting to the city shall be recorded at final approval.

1.5 bonus units per benefit, up to a maximum of 30 low-income units per five acres of site area; projects on sites of less than five acres shall be limited to 30 low-income units.

 

b. Benefit units consisting of rental housing designed and permanently priced to serve low-income senior citizens (i.e., no greater than 30 percent of gross income for one- or two-person households, one member of which is 62 years of age or older, with incomes at or below 50 percent of Snohomish County median income, adjusted for household size).

A covenant on the site that specifies the income level being served, rent levels and requirements for reporting to the city of Marysville shall be recorded at final approval.

1.5 bonus units per benefit, up to a maximum of 60 low-income units per five acres of site area; projects on sites of less than five acres shall be limited to 60 low-income units.

c. Benefit units consisting of mobile home park space or pad reserved for the relocation of an insignia or noninsignia mobile home that has been or will be displaced due to closure of a mobile home park located in the city of Marysville.

1.0 bonus unit per benefit unit.

2. Public Facilities (Schools, Public Buildings or Offices, Trails and Active Parks)

 

a. Dedication of public facilities site or trail right-of-way meeting city of Marysville or agency location and size standards for the proposed facility type.

10 bonus units per usable acre of public facility land or one-quarter mile of trail exceeding the minimum requirements outlined in other sections of this title.

b. Improvement of dedicated public facility site to city of Marysville standards for the proposed facility type.

2 – 10 (range dependent on facility improvements) bonus units per acre of improvement. If the applicant is dedicating the site of the improvements, the bonus units earned by improvements shall be added to the bonus units earned by the dedication.

c. Improvement of dedicated trail segment to city of Marysville standards.

1.8 bonus units per one-quarter mile of trail constructed to city standard for pedestrian trails; or

2.5 bonus units per one-quarter mile of trail constructed to city standard for multipurpose trails (pedestrian/bicycle/equestrian).

Shorter segments shall be awarded bonus units on a pro rata basis. If the applicant is dedicating the site of the improvements, the bonus units earned by improvements shall be added to the bonus units earned by the dedication.

d. Dedication of open space, meeting city of Marysville acquisition standards, to the city, county or a qualified public or private organization such as a nature conservancy.

2 bonus units per acre of open space.

3. Community Image and Identity

 

a. Contribution towards an identified capital improvement project, including, but not limited to, parks, roadways, bicycle facilities, pedestrian facilities, multi-use trails, gateway sign, etc.

$25,000 per bonus unit. Bonus units may only be claimed in whole numbers or 0.5 bonus unit increments.

4. Historic Preservation

 

a. Dedication of a site containing an historic landmark to the city of Marysville or a qualifying nonprofit organization capable of restoring and/or maintaining the premises to standards set by Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

0.5 bonus unit per acre of historic site.

b. Restoration of a site or structure designated as an historic landmark.

0.5 bonus unit per acre of site or 1,000 square feet of floor area of building restored.

5. Locational/Mixed Use

 

a. Developments located within one-quarter mile of transit routes, and within one mile of fire and police stations, medical, shopping, and other community services.

5 percent increase above the base density of the zone.

b. Mixed use developments over one acre in size having a combination of commercial and residential uses.

10 percent increase above the base density of the zone.

6. Storm Drainage Facilities

 

Dual use retention/detention facilities.

 

a. Developments that incorporate active recreation facilities that utilize the storm water facility tract.

5 bonus units per acre of the storm water facility tract used for active recreation.

b. Developments that incorporate passive recreation facilities that utilize the storm water facility tract.

2 bonus units per acre of the storm water facility tract used for passive recreation.

7. Project Design

 

a. Preservation of substantial overstory vegetation (not included within a required NGPA). No increase in permitted density shall be permitted for sites that have been cleared of evergreen trees within two years prior to the date of application for land use approval. Density increases granted which were based upon preservation of existing trees shall be forfeited if such trees are removed between the time of preliminary and final approval and issuance of building permits.

5 percent increase above the base density of the zone.

b. Retention or creation of a perimeter buffer, composed of existing trees and vegetation, or additional plantings, in order to improve design or compatibility between neighboring land uses.

1 bonus unit per 500 lineal feet of perimeter buffer retained, enhanced or created (when not otherwise required by city code).

c. Installation of perimeter fencing and landscaping, at least six feet in width, in order to improve design or compatibility between neighboring land uses.

 

This benefit shall not be pursued when any of the following circumstances apply: (i) fencing or landscaping is otherwise required by code, or (ii) landscaping is voluntarily provided in order to deviate from other code requirements.

1 bonus unit per 500 lineal feet of perimeter fencing or landscaping installed (when not otherwise required by code).

d. Project area assembly involving 20 acres or more, incorporating a mixture of housing types (detached/attached) and densities.

10 percent increase above the base density of the zone.

e. Private park and open space facilities integrated into project design.

5 bonus units per improved acre of park and open space area. Ongoing facility maintenance provisions are required as part of RDI approval.

f. Enhanced entry landscaping.

1 bonus unit per 2,500 square feet of additional enhanced entry landscaped area (when not otherwise required by code). A minimum of 1,000 square feet of entry landscaping of exceptional, outstanding or unique design, as determined by the director, must be provided in order to qualify for this benefit.

8. Green Building

 

a. Construction of a certified Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold or better rating, Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard (ESDS), Built Green 4-Star or better rating, or other equivalent certified energy efficient unit as approved by the director.

 

Certification due 120 days after final building inspections granted, or a certificate of occupancy is issued.

0.20 bonus unit for each certified unit constructed.

(5) All benefits shall be completed prior to final subdivision, short subdivision, or binding site plan being recorded, or prior to granting a certificate of occupancy, unless otherwise specified in subsection (4) of this section. (Ord. 3219 § 2 (Exh. B), 2022; Ord. 3074 § 1, 2017; Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22C.090.040 Density bonus recreation features.

To qualify as bonus units, the recreational amenities listed in this section must be provided in excess of the recreational amenities otherwise required in this code for the development.

(1) Active recreation features qualifying for a density bonus shall include one or more of the following:

(a) Multipurpose sport court;

(b) Basketball court;

(c) Tennis court;

(d) Tot lot with play equipment (soft surface);

(e) Any other active recreation use approved by the director.

(2) Passive recreation qualifying for density bonus shall include one or more of the following:

(a) Open play areas;

(b) Pedestrian or bicycle paths;

(c) Picnic areas with tables and benches;

(d) Gazebos, benches and other resident gathering areas;

(e) Community gardens;

(f) Nature interpretive areas;

(g) Waterfalls, fountains, streams;

(h) Any other passive recreation use approved by the director.

(3) Design in ponds as dual use storm water retention/detention and/or recreation facilities.

(a) The facility shall be designed with emphasis as a recreation area, not a storm water control structure. The majority of the storm water retention/detention tract shall be designed as usable open recreation area.

(b) Control structures shall not be prominently placed. Care should be taken to blend them into the perimeter of the recreation area.

(c) The number of accesses shall be minimized, and the accesses should be paved or designed to serve as both an access and an amenity. For example, an access could be painted to allow for hopscotch or other recreational activities.

(d) Ponds used as recreation areas shall have a curvilinear design with a shallow water safety bench. (Ord. 3219 § 3 (Exh. C), 2022; Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22C.090.050 Rules for calculating total permitted dwelling units.

The total dwelling units permitted through RDI review shall be calculated using the following steps:

(1) Calculate the number of dwellings permitted by the base density of the site in accordance with Chapters 22C.010 and 22C.020 MMC;

(2) Calculate the total number of bonus dwelling units earned by providing the public benefits listed in MMC 22C.090.030;

(3) Add the number of bonus dwelling units earned to the number of dwelling units permitted by the base density;

(4) Round fractional dwelling units down to the nearest whole number; and

(5) On sites with more than one zone or zone density, the maximum density shall be calculated for the site area of each zone. Bonus units may be reallocated within the zone in the same manner set forth for base units in MMC 22C.010.230 and 22C.020.200. (Ord. 3074 § 2, 2017; Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22C.090.060 Review process.

(1) All RDI proposals shall be reviewed concurrently with a primary proposal to consider the proposed site plan and methods used to earn extra density as follows:

(a) For the purpose of this section, a primary proposal is defined as a proposed rezone, subdivision or short subdivision, binding site plan, or site plan review;

(b) When the primary proposal requires a public hearing, the public hearing on the primary proposal shall serve as the hearing on the RDI proposal, and the reviewing authority shall make a consolidated decision on the proposed development and use of RDI;

(c) When the primary proposal does not require a public hearing under this title, the director shall administratively make a consolidated decision on the proposed development and use of RDI; and

(d) The notice for the RDI proposal also shall include the development’s proposed density and a general description of the public benefits offered to earn extra density.

(2) RDI applications that propose to earn bonus units by dedicating real property or public facilities shall include a letter from the applicable receiving agency certifying that the proposed dedication qualifies for the density incentive and will be accepted by the agency or other qualifying organization. The city of Marysville shall also approve all proposals prior to granting density incentives to the project. The proposal must meet the intent of the RDI chapter and be consistent with the city of Marysville comprehensive plan.

(3) The following are required for RDI applications that propose to earn bonus units using green building techniques:

(a) At the time of preliminary land use (subdivision, short subdivision, binding site plan or site plan) application, the applicant shall:

(i) Identify the green building program being used, and the name of the third-party reviewer, if applicable;

(ii) Identify the lots that will use the green building techniques; and

(iii) Provide a completed draft green building program (e.g., Built Green) checklist identifying the green building techniques to be used.

(b) At the time of building permit application, the applicant shall:

(i) Check the “green building” box on the combined building permit application;

(ii) Provide the name of the green building program being used, and the name of the third-party reviewer, if applicable; and

(iii) Provide a completed green building program checklist identifying the green building techniques to be used with each house model.

(c) Within 120 days of final building inspections being granted, or a certificate of occupancy being issued, the applicant shall provide the city with a copy of the green building certification. (Ord. 3219 § 4 (Exh. D), 2022; Ord. 3074 § 3, 2017; Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22C.090.070 Minor adjustments in final site plans.

When issuing building permits in an approved RDI development, the department may allow minor adjustments in the approved site plan involving the location or dimensions of buildings or landscaping, provided such adjustments shall not:

(1) Increase the number of dwelling units;

(2) Decrease the amount of perimeter landscaping (if any);

(3) Decrease residential parking facilities (unless the number of dwelling units is decreased);

(4) Locate structures closer to any site boundary line; or

(5) Change the locations of any points of ingress and egress to the site. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22C.090.080 Timing.

Timing of RDI public benefit payment, covenant recording, dedication, and/or improvements is specified in the eligible public benefits table, MMC 22C.090.030(4) or (5). Public benefits cannot be deferred or bonded. When extenuating circumstances exist, and on a case-by-case basis, the community development director may provide flexibility for the completion of a public benefit. (Ord. 3219 § 5 (Exh. E), 2022; Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22C.090.090 Enforcement.

In the event the approved residential density option is no longer feasible or cannot be achieved prior to final subdivision, short subdivision, or binding site plan being recorded, or prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the project proponent shall be required to choose a new benefit from the benefit options outlined in MMC 22C.090.030(4) in order to achieve the density bonus lot or unit, or the bonus lot or unit shall be forfeited. (Ord. 3219 § 6 (Exh. F), 2022).