Chapter 17.22


17.22.010    Scope.

17.22.020    Landscaping.

17.22.030    Yard setbacks.

17.22.040    Fences and hedges.

17.22.050    Accessory buildings.

17.22.060    Required open space.

17.22.070    Outside storage, sales and displays.

17.22.080    Vehicle parking.

17.22.090    Antennas.

17.22.100    Barrier-free access.

17.22.110    Undergrounding of utilities.

17.22.120    Comprehensive plan – Concurrency and consistency required.

17.22.130    Accessory dwelling unit.

17.22.140    Marijuana.

Legislative history: Ords. 91-254, 91-262, 95-349, 95-356 and 97-406.

17.22.010 Scope.

The provisions and standards in this chapter apply to all uses and structures in all zone districts. (Ord. 2009-702 § 2 (Exh. C); Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.020 Landscaping.

All lots and developments shall be generously landscaped, consistent with the natural environment of Mill Creek and appropriate to the planned use. Retention and enhancement of natural landscaping is encouraged. Landscaping design objectives and standards are contained in Chapter 17.34 MCMC. (Ord. 2009-702 § 2 (Exh. C); Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.030 Yard setbacks.

A. No yard setback shall be reduced in size or area below the minimum dimensions required by this title except:

1. As permitted through the variance process in Chapter 17.30 MCMC;

2. Under the provisions of subsection C of this section;

3. Through approval of a permitted modification as a component of a planned area development in accordance with MCMC Title 16; or

4. As allowed by MCMC 17.22.040(F) or 17.22.050.

B. No portion of any principal building or structure over 30 inches above the finished grade shall extend into a required yard setback except as specifically provided elsewhere in this title. Eaves, bay windows, chimneys, flue chases, and the like may extend a maximum of 18 inches into a required yard setback.

C. Yard setback requirements may be reduced by the director up to 50 percent of the required dimensions if necessary for the reasonable use of the property, and upon a showing of unusual circumstances because of topography, vegetation or irregular lot shape. (Ord. 2009-702 § 2 (Exh. C); Ord. 2006-633 § 2; Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.040 Fences and hedges.

A. Natural evergreen screening is encouraged. Temporary fencing may be approved if erected simultaneously with permanent plantings.

B. A permit shall be required prior to the erection of any permanent fence within the city. All permanent fencing in residential zones shall be of ornamental metal, wood, masonry, or some combination of the three. Stained or natural wood finish is encouraged. Exceptions: (1) black vinyl chain link fencing is permitted on the side and rear yard property lines in residential zones adjacent to open space tracts, if supported on wood rail-type fences; (2) fencing around critical areas, designated open space areas, and detention ponds in residential zones may be constructed of black vinyl chain link and can be supported on black metal posts and rails or wooden posts and rails.

C. No fence shall be permitted in any roadway buffer/cutting preserve. No fence or structure over 42 inches in height shall be permitted in any required front yard setback area within residential zones. Hedges within the front yard setback that are parallel or substantially parallel to the street shall not exceed 42 inches in height.

D. In nonresidential zones wood or black vinyl chain link fencing shall be permitted.

E. No fence or boundary structure shall exceed 78 inches in height from the finished grade. Arbors, trellises and other gate treatments may extend up to 90 inches from finished grade, provided such arbor, gate or trellis width does not exceed six feet.

F. At street intersections, driveways, corner or radius lots or other potential traffic conflict points, no visually obstructive plantings or structures shall exceed 30 inches in height from grade in an area that would obstruct the required sight distance as set forth in the current edition of the AASHTO Geometric Design Manual as determined by the city engineer.

G. Property Buffer. Fences, decks and other accessory structures that do not require tree removal may be allowed in property buffers after review and approval by the director.

H. Roadway Buffer/Cutting Preserve. Vegetation removal and clearing is generally prohibited in roadway buffers/cutting preserves, except where necessary for residential access roads or minor encroachments for necessary public improvements such as sidewalks. In areas where native vegetation is sparse or nonexistent, supplemental landscaping may be allowed upon review and approval by the design review board in accordance with Chapter 17.34 MCMC.

I. Noise Attenuation Walls and Highway Screening Fences. Walls and fences constructed adjacent to SR 527 and SR 96 shall have a maximum height of 15 feet. In order to provide visual relief, said fences and walls shall incorporate the following features, subject to design review board approval:

1. Use of cut-outs or breaks in the continuous wall plane with landscaping separating the wall sections.

2. Where possible, articulation of planes every 100 linear feet of continuous wall plane should occur through the use of landscaped recesses being approximately eight feet in length with a depth of four feet.

3. Planting of street trees or landscaping approximately every 30 feet on center or adjusted as needed for species or available site.

4. Combinations of materials, colors and textures.

5. Incorporation of trellises and other architectural features.

6. Provision of pilasters, columns, or other vertical or horizontal features at every change in direction, and on the average of every 25 feet of contiguous wall.

7. Approval of the design review board is required pursuant to Chapter 17.34 MCMC. (Ord. 2013-763 § 2; Ord. 2009-702 § 2 (Exh. C); Ord. 2008-682 § 2; Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.050 Accessory buildings.

A. No accessory building shall be located in any front yard setback area.

B. No accessory building shall be located closer than five feet to any lot line.

C. No accessory building shall have a gross floor area greater than 600 square feet, except accessory dwelling units in detached dwellings in accordance with MCMC 17.22.130.

D. No accessory building housing livestock or for storage of malodorous substances shall be located within 40 feet of a lot line or principal building.

E. The allowable height for accessory buildings is 15 feet for single-story structures and 25 feet for two-story structures. (Ord. 2021-872 § (2)(a); Ord. 2009-702 § 2 (Exh. C); Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.060 Required open space.

On-site open space and recreational facilities are required in an amount adequate to meet the recreational, health, environmental and safety needs of the residents, occupants, guests and visitors of the development. That determination shall be made in accordance with the following standards and criteria:

A. The amount of open space and type of recreational facilities shall meet the specific needs of the residents, guests and visitors.

B. The amount of open space and recreational facilities should be proportional to the density of the development (i.e., as density increases and/or as lots become smaller, there is a greater need for common open space available to all of the residents, guests and visitors to the development). In multi-family developments without individual yards, total common open space should be equivalent to 250 square feet per dwelling unit. Single-family developments located more than one-quarter of a mile from a public park shall provide mini-parks and/or open space proportional to serve the density of the development and the need of the local residents.

C. The amount of open space and recreational facilities should meet the purpose and intent of the zone district in which the development is located.

D. The open space and recreational facilities should be readily accessible to all dwelling units in the development.

E. The open space and recreational facilities shall be appropriately screened from parking areas.

F. The length of the open space area shall be no more than twice the width.

G. The open space area may be located in any required setback area, except street setbacks, so long as the uses thereof are compatible and permissible.

H. The open space shall not have more than five percent grade. (Ord. 2010-718 § 18 (Exh. R); Ord. 2009-702 § 2 (Exh. C); Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.070 Outside storage, sales and displays.

A. No outside storage, including garbage cans, firewood, construction materials, fuel or other tanks or any other materials not permanently affixed to the ground or buildings, is permitted in any street setback area.

B. All outside storage, when permitted elsewhere in the code, shall be enclosed by a sight-obscuring screen at least 78 inches high measured from the nearest street grade elevation. MCMC 15.16.100 provides additional requirements for screening storage of materials and equipment. Fences required for screening shall be landscaped at the base for a minimum of 18 inches horizontally from any portion of the fence. Fences and hedges required for screening may exceed the height limitations of other fences and hedges except at street intersections and within required setback areas. Fences shall require a building permit.

C. When permitted elsewhere in the code, outside sales, display and eating/drinking establishment seating shall comply with the following performance standards:

1. Maximum display height shall be six feet;

2. Maximum display depth shall be four feet (depth of one wood pallet);

3. Minimum pedestrian access shall be four feet clear access at all times on designated pedestrian surfaces. Minimum ADA access requirements shall be maintained at all times;

4. Display areas shall be located immediately adjacent to an authorized retail/commercial/business use;

5. Temporary displays or sales located within parking lot areas shall require administrative approval by the director of community development.

The application of these performance standards is depicted on the accompanying illustration.

Outside Display and Sales Performance Standards

(Ord. 2009-702 § 2 (Exh. C); Ord. 2008-682 § 2; Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.080 Vehicle parking.

A. All passenger vehicles including pickup trucks shall be parked in a designated driveway, parking space, carport or garage.

B. No recreation vehicle, boat, trailer, or junk vehicle shall be parked or stored in any front yard or front yard setback area including the driveway, except that recreation vehicles and boats may be temporarily parked in the front yard setback area for purposes of cleaning and/or loading for a period not to exceed 72 hours. Any vehicles stored in a side yard shall be fully screened from view from any public right-of-way; see MCMC 17.22.070.

C. Commercial Vehicles. No commercial vehicles or combination of commercial vehicle and trailer, or any type of motorized construction equipment, shall be parked on any lot in a residential zone except for motorized construction equipment currently being used in conjunction with an approved construction project. (Ord. 2019-846 §§ 3, 4; Ord. 2010-717 § 2 (Exh. B); Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.090 Antennas.

A. Television Antennas. No outside television antennas, except as allowed elsewhere in this code, shall be permitted in areas served by community television cable. In such cases, antennas shall be fully screened from the right-of-way.

B. Satellite Dish Antennas.

1. Residential Districts. Satellite dish antennas four feet or more in diameter require approval of a conditional use permit. Satellite dish antennas less than four feet in diameter are not regulated in accordance with the Federal Telecommunications Act.

2. Commercial Districts. Satellite dish antennas over four feet in diameter require a conditional use permit. (Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.100 Barrier-free access.

All development shall comply with Chapter 70.92 RCW and Washington State Rules and Regulations for Barrier-Free Design, as now or hereafter amended. (Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.110 Undergrounding of utilities.

A. For any private development that includes new construction typically associated with a binding site plan, plat, short plat, or a conditional use permit subject to the provisions of the development code, the developer shall place underground all new and existing wiring and related facilities for all utilities, including but not limited to electrical, cable television and communication, unless otherwise provided in this section.

B. This section shall not apply to electrical distribution substations or to electrical lines of greater than 50 KV capacity unless the director determines that undergrounding of such lines has become economically feasible.

C. Wiring and/or related facilities for existing above ground utilities may remain above ground only when the directors of community development and public works determine all of the following circumstances are present:

1. Existing utility service is within the public right-of-way or utility easements.

2. One or more of the following site conditions are present:

a. Subsurface soil or water conditions exist that may make undergrounding technically unpractical, or

b. The utilities are located along the following roadways:

i. SR 527 (Bothell-Everett Highway).

ii. SR 96 (132nd /128th Street Southeast).

iii. 35th Avenue Southeast.

iv. 164th Street Southeast.

v. Mill Creek Road.

vi. Seattle Hill Road.

vii. 9th Avenue Southeast.

D. Utility cabinets and boxes may be placed or remain above ground when the directors of community development and public works determine all of the following conditions are met:

1. The above ground utility cabinets and/or boxes are used in conjunction with and/or are ancillary to existing or new underground utilities; and

2. The above ground utility cabinets and/or boxes are located, designed, and/or otherwise screened to minimize visual impacts to the public view.

E. Repair, maintenance or upgrading of existing underground service shall not be relocated overhead.

F. Any deviation from the requirements of this section shall require a variance under Chapter 17.30 MCMC. (Ord. 2012-743 § 3; Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.120 Comprehensive plan – Concurrency and consistency required.

All new developments within the city shall be consistent with the provisions of the comprehensive plan, including but not limited to the following:

A. All developments within the city shall be consistent with the land use plan map as adopted in the land use element of the comprehensive plan.

B. All developments within the city shall be consistent with the applicable goals and policies of the comprehensive plan.

C. Developments shall not cause a reduction in the level of service for transportation and/or neighborhood park facilities below the minimum standards established within the comprehensive plan and capital facilities plan, unless improvements or strategies to accommodate the impacts of the development are made concurrent with the development.

For the purpose of this section, “concurrent with the development” is defined as the required improvements or strategies are in place at the time of occupancy, or that a financial commitment is in place to complete the improvements or strategies within six years of occupancy.

D. Site design and frontage improvements shall be consistent with the streetscape plans as established in the streetscape element of the comprehensive plan. A roadway buffer/cutting preserve is required adjacent to all arterial and collector roads as identified in the transportation element of the comprehensive plan, with the exception of North Creek Drive between Trillium Boulevard and Dumas Road. The minimum width of a roadway buffer/cutting preserve widths adjacent to commercial uses is 35 feet. The minimum width of a roadway buffer/cutting preserve adjacent to residential uses is 50 feet.

E. If concurrency cannot be met in accordance with the comprehensive plan and adopted development regulations, the city has the right to disapprove the proposed development application. (Ord. 2015-803 § 9 (Exh. A); Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.130 Accessory dwelling unit.

A. Application. The owner of a lot or residence intending to develop an accessory dwelling unit shall make application to the department of community development on forms provided by the department. The department shall maintain a file of all approved accessory units and shall submit a periodic report to the city council on the number of accessory units permitted.

B. Size and Number. An accessory dwelling unit may be permitted in either the primary residence or an accessory building. Accessory dwelling units shall not be less than 400 nor more than 800 square feet, and in any event not more than 30 percent of the gross floor area of the residence. There shall be no more than one accessory unit per lot or principal residence.

C. Parking. One off-street space is required in addition to the number of spaces required for the primary residence, except for dwelling units within one-quarter mile of a major transit stop, which shall not require an additional space. However, off-street parking can be required if the city has determined that the accessory dwelling unit is in an area with a lack of access to street parking capacity, physical space impediments, or other reasons supported by evidence that would make on-street parking infeasible for the accessory dwelling unit.

D. Appearance. One entrance is allowed on the front or street side for residences with an accessory unit. Additional entrances (if any) shall be located on the rear or sides. Exterior alterations or additions for an accessory dwelling unit shall be consistent with the design of the primary building including matching materials, colors, window style, and existing facade.

E. Allowance in New or Existing Residential. An accessory dwelling unit may be established in either existing or new residences.

F. Repealed by Ord. 2006-633.

G. Compliance with Standards. An accessory unit shall comply with all zoning and building code requirements.

H. Water and Sewer. When submitting an accessory dwelling unit application, the applicant must provide documentation from the local water and sewer district that the water supply is potable and of adequate flow and that the existing or proposed sewage system is capable of handling the additional demand placed upon it by the accessory dwelling unit.

I. Home Occupations. A single home occupation is allowed per lot or principal residence containing an accessory unit.

J. Recording. The owner of a lot or principal residence containing an accessory dwelling unit shall record a covenant with the Snohomish County auditor acknowledging the provisions of this section and further acknowledging notice to future owners of the limitations of this section and that failure to comply with the provisions of this section will require restoration of the site to a single-family dwelling. A copy of the covenant shall be provided to the department of community development for review prior to approval of the accessory dwelling unit. (Ord. 2021-872 § (2)(b); Ord. 2011-723 § 2 (Exh. B); Ord. 2006-633 § 2; Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.22.140 Marijuana.

No person or entity may produce, grow, manufacture, process, accept donations for, or sell marijuana or marijuana infused products within the city. (Ord. 2014-782 § 1)