Chapter 21.50


21.50.010    Purpose.

21.50.020    Applicability.

21.50.030    Relationship to other plans required by this title.

21.50.040    Waiver of requirements – Procedure.

21.50.050    General improvement standards.

21.50.060    Streets – Access requirements.

21.50.070    Streets – Required improvements.

21.50.080    Streets – Relationship to adjoining development.

21.50.090    Alleys.

21.50.100    Lot dimensions.

21.50.010 Purpose.

The design standards in this chapter implement the goals and policies of the Oak Harbor comprehensive plan for the division of land within city boundaries into lots, tracts, and parcels, as well as set requirements for the design and provision of public infrastructure needed to serve land divisions. (Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.020 Applicability.

The general design standards in this chapter apply to all divisions of land within the city of Oak Harbor, including binding site plans, short subdivisions, and subdivisions. (Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.030 Relationship to other plans required by this title.

All improvements required by this chapter for land divisions must be shown on the preliminary plat site plan, short subdivision map, or the binding site plan map, as applicable. (Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.040 Waiver of requirements – Procedure.

(1) Any subdivider can make application for a waiver from one or more of the design standards contained in this chapter, provided the request is received concurrently with the proposed subdivision, short subdivision, binding site plan or dedication. In addition, the waiver process described in this section may be used to vary from the residential design standards in Chapter 21.60 OHMC. A waiver shall be granted only upon a finding that strict compliance with the provisions for subdivision, short subdivision, binding site plan or dedication would cause unusual and unnecessary hardship on the subdivider due to the following:

(a) Because of the size of the tract to be subdivided; or

(b) Its topography or underlying soil conditions; or

(c) The condition or nature of adjoining areas; or

(d) The existence of unusual physical conditions.

(2) No waiver shall be granted which allows a subdivision, short subdivision or binding site plan, which is not in the public interest as identified in RCW 58.17.010 et seq.

(3) No waiver shall be granted for lands that could not be reasonably construed as developable; i.e., land waterward of the ordinary high water mark is not eligible for a waiver from the general design standards.

(4) Subdivision waivers are a Type IV review process, as described in Chapter 18.20 OHMC, and shall accompany and be processed with the preliminary plat, short subdivision, binding site plan or boundary line adjustment application.

(5) Such conditions may be required which may achieve, insofar as practicable, the objectives of the requirements for which a waiver is authorized.

(6) Application for an adjustment or waiver from the local residential street designs contained in Table 21.50-1 shall be processed in accordance with the provisions of OHMC 21.60.070 and 21.60.080, not the provisions of this section. (Ord. 1959 § 4, 2022; Ord. 1784 § 89, 2016; Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.050 General improvement standards.

The standards of this section shall apply generally throughout the city of Oak Harbor.

(1) A water distribution system, including fire hydrants, shall provide domestic water service and fire protection to each lot. Said system shall conform to the city’s comprehensive water plan, established policy and state requirements. Fire hydrant type and location shall be subject to the review and approval of the fire chief or his designee. Water mains and distribution systems shall be installed as shown on construction plans approved by the city engineer pursuant to Chapter 21.30 OHMC.

(2) Sewer mains shall be installed as shown on drawings approved by the city engineer and shall conform to the city’s comprehensive sewer plan. When required, sewer mains, manholes, lift stations and force mains shall be installed in all subdivisions prior to any water service being connected to any improvements. Service connections shall be provided to each lot.

(3) Stormwater.

(a) Stormwater management within the subdivision shall be in conformance with manual, when feasible.

(b) The city engineer may determine LID infiltration and bioretention is infeasible without the infiltration testing required by the manual when infiltration and bioretention is known to the city to be infeasible due to any of the following:

(i) Soil conditions;

(ii) Presence of geologically hazardous areas that would be made unstable by infiltration;

(iii) Presence of significant naturally occurring ground water;

(iv) Conformance with any competing need established under Section 5.3.1, Volume V of the manual; or

(v) Conformance with any infeasibility criteria established under Section 7.4, Volume V of the manual.

(c) When infiltration and biofiltration practices are determined infeasible, alternative methods of stormwater conveyance and treatment shall be in conformance with requirements established in the manual.

(d) For maintenance purposes, all stormwater detention or treatment facilities shall be placed in a tract, unless located within a public right-of-way.

(4) Streets.

(a) Paved streets, sidewalks, landscape strips and concrete curbs and gutters shall be required on all dedicated street rights-of-way in all subdivisions, unless an alternative design has been approved in accordance with OHMC 21.60.070 and 21.60.080. LID alternatives such as permeable surfacing and on-site stormwater management facilities are encouraged where site and soil conditions make these feasible alternatives. All improvements shall be constructed in conformance with city street and utility standards and, when applicable, the “LID Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound” (current edition).

(b) The improvements shall be made from intersection to intersection, intersection to subdivision boundary, or from subdivision boundary to subdivision boundary.

(c) All streets, roads and alleys shall be graded to their full width so that pavement and sidewalks can be constructed on the same plane. Before grading is started, the entire right-of-way area shall be cleared of all stumps, roots, brush and other objectionable materials, and all trees not intended for preservation.

(d) On streets where a proposed subdivision adjoins an existing subdivision or existing street dedication and the existing subdivision or existing street dedication does not meet city standards, the subdivider shall, as a minimum, be responsible for installing paved streets, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, landscape strips, street trees, monuments, sanitary and storm sewers, street lights, water mains, and street name signs on both sides of all streets within the subdivision and on one side on streets around the perimeter of the proposed subdivision. Any partial street improvements required on the perimeter of a subdivision shall be designed to allow for two-way vehicular traffic where reasonably necessary as a direct result of the creation of the subdivision.

(e) In subdivisions of 10 lots or more, one public parking space per single-family residential unit shall be provided. This ratio may be reduced to a minimum of one public parking space per two units if additional on-parcel parking is provided under the following condition: For each public parking space reduced less than one per unit, a unit shall provide five on-parcel parking spaces with up to three garage spaces counted as part of the five.

(5) Alleys shall be constructed to the standards indicated in Table 21.50-1.

(6) Sidewalks.

(a) Sidewalks shall be installed on both sides of all streets, along dead-end streets and around cul-de-sacs. No physical obstructions such as poles, fire hydrants, utility boxes, utility vaults, or mailboxes shall be constructed in the sidewalk or overhang the sidewalk from zero to eight feet above grade. Sidewalks shall be a minimum of five feet wide and four inches thick. Where rolled curb has been approved by the city engineer, all sidewalks adjacent will be a minimum thickness of six inches.

(b) All sidewalks shall be completed prior to an occupancy permit being granted for any new building.

(7) Other Utilities.

(a) Street light standards and fixtures shall be provided to supply adequate lighting for the safety and convenience of the public.

(b) Franchise utilities shall be installed to provide electricity, natural gas, telephone, television/Internet cable, and other services to the platted area. Said utilities shall be restricted to underground installation.

(c) All utilities (water, sewer, and electrical, and if available, gas, TV cable, and Internet cable) shall be installed to the property line prior to acceptance of the public improvements.

(8) The subdivider shall install street name signs and traffic control signs and/or improvements and devices other than traffic signals to the satisfaction of the city engineer. The city may install such signs and devices at the expense of the subdivider.

(9) All utilities except water, sewer and storm sewer will be installed behind the sidewalk. (Ord. 1784 §§ 90, 91, 2016; Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.060 Streets – Access requirements.

(1) Each lot in a subdivision or short subdivision must have access to a public street or road. This requirement does not apply to lots created through a binding site plan. Alternatively, access may be by private access easement within a residential short subdivision in accordance with the requirements of OHMC 21.60.120 through 21.60.140. In the case of lots intended for use by single-family residences, no more than one driveway access is permitted for each lot, except as authorized by the city engineer.

(2) Whenever a proposed lot created through land divisions abuts two or more streets of a different functional classification, access to the lot must be from the street with the lowest functional classification; provided, that access may be from the street with the highest functional classification if it is determined by the city engineer that access from the street with the lower functional classification is impractical or impossible due to:

(a) Existing site conditions;

(b) Existing structures; and/or

(c) Topography or critical areas constraints of the site. (Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.070 Streets – Required improvements.

(1) Table 21.50-1 gives the minimum required dimensional standards for each functional street type. All public rights-of-way proposed within subdivisions, short subdivisions or binding site plans must conform to the requirements in Table 21.50-1, unless an alternative local residential street design has been approved in accordance with OHMC 21.60.070 or 21.60.080.


Table 21.50-1
Required Street Improvements 

Street Type

Right-of-Way Width*

Face of Curb to Face of Curb Width

Sidewalk Width Each Side

Landscape Strip Width Each Side

Bike Lane Width Each Side

Principal Arterial,

97 – 105 feet

52 feet without bike lanes, 60 feet with bike lanes. Landscaped median is 12 feet.

8 feet

12 feet

4 feet

Minor Arterial,

80 feet

47 feet, with 11-foot center turn-lane

5 feet

10.5 feet

5 feet

Minor Arterial, Industrial (enterprise area)

60 feet

38 feet


6 feet (bioswale)

4 feet

Collector with Bike Lanes

66 feet

48 feet

5 feet

3 feet

5 feet

Collector, Industrial

50 feet

26 feet


6 feet (bioswale)

4 feet, one side

Local Residential, Narrow

50 feet

28 feet with one parking lane, or 28 feet including two 4-foot bike lanes and no parking

5 feet

5 feet

4 feet, optional

Local Residential, Wide

60 feet

36 feet with parking on both sides, or 36 feet with parking on one side and 4-foot bike lanes on both sides

5 feet

5 feet

4 feet, optional


20 feet

19 feet**




* All street types include a six-inch strip at the outside edge of the physical improvements, but within the right-of-way, with the exception of the “Minor Arterial, Industrial” which has a one-foot strip on the outside edge of right-of-way and the “Collector, Industrial” which has a four-foot strip on the outside edge of right-of-way.

** Sixteen-foot width pavement sections may be used as approved on alleys by the city engineer.

Note: All streets include six-inch curbs not shown in the dimensions above, with the exception of alleys which do not have curbs.

(2) Where landscape strips are required on local residential streets within the public right-of-way, they are to be maintained by the property owner whose property is adjacent to the landscape strip. Such landscape strips shall contain 100 percent groundcover in the form of drought-tolerant grass or turf.

(3) Intersection spacing of less than 125 feet is not allowed.

(4) For land division of commercial or industrial property, dead-end streets may be permitted where the proposed dead-end street will not adversely affect the traffic flow and circulation within the area. Dead-end streets shall terminate in a turnaround approved by the city engineer. The maximum allowable length for dead-end streets is 400 feet, measured from the center of intersection to the dead-end terminus. Requirements for dead-end streets in residential subdivisions or short subdivisions are contained in OHMC 21.60.110.

(5) All public roads shall also meet the requirements of OHMC Title 11. (Ord. 1784 § 92, 2016; Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.080 Streets – Relationship to adjoining development.

The standards in this section address pedestrian, vehicular and bicycle traffic flow on a site as it relates to surrounding sites. These provisions create continuous, multimodal connections across properties and developments of different ownership. In so doing, these standards facilitate the efficient and safe movement of pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles, giving each mode multiple route choices from origins to destinations.

(1) Streets, sidewalks, pedestrian or bike paths shall be linked within and between neighborhoods to create a continuous and interconnected network of roads and pathways.

(2) Local streets, arterials and collectors shall be extended to the boundary of the development, unless an exceptional circumstance of topography, critical areas or existing development prohibits the extension; provided, that if an adjacent property has a reasonable likelihood of redeveloping in the future, the director may require a street stub. Streets that end within a subdivision which will be extended in the future must be designed at least 200 feet beyond the limits of the subdivision and shall be shown on the preliminary plat document.

(3) The location of all principal arterials, minor arterials, and collectors must conform to the transportation element of the Oak Harbor comprehensive plan.

(4) All streets dedicated shall be full-width except along the boundary lines of the plat. Half-width streets may be permitted along the boundaries of a development upon approval of a final plat and in compliance with OHMC 21.50.050(4) where reasonably necessary as a direct result of the creation of the subdivision.

(5) The number of intersecting streets with principal or minor arterials shall be held to a minimum.

(6) Increased Right-of-Way Requirements. The city engineer may require that street widths be increased from the minimum width in Table 21.50-1 to provide for traffic movement, to reduce or eliminate traffic congestion and for safety reasons. (Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.090 Alleys.

Alleys provide secondary access to an abutting property. Alleys may be considered as a design solution to provide vehicular or service access to residential, commercial and industrial properties according to the following provisions:

(1) When alleys are proposed, they may be publicly dedicated and maintained or privately owned and maintained. All alleys which are dead ends and do not provide a through connection to the other side of the block shall be privately owned and maintained.

(2) The dimensions of alleys must conform to Table 21.50-1.

(3) Alleys may be required by the city engineer as a design solution to serve residential properties which front on arterials and collectors and to minimize the number of driveway accesses on these streets. Alleys may also be required by the city engineer in commercial and industrial areas.

(4) Where private alleys are proposed, access and utility easements for residential areas may be permitted in lieu of public dedication. All utility easements shall contain access provisions for purpose of public utility maintenance. (Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).

21.50.100 Lot dimensions.

The following requirements address the size and shape of lots created as part of subdivisions or short subdivisions and are intended to create a well ordered and efficient arrangement of lots.

(1) Every lot shall have a minimum width of 50 feet at the building line. All lots which do not have a width of 50 feet at the setback line as referenced under the applicable zoning ordinance shall indicate on the face of the final plat the location of said building line.

(2) The size, shape, and orientation of lots shall meet the minimum area and width requirements of the applicable zoning classification and shall be appropriate for the type of development and use contemplated.

(3) Generally, the depth of the lot should not be more than three times the width of the lot.

(4) All lots shall have a minimum frontage of 30 feet on a public street unless access from a shared drive or private street has been approved in accordance with the requirements of OHMC 21.60.120 through 21.60.140.

(5) Insofar as practical, side lot lines shall be at right angles to street lines or radial to curved street lines, and no more than 20 degrees from perpendicular to the front property line with which it intersects.

(6) Side and rear lot lines shall be straight, or composed of straight line elements.

(7) All lot corners in subdivisions and short subdivisions at intersections of dedicated public rights-of-way shall have a minimum radius of 15 feet. (Ord. 1784 § 93, 2016; Ord. 1617 § 3, 2011; Ord. 1568 § 7, 2010).