Chapter 18.02

18.02.000    Chapter Contents


18.02.020    Title.

18.02.040    Purpose.

18.02.060    Scope.

18.02.080    Interpretations.

18.02.100    Authority and comprehensive plan consistency.

18.02.120    General requirements.

18.02.130    Vesting of applications. Revised 11/23

18.02.140    Severability.

18.02.160    Establishment of zoning districts.

18.02.170    Interpretations of terms.

18.02.180    Definitions. Revised 11/23

(Ord. 7364 §§11, 12, 2023).

18.02.020 Title

This title shall be known as the Unified Development Code for the City of Olympia, Washington, hereafter referred to as the Development Code.

(Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).

18.02.040 Purpose

It is the purpose of this Development Code to promote the health, safety and general welfare by guiding the development of the city consistent with the comprehensive plan which is, in part, carried out by the provisions of this title. It is further intended to provide regulations and standards which will lessen congestion on the streets, encourage high standards of development, prevent the overcrowding of land, provide adequate light and air, avoid excessive concentration of population and facilitate adequate provisions for transportation, utilities, schools, parks and other public needs.

(Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).

18.02.060 Scope

A.    Hereafter, no building or structure shall be erected, demolished, remodeled, reconstructed, altered, enlarged or relocated, and no building, structure or premises shall be used in the City of Olympia except in compliance with the provisions of this title and then only after securing all required permits and licenses.

B.    Any building, structure or use lawfully existing at the time of passage of this title, although not in compliance therewith, may be maintained as provided for in Chapter 18.37.

(Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).

18.02.080 Interpretations

A.    The Director of Community Planning and Development shall review and resolve any questions involving the proper interpretation or application of the provisions of this title and other city plans, codes, regulations and standards related to project permits that may be requested by any property owner, tenant, government officer, department, board, council or commission affected. The Director’s decision shall be in keeping with the spirit and intent of this title and of the Comprehensive Plan.

B.    Classification of Use. Recognizing that there may be uses not specifically mentioned in this title, either because of advancing technology or any other reason, the Director may permit or condition such use if it is clearly evident that the use is in conformity with the designated principal uses of the district in which it is to be located. When there is doubt as to the proper classification of a use, the Director may refer the matter to the Hearing Examiner who shall rule on the matter

C.    Record. A record shall be kept of all interpretations and rulings made by the Director, Hearing Examiner, and City Council; such decisions shall be used for future administration. The Hearing Examiner shall report decisions to the Planning Commission when it appears desirable and necessary to amend this title.

D.    Minimum Requirements. When interpreting and applying the regulations of this Development Code, its provisions shall be the minimum requirements, unless otherwise stated.

E.    Conflicts of Regulations. Except as otherwise specifically stated, where conflicts occur within this Development Code or between the provisions of this Development Code and the Building and Fire Codes, or other regulations of the City, the more restrictive shall apply. If any conflict between the zoning map and text of this title ensue, the text of this title shall prevail.

F.    Conflict with State Law. The provisions of this title shall not have the effect of authorizing any activities prohibited by State law or other ordinances of the City of Olympia.

G.    Official Zoning Map - Conflicts with Text. If any conflict between said map and text of this Article ensues, the text of this title shall prevail.

H.    Rounding of Quantities. Discrete physical measurements, including but not limited to, those not subject to fractional division, such as number of housing units or parking spaces, shall be rounded to the next higher whole number when the fraction is greater than .5, and to the next lower whole number when the fraction is equal to or less than .5, except as otherwise provided in this Development Code.

(Ord. 6273 §13, 2003; Ord. 5830 §22, 1998; Ord. 5714 §1, 1997; Ord. 5570 §21, 1995; Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).

18.02.100 Authority and comprehensive plan consistency

This Development Code is a principal tool for implementing the goals and policies of the Olympia Comprehensive Plan, pursuant to the mandated provisions of the Growth Management Act of 1990, RCW 58.17, Subdivision Act, State Environmental Policy Act, and other applicable State and local requirements. All development within the city incorporated boundary - and the urban growth area shall be consistent with Olympia’s Comprehensive Plan.

The subdivision provisions of this Development Code are intended to supplement and implement RCW 58.17 and the Subdivision Ordinance of the City. If the provisions of this Development Code conflict with any provision of Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 58.17, the RCW shall prevail.

No land shall be subdivided or developed for any purpose which is not in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, any zoning ordinance or other applicable provisions of the Olympia Municipal Code.

(Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).

18.02.120 General requirements

A.    Application. All land or structures shall be used and constructed in accordance with the regulations and requirements of this Development Code including obtaining applicable permits prior to initiation of use.

B.    Conflicting Permits and Licenses to be Voided. All permits or licenses shall be issued in conformance with the provisions of this Development Code. Any permit or license subsequently issued and in conflict with this Development Code shall be null and void.

C.    Burden of Proof. Except as otherwise provided herein or by prevailing law, each and every applicant shall bear the burden of demonstrating compliance with the provisions of this code.

(Ord. 6356 §2, 2005; Ord. 5570 §21, 1995; Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).

18.02.130 Vesting of applications Revised 11/23

A.    General Vesting Rule. Except as stated below, or otherwise provided in state or federal law, any project permit application is considered under the laws, ordinances, regulations, standards, and fees in effect at the time that the particular complete application is received by the City of Olympia.

B.    Consolidated Applications. An applicant may submit complete construction permit applications (building and/or engineering) during the period of review of a required land use approval application. See OMC 18.70.110 for procedures for consolidated applications.

C.    Separate Applications. When a complete building permit application is not consolidated with a land use approval application, each application for land use approval and for subsequent construction permits is reviewed subject to the relevant laws, ordinances, regulations, standards, and fees in effect on the date of receipt of each separate and specific complete application.

D.    Full Vesting. Only when a complete building permit application for a structure to be used in a manner permitted under the land use regulations in effect on the date of such application is submitted will the applicant be entitled to improve and use land under the ordinances of the City in effect on the date of the complete building application. Where a change in occupancy is proposed, such building permit application may not be deemed complete unless preceded or accompanied by a complete land use approval application.

E.    Exceptions. Where a necessary preliminary approval is a final subdivision plat, change in zoning, or comprehensive plan amendment, any previously submitted building permit application is considered under the laws, ordinances, standards, and fees in effect on the date that such plat, zoning, or plan amendment is final. Any environmental impact mitigation measures imposed under the authority of the State Environmental Policy Act are based upon policies, plans, rules, or regulations in effect on the date that the applicable determination of nonsignificance, mitigated determinations of nonsignificance or draft environmental impact statement is issued. Any development application is also subject to any special vesting exceptions of the Western Washington Municipal Stormwater Permit. Any application for a change in zoning, comprehensive plan amendment, or adoption or amendment of development regulations is reviewed subject to the comprehensive plan and other laws and policies in effect on the date that a final decision is rendered by the Olympia City Council. Any application for utility service extension or connection to serve property outside the limits of the City of Olympia is reviewed and subject to regulations and standards as set forth in the applicable utility service or annexation agreement.

(Ord. 7364 §13, 2023; Ord. 7027 §10, 2016; Ord. 5570 §22, 1995).

18.02.140 Severability

If any chapter, section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this Development Code is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such decision shall not effect the validity of the remaining portions of this Development Code and each chapter, section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase thereof.

(Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).

18.02.160 Establishment of zoning districts

A.    Establishment of Zoning Districts. The City of Olympia shall be divided into land use zoning districts identified in Article II, Land Use Districts, which are consistent with and implement the Comprehensive Plan.

B.    Adoption of Zoning District Map. The boundaries of the land use districts established by this Section shall be shown upon the map designated as the "Olympia Official Zoning Map," available at the Department of Community Planning and Development (CP&D). This map shall be consistent with the adopted Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map.

The location and boundaries of various use districts are shown on the "Official Zoning Map" which is identified by the approving signatures of the Mayor and City Clerk on the title page thereof, and is on file with the City Clerk and the Department of Community Planning and Development. Said map has heretofore been examined in detail by the City Council and is hereby adopted as a part of this title. This title, and each and all of its terms, are to be read and interpreted in the light of the contents of said map.

C.    Use District Boundaries.

1.    Land use district boundaries, unless otherwise indicated by natural land forms, are intended to follow lot lines or the centerline of streets and alleys as shown on the zoning map. Where the lot line location or street layout on the ground varies from that shown on the zoning map the designations shown on the map shall be applied to carry out the intent and purpose of this title.

2.    Land use district boundary lines shall extend parallel from their landward location to a point of intersection at the center of all bodies of water. Bodies of water include the Puget Sound and all rivers, streams, and lakes.

3.    If the use district boundary line clearly divides a parcel of land having a single ownership of record at the time this title became effective, all such property shall take the least restrictive classification within its general land use classification (residential, commercial, industrial), provided the property is developed as one unit, and provided that a nonresidential use shall be permitted to extend into a residential use district only if that portion of the property lying within such district has an area less than 4,500 square feet or is of such shape that it cannot be occupied by a residence.

4.    Except, if the use district boundary line divides a parcel zoned High Density Corridor-4 (HDC-4) which is located between Phoenix Street and Lilly Road, if the parcel of land is under a single ownership of record at the time this title became effective, and if the parcel is deeper than 400 feet as measured from Martin Way or Pacific Avenue, then that portion of the property beyond 400 feet shall have the use and development standards of the General Commercial (GC) zoning district.

D.    Annexation - Designation of Zoning Districts. Unless otherwise stated by the authorizing ordinance, all annexed areas within the urban growth area shall be zoned in conformance with the zoning map.

(Ord. 6273 §14, 2003; Ord. 6073 §12, 2000; Ord. 5714 §2, 1997; Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).

18.02.170 Interpretations of terms

A.    For the purposes of this title, unless it is plainly evident from the context that a different meaning is intended, certain words and terms are herein defined as follows:

1.    The word "shall" is always mandatory, while the word "should" is not mandatory, and "may" is permissive.

2.    Words in the present tense include the future, the singular includes the plural and the plural includes the singular.

3.    The word "and" indicates that all connected items or provisions apply.

4.    The word "or" indicates that the connected items or provisions may apply singularly or in any combination.

5.    The term "either/or" indicates that the connected items or provisions shall apply singularly but not in combination.

6.    Where terms are not specifically defined, they shall have their ordinary accepted meanings within the context with which they are used. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, Copyright 1986, shall be considered in determining ordinarily accepted meanings.

B.    Illustrations found herein are not intended to supersede or replace written definitions, restrictions or standards.

(Ord. 5570 §23, 1995)

18.02.180 Definitions Revised 11/23


Abandon. To cease or suspend from developing or maintaining a building or use for a definite period of time.

Abandoned Activity. A business or activity with no reported sales or activity for a period of twelve (12) months, except temporary closures for repairs, alterations, or other similar situations. Land and/or buildings not in use for such period are considered vacant and unoccupied and may be subject to review including land use approval prior to renewal of use.

Abutting. Two or more parcels or buildings sharing a common boundary of at least one point.

Access. Safe, adequate, and usable ingress/egress (entrance/exit) to a property or use.

Accessory Dwelling Unit. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Accessory Structure. A structure detached from the principal building located on the same lot and customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal building. Any part of the main building which shares a common wall and roof is considered a part of that building. A building or portion thereof is not considered attached if the attachment is by a covered breezeway. (See also Subordinate.) Examples of accessory structures include garages, sheds, and ground-mounted solar photovoltaic systems.


Accessory Use. A use of land or a portion thereof customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the land and located on the same lot with the principal use, such as: garage sales; merchandise displays outside of a business; community oriented outdoor activity associated with schools, churches, and other non-profit organizations; and temporary contractor offices on a construction site. Accessory uses may also include uses subordinate to the primary use, such as rooftop solar PV on an existing structure.

Action. A decision made by the review authority(s) on a land use application, including any findings, environmental determination and conditions of approval.

Adult Day Care Home. See Dwelling, Assisted Living.

Adult Entertainment.

a.    Any exhibition, performance, or dance of any type conducted in a premises where such exhibition, performance, or dance involves a person who is unclothed or in such costume, attire, or clothing as to expose any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola or any portion of the pubic region, anus, buttocks, vulva, or genitals, or human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, or wearing any device or covering exposed to view which simulates the appearance of any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola or any portion of the pubic region, anus, buttocks, vulva, or genitals, or human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely opaquely covered; or

b.    Any exhibition, performance, or dance of any type conducted in a premises where such exhibition, performance, or dance is distinguished or characterized by a predominant emphasis on the depiction, description, simulation of, or relation to, the following specified sexual activities:

i.    Human genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal;

ii.    Acts of human masturbation, sexual intercourse, or sodomy; or

iii.    Fondling or other erotic touching of human genitals, pubic region, buttocks or female breast; provided, adult entertainment and specifically the "depiction, description, simulation of, or relation to" sexual activities described above, shall not be construed to include any form of actual sexual conduct as defined in this section.

c.    Any exhibition, performance, or dance intended to sexually stimulate any patron and conducted in a premises where such exhibition, performance, or dance is performed for, arranged with, or engaged in with fewer than all patrons on the premises at that time, with separate consideration paid, either directly or indirectly, for such performance exhibition or dance. For purposes of example and not limitation, such exhibitions, performances, or dances are commonly referred to as table dancing, couch dancing, taxi dancing, lap dancing, private dancing, or straddle dancing.

Adult-Oriented Business. Shall mean the following businesses:

a.    Adult arcade. An establishment containing any individual viewing areas or booths, where, for any form of consideration, including a membership fee, one or more still or motion picture projectors, slide projectors, or similar machines, or other image producing machines are used to show films, motion pictures, video cassettes, slides, or other photographic reproduction of sexual conduct, or adult entertainment.

b.    Adult cabaret. A night club, bar, restaurant, theater, or auditorium, or similar commercial establishment, whether or not alcoholic beverages are served, which presents adult entertainment.

c.    Adult motel. A hotel, motel, or similar commercial establishment which:

i.    Offers sleeping accommodation to the public for any form of consideration and, as a significant purpose of its business, provides patrons with closed-circuit television transmissions, films, motion pictures, video cassettes, slides, or other photographic reproductions which are characterized by the depiction of or description of sexual conduct or adult entertainment and are not rated G, PG, PG-13, NC-13, NC-17, or R by the Motion Picture Association of America; or

ii.    Offers a sleeping room for rent for a period of time that is less than ten (10) hours; or

iii.    Allows a tenant or occupant of a sleeping room to sub rent the room for a period time that is less than ten (10) hours.

d.    Adult motion picture theater. A commercial establishment or drive-in theater where a significant portion of the films, motion pictures, video cassettes, slides, or similar photographic reproductions are characterized by the depiction or description of adult entertainment or sexual conduct and are not rated G, PG, PG-13, NC-13, NC-17, or R by the Motion Picture Association of America and are shown for any form of consideration.

e.    Adult book store. A business having as a significant portion of its volume of trade the display, barter, rental and/or sale of books, printed matter, video tapes, discs or cassettes, films, pictures or other material or paraphernalia distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on matters depicting, describing or relating to sexual conduct or adult entertainment, as defined herein. For purposes of this ordinance, "portion of its volume or trade" means that portion of the store’s display space devoted to such material, or that portion of its gross receipts received from the sale of such material, whichever is greater.

f.    Other adult entertainment facility. Any commercial establishment to which any patron is invited or admitted and where adult entertainment is presented as a substantial part of the premises’ activity, including but not limited to escort agencies, seminude or nude modeling studios, or similar establishments.

Affected Party. Any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization of any character, significantly affected by or interested in an action before the Review Authority, including any party in a contested case.

Affordable Housing. Housing affordable to households with an income not greater than 80 percent of the median income for Thurston County as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Affordable housing should cost no more than 30 percent of gross household income (including utilities).

Agriculture. The use of land for farming, dairying, pasturing and grazing, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture, apiaries, animal and poultry husbandry, and accessory activities, including, but not limited to, storage, harvesting, feeding or maintenance of equipment and onsite sales of agricultural products, but excluding stockyards, slaughtering or commercial food processing.

Airport or Heliport. Any area of land or structure designated and set aside for the landing and taking off of any aircraft regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Alley. A public or private way, at the rear or side of property, permanently reserved as a means of vehicular or pedestrian access to a property.

Alteration. Any change, addition or modification in construction or occupancy.

Alteration, Critical Area. Any change to, addition to, or modification of an existing use, including any human activity that results or is likely to result in an adverse impact on the existing condition of a critical area or its buffer. "Alteration" does not include passive recreation such as walking, fishing or similar low impact activities.

Amendment. The action whereby the content of this title is revised, including additions, deletions, or clarification of language, maps, or diagrams.

Amusement Activity. An indoor, covered or outdoor facility or building that contains various devices for entertainment, including coin or token-operated machines, rides, booths to conduct games or the sale of souvenir items.

Ancillary Structure, WCF. Any form of development associated with a wireless communications facility, including but not limited to: foundations, concrete slabs on grade, guy anchors, generators, and transmission cable supports; however, specifically excluding equipment cabinets.

Animals. Any living organism except a plant, fungus, virus, or bacterium. (See also Pet, Traditional.)

Animal Hospital. A place where animals or pets are given medical or surgical treatment and are cared for during the time of such treatment, including the accessory use of the premises as a kennel or a place where animals or pets are boarded for compensation.

Animal Kennel. See Kennel.

Animal Unit. One thousand pounds of live weight of any given livestock species or any combination of livestock species. For additional information, see the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Animal Waste Field Handbook.

Antenna. Any apparatus designed for the transmitting and/or receiving of electromagnetic waves, including but not limited to: telephonic, radio or television communications. Types of elements include, but are not limited to: omni-directional (whip) antennas, sectionalized (panel) antennas, multi or single bay (FM and TV), yagi, or parabolic (dish) antennas.

Antenna Array. A single or group of antenna elements and associated mounting hardware, transmission lines, or other appurtenances which share a common attachment device such as a mounting frame or mounting support structure for the sole purpose of transmitting or receiving electromagnetic waves.

Antenna Element. Any antenna or antenna array.

Antenna Support Structure. A vertical projection composed of metal or other material with or without a foundation that is designed for the express purpose of accommodating antennas at a desired height. Antenna support structures do not include any device used to attach antennas to an existing building. Types of support structures include the following:

Guyed Structure. A style of antenna support structure consisting of a single truss assembly composed of sections with bracing incorporated. The sections are attached to each other, and the assembly is attached to a foundation and supported by a series of wires that are connected to anchors placed in the ground or on a building.

Lattice Structure. A tapered style of antenna support structure that consists of vertical and horizontal supports with multiple legs and cross bracing, and metal crossed strips or bars to support antennas.

Monopole Structure. A style of freestanding antenna support structure consisting of a single shaft usually composed of two or more hollow sections that are in turn attached to a foundation. This type of antenna support structure is designed to support itself without the use of guy wires or other stabilization devices. These facilities are mounted to a foundation that rests on or in the ground or on a building’s roof.

Anti-Climbing Device. A piece or pieces of equipment, which are either attached to an antenna support structure, or which are freestanding and are designed to prevent people from climbing the structure. These devices may include but are not limited to fine mesh wrap around structure legs, "squirrel-cones," or other approved devices, but excluding the use of barbed or razor wire.

Apartment. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Apparel and Accessory Stores. Stores primarily engaged in selling new or used clothing, shoes, jewelry, and related articles for personal wear and adornment and stores which rent clothing such as costumes or formal wear.

Applicant. Owner(s) or lessee(s) of property, including their agent(s) who submit an application for development, including person(s) who have contracted to purchase property.

Arcade. A covered walk with shops along one side and a line of arches or columns on the other side.

Archaeological Sites. Any site or location of prehistoric or historic significance including, but not limited to, burial sites, camp sites, rock shelters, caves and their artifacts, implements and remains of preexisting native Americans.

Architectural Elements. Components that are part of a building, such as windows, doors, materials, details, and structural membrane.

Articulation. The giving of emphasis to architectural elements of a building (like windows, balconies, entries, etc.) that create a complementary pattern or rhythm, dividing large buildings into smaller identifiable pieces.

Ash, Incinerator. Particulate or solid residues resulting from the operation of incinerator or energy recovery facilities managing municipal solid waste, including solid waste from residential, commercial and industrial establishments, if the ash residues:

a.    Would otherwise be regulated as hazardous wastes under RCW 70.105; and

b.    Are not regulated as a hazardous waste under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. Section 6910, et seq.

ASR. The Antenna Structure Registration Number as required by the FAA and FCC.

Attached Structure. Any structure that has an enclosed interior wall(s) and covered roof in common with another structure sufficient to constitute an occupiable room (i.e., seven feet wide or more). A structure connected to another structure only by a covered passageway is not considered attached. (See Detached Structure; note that structures conforming with neither definition must conform with requirements of this title for both types of structures.)

Auction. See Swap Meet.

Auditor. The Auditor of Thurston County, Washington.

Automobile Rental Agencies. This includes businesses primarily engaged in short-term rental or extended-term leasing of passenger cars, hearses, limousines, and the like, without drivers. Finance (equity or full-payout) leasing of automobiles is classified with Motor Vehicle Sales.

Automobile Wrecking. The wrecking, dismantling, or salvage of motor vehicles or trailers, or the storage of, sale of or recycling or disposal of dismantled, partly dismantled, or wrecked motor vehicles or their parts. (See also Junk or Salvage Facility.)

Awning. A structure affixed to a building which extends over windows, sidewalks or doors, principally as protection from sun and rain.


Bank. See Office, Bank.

Bankfull Width (of Streams). Per WAC 222-16-010, the measurement of the lateral extent of the water surface elevation perpendicular to the channel at bankfull depth. In cases where multiple channels exist, bankfull width is the sum of the individual channel widths along the cross section. Field determination of the bankfull channel edge generally relies on changes in topography, vegetation, and sediment texture. Bankfull width is used to assess stream types per the Department of Natural Resources Stream Typing Classification System as required under OMC 18.32.435(C).

Base Station. The electronic equipment utilized by the wireless providers for the transmission and reception of radio signals.

Bed and Breakfast House. See Dwelling, Transient Housing.

Berm. A mound or embankment of earth.

Bicycle, In Building Parking. A secure bicycle storage area located within a building where access is restricted to users only.

Bicycle Check-in Systems. A bicycle storage area providing long and short-term storage and which is managed by an attendant.

Bicycle Lockers. A box, cabinet or other storage device which individually protects a bicycle and its components, and which contains a see-thru window or view holes. Such lockers are typically coin operated, rented on a monthly basis or managed to ensure their proper use.

Bicycle, Limited Access Fenced in Areas. A restricted bicycle storage area that is protected from the weather and where access is supervised or limited to individual users.

Binding Site Plan. A drawing made and approved in accordance with the provisions of Title 17, Subdivisions, and which contains inscriptions and attachments setting forth such appropriate limitations and conditions for the use of the land established by the city, and which contains provisions requiring any development to be in conformance with the site plan.

Bioengineering. The use of plant materials to stabilize and/or revegetate eroding stream channels and banks.

Blank Wall. Walls that meet the following criteria: A ground floor street wall or building wall or segment of a wall which is within 50 feet of the public rights-of-way and which is longer than 15 horizontal feet without having a ground level window, door, or building facade modulation at least one foot in depth, or other architectural feature lying wholly or in part within that 15 feet length.

Block. Parcel(s) of land surrounded by public streets, highways, freeways, railroad rights-of-way, flood control channels, creeks, washes, rivers or unplatted acreage or any combination thereof.

Block Face. One complete side of a block, usually facing a public street.

Boarding Home. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Boat Sales and Rentals. A business primarily engaged in sales and/or rental of new and used motorboats, sailboats, and other watercraft. Businesses primarily engaged in the sale of supplies for recreational boating, such as sails, outboard motors, and marine hardware, are classified as Specialty Stores.

Boat Storage Facility. A facility meant to provide long-term shelter for watercraft and their accessories, e.g., canoes, sailboats, power boats, etc.; not including service, repair or sales.

Breakpoint Technology. The engineering design of a monopole wherein a specified point on the monopole is designed to have stresses concentrated so that the point is at least five percent more susceptible to failure than any other point along the monopole so that in the event of a structural failure of the monopole, the failure will occur at the breakpoint rather than at the base plate, anchor bolts, or any other point on the monopole.

Buffer. An area or distance from the critical area which is required for the continued maintenance, functioning, and/or structural stability of a critical area; or is necessary to minimize risk to the public.

Buildable Lot. A lot meeting all minimum requirements of size, shape, frontage, and sanitation contained in this Title and other ordinances of the city.

Building. A structure having a roof supported by columns or walls for the shelter, support or enclosure of persons, animals, or property of any kind.

Building Area. The net portion of the lot remaining after deducting all required setbacks, public rights-of-way, critical area buffers and other required open space from the gross area of the lot.

Building Coverage. See Coverage, Building.

Building Line. A line parallel with the structural foundation located on the inside border of the required yard.

Building, Main. The principal building on a lot or building site designed or used to accommodate the primary use to which the premises is devoted. When more than one building on the premise is designed or used for the primary use, each such building is considered a main building.

Building Materials, Garden and Farm Supplies Store. This includes businesses primarily engaged in selling products such as lumber and other building materials; paint; glass; wallpaper; hardware; nursery stock; lawn and garden supplies including mowers and garden tractors; and farm supplies such as seeds, feeds, fertilizer, and farm tools. It includes such firms if they sell to the general public, even if they also sell to contractors; if they do not sell to the general public at all, they are classified as Wholesale Trade. Firms primarily selling plumbing, heating and air conditioning equipment, or electrical supplies are also classified as Wholesale Trade. Florists and other stores selling cut flowers and potted plants not grown on the premises are classified as Specialty Stores. (See also Greenhouse and Nursery.)

Building Site. A parcel of land occupied or intended to be occupied by a main building and its accessory buildings, together with all the open space and yards required by this Development Code.


Caliper. The American Association of Nurserymen standard trunk measurement of nursery stock. Caliper of the trunk is the trunk diameter measured six inches above the ground for up to and including four inch caliper size, and twelve inches above the ground for larger sizes.

Canopy. A permanent flat roof-like structure attached to and supported by a building, used principally as protection from sun and rain. The structure may or may not incorporate a sign.

Carport. A roofed structure providing space for the parking of motor vehicles, boats, recreational vehicles, or other equipment, and enclosed on no more than three sides.

Cemetery. Property used for the interment of the dead.

Certificate of Appropriateness. A letter or other document stating that proposed changes will not adversely affect the historic characteristics of the property that contribute to its designation.

Certificate of Occupancy. A permit issued by the Community Planning and Development Department prior to occupancy of a structure when the structure is ready for occupancy.

Change of Occupancy. A change in the existing occupancy classification of a building, structure, or land, or portion thereof, as established and defined by the Uniform Building Code then in effect. Land use approval by appropriate authority and a certificate of occupancy issued by the building official may be required for any such change.

Change of Use. A change in the use of a building or land that results in a different classification of use under this Development Code. If a particular land use is undefined by this Development Code, the most similar use listed in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Manual must be used. A change of ownership may not be considered a change of use. (See also Thurston County Assessor SIC land use classifications.)

Child Day Care. The provision of supplemental parental care and supervision:

a.    For an unrelated child or children,

b.    On a regular basis,

c.    For less than 24 hours a day, and

d.    Under license by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

As used in this Development Code, the term is not intended to include babysitting services of a casual, non-recurring nature or in the child’s own home. Likewise, the term is not intended to include cooperative, reciprocative child care by a group of parents in their respective domiciles.

Child Care Home, Family. A facility in the residence of the licensee providing regular scheduled care for twelve or fewer children, within a birth through eleven-years-of-age range exclusively, for periods of less than 24 hours.

Child Day Care Center. A facility providing regularly scheduled care for a group of children one month of age through 12 years of age for periods less than 24 hours.

Church. A building or structure, or groups of buildings or structures, that by design and construction are primarily intended for conducting organized religious services and associated accessory uses, not including bingo or games of chance, nor schools which exceed normal religious service hours.

City. The City of Olympia.

City Council. The duly elected Mayor and Council Members of the City of Olympia.

Clear Sight Triangle. A triangular-shaped portion of land at street intersections in which nothing is erected, placed, planted, or allowed to grow in such a manner as to limit or obstruct the vision of vehicle operators entering or exiting the intersection. (See also chapter 18.40 OMC.)

Clearing. The destruction or removal of vegetation from a site by physical, mechanical, chemical, or other means, not including landscape maintenance or pruning consistent with accepted horticultural practices which does not impair the health or survival of trees and vegetation.

Clinic. A place for outpatient medical services to human patients.

Closed Record Appeal. An administrative appeal following an open record hearing on a project permit application when the appeal is on the record with no new evidence or information allowed to be submitted and only appeal argument allowed. [See RCW 36.70B.020(1)].

Club. An association of persons (whether or not incorporated) organized for some common purpose, not including a group organized primarily to render a service customarily carried on as a business. Retail warehouse buying clubs are not included in this definition. (See also Health Club and Country Club.)

Clustered Subdivision. A subdivision development in which building lots are sized to conform to the “footprint” of the structures and placed closer together than conventional development (usually in groups or clusters). The remaining undeveloped land is generally preserved as open space and/or recreation land. Private development easements around the structures are permitted for private landscaping, pools, spas, yards, and similar uses.


Cocktail Lounge. See Drinking Establishments.

Co-Housing. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Collegiate Greek System Residence. A building which is occupied by unrelated members of a private educational organization, and which contains sleeping rooms, bathrooms, common rooms, and a central kitchen and dining room. (See Dormitory.)

Collocation. The practice of installing and operating multiple wireless carriers, service providers, and/or radio common carrier licensees on the same antenna support structure or attached wireless communication facility using different and separate antenna, feed lines and radio frequency generating equipment.

Combined Antenna. An antenna or an antenna array designed and utilized to provide services for more than one wireless provider for the same or similar type of services.

Commercial Vehicle. A vehicle customarily used as part of a business for the transportation of goods or people.

Commission. The Planning Commission of the City of Olympia.

Common Structure. A commonly owned structure intended for the common use of all residents of the development which meets the requirements of OMC 18.04.060(F)(1).

Community Clubhouse. A privately owned structure in which inhabitants of a neighborhood or subdivision, or members of a neighborhood association, gather for meetings and other activities.

Community Park. An area intended for use by the community for active and/or passive recreation activities. Such parks may contain large areas such as lake fronts, parkways, forest areas, picnic areas, arts facilities, and regulation size athletic fields designed for organized competitive sports such as softball, baseball, or soccer.

Compensation. Types of compensation include, but are not limited to the following:

In-Kind. Replacement of a habitat type with substitute habitat whose characteristics closely approximate those destroyed or degraded by an allowable use or activity.

Off-Site. Replacement of a specific habitat type away from the site on which a habitat type has been impacted by an allowable use or activity.

On-Site. Replacement of a habitat type at or within 500 feet of the site on which the habitat type has been impacted by an allowable use or activity.

Out-of-Kind. Replacement of a habitat type with a substitute habitat type whose characteristics do not closely approximate those destroyed or degraded by an allowable use or activity.

Compensation Project. Actions necessary to replace project-induced losses to the functional values of a critical area, including land acquisition, planning, construction plans, monitoring and contingency actions.

Comprehensive Plan. The plan adopted by the City Council to guide the physical growth and improvement of the city, including any future amendments and revisions.

Conditional Use Permit. A discretionary permit granted under the provisions of this Development Code and which, when granted, authorizes a specific use to be made of a specific property, subject to compliance with all terms and conditions imposed on the permit.

Condominium. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Conference Center. A facility used for seminars, conventions, symposiums and similar uses, with meeting rooms and possibly food preparation and eating facilities.

Confidential Shelter. See Dwelling, Assisted Living.

Conforming Use. A land use consistent with the list of permitted uses for the district in which it is located, or otherwise designated as a conforming use in that district.

Congregate Care Senior Housing. See Dwelling, Assisted Living.

Consistency with Comprehensive Plan. Performance in accordance with and complying and conforming with state law and the Olympia Comprehensive Plan as determined by consideration of the type of land use, the level of development, infrastructure, and the character of the development. [See RCW 36.70B.040].

Construction Permit, SEPA-exempt. A construction permit or license exempt from the threshold determination and environmental impact statement requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act, such as an electrical, mechanical, plumbing or single-family building permit, and installation permits for lateral utility lines.

Contiguous Land. Parcels adjoining and touching other land and having the same owner regardless of whether or not portions of the parcels have separate tax lot numbers, were purchased at different times, lie in different sections, are different government lots or are separated from each other by private roads or private rights-of-way.

Contributing Historic Property. A property within a designated historic district listed as having enough historic significance to have been listed as a “contributing” property during the historic district approval process.

Convalescent Home. See Dwelling, Assisted Living.

Cornice. Any ornamental molding which protrudes along the top of a building.

Cottage Housing. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Country Club. A private or public membership facility designed for tennis, swim and other recreational activities except riding stables. Such uses and activities may be grouped around a clubhouse containing a restaurant, banquet and meeting room facilities. (See also Golf Course.)

County. Thurston County.

Courtyard. An open, unoccupied space, other than a yard, on the same lot with a building and bounded on two or more sides by the walls of a building.

Covenant. See Restrictive Covenant.

Coverage, Building. The portion of a lot covered by the principal and accessory building floor area including all areas covered by a weather-tight roof, excluding two feet of eaves.

Coverage, Impervious. The area which is occupied or covered by all impervious surfaces including the total horizontal surface of all buildings, except two feet of eaves. (See Net Site Area and Impervious Surface definitions.)

Crematorium. A facility that uses heat or fire to reduce human or animal remains to ashes.

Creek. See Stream.

Crisis Intervention Service. A mental health agency that offers 24 hour counseling, instruction and referral to persons in critical situations. This service is provided by telephone only and not in-person. Crisis intervention services are defined and regulated in Chapter 275-56-350 of the Washington Administrative Code. Such facilities may be characterized by a need for location confidentiality. This is not defined as a Business Office nor a Government Office.

Critical Area. Any of the following areas and ecosystems:

a.    Wellhead Protection Areas,

b.    Important Habitats and Species,

c.    Streams and Priority Riparian Areas,

d.    Wetlands, and

e.    Geological Hazard Areas.

Critical Area Tract. An area containing a critical area and/or buffer and that is subject to a recorded critical area protection restriction. (See Tract)

Culvert. A conveyance device (e.g., concrete box, pipe) which conveys water under (usually across) a roadway or embankment.


Dangerous Waste. Any discarded, useless, unwanted or abandoned substances, including but not limited to certain pesticides, or any residues or containers of such substances which are disposed of in such quantity or concentration as to pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health, wildlife, or the environment because such wastes or constituents or combinations of such wastes:

a.    Have short-lived, toxic properties that may cause death, injury or illness or have mutagenic, teratogenic or carcinogenic properties; or

b.    Are corrosive, explosive, flammable or may generate pressure through decomposition or other means. (See also Hazardous Waste, Extremely.)

Date of Filing. The date that a complete and accurate application is submitted and appropriate fees paid.

Days. Consecutive calendar days unless otherwise stated.

Decorative Grille Work. Grille work which through the use of material, geometric pattern, configuration, embellishment, or artisanship exceeds the normal functional requirements. Parallel vertical bars - resembling a jail cell pattern - are not considered decorative grille work.

Dedication. The deliberate appropriation of land by an owner(s) for any general and public uses, reserving to themselves no other rights than such as are compatible with the full exercise and enjoyment of the public uses to which the property is to be devoted. The intent to dedicate must be evidenced by the owner by the presentment for filing of a final plat, short plat, or binding site plan which shows the dedication thereon. Acceptance by the public must be evidenced by written approval issued by the City of such document for filing with the County Auditor.

Deficiency, Application. A deficiency includes an element or information which is absent, is inaccurate or in some other aspect does not conform with applicable regulations and standards, and supplemental information or studies required to review an application. Erroneous or misleading information intentionally included in an application constitutes a deficiency.

Department. The City of Olympia Community Planning and Development Department.

Design. The planning and engineering of street alignments, grades and widths; drainage and sanitary facilities and utilities, including alignment and grades thereof; location and size of all required easements and rights-of-way; fire roads and fire breaks; lot size and configuration; vehicle access; grading; land to be dedicated for park or recreational purposes; building and other accessory physical requirements.

Design Review. The evaluation of a site, building, landscape design plan or sign program submitted to the Design Review Board or staff, which may approve or deny the plan in part, or make further design recommendations based upon adopted guidelines.

Design Review Board. A committee with a balance of design professionals (architecture, planning, engineering, landscape architecture) and citizens who are appointed by the City Council.

Detached. Any building or structure that does not have a wall and roof in common with any other building or structure and where exterior walls are separated by six feet or more. (See Attached Structures; note that structures conforming with neither definition must conform with the requirements of this title for both types of structures).

Development. The division of a parcel of land into two or more parcels; the construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation, or enlargement of any structure; any mining, excavation, landfill, clearing or land disturbance; or any change of use or extension of the use of land. (See also Improvement.)

Development Area, WCF. The area occupied by a wireless communications facility including areas inside or under the following: an antenna support structure’s framework, equipment cabinets, ancillary structures and access ways.

Development Code. A text incorporating areas of regulation more typically presented in separate zoning and subdivision ordinances and related chapters of the Municipal Code.

Development Coverage. Except where the context indicates otherwise, "development coverage" has the same meaning as impervious coverage.

Development Permit. Any land use permit which must be approved prior to the improvement and development of land or structures.

Director. The Director of the City of Olympia Community Planning and Development Department, and the Director’s designees.

District or Zone. A specific area designated on the official zoning map of the City as one of the use districts as provided for in this title; such area is subject to all the requirements and regulations applicable to such district.

Dormitory. A residential structure intended principally for sleeping accommodations, where no individual kitchen facilities are provided, and which is related to an educational or public institution or is maintained and operated by a non-profit welfare organization.

Drinking Establishment. A business primarily engaged in the retail sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, including night clubs, bars, and taverns. A lounge operated as part of a restaurant is considered to be accessory to the restaurant.

Drinking Water Protection Area. See OMC 18.32.205.

Drip Line. An imaginary ground line around a tree or building that defines the outermost limits of the tree canopy or building roof eave.

Drive-in Theater. An open lot devoted primarily to the showing of motion pictures.

Drive-Through Restaurant. See Restaurant, Drive-Through.

Dwelling Unit. See definition for single-family. Various types of housing or human shelter, which are listed below and categorized by use.

a.    Dwelling, Conventional.

i.    Accessory Dwelling Unit. A dwelling unit that has been added onto, created within, or separated from a single-family detached dwelling for use as a complete independent living unit with provisions for cooking, sanitation and sleeping.

ii.    Apartment. A dwelling within a structure designed and used for occupancy by three (3) or more individual persons or families living independently of each other. These structures include triplexes, fourplexes, and other multi-unit configurations.

iii.    Boarding Home. Any home or institution, however named, which is advertised, announced or maintained for the express or implied purpose of providing board and domiciliary care to three or more aged persons not related by blood or marriage to the operator, under the provisions of Chapter 18.20 RCW. It may not include any home, institution or section thereof which is otherwise licensed and regulated under the provisions of state law providing specifically for the licensing and regulation of such home, institution or section thereof. (See also Dwelling, Assisted Living.)

iv.    Co-Housing. Co-housing developments consist of two (2) or more dwelling units, one or more shared community structures (e.g., containing a meeting hall, dining hall/kitchen, community center, or day care) and perhaps a community garden, recreation area, or similar community oriented use.

v.    Condominium. A development consisting of an undivided interest in common for a portion of a parcel coupled with a separate interest in space in a residential or commercial building on the parcel.

vi.    Cottage Housing Development. Four or more small, detached dwelling units sharing a commonly owned courtyard/common area and parking area.

vii.    Courtyard Apartment. A dwelling within a structure or small detached structures on one parcel designed and used for occupancy by four (4) or more individual persons or families living independently of each other. The units are oriented around a shared open space courtyard from which all ground floor units have primary entrances facing.

viii.    Duplex. One (1) building containing two single-family dwelling units totally separated from each other by a one-hour fire wall or floor.

ix.    Guest House. Living quarters without kitchen facilities located on the same lot with a principal building and occupied for the sole use of members of the family, temporary guests, or persons permanently employed on the premises. (See also Accessory Dwelling Unit.)

x.    Manufactured Home. A single-family residence constructed after June 15, 1976, and installed in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements for manufactured housing and bearing the appropriate insignia indicating such compliance.

xi.    Manufactured Home, Designated. A manufactured home constructed after June 15, 1976, in accordance with state and federal requirements for manufactured homes, and which meets the requirements of OMC 18.04.060(O).

xii.    Manufactured Home, New. Any manufactured home required to be titled under Title 46 RCW, which has not been previously titled to a retail purchaser, and is not a "used mobile home" as defined in RCW 82.45.032(2).

xiii.    Mobile Home. A single-family residence transportable in one or more sections, built on a permanent chassis, designed to be used as a permanent dwelling and constructed before June 15, 1976.

xiv.    Modular Home. A structure constructed in a factory and installed in accordance with the applicable Building Code and bearing the appropriate insignia indicating such compliance. This definition includes "pre-fabricated," "panelized" and "factory built" units.

xv.    Single-Family Dwelling. A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for a family, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, cooking and sanitation.

xvi.    Single-Room Occupancy. A housing type consisting of one room with cooking facilities and with shared bathroom facilities. (See also Boarding Home, Lodging House and Bed and Breakfast.)

xvii.    Townhouse. A single-family dwelling unit which is part of a group of two or more such units separated by a completely independent structural wall (including utilities in separate walls), extending from the ground to the roof in accordance with the applicable Building Code and which has no doors, windows or other provisions for human passage or visibility through the wall. In certain zoning districts, such dwelling units are platted with common side and/or rear property lines between the structural walls. See Chapter 18.64.

xviii.    Triplex. One building containing three single-family dwelling units totally separated from each other by a one-hour fire wall or floor.

xix.    Fourplex. One building containing four single-family dwelling units totally separated from each other by a one-hour fire wall or floor.

xx.    Sixplex. One building containing six single-family dwelling units totally separated from each other by a one-hour fire wall or floor.

b.    Dwelling, Transient.

i.    Bed and Breakfast. A dwelling for the purpose of providing lodging for travelers and guests for a period of less than two weeks for compensation and having at least one kitchen used to provide breakfast but no other meals. Such dwelling may have no more than five such guest rooms for persons other than the immediate family of the operator occupying such dwelling. Any such dwelling having over five such guest rooms is a hotel.

ii.    Hotel. Any building containing six or more guest rooms where lodging, with or without meals, is provided for compensation, and where no provisions are made for cooking in any individual room or suite.

iii.    Lodging House. A dwelling having only one kitchen and used for the purpose of providing lodging, or lodging and meals, for compensation for no more than five persons other than the members of the immediate family of the operator occupying such dwelling. Any such dwelling having over five such guests is considered a hotel. (See also Boarding Home.) [NOTE: A lodging house allows for an unlimited stay, unlike a Bed and Breakfast which is limited to two weeks.]

iv.    Motel. Guest rooms or suites occupied on a transient basis often with most rooms gaining access from an exterior walkway. (See also Recreational Vehicle.)

v.    Short-Term Rental. A lodging use, that is not a hotel or motel or bed and breakfast, in which a dwelling unit, or a portion thereof, is offered or provided to a guest by a short-term rental operator for a fee for fewer than thirty consecutive nights. (This definition has the same meaning as RCW 64.37.010(9)). (See also Short-Term Rental Operator).

vi.    Short-Term Rental – Homestay. A type of short-term rental wherein rooms are rented within a dwelling unit that is occupied by a property owner or long-term rental tenant residing in that dwelling unit.

vii.    Short-Term Rental – Vacation Rental. A type of short-term rental wherein an entire dwelling unit or portion thereof is rented and there is no property owner or long-term tenant residing in that dwelling unit.

viii.    Trailer House. See Recreational Vehicle.

c.    Dwelling, Assisted Living.

i.    Adult Day Care Home. A residence in which adults (at least 18 years in age) and who are not related to the caregiver stay for no more than 12 hours per day. Emergency medical care may be provided in such facilities, but not convalescent care. (See also Convalescent Home and Elder Care Home.)

ii.    Convalescent Home. Any home, place, institution or facility which provides convalescent or chronic care, or both, for a period in excess of 24 consecutive hours for three or more patients not related by blood or marriage to the operator, who by reason of illness or infirmity, are unable properly to care for themselves. Such establishment must be duly licensed by the State of Washington as a "nursing home" in accordance with the provisions of chapter 18.51 RCW.

iii.    Congregate Care Facilities. A building or complex of dwellings specifically designed for occupancy by senior citizens which provides for shared use of facilities, such as kitchens, dining areas, and recreation areas. Such complexes may also provide kitchens and dining space in individual dwelling units. Practical nursing care may be provided, but not nursing care as described in OMC 18.04.060(S).

iv.    Elder Care Home. An elder care home or adult family home in the primary residence of a person licensed pursuant to chapter 70.128 RCW to provide personal care, room, and board. Home health care and limited nursing care (dispensing of medicine and emergency medical aid) may be provided, but not convalescent care. (See also Convalescent Home, and Boarding Home.)

v.    Group Homes. A place of residence for the handicapped, physically or mentally disabled, developmentally disabled, homeless, or otherwise dependent persons. Group Homes are intended to provide residential facilities in a home-like environment. Such homes range from licensed establishments operated with 24 hour supervision to non-licensed facilities offering only shelter. They may not include correctional facilities (except as authorized by chapters 137-56 and 137-57 WAC for work/training release programs), nursing homes, Type III group care facilities, foster family homes, or adult family homes as defined by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services or its successor agency. Group homes include, but are not limited to the following:

(a) Confidential Shelters. Shelters for victims of domestic violence as defined and regulated in chapter 70.123 RCW and chapter 388-61A WAC. Such facilities are characterized by a need for confidentiality.

(b) Home for the Disabled. A home or other facility which provides board and domiciliary care to individuals who, by reason of infirmity, require such care. An infirmity may be based on conditions including, but not limited to, physical handicap, mental illness, and other developmental disabilities. These group homes are a type of boarding home, as defined and regulated in chapter 18.20 RCW. However, boarding homes serving the aged infirm are not included in this definition.

(c) Homeless Shelter. A facility offering lodging and/or emergency shelter to homeless individuals for an indefinite period of time and meeting the standards of chapter 248-144 WAC.

(i) Emergency Housing. Temporary indoor accommodations for individuals or families who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless that are intended to address the basic health, food, clothing, and personal hygiene needs of individuals or families. Emergency housing may or may not require occupants to enter into a lease or an occupancy agreement.

(ii) Emergency Shelter. A facility that provides a temporary shelter for individuals or families who are currently homeless. Emergency shelter may not require occupants to enter into a lease or an occupancy agreement. Emergency shelter facilities may include day and warming centers that do not provide overnight accommodations.

(d) Group Home for Youth. Any home maintained and operated for the care of children on a 24 hour basis as defined and regulated in chapter 388-73 WAC and chapter 74.15 RCW.

(e) Group Home for Offenders. A home or other facility operated for housing and supervision of work/training release residents during their stay in a work/training release program as defined and regulated in chapters 137-56 and 137-57 WAC.

vi.    Hospice Care Center. Facilities licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW which provide for the emotional and physical care of terminally ill patients. Such centers provide food, lodging, and palliative care on a full-time (24 hour) basis for two or more people, unrelated to the Center’s operator, who are in the latter stages of a disease expected to cause death.

vii.    Nursing Homes. See Convalescent Home.

viii.    Rest Home. See Congregate Care.

ix.    Permanent Supportive Housing. Subsidized, leased housing with no limit on length of stay that prioritizes people who need comprehensive support services to retain tenancy and utilizes admissions practices designed to use lower barriers to entry than would be typical for other subsidized or unsubsidized rental housing, especially related to rental history, criminal history, and personal behaviors. Permanent supportive housing is paired with on-site or off-site voluntary services designed to support a person living with a complex and disabling behavioral health or physical health condition who was experiencing homelessness or was at imminent risk of homelessness prior to moving into housing to retain their housing and be a successful tenant in a housing arrangement, improve the resident’s health status, and connect the resident of the housing with community-based health care, treatment, or employment services. Permanent supportive housing is subject to all of the rights and responsibilities defined in Chapter 59.18 RCW.

x.    Transitional Housing. This housing provides stability for residents for a limited time period, usually two weeks to 24 months, to allow them to recover from a crisis such as homelessness or domestic violence before transitioning into permanent housing. Transitional housing often offers supportive services, which enable a person to transition to an independent living situation.


Easement. A right of one owner of land to make lawful and beneficial use of the land of another, created by an express or implied agreement.

Easement, Conservation. The grant of a property right stipulating that the described land will remain in its current state, precluding future or additional development.

Easement, Scenic. An easement the purpose of which is to limit development in order to preserve or enhance a view or scenic area.

Elder Care. See Dwelling, Assisted Living.

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure. Structures, machinery, and equipment necessary and integral to support an electric vehicle, including battery charging stations, rapid charging stations, and battery exchange stations.

a.    “Battery charging station” means an electrical component assembly or cluster of component assemblies designed specifically to charge batteries within electric vehicles.

b.    “Battery exchange station” means a fully automated facility that will enable an electric vehicle with a swappable battery to enter a drive lane and exchange the depleted battery with a fully charged battery through a fully automated process.

c.    “Charging levels” means the standardized indicators of electrical force, or voltage, at which an electric vehicle’s battery is recharged. The terms 1, 2, and 3 are the most common electric vehicle charging levels, and include the following specifications:

i.    Level 1 is considered slow charging. Level 1 is present in homes and businesses and typically operates on a 15- or 20-amp breaker on a 120-volt Alternating Current (AC) circuit and standard outlet.

ii.    Level 2 is considered medium charging. Typically, Level 2 is for home and public charging and operates on a 40-amp to 100-amp breaker on a 208 or 240-volt AC circuit.

iii.    Level 3 is considered fast or rapid charging. Level 3 is primarily for commercial and public applications (e.g., taxi fleets and charging along freeways) and typically operates on a 60-amp or higher dedicated breaker on a 480-volt or higher three-phase circuit with special grounding equipment.

d.    “Electric vehicle” means any vehicle that operates, either partially or exclusively, on electrical energy from the grid, or an off-board source, that is stored on-board for motive purpose. “Electric vehicle” includes any one of the following: (1) a battery electric vehicle; (2) a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle; (3) a neighborhood electric vehicle; and (4) a medium-speed electric vehicle.

Emergency. An imminent threat to health, safety, or welfare, or an imminent risk of substantial damage to public or private property.

Emergency Housing. A temporary shelter usually in the form of a mobile home which is occupied only during the period of reconstruction of a dwelling following damage sustained by fire, explosion, act of nature or act of public enemy.

Emergency Housing Facility. A temporary emergency housing facility that may include tents and small structures organized and managed as temporary accommodations for homeless people, and may be hosted by entities described in OMC Section 18.50.010.

Emergency Repair. Work necessary to prevent destruction or dilapidation of real or personal property or structures immediately threatened or damaged by fire, flood, earthquake or other disaster.

Entertainment Event. Includes any festival, sporting event, celebration, circus, carnival, fair, or other similar event open to the public.

Equipment Cabinet, WCF. Any structure above the base flood elevation (including cabinets, shelters, pedestals, and other similar structures) used exclusively to contain radio or other equipment necessary for the transmission or reception of wireless communication signals.

Equipment Compound, WCF. The fenced area surrounding the ground-based wireless communication facility including the areas inside or under the following: an antenna support structure’s framework and ancillary structures such as equipment necessary to operate the antenna on the WCF that is above the base flood elevation including: cabinets, shelters, pedestals, and other similar structures.

Entertainment (Live). Any act, play, revue, pantomime, scene, dance act, or song and dance act, or any combination thereof, performed by one or more persons, whether or not they are compensated for the performance.

Equipment - Light. Machinery which a person does not ride such as chain saws, wheelbarrows, and hand-held tools.

Equipment Rental Service, Commercial. A business which rents or leases equipment for personal or household use, including but not limited to power and hand tools, yard and garden equipment, or party supplies such as dishware, glassware, and folding tables and chairs. This does not include rental of furniture or appliances, which is classified under Furniture, Home Furnishings, and Appliance stores. It also does not include rental or leasing of portable toilets, heavy equipment like bulldozers, or similar services to the construction trades. These are classified as Light Industrial uses.

Essential Public Facilities. Public facilities and privately owned or operated facilities serving a public purpose which are typically difficult to site. They include, but are not limited to, airports; state educational facilities; state or regional transportation facilities; prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities; solid waste handling facilities; inpatient facilities such as group homes and mental health facilities; sewage treatment facilities; and communication towers and antennas.

Examiner. The Hearing Examiner of the City of Olympia.

Excavation. Any digging, scooping or other method of removing earth material.

Ex Parte Communication. Any written or oral communication made outside of a public hearing and not included in the public record.


FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration.

Facade. The vertical side or sides of a building facing city streets or pedestrian plazas.

Family. An individual, or two or more persons, living in a dwelling unit or a foster family home, or an adult family home, as defined under Washington State law or administrative code.

Farmers Market. See Swap Meet.

FCC. The Federal Communications Commission.

Feed Lines. Cables used as the interconnecting media between the transmission/receiving base station and the antenna of a WCF.

Fence. A physical barrier used to prevent entrance or exit, or to mark a boundary.

Filling or Fill. Any depositing or stockpiling of earth materials.

Final Approval. The final official action taken by the Review Authority on a proposed subdivision, short subdivision, binding site plan, large lot subdivision, dedication, or other application requiring City approval.

Flashing Sign. See Sign, Animated.

Flea Market. See Swap Meet.

Flood Hazard Area. Those lands having a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any one year.

Floor Area. See Gross Floor Area.

Floor Area Ratio (FAR). The ratio of floor area permitted on a zoning lot to the size of the lot. 1:1 means a one story building can cover the entire buildable area of the lot, except in the Urban Waterfront Housing District, 1 FAR of commercial is allowed, while the remainder of the building (up to the allowed zoning height) must be residential.

Flush-Mounted Antenna. Any antenna or antenna array attached directly to the face of the support structure or building such that no portion of the antenna extends above the height of the support structure or building. Where a maximum flush-mounting distance is given, that distance shall be measured from the outside edge of the support structure or building to the inside edge of the antenna.

Food Stores. Stores primarily engaged in selling food and beverages for home preparation and consumption. It includes grocery stores; meat and fish markets, including freezer provisioners; fruit and vegetable markets; candy, nut, and confectionery stores; dairy products stores; retail bakeries; wine and beer shops; liquor stores; and miscellaneous stores specializing in items such as spices, coffee, or health foods. As an accessory use, a food store may also sell prepared products for on-site or off-site consumption.

Front Wall. The wall of a structure nearest to the street upon which the structure faces, excluding cornices, canopies, eaves, or any other architectural embellishments.

Front Yard. See Yard, Front.

Frontage. The side(s) of a lot abutting a public rights-of-way.

Frontage Improvements. See Improvements.

Functions, beneficial functions or functions and values. The beneficial roles served by critical areas including, but not limited to: water quality protection and enhancement; fish and wildlife habitat; food chain support; flood storage, conveyance and attenuation, groundwater recharge and discharge; erosion control; wave attenuation; historical and archaeological value protection; and aesthetic value and recreation.

Funeral Parlors and Mortuaries. Businesses primarily engaged in conducting funerals and preparing the dead for burial, but not including crematoriums.

Furniture, Home Furnishings, and Appliance Stores. Businesses primarily engaged in the retail sale of goods used for furnishing the home, such as furniture, floor coverings, draperies, lighting fixtures, woodstoves, domestic cookstoves, refrigerators, and other household electrical and gas appliances. This category also includes rental of furniture, appliances, and the like. Consumer electronics such as televisions, stereo equipment, and personal computers are classified under Specialty Stores. Mini-computers and mainframe computers are classified under Office Supplies and Equipment Stores. (See also Specialty Stores.)


Gambling Establishment. A business primarily engaged in Class E and F (fee-charged and enhanced card room activities) and house-banked card games and similar activities as defined and regulated by the Washington State Gambling Commission.

Garage. An enclosed detached or attached accessory building which is primarily used for the parking of vehicles. (See also Parking Facility.)

Garage, Commercial. A structure, or portion thereof, used primarily for the parking and storage of motor vehicles and available to the general public. (See also Parking Facility, Commercial.)

Garage, Private. Any building or portion thereof accessory to, or within, the principal building, and which is used or intended to be used by persons residing on the premises for the storage or parking of motor vehicles, boats and other permitted uses. (See also Carport.)

Gas Station. See Service Station.

General Merchandise Stores. Stores which sell a number of lines of merchandise in one store, such as department stores, warehouse buying clubs, variety stores, country general stores, drug stores, and the like. A store which primarily sells only prescription and over-the-counter drugs is defined as a Pharmacy.

Geographic Search Ring. An area designated by a wireless provider or operator for a new base station, produced in accordance with generally accepted principles of wireless engineering.

Geologist. A person who has earned a degree in geology from an accredited college or university, or a person who has equivalent educational training and has experience as a practicing geologist.

Golf Course. A private or public facility with extensive outdoor grounds designed for playing golf (typically 9 or 18 holes). Accessory uses may include a clubhouse, tennis and swim activities, and a driving range, but not to include riding stables. (See also Country Club).

Grade. The finished ground level adjoining the building at the exterior walls.

Grade Plane. A reference plane representing the average of the finished ground level adjoining the building at all exterior walls. Where the finished ground level slopes away from the exterior walls, the reference plane shall be established by the lowest points within the area between the building and the lot line or, where the lot line is more than six feet from the building between the structure and a point six feet from the building.

Grading. Any excavating or filling of earth materials or any combination thereof.

Greenhouse. A building whose roof and sides are made largely of glass or other transparent or translucent material and in which the temperature and humidity may be regulated for the cultivation of delicate or out-of-season plants for sale or personal enjoyment. (See also Nursery.)

Grocery Store. A subcategory of food store which is primarily engaged in the retail sale of a wide variety of fresh foods, packaged foods and household supplies for preparation and consumption in the home. Commonly known as a supermarket, grocery store, or minimarket, this type of store sells such goods as tea, coffee, spices, sugar, flour and packaged foods; fresh and/or frozen fruits and vegetables; fresh and/or prepared meats, fish, and poultry; domestic cleaning products and paper goods; and miscellaneous small items for home use. See also "Food Stores." A store which also sells a wide variety of non-grocery items (such as automotive supplies, consumer electronics, hardware, building materials, apparel, sporting goods or the like) as a major part of its sales (i.e., 30 percent or more of its display area) is classified as a "general merchandise store."

Gross Acreage. The total area within the lot lines of a lot or parcel of land before public streets, easements or other areas to be dedicated or reserved for public use are deducted from such lot or parcel.

Gross Floor Area. The area included within the surrounding exterior finished wall surface of a building or portion thereof, exclusive of courtyards.

Ground Area. See Gross Acreage.

Ground Cover. A variety of grasses or other low growing plants often cultivated to reduce soil and wind erosion.

Groundwater. Water in a saturated zone or stratum beneath the surface of land or below a surface water body.

Group Home. See Dwelling, Assisted Living.

Guest House. See Dwelling, Conventional.


Handoff Candidate. A wireless communication facility that receives call transference from another wireless facility, usually located in an adjacent first "tier" surrounding the initial wireless facility.

Hard Surface. An impervious surface, a permeable pavement (pervious concrete, porous asphalt, permeable pavers), water penetrable decking, or a vegetated roof, in contrast with vegetated permeable soils.

Hazardous Materials. Those materials which are acutely toxic, ignitable, corrosive, reactive, persistent, carcinogenic, or which leach hazardous constituents, as described in Chapter 173-303 WAC. Examples include, but are not limited to, pesticides, acids, paint strippers and antifreeze.

Hazardous Waste. Those wastes which are acutely toxic, ignitable, corrosive, reactive, persistent, carcinogenic, or which leach hazardous constituents or are specifically listed as hazardous waste, as described in Chapter 173-303 WAC. Examples include, but are not limited to, pesticides, acids, paint strippers and antifreeze.

Hazardous Waste, Extremely. Any dangerous waste which:

a.    Will persist in a hazardous form for several years or more at a disposal site and which in its persistent form:

i.    Presents a significant environmental hazard and may be concentrated by living organisms through a food chain or may affect the genetic makeup of humans or wildlife, and/or

ii.    Is highly toxic to humans or wildlife;

b.    Is disposed of at a disposal site in such quantities as would present an extreme hazard to people or the environment. (See also Ash, Incinerator and Off-Site Treatment and Storage Facility.)

Health Fitness Centers and Dance Studios. Health clubs, aerobics centers, athletic clubs and gymnasiums, indoor tennis and swim clubs, handball and racquetball clubs, weight-reducing centers, dance studios, and other businesses primarily engaged in indoor health and recreation activities, whether on a membership basis or for the general public. (See also Commercial Recreation, Golf Courses, Country Clubs, and Riding Stables.)

Health Officer. That person of the Thurston County Health Department described as such in Chapter 70.05 RCW or a duly authorized representative.

Hearing Examiner. See Examiner.

Hedge. A row of shrubs or low-branching trees planted close together that forms a sight-obscuring or obstructing barrier below seven feet above the ground.

Height, Building. The vertical distance from grade plane to the average height of the highest roof surface.

Herbicide. Any substance used to kill plants, especially weeds.

Heritage Commission. A commission charged with historic planning and preservation, consisting of members appointed by the City Council.

Heritage Register or Register. The listing of properties having special historic significance and is listed on the Olympia Heritage Register, and including listings on the Washington Heritage Register, or National Register of Historic Places.

Heritage Review Committee. A sub-committee of the Heritage Commission charged with reviewing proposed changes to properties on the Heritage Register or within a historic district, and with making recommendations on permit approval to the Building Official.

Historic Building. A building listed on the Olympia Heritage Register, the National Register of Historic Places and/or the Washington Heritage Register.

Historic District. A geographically defined area containing buildings, structures, sites, objects and spaces linked historically through location, design, setting, materials, artisanship, feeling, and/or association. The significance of a district is the product of the sense of time and place in history that its individual components collectively convey. This sense may relate to developments during one period or through several periods in history.

Historic House Museum. A home owned by a public or registered nonprofit organization that has been placed on the National, local or State Register of Historic Places, and which is open to the public.

Historic Preservation Officer, Preservation Officer. The person designated by the Director to respond to requests for review and information relating to historic preservation and to be the primary staff liaison to work with the Heritage Commission.

Historic Resources. Any building, structure, object, district, area, or site that is significant in the history, architecture, archaeology or culture of this city, state, or nation, as identified by the Olympia Heritage Register, Washington Heritage Register, or the National Register of Historic Places.

Historic Site. A place where a significant event or pattern of events occurred. It may be the location of prehistoric or historic occupation or activities that may be marked by physical remains; or the site may be the symbolic focus of a significant event or pattern of events that may not have been actively occupied. A site may be the location of a ruined or now nonexistent building, structure, or object if the location itself possesses historic, cultural, or archaeological significance.

Historic Sites (Registered). Those buildings, structures, districts, sites and objects which are on the City Heritage Register or the State or National Register of Historic Places. (See also Archaeological Sites.)

Home Occupation. A commercial use within a residential dwelling unit which is clearly incidental and accessory to the residential use of the property and complies with applicable provisions of this Title.

Hospice Care Center. See Dwelling, Assisted Living.

Hospital. A medical institution or facility within an integrated campus setting for the purpose of diagnosis, care, and treatment of human illness, including surgery, long-term and emergency medical treatment. (See also Office, Medical.)

Hotel. See Dwelling, Transient.

Human Scale. The size or proportion of a building element or space, or an article of furniture, relative to the structural or functional dimensions of the human body. For example, a brick is approximately the size of a human hand.

Hydric Soil. A hydric soil is a soil that formed under conditions of saturation, flooding, or ponding long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part. Hydric soils that occur in areas having positive indicators of hydrophytic vegetation and wetland hydrology are wetland soils, as defined by the Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast Region (Version 2.0) May 2010.


Impervious Surface. A non-vegetated surface area which either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil mantle as under natural conditions prior to development. A non-vegetated surface area which causes water to run off the surface in greater quantities or at an increased rate of flow from the flow present under natural conditions prior to development. Common impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to, roof tops, walkways, patios, driveways, parking lots or storage areas, concrete or asphalt paving, gravel roads, gravel parking lots, gravel pathways, packed earthen materials, and oiled, macadam or other surfaces which similarly impede the natural infiltration of stormwater.

Important Habitat. See OMC 18.32.305.

Important Riparian Area. See OMC 18.32.405.

Important Species. See OMC 18.32.305.

Improvements. Any act which improves the value of public, real and personal property, or which is necessary as a condition of development, including but not limited to: streets and roads complying with the development standards and specifications adopted by the city; public utility and pedestrian facilities; street lights; landscape features; sewer and water lines; bridge structures; storm drainage facilities; and traffic control devices as are required to be installed as a part of subdivision, short subdivision, large lot subdivision, binding site plan, or commercial development. (See also Development.)

Incentives. A motivation or stimulus provided by government for public purposes, including but not limited to: compensation, rights or privileges or combination thereof which the City Council, or other local, state or federal public body or agency, by virtue of applicable present or future legislation, may be authorized to grant or obtain for the owner(s) of properties. Examples of economic incentives include but are not limited to tax relief, bonus densities, conditional use permits, rezones, street vacations, planned unit developments, transfer of development rights, facade easements, gifts, preferential leasing policies, private or public grants-in-aid, beneficial placement of public improvements, or amenities, or the like.

Industry, Heavy. The basic processing and manufacturing of materials or products predominantly from extracted or raw materials, or a use engaged in storage of, or manufacturing processes using flammable or explosive materials, or storage or manufacturing processes that potentially involve hazardous or commonly recognized offensive conditions. This may include either Group F (factory and industrial) or Group H (hazardous) occupancies (types of buildings) under the Uniform Building Code. Other occupancies, such as Group M (mercantile) or Group S (storage), are allowed.

Industry, Light. A use engaged in the basic processing and manufacturing of materials or products predominantly from previously prepared materials or finished products or parts, including processing, fabrication, assembly, treatment, packaging, incidental storage, sales, and distribution of such products, but excluding basic processing of raw materials, except for food products. This also includes maintenance and service facilities for motor vehicle passenger transportation, such as for taxi fleets, public transit fleets, or school bus fleets. This may include Group F (factory and industrial)--but not Group H (hazardous)--occupancies (types of buildings) under the Uniform Building Code. Other occupancies, such as Group B (business) or Group S (storage), are allowed.

Infill Development. New development that occurs on vacant lots within areas already developed.

Inpatient Facility. A state-licensed facility providing board and room on a 24 hour per day basis as part of a treatment program for alcoholism, drug addiction, or other chemical dependency. The term includes shelters for qualified indigent alcoholics and/or drug addicts placed by chemical dependency assessment centers.

Interdisciplinary Team. A group of technical experts from the City of Olympia, other consulted agencies, and tribes which advises the Department on a specific development application.


Joint Review Committee. The committee comprised of representatives from the Heritage Commission and Design Review Board.

Junk Yard or Salvage Facility. Primary or accessory use of structures and/or land for storage, recycling, dismantling and/or selling of cast-off, unused, scrap or salvage material of any sort.


Kennel. Any site where four or more dogs, cats, or other small animals over the age of four months are kept, whether such keeping is for pleasure, profit, breeding, or exhibiting, including places where said animals are boarded, kept for sale, or hire.

Kitchen. Any room or area, all or part of which is designed and/or used for storage, refrigeration, cooking and the preparation of food.


Lake. A naturally existing or artificially created body of standing water greater than twenty acres in size. Lakes include reservoirs which exist on a year-round basis and occur in a depression of land or expanded part of a stream. A lake is bounded by the ordinary high water mark or the extension of the elevation of the lake’s ordinary high water mark within the stream, where the stream enters the lake. All lakes meet the criteria of RCW chapter 90.58 (Shoreline Management Act) and have been inventoried as “Shorelines of the State” found in the Shoreline Master Program, chapter 18.20 OMC.

Land Use Approval. A written approval or permit issued by the Director or Hearing Examiner, or designee thereof, finding that a proposed project is consistent with applicable plans, regulations and standards and authorizing the recipient to make use of property in a certain manner. The land use approval consolidates various non-construction permit reviews of a project such as design review, environmental review, zoning conformance, and site plan review. Land Use Approval is a permit which does not directly authorize construction or improvements to real estate, but which is a necessary and required precursor to authorization of such construction or improvement. Types of land use applications requiring land use approval are shown in OMC 18.70.040.

Land Use Approval, Administrative. A Land Use Approval which may be issued by an authorized official or body, usually the Director, without an open record predecision hearing.

Land Use Approval, Quasi-Judicial. A Land Use Approval issued by an authorized official or body, usually the Hearing Examiner, following an open record predecision hearing.

Landscape Plan. A component of a site development plan on which is shown: proposed landscape species (number, spacing, size at time of planting, and plant details); proposals for protection of existing vegetation during and after construction; proposed treatment of hard and soft surfaces; proposed decorative features; grade changes; buffers and screening devices; and any other information that can reasonably be required in order that an informed decision can be made by the approving authority.

Landscape Structure. A fence, wall, trellis, statue or other landscape and ornamental object.

Landscaping. An area devoted to or developed and maintained predominantly with native or non-native plant materials including lawn, groundcover, trees, shrubs, and other plant materials; and also including accessory decorative outdoor landscape elements such as ornamental pools, fountains, paved or decorated surfaces (excluding driveways, parking, loading, or storage areas), and sculptural elements.

Landslide. Episodic down-slope movement of a mass of soil or rock that includes but is not limited to rockfalls, slumps, mudflows, earthflows and snow avalanches.

Large Lot Subdivision. The division of land into lots or tracts, each of which is 1/128 of a section of land or larger, or five acres or larger if the land is not capable of description as a fraction of a section of land.

Laundry and Laundry Pick-up Agency. An enterprise where articles of clothing, linen, etc. are washed, including self-service laundries as well as those where customers drop off articles to be laundered either on or off the premises, or dry-cleaned off the premises only. This includes diaper services, but not the following, which are classified as Light Industrial uses: dry-cleaning plants, linen supply services, carpet and upholstery cleaning plants, and industrial launderers.

Legal Lot of Record. A lot of a subdivision plat or binding site plan or a parcel of land described in a deed either of which is officially recorded to create a separate unit of property, provided that such plat, site plan, or deed must accord with applicable local, state, or federal law on the date created. Separate descriptions of adjoining parcels within a single deed do not necessarily constitute separate legal lots of record.

Local Improvement. A public improvement for the benefit of property owners provided to a specific area that benefits that area and that is usually paid for, at least in part, by a special assessment.

Lodging House. See Dwelling, Transient.

Long-Term Rental. A residential use, wherein a dwelling unit, or portion thereof, that is not a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, or boarding home, is offered or provided to a person as a residence for a fee for thirty consecutive nights or more.

Lot. Lands having fixed boundaries, being of sufficient area and dimension to meet minimum zoning requirements for width and area. The term also includes tracts and parcels. Lot classifications are as follows:

a.    Lot, Corner. A lot that abuts two or more intersecting streets.

b.    Lot, Flag or Panhandle. A lot with less than thirty feet of street frontage which is typically connected to a public or private street by a narrow driveway. A lot where access is only provided by a private easement is not a flag lot.

c.    Lot, Interior. A lot that has frontage on one public or private street only, or is provided access by a private easement.

d.    Lot, Through. A lot that fronts on two parallel or nearly parallel streets that do not intersect at the boundaries of the lot.

e.    Lot, Wedge-shaped. A lot with a street frontage which is no more than half as wide as the lot’s width at the rear property line, as depicted in Figure 2-5b.


Example of a Wedge-Shaped Lot


Lot Frontage. See Frontage.

Lot Line. A line dividing one lot from another lot or from a street right-of-way or alley. (See also Property Line.)

Lot of Record. A lot, the plat, or deed to which is officially recorded as a unit of property and is described by metes and bounds.

Lot, Substandard. A parcel of land that is less than the minimum area or minimum dimensions required in the zone in which the lot is located. (See also Minimum Lot Size, Undersized Lots in development standards.)

Lot Width. The straight line distance measured between side lot lines parallel to the front setback line. (See also OMC 18.04.080(G)(1) and Table 4.04.)

Low Income Housing. See Affordable Housing.


Main Building. See Building, Maintenance.

Management Plan. See Specific or Management Plan.

Manufactured Home. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Marina/Boat Launching Facility. A facility for storing, servicing, fueling, berthing, launching and securing boats, which may include eating, sleeping, and retail facilities for owners, crews, and guests.

Marquee. A permanent covered structure, attached to and supported by a building, which protrudes outward.

Mass Wasting. A general term for a variety of processes by which large masses of rock or earth material are moved downslope by gravity, either slowly or quickly. Mass wasting can take the form of landslides, earth/debris flows and slumps, and rock falls/earth topples. The potential for mass wasting can be determined based on the surrounding topography, presence of slope-stabilizing vegetation and historical records.

Mean Sea Level Datum. The published mean sea level datum established by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (National Geodetic Survey).

Median. A paved or planted area separating a street or highway into two or more lanes of opposite direction of travel.

Mental Health Facility. A private or public hospital, sanitarium, or other similar place which is licensed or operated under RCW 71.12 or RCW 72.23, and whose primary business is to receive or care for mentally ill or mentally incompetent persons.

Micro Brewery. A combination retail, wholesale and manufacturing business that brews and serves beer and/or food.

Ministorage. A building or group of buildings which may contain manager living quarters, office and individual, compartmentalized self-storage units, stalls, or lockers which are rented or leased for the storage of household or business goods, supplies or materials.

Mitigation. Methods used to alleviate or lessen the impact of development, including avoiding, minimizing, or compensating for adverse critical area impacts. Mitigation includes, but is not limited to, the following:

a.    Compensatory. The replacement of probable project-induced critical area losses including, but not limited to, restoration, creation or enhancement.

b.    Creation. A type of mitigation performed to intentionally establish a critical area (e.g., wetland) at a site where it does not currently exist.

c.    Enhancement. A type of mitigation performed to improve the condition of existing degraded critical areas (e.g., wetlands) so that the functions they provide are of a higher quality.

d.    Restoration. A type of mitigation performed to reestablish a critical area (e.g., wetland), or the functional characteristic and processes which have been lost by alterations, activities or catastrophic events within an area which no longer meets the definition of a critical area (e.g., wetland).

Mitigation, WCF. A modification of an existing antenna support structure to increase the height, or to improve its integrity, by replacing or removing one or several antenna support structure(s) located in proximity to a proposed new antenna support structure in order to encourage compliance with this ordinance or improve aesthetics or functionality of the overall wireless network.

Mixed Use Development. The development of a parcel or structure with two or more different land uses, such as a combination of residential, office, manufacturing, retail, public, or entertainment in a single or physically integrated group of structures.

Mobile Home. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Mobile, Manufactured and Modular Housing Sales. The sale of new or used mobile, manufactured, or modular housing. Sale of recreational vehicles and motor homes is classified under Motor Vehicle Sales.

Mobile Vendor. A vendor that sells food, goods or services from a non-permanent location, and that is unrelated to the primary use of the property and readily movable at all times. (Does not include accessory uses, uses listed under a Festival and Event permit, busking, or uses such as ice cream or home delivery trucks that operate in constant motion within the street.)

Model Home. A home or homes used for the purpose of advertising various floor plans and styles of architecture found within a residential subdivision. Model homes are usually located on-site and are occupied only by a sales representative.

Modular Home. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Modulation. The measured proportional inflexion (stepping back and stepping forward) of a building facade.

Monitoring. The collection and analysis of data by various methods for the purposes of understanding and documenting changes in systems and features. "Monitoring" includes gathering baseline data, evaluating the impacts of development proposals on the biological, hydrologic and geologic elements of such systems and assessing the performance of required mitigation measures.

Motel. See Dwelling, Transient.

Motor Vehicle Dealer. A business engaged in the buying, selling, exchanging, or otherwise dealing in motor vehicle sales and service at an established place of business (see motor vehicle sales).

Motor Vehicle Franchise. One or more agreements, whether oral or written, between a manufacturer and a new motor vehicle dealer, under which the new motor vehicle dealer is authorized to sell, service, and repair new motor vehicles, parts, and accessories under a common name, trade name, trademark, or service mark of the manufacturer. "Franchise" includes an oral or written contract and includes a dealer agreement, either expressed or implied, between a manufacturer and a new motor vehicle dealer that purports to fix the legal rights and liabilities between the parties and under which (a) the dealer is granted the right to purchase and resell motor vehicles manufactured, distributed, or imported by the manufacturer; (b) the dealer’s business is associated with the trademark, trade name, commercial symbol, or advertisement designating the franchisor or the products distributed by the manufacturer; and (c) the dealer’s business relies on the manufacturer for a continued supply of motor vehicles, parts, and accessories.

Motor Vehicle Sales. A business primarily engaged in the sale of new and used autos, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, utility trailers, aircraft, snowmobiles, and the like.

Motor Vehicle Supply Stores. Auto supply stores, tire dealers, and the like. Firms which salvage used parts from inoperable vehicles are classified as Junk Yards and Salvage Facilities. Businesses primarily engaged in both selling and installing such automotive parts as mufflers and brakes are classified as Service Stations.


National Register of Historic Places. The national listing of properties deemed significant because of their documented importance to our history and architectural, engineering or cultural heritage, as administered by the Department of the Interior under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

Native Vegetation. Vegetation comprised of plant species, other than noxious weeds, that are indigenous to the coastal region of the Pacific Northwest and which reasonably could have been expected to naturally occur on the site.

Neighborhood Association. A group of people organized for the purpose of considering and acting upon any of a broad range of issues affecting the livability and quality of their neighborhood. A neighborhood association may be "recognized" by the City if it meets the minimum standards and applicable guidelines adopted by the City in chapter 18.86 OMC.

Net Site Area. The total area within the lot lines of a lot or parcel of land after public street rights-of-way or other areas to be dedicated or reserved for public use are deducted from such lot or parcel.

Nonconforming Building or Structure. A building or structure or portion thereof which was lawfully erected or altered and maintained, but because of the application of this title no longer conforms to the yard, height or area requirements of the use district in which it is located.

Nonconforming Lot. A lot which does not conform with the provisions of this Title or Subdivision Code.

Nonconforming Use. An activity in a structure or on a tract of land that was legally established, but because of the application of this title no longer conforms to the use regulations of the district in which it is located.

Nonprofit Institutions. A charitable organization formed and devoted to performing public service or to further private benevolent endeavors.

Non-Profit Physical Facilities. Facilities for physical education activities such as sports or health fitness, which are owned and operated by a non-profit organization.

Normal Maintenance. Those usual acts to prevent a decline, lapse or cessation from a lawfully established condition.

Normal Repair. To restore a development to a state comparable to its original condition within a reasonable period after decay or partial destruction, except where repair involves a near or total replacement which is not common practice or causes substantial adverse effects to the environment.

Notice of Application. A notice that a complete project permit application has been received by the City, as required by RCW 36.70B.110. Procedures for a notice of application are provided in OMC 18.70.130.

Notice of Decision. A notice of the City’s decision on a project permit application, as required by RCW 36.70B.130. Procedures for a notice of application are provided in OMC 18.70.130.

Noxious Weed Control. Those activities subject to review or action by the Thurston County Noxious Weed Board under RCW 17.10.

Number. See OMC 18.02.080(H).

Nursery. Land or greenhouses used to raise flowers, shrubs, and plants for retail or wholesale. (See also Greenhouse.)

Nursing Home. See Convalescent Home, under Dwelling, Assisted Living.


Object. A thing of functional, aesthetic, cultural, historical, or scientific value that may be, by nature or design, movable yet related to a specific setting or environment.

Off-Site Treatment and Storage Facility. A facility that treats or stores hazardous wastes or special incinerator ash generated on properties other than the property on which the off-site facility is located. (See also current edition of "Zoning Guidelines for Hazardous Waste Treatment and Storage Facilities," prepared by the Solid and Hazardous Waste Program of the State Department of Ecology.)

Office. A building or portion thereof which is primarily used to transact the administrative or professional activities of a business. Such uses include, but are not limited to: medical (excluding veterinary), dental, chiropractic, optometric, legal, banking, insurance, real estate, security brokers, administrative, public, contractors, consultants, corporate, or manufacturers’ offices. (See also Home Occupation.)

Office, Bank. Banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and other depository institutions.

Office, Business. The offices of real estate agencies, mortgage brokers, advertising agencies, credit agencies, mailing services and postal substations, employment agencies, insurance agencies, membership organizations except social organizations, accountants, attorneys, security brokers, financial advisors, architects, engineers, surveyors, tax preparation services, computer software development, and other similar business services. This may also include the administrative offices for businesses whose primary activity may be construction, manufacturing, utility services, or some other non-office use conducted elsewhere.

Office, Government. The legislative, administrative, service delivery, or judicial offices of local, state, or federal agencies. It also includes federal post offices where mail processing takes place for local delivery. It does not include government land uses such as maintenance facilities for government-owned trucks, buses, or heavy equipment which are a Light Industrial use.

Office, Medical. This includes the offices of doctors, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, and other health practitioners providing outpatient care. It also includes medical and dental laboratories, blood banks, and the like.

Office Supplies and Equipment Stores. Stores selling office products such as stationery, legal forms, writing implements, typewriters, computers, copiers, office furniture, and the like.

Office Uses, General. A room or group of rooms used for conducting the affairs of a business and generally furnished with desks, tables, files, and communication equipment.

Office, Veterinary/Clinic. A place where animals are given medical care and the boarding of animals is limited to short-term care incidental to the hospital use. (See also Animal Hospital.)

On-Site. Located on the same lot that is the subject of an application for development.

On-Site Treatment and Storage Facility. A facility that treats or stores hazardous wastes generated on the same property, see current edition of "Zoning Guidelines for Hazardous Waste Treatment and Storage Facilities," prepared by the Solid and Hazardous Waste Program of the State Department of Ecology.

Open Record Hearing. A hearing conducted by a single hearing body or officer that creates the City’s record through testimony and submission of evidence and information under procedures prescribed by this Title. [See RCW 36.70B.020(3)].

Open Record Appeal Hearing. A form of open record hearing held on request in response to a notice of decision when no open record predecision hearing was held on the project permit. [See RCW 36.70B.020(3)].

Open Record Predecision Hearing. A form of open record hearing held prior to the City’s decision on a project permit. [See RCW 36.70B.020(3)].

Open Space, Common. Land within or related to a development, not individually owned or dedicated for public use, that is designed and intended for the common use or enjoyment of the residents and may include such complementary structures and improvements as are necessary and appropriate.

Open Space, Public. Undeveloped public land that is permanently set aside (as opposed to regulated) to protect the special natural character of a particular location. Open space may include, but is not limited to wetlands; wetland buffers; creek, stream or river corridors; forested areas; ravines, bluffs or other geologically hazardous areas; and undeveloped areas within parks.

Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM). (Also referred to as Ordinary High Water Line OHWL.) Per WAC 220-660-030, the mark on the shores of all waters that will be found by examining the bed and banks and ascertaining where the presence and action of waters are so common and usual and so long continued in ordinary years, as to mark upon the soil or vegetation a character distinct from that of the abutting upland, provided that in any area where the ordinary high water line cannot be found, the ordinary high water line adjoining saltwater shall be the line of mean higher high water, and the ordinary high water line adjoining freshwater shall be the elevation of the mean annual flood. OHWM is used to determine the location of standard buffer widths of streams as required under OMC 18.32.435(C).

Ordinary Repair and Maintenance. Work for which a permit issued by the City is not required by law, and where the purpose and effect of such work is to prevent or correct any deterioration or decay of or damage to the real property or structure appurtenant thereto and to restore the same, as nearly as may be practicable, to the condition prior to the occurrence of such deterioration, decay or damage.

Outdoor Storage. The keeping of any goods, junk, material, merchandise, or vehicles in the same place for more than 24 consecutive hours.

Over Water. Location above the surface of the water, including placement of buildings on piling or floats.

Overlay Zone. A zoning district or specific plan that encompasses one or more underlying zones or areas and which imposes requirements in addition to those required by the underlying zone. (See also Overlay Districts in Article III.)

Owner of Property. The fee simple owner of real property according to Thurston County Auditor records.


Parcel. A parcel of land under one ownership that has been legally subdivided or combined and is shown as a single parcel on the most recent equalized assessment roll.

Park, Neighborhood. An area suited for passive and/or active family activities and play which may include facilities such as picnic table and shelters, barbecue pits, playground equipment, basketball backboards, small sized playfields, volleyball courts and tennis courts. Neighborhood parks can serve an urban design as well as recreational function and are a core feature of neighborhood centers.

Park, Public. A park, playground, swimming pool, beach, pier, reservoir, golf course or athletic field which is under the control, operation or management of the City, county, state, or federal government.

Parking, Combined. Two or more land uses or a multi-tenant building which merge parking needs to gain a higher efficiency in vehicular and pedestrian circulation.

Parking Facility or Lot. A land area, building or structure that is for the temporary parking or storage of vehicles for which a fee may or may not be charged, and where no service or repairs of any kind are furnished.

Parking Facility, Commercial. A parking facility available to the general public, for which a fee is charged on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or other similar basis.

Parking, Shared. Two or more land uses or a multi-tenant building which merge parking needs based on different operating hours to gain a higher efficiency in vehicular and pedestrian circulation, economize space, reduce impervious surface and provide a superior grouping of building(s).

Parking Space. An area which is primarily intended for the temporary storage of vehicles and which meets the design requirements of this code.

Party of Record. The applicant and any person who prior to a decision has requested notice of the decision or submitted substantive comments on an application.

Passive Recreation. See Recreation, Passive.

Pedestrian-Oriented Business. A commercial enterprise whose customers commonly arrive at a business on foot, or whose signage, advertising, window display and entry ways are oriented toward pedestrian traffic. Pedestrian-oriented business may include restaurants, retail shops, personal service businesses, travel services, banks, (except drive-through windows), and similar establishments.

Pedestrian Plaza. An area between a building and a public street which promotes visual and pedestrian access onto the site and which provides pedestrian-oriented amenities and landscaping to enhance the public’s use of the space for activities such as resting, gathering, reading and picnicking.

Pedestrian Street. Street devoted to uses and amenities which stimulate and reinforce pedestrian activities and visually interesting features at the pedestrian level. Uses are typically sidewalk oriented and physically and visually accessed by pedestrians from the sidewalks, are open during established shopping hours, generate walk-in pedestrian clientele and contribute to a high level of pedestrian activity. Such uses include, but are not limited to, retail shops, restaurants, personal services, day care facilities, banks, travel agencies, cinemas, theaters, amusement establishments, galleries, museums, public display spaces, drug stores, shoe repair shops, floral shops, hair shops, department stores, small hardware stores, and apparel shops. Visually interesting features include, but are not limited to, sculptures, display cases, landscaping, vendor stalls and carts, and architectural detailing.

Percolation. The downward flow or infiltration of water through the pores or spaces of rock or soil. (See also Impervious Surface.)

Performance Guarantee. A financial guarantee acceptable to the City Attorney to ensure all improvements, facilities, or work required by this ordinance will be completed in compliance with this ordinance, regulations, and approved plans and specifications.

Perimeter. The boundaries or borders of a lot, tract, or parcel of land.

Permeable pavement. Pervious concrete, porous asphalt, permeable pavers or other forms of pervious or porous paving material intended to allow passage of water through the pavement section. It often includes an aggregate base that provides structural support and acts as a stormwater reservoir.

Permitted Use. A use allowed by law in a use district and subject to the provisions applicable in that district.

Person. Any individual, firm, co-partnership, joint venture, association, social club, social organization, company, joint stock association, corporation, estate, trust, organization, business, business trust, public agency, school district, state or its political subdivisions or instrumentalities, syndicate or any group or combination thereof, acting as a unit, including any trustee, receiver or assignee.

Personal Services. A business primarily engaged in providing services generally involving the maintenance of the human body, or other services to one’s person or household pets. Such businesses include, but are not limited to, barber and beauty shops, photographic studios, tanning parlors, massage practitioners, pet grooming, and obedience training. This does not include Medical Offices, Kennels or Veterinary Clinics. (See also Health Fitness Centers and Dance Studios.)

Personal Wireless Service. Commercial mobile services, unlicensed wireless services, and common carrier wireless exchange access services, as defined in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and 47 U.S.C. 332 and future amendments thereof.

Pervious Surface. A surface material that allows stormwater to infiltrate into the ground. Examples include lawn, landscape, pasture, native vegetation areas, and permeable pavements.

Pesticide. Any chemical that is used to kill pests, especially insects and rodents.

Pet, Traditional. Animals which can be house-broken, walked on a leash, are frequently, but not necessarily, housed within the residence, or as a class judged neither obnoxious nor to pose a public safety or health threat. Traditional pet birds include song birds and parrots.

Pharmacies and Medical Supply Stores. Businesses primarily engaged in the sale of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, plus perhaps vitamins, first-aid supplies, and other health-related products. It also includes firms primarily engaged in the sale of medical equipment such as orthopedic or prosthetic devices, or equipment for home health testing. Pharmacies which also sell a wide variety of other types of merchandise, such as beauty products, camera equipment, small consumer electronics, giftware, food items, greeting cards, toys, housewares, and/or cleaning supplies are commonly known as "drug stores," and are classified as General Merchandise Stores.

Pigeons, Performing and Racing. Pigeons which are raised and used in the sport, hobby or competition of performing or racing; which require being released for freedom of flight for purposes of training, maintaining physical conditioning or competitive performance; and which are identified by a leg band containing the name or initials of the owner, or with an identification or registration number stamped on said band. Specifically included in this category are flying tipplers, tumblers, rollers and homing or racing pigeons.

Plat. A map or representation of a subdivision, showing thereon the division of a tract or parcel of land into lots, blocks, streets and alleys or other divisions or dedications.

Plat, Final. The final drawing or map of a subdivision and dedication, prepared for recordation with the County Auditor and containing all elements and requirements set forth in RCW Chapter 58.17 and in the City of Olympia Subdivision Ordinance.

Plat, Preliminary. A drawing of a proposed subdivision showing the general layout of streets and alleys, lots, blocks and other elements of a subdivision consistent with the requirements of this code. The preliminary plat furnishes a basis for approval or disapproval of a general layout for a subdivision.

Plat, Preliminary Approval. The official action approving a proposed division of land, normally subject to the installation of improvements or fulfillment of conditions prior to final approval.

Plat, Short. The map or representation of a short subdivision containing all pertinent information required by Titles 17 and 18 OMC, and other applicable ordinances.

Portable Classroom. An accessory building/structure used for public, private or parochial education, and located on the same site as the principal building of instruction.

Principal Use. The primary or predominant use of any lot, building or structure.

Printing, Commercial. This includes shops specializing in printing small jobs for business clients or the general public, such as photocopying, offset printing, or screen printing of documents, announcements, business cards, or the like. This also may include blueprinting, computer plotting, and similar business services. These shops may engage in typesetting, photoengraving, plate-making, and other printing functions incidental to their primary activity; however, if they are primarily engaged in these functions as a service to other printing businesses, they are classified under Industrial Printing. Businesses which print books, magazines, newspapers, or other periodicals for others are classified under Industrial Printing.

Printing, Industrial. Businesses which print books, magazines, newspapers, or other periodicals for others. It also includes printers of maps, posters, and the like; makers of business forms, looseleaf binders, and the like; and service industries for the printing trade, such as engraving, typesetting, photoengraving, electrotyping and stereotyping, lithographic platemaking, and related services.

Private School. See School, Private.

Private Utility. A privately owned enterprise that provides the public with electricity, gas, heat, steam, communication, transportation, water, sewage and garbage collection or other similar public services.

Prohibited Use. A use that is not permitted in a zoning or land use district.

Project. A change in occupancy or modification or improvement of real estate, whether done by clearing, grading, or structure creation or modification in any manner requiring approval, licensing, or permitting by the City of Olympia.

Project Permit. Any land use or environmental permit or approval required from the City for a project [See also RCW 36.70B.020(4)].

Project Permit Application. A formal written request to the City for a project permit or approval on forms provided by the City.

Property Line. Any line bounding the ownership of a parcel of land.

a.    Front property line. Any property line separating any parcel of land from the street rights-of-way. In case of a corner lot, the owner of such lot may elect any property line abutting on a street as the front property line, provided such choice, in the opinion of the Building Official, will not be detrimental to the existing or future development of adjacent properties. In case of a through lot, both property lines abutting on a street are front property lines. In the case of a lot not abutting a street, the front property line is that line nearest to and roughly parallel with a street, provided that the Building Official may approve an alternative front line if it will not be detrimental to existing and future development. However, for historic properties or in historic districts, for properties with more than one street frontage the front property line is the one the front door of the house is historically oriented toward, unless otherwise approved by the Director.

b.    Rear property line. Any property line that does not qualify as a front or side property line.

c.    Side property line. Any property lines that intersect the front property line. These lines may intersect at any angle and be of any length. (See also Yards.)

Public Access (Shoreline). The physical ability of the general public to reach and touch the water’s edge and/or the ability to have a view of the water from upland locations. There are a variety of types of public access including picnic areas, pathways and trails (including handicapped accessible), floats and docks, promenades, viewing towers, bridges, boat launches, street ends, ingress and egress, parking, and others.

Public Art. Expressionistic forms, either human-made or natural, which are located for community view on private or public property.

Public Building. Any building, structure, facility, or complex used by the general public, whether constructed by any state, county, or municipal government agency or instrumentality or any private individual, partnership, association, or corporation, including, but not limited to, assembly buildings, such as auditoriums, libraries, public eating places, schools, and theaters; business buildings, such as offices; and factories and industrial buildings.

Public Facility. Land, buildings or structures operated by a municipal or other governmental agency to provide local protective, social, recreational, cultural, or mass transportation services directly to the general public. This includes police and fire stations, libraries, recreation facilities, bus transfer stations and park-and-ride lots. It also includes public land or buildings devoted solely to the storage of equipment and materials. It does not include facilities whose primary purpose is to provide administrative or judicial services, except as they may be incidental to the defined use, nor parking lots that are accessory to uses that would otherwise not be allowed in the underlying zone.

Public Hearing. A meeting announced and advertised in advance and for the express purpose of providing the public an opportunity to comment on a specific proposed action for adoption or approval by the City.

Public Meeting. An informal meeting, hearing, workshop or other public gathering of people to obtain comments from the public or other agencies on a proposed project permit prior to the City’s decision on the permit application. A public meeting may include a design review board meeting, a neighborhood association meeting, or a scoping meeting on a draft environmental impact statement. A public meeting is distinct from and does not include an open record hearing. [See RCW 36.70B.020(5)].

Public Project of Significant Importance. See OMC 18.66.090.

Public Safety Communications Equipment. All communications equipment utilized by a public entity for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the residents of the City and operating within the frequency range of 700 MHz and 1,000 MHz and any future spectrum allocations at the direction of the FCC.

Public Services. Fire protection and suppression, law enforcement, public health, education, recreation, environmental protection and other governmental services.

Public Use Area. An outdoor portion of a property that is dedicated to public use and which contains one or more of the following elements: benches, tables, lawns, public art, gardens, exercise or play equipment, or similar improvements or features. These elements are to provide the public with recreational activities in addition to the right to traverse or stand in this area.

Public Utility. An organization or government agency which provides the public with electricity, gas, heat, steam, communication, transportation, water, sewage or garbage collection or other essential public services.

Publishing. Businesses which publish and print on their premises books, magazines, newspapers, or other periodicals. If such establishments do not perform printing on their premises, they are classified as Business Offices.


Qualified Professional – A person with experience and training in the pertinent scientific discipline, and who is a qualified scientific expert with expertise appropriate for the relevant critical area subject in accordance with WAC 365-195-905. A qualified professional must have obtained a B.S. or B.A. or equivalent degree in biology, engineering, environmental studies, fisheries, geomorphology, or related field, and have at least five years of related work experience.

a)    A qualified professional for wetlands must be a professional wetland scientist with at least two years of full-time work experience as a wetlands professional, including delineating wetlands using the federal manuals and supplements, preparing wetlands reports, conducting function assessments, and developing and implementing mitigation plans.

b)    A qualified professional for habitat must have a degree in biology or a related degree and professional experience related to the subject species.

c)    A qualified professional for a geological hazard must be a professional engineer or geologist, licensed in the state of Washington.

d)    A qualified professional for critical aquifer recharge areas means a hydrogeologist, geologist, engineer, or other scientist with experience in preparing hydrogeologic assessments.

Quarry. A place where rock, ore, stone and similar materials are excavated and/or processed for sale or for off-site use.

Queue Lane. Area for temporary waiting of vehicles while obtaining a service or other activity such as drive-up windows.


Radio Frequency Emissions. Any electromagnetic radiation or other communications signal emitted from an antenna or antenna-related equipment on the ground, antenna support structure, building, or other vertical projection.

Radio, Television, or Communication Tower. A vertical structure that is intended to send or receive radio, or other wireless communications and to serve more than one user or an enterprise whose principal business is such communications. See Antenna.

Ravine. A narrow gorge that normally contains steep slopes and is deeper than ten vertical feet as measured from the lowest point of the valley to the top of the slope.

Rear Yard. See Yard, Rear.

Reasonable Alternative. An activity that could feasibly attain or approximate a proposal’s objectives, but with less environmental impact or decreased level of environmental degradation.

Recreation, Active. Leisure-time activities, usually of a formal nature and often performed with others, requiring equipment and taking place at prescribed places, sites, or fields.

Recreation, Commercial. A facility operated as a business which is designed and equipped for leisure-time activities such as theaters, bowling alleys, museums, aquariums, public and private recreational concessions, miniature golf, archery ranges, and amusement activities such as coin or token-operated machines, rides, or booths to conduct games. (See also Health Fitness Centers and Dance Studios, Golf Courses, Country Clubs, and Riding Stables.)

Recreation, Passive. Activities that involve relatively inactive or less energetic activities, such as walking, sitting, picnicking, card games, chess, checkers, or similar table games and activities which may involve educating the user.

Recreation Facility. A place designed and equipped for the purpose of sports and leisure-time activities.

Recreational Vehicle. A vehicle towed or self-propelled on its own chassis or attached to the chassis of another vehicle and designed or used for recreational or sporting purposes. The term recreational vehicle includes, but is not limited to, travel trailers, pick-up campers, camping trailers, tiny-houses on wheels, motor coach homes, converted trucks, buses, or boats.

Recreational Vehicle Park. Any lot or parcel of land upon which two or more recreational vehicles sites are located, established, or maintained as temporary living quarters for recreation or vacation purposes, not to exceed 180 days in any one-year period.

Recycling. The process by which waste products are collected and reduced to raw materials and transformed into new products.

Recycling Facility. A facility for the collection and/or sorting and storage of recyclable materials generated from domestic or small business sources, such as bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, aluminum, and plastics. This definition does not include facilities for the processing of recyclable materials, which are classified as an industrial use. Recycling facilities are further divided into two categories: Type I Recycling Facilities include bins or other temporary or permanent facilities for the collection of small quantities of recyclable materials to be sorted and/or processed elsewhere. A Type I facility may be accessory to a primary use, such as a recycling bin at a grocery store parking lot. Type II Recycling Facilities include facilities primarily dedicated to the collection, sorting, or purchase and resale of recyclable materials.

Remodel. The alteration, restoration, reconstruction, addition to, structural modification, change of existing building footprint or internal floor plan that requires city approval or the issuance of any City permit.

Rental, Residence. The temporary rental of a single-family home for personal social events such as a wedding reception, private party or similar activity. (See also Temporary Uses.)

Replat. The further division of lots or the relocation of lot lines of any lot or lots within a subdivision previously approved and recorded according to law; or the alteration of any streets or the establishment of any new streets within any such subdivision, but not including conveyances, made so as to combine existing lots by deed or other instruction.

Restaurant. A use providing preparation and retail sale of food and beverages, including coffee shops, sandwich shops, ice cream parlors, fast food take-out, espresso stands, and similar uses. A restaurant may include licensed "on-site" provision of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises when accessory to such food service. A "drive-in" restaurant is one where all or a significant portion of the consumption takes place or is designed to take place with the patrons remaining in their vehicles while on the premises. A "drive-through" restaurant is one which has one or more drive-through lanes for ordering and dispensing of food and beverages to patrons remaining in their vehicles, for consumption off the premises.

Restoration. Measures taken to restore an altered or damaged natural feature including:

a.    Active steps taken to restore damaged wetlands, streams, protected habitat, or their buffers to the functioning condition that existed prior to an unauthorized alteration; and

b.    Actions performed to reestablish structural and functional characteristics of the critical area that have been lost by alteration, past management activities, or catastrophic events.

Restrictive Covenant. A restriction on the use of land usually set forth in the deed. [NOTE: Restrictive covenants usually run with the land and are binding upon subsequent owners of the property. However, some restrictive covenants run for specific periods of time.]

Retail Trade. The selling of goods or merchandise to the general public for personal, business, or household consumption. The retail sales establishment is usually a place of business and is engaged in activity to attract the general public to buy goods. The establishment may also buy and receive goods.

Retail sales includes services related to the retail goods. The establishment may process, repair, manufacture, and wholesale some of the products, such as jewelry, baked goods, beverages, apparel, pottery, or consumer electronics, but such processing, repair, or manufacturing must be associated with retail activities, be limited to rear or upper floor areas in the same building, and emit no loud noise or noxious odor. See Industry, Light.

Revision of Application, Minor. A change or correction by an applicant of a proposed project, either voluntarily or to conform with applicable standards and requirements, that does not, in the opinion of the Director, constitute a substantial change requiring reinitialization of the review process and period.

Revision of Application, Substantial. A change or correction by an applicant of a proposed project, either initiated voluntarily by the applicant or to conform with applicable standards and requirements, that in the opinion of the Director requires a new review process and period. For example, a change in a proposal which, as a result of changes in the proposed land use, substantially greater floor area or number of residential units, or substantial relocation of uses or structures, or the like, probably would result in significantly different impacts to the environment, upon public services or facilities, or to neighboring properties or land uses.

Revolving Sign. See Sign, Animated.

Rezone. A change in the land use classification of a specific area to another use classification.

Right-of-Way - Improved. All of the right-of-way where any portion of it is used for motor vehicle travel.

Rights-of-Way. The right of one to use or pass over the property of another.


Roof. The outside top covering of a building.

Rooming House. See Lodging House.

ROW. Rights-of-ways of public easements, roadways, streets, or other so defined public access locations.

Rummage Sale. An occasional or periodic market held in an open area or structure which is sponsored by schools, places of worship or other nonprofit organizations.

Run With The Land. A covenant, benefit or restriction of the use of land binding on present and future owners of the property.


Salmonid. A member of the fish family salmonidae, such as chinook, coho, chum, sockeye and pink salmon, rainbow, steelhead, cutthroat salmon, brown trout, bull trout, Brook and Dolly Varden char, kokanee and whitefish.

Sanitary Landfill. A site for solid waste (garbage) disposal.

Satellite Earth Station. A single or group of parabolic (or dish) antennas that are mounted to a support device that may be a pole or truss assembly attached to a foundation in the ground, or in some other configuration. A satellite earth station may include the associated separate equipment cabinets necessary for the transmission or reception of wireless communications signals with satellites.

Scale, Architectural. The perceived height and bulk of a building relative to that of neighboring buildings. A building’s perceived height and bulk may be reduced by modulating facades.

Scenic Vistas. Those areas which provide, for significant numbers of people, outstanding views from public rights-of-way of Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, Budd Inlet, the Black Hills, the Capitol Building, and Capitol Lake or its surrounding hillsides.

School. An institution of learning, whether public or private, which offers instruction in those courses of study required by the Washington Education Code or which is maintained pursuant to standards required by the State Board of Education. This definition includes a nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, senior high school or any special institution of education, but it does not include a vocational or professional institution of higher education, including a community or junior college, college, or university.

Screening. A continuous fence or wall supplemented with landscaping, or an evergreen hedge or combination thereof, that effectively provides a sight-obscuring and sound-absorbing buffer around the property it encloses, and is broken only for access drives and walks.

Sculptured Building Top. A building top which has:

a.    Reduced floor area on the upper floors; and

b.    A distinctive roof form such as pitched roof, hip roof, dome, chateau roof, tower, turret, pediment, dormers, or other distinctive forms. Roofline embellishments such as medallions, statuary, cornices, brackets, finials, or similar ornament would not be considered sculptured building tops; and

c.    Upper floors which are set back from the street wall.

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, The (as amended). Guidelines adopted by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to guide the rehabilitation, restoration or reconstruction of a historic property.

Section of Land. Measured 640 acres, one (1) square mile, or 1/36 of a township.

Secure Community Transition Facility. A residential facility for persons civilly committed and conditionally released from a total confinement facility operated by the Secretary of Washington Social and Health Services or under contract with the Secretary pursuant to RCW 71.09.020(10) as described in RCW 71.09.250. All secure community transition facilities located within the City of Olympia shall conform with Olympia Municipal Code Subsection 18.08.080(E).

Seep. A spot where groundwater oozes to the surface. A small spring.

Service and Repair Shop. An establishment providing major repair and/or maintenance of motor vehicles, equipment or major appliances, including, but not limited to: mechanical repair, replacement of parts, body repair, painting, engine overhaul, or other major repair or maintenance, including operations which may require open flame or welding.

Service Stations. Businesses which sell gasoline or alternative vehicle fuels, and/or which may perform minor vehicle maintenance or repair, and/or wash cars. "Minor maintenance or repair" is limited to the exchange of parts and maintenance requiring no open flame or welding. Service stations include self-service gas stations, full-service gas stations, diesel fueling stations, oil change and lubrication shops, auto detailing shops, and car washes. Businesses which provide major repair work such as engine overhauls, vehicle painting, or body repair are classified as Service and Repair Shops.

Servicing of Personal Apparel and Equipment. A business primarily engaged in the upkeep of personal or small household belongings. Such businesses include, but are not limited to: tailors, locksmiths, piano tuners, or businesses which repair shoes, cameras, small appliances, or consumer electronics.

Setback. The distance between the building and any lot line or public right of way. See specific zone district for allowed projections into setback areas and point of measurement. (See also Yard.)

Setback Line. An imaginary line that establishes the required minimum distance from any lot line and defines the area where the principal structure must be erected. (See also Building Line, Yard, and Lot.)

Sewer. Any pipe or conduit used to collect and carry away sewage and sometimes stormwater runoff from the generating source to a treatment plant.

Sexual conduct.

a.    Sexual intercourse within its ordinary meaning, occurring upon any penetration, however slight; or

b.    Any penetration of the vagina or anus, however slight, by an object; or

c.    Any contact between persons involving the sex organs of one (1) person and the mouth or anus of another; or

d.    Masturbation, manual or instrumental, of oneself or of one (1) person by another; or

e.    Direct touching of the sex organs or anus, whether clothed or unclothed, of oneself or of one (1) person by another; or

f.    Flagellation or torture in the context of a sexual relationship; or

g.    Sodomy.

Shopping Center. A commercial development with unenclosed pedestrian walks in which there are a number of separate commercial activities, with accessory shared facilities such as parking, and which is designed to provide a single area which the public can obtain varied products and services. Shopping centers are typically characterized by at least one (1) large retail "anchor" store.

Shopping Mall. A shopping center with stores on one (1) or both sides of a covered and enclosed pedestrian walkway.

Short-Term Rental Operator. Any person or entity who receives payment for owning, operating, or managing a dwelling unit, or portion thereof, as a short-term rental. (See also Dwelling, Transient).

Sidewalk. A paved, surfaced, or leveled area, paralleling and usually separated from the street and normally used as a pedestrian walkway.

Sign. Any object, device, display, or structure, or part thereof, situated outdoors or indoors, which is used to advertise, identify, display, direct, or attract attention to an object, person, institution, organization, business, product, service, event, or location by any means. Such means may include words, letters, figures, design, movement, symbols, fixtures, colors, illumination, or projected images.

Sign, Abandoned. Any sign which:

a.    Is located on property which becomes vacant and unoccupied for a period of twelve (12) consecutive months or more (excepting legal off-premise signs), or

b.    Relates to any occupant or business unrelated to the present occupant or their business (excepting legal off-premise signs), or

c.    Pertains to a time, event or purpose which no longer applies.

Sign, Alley. A type of building mounted sign that is located on a building wall facing a public alley.

Sign, Animated. A sign with action or motion (including those that flash, oscillate or revolve) or one that involves color changes more frequently than once per twenty-four (24) hours, illustrations or messages. This does not include wind activated elements such as flags or banners; nor does it include public service signs (such as time and temperature signs). For the purposes of this chapter, it does include search lights and strobe lights.

Sign Area. The entire background of a sign upon which advertising could be placed (counting all faces), including the frame but not other supporting structure, except that the area of advertising affixed directly to, or painted on a building without any background, other than the building, shall be the area contained in the smallest geometric figure enclosing all portions of the sign message (i.e., all letters, numbers, graphics, etc.).

Sign Awning. A sign which is on an awning. Awning signs are a type of building mounted sign.

Sign, Banner. A lightweight temporary sign.

Sign, Billboard. A rigidly assembled outdoor sign permanently affixed to the ground or permanently attached to a building or other permanent structure, unrelated to any use or activity on the property on which the sign is located, but not including directional signs as defined herein.

Sign, Blade. A type of building mounted sign that is oriented for pedestrians that extends from a building wall or hangs from a marquee. Blade signs larger than ten (10) square feet in size are considered Projecting Signs if not attached to a marquee.

Sign, Building Mounted. A permanent sign which is attached to, or erected against or painted on, any exterior wall, fascia, or window of a building or structure. For the purpose of this Title, signs which shall be considered building mounted signs, include flush mounted signs, signs on marquees and awnings, projecting signs, blade signs, and signs erected on the side of a mansard roof provided the sign does not project above the uppermost roof line or flashing.

Sign, Business Directory. A type of development identification sign which lists the names of the individual uses in a development.

Sign, Changeable Copy. See Sign, Readerboard.

Signs, Channel Letters. A flush mounted wall sign that consists of individual letters or characters not bound together in one (1) complete structure. Channel Letter signs are signs in which each letter or character is mounted individually within its own area, with the total area of individual letters or characters comprising the sign.

Sign, Ground. A ground supported sign which is no greater than twelve (12) feet in height above grade.

Sign, Development Identification. A freestanding or building mounted sign which identifies the name of a development. For the purpose of sign standards, a development consists of multiple building complexes such as shopping malls, industrial and business parks, residential subdivision developments, and multiple occupancy buildings.

Sign, Directional. A sign designed solely to guide or direct pedestrian or vehicular traffic to an area, place or convenience.

Sign, Feather. A vertical portable sign that contains a harpoon-style pole or staff driven into the ground for support or supported by means of an individual stand.

Sign, Flashing. See Sign, Animated.

Sign, Flush-Mounted. A type of building mounted sign which is attached to, or erected against any exterior wall or fascia of a building or structure, with the exposed face of the sign parallel to the plane of the wall.

Sign, Freestanding. A permanent sign supported by one (1) or more uprights, poles or braces in or upon the ground. For the purposes of this Title, freestanding signs include pole signs and signs otherwise known as ground signs or monument signs.

Sign, Hazardous. Any sign that is dangerous or confusing to motorists and pedestrians, including any sign which by its color, wording, design, location, or illumination resembles or conflicts with any official traffic control device or which otherwise impedes the safe and efficient flow of traffic.

Sign, Historical. Historic signs that contribute to the architectural and historic character of Olympia, which may complement or define an individual building or may be valued independently from the building or site on which it is located.

Sign Height. The vertical distance from ground level to the top of the sign.

Sign, Identification. A pole or ground sign which identifies the name of a shopping center.

Sign, Inflatable. Balloons or other gas-filled figures. For purposes of this section, inflatable signs shall be treated as temporary signs. Inflatable signs that include movement are considered animated signs and are not allowed.

Sign, Legacy. Signage related to a structure but not the present occupancy of use.

Sign, Light Projection. An image projected onto a building or walkway.

Sign, Marquee. Any sign which forms part of or is integrated into a marquee or canopy and which does not extend horizontally beyond the limits of such marquee or canopy.

Sign, Monument. See Sign, Freestanding.

Sign, Non-conforming. Any legally established sign existing at the time of this Ordinance which does not meet the current provisions of Title 18.

Sign, Nuisance. Any sign which emits smoke, visible particles, odors, and/or sound, except that speakers in signs of a drive-through facility shall be allowed.

Sign, On-Premises. A sign which carries advertisement related to a lawful use of the premises on which it is located, including signs indicating the business transacted, services rendered, goods sold or produced on the premises, name of business, name of the person, firm or corporation occupying the premises.

Sign, Out-of-Date. Signs for which the event, time, or purpose no longer applies.

Sign, Parking Lot Pole Banner. A type of banner sign, typically made of outdoor fabric, attached to the lighting poles in parking lots.

Sign, Pedestal. See Sandwich Board/Pedestal Sign.

Sign, Pole. A ground supported sign which is no less than twelve (12) and no greater than thirty (30) feet in height above grade.

Sign, Portable (Mobile). A sign made of any material which by its design is readily movable and which is not permanently affixed to the ground, a structure or a building.

Sign, Projecting. A sign which projects twelve (12) inches or more from a building and is supported by a wall or structure.

Sign, Public Service. A sign which provides a service to the public (such as indicating the current time and temperature or a community bulletin board) but which includes no advertising other than the name of the sponsoring organization.

Sign, Readerboard. A sign with characters or letters that can be manually changed without altering the face of the sign. Electronic signs are not readerboards for the purposes of this Title, but are animated signs.

Sign, Revolving. See Sign, Animated.

Sign, Roof. A sign erected upon or above a roof or parapet of a building or structure. A sign shall be considered a building mounted sign if it is erected on the side of a mansard roof and does not project above the uppermost roof line or flashing.

Sign, Sandwich Board/Pedestal Sign. A type of portable sign.

Sign, Shopping Center. A type of permanent freestanding sign for larger shopping complexes.

Sign, Structural Alteration. Any change or modification in the supporting members of the structure, such as the pole, cabinet, footing/foundation. Exceptions are new paint, rewiring, or face change.

Sign Structure. Any structure which supports or is capable of supporting any sign. A sign structure may be a single pole and may be an integral part of the building.

Sign, Temporary. Any sign, banner, pennant, valance or advertising display intended to be displayed for only a limited period of time.

Sign, Window. A sign painted on or adhered or mounted to an exterior window (e.g., a neon sign). Window signs are a type of building mounted sign.

Sign, Yard/Lawn. A temporary sign that is posted in the ground by a stake or wire frame.


Significant. When used in the context of historic significance: A property which helps in the understanding of the history of the local area, state or nation (whichever is applicable) by illuminating the local, state-wide or nation-wide impact of the events or persons associated with the property, or its architectural type or style or information potential. The local area can include the City of Olympia, Thurston County, the region of Puget Sound or Southwest Washington, or a modest geographic or cultural area, such as a neighborhood. Local significance may apply to a property that illustrates a theme that is important to one or more localities; state significance to a theme important to the history of the state; and national significance to property of exceptional value in representing or illustrating an important theme in the history of the nation.

Single-Family Dwelling. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Single-Room Occupancy (SRO). See Dwelling, Conventional.

Site Plan. The development plan which shows the existing and proposed conditions of the lot, including topography, vegetation, drainage, flood plains, walkways; means of ingress and egress; circulation; utility services; structures and buildings; signs and lighting; berms, buffers, and screening devices; surrounding development; and any other information that reasonably may be required in order that an informed decision can be made by the reviewing authority.

Site Plan Review Committee. A technical development review group comprised of representatives from the Department of Community Planning and Development, the Fire Department and the Public Works Department, who provide technical assistance to the CP&D Director or the CP&D Director’s designee on land use issues. At a minimum this includes the Building Official, Planner, City Engineer, Fire Chief, and SEPA official, or their appointed designees.

Slope. The deviation of a surface from the horizontal, usually expressed in percent or degrees. (See also Grade.)

[NOTE: Percentage of slope is calculated by dividing the vertical distance by the horizontal distance times one hundred (100).]









































Slope, Steep. An area which is equal to or in excess of forty (40) percent slope, or where the ground surface rises ten (10) feet or more vertically within a horizontal distance of twenty-five (25) feet. This can also include a slope of 15 to 39.9 percent if otherwise defined as a landslide hazard area.

Slope, Steep Toe, or Steep Top. A distinct topographic break in slope which separates slopes inclined less than forty (40%) percent from slopes equal to or greater than forty (40%) percent. Where no distinct break exists, this point shall be the limit of the area where the ground surface drops ten (10) feet or more vertically within a horizontal distance of twenty-five (25) feet.

Small Lake. See OMC 18.32.305.E.

Small Lot Review. A Director review of proposed construction on undersized legal lots of record approved prior to June 19, 1995.

Small Lot Subdivision. See Subdivision, Short.

Social Organization. A group of people formally organized for a common interest, usually cultural, religious, or entertainment, with regular meetings, rituals, and formal written membership requirements. [NOTE: This is not a Collegiate Greek System Residence.]

Soil and Vegetation Protection Area (SVPA). A separate tract of land, which may or may not be deeded as such, specifically set aside for the preservation of healthy soil and the preservation or planting of existing and/or native vegetation, well-adapted drought-tolerant vegetation, and trees. Stormwater retention/detention facilities, critical area buffers and other common areas may be considered SVPA’s if they currently, or are improved to an extent where they can, support healthy soils and the growth of native vegetation or well-adapted drought-tolerant vegetation. The purpose of these areas for preserving healthy soils and preserving and/or planting native, or well-adapted drought-tolerant vegetation is stated on the face of the plat when applicable.

Special Assessment District. A district with the power to levy taxes created by act, petition, or vote of property owners for a specific purpose.

Special Valuation for Historic Properties, Special Valuation. The process, pursuant to Chapter 84.26 Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and Chapter 3.60 OMC, under which the tax basis of an eligible, rehabilitated historic property may be reduced by the actual incurred cost of the rehabilitation for a period of up to ten (10) years.

Specialty Stores. Stores selling antiques, sporting goods and bicycles, marine supplies, glassware and chinaware, books, videos (including rentals), music, cards and stationery, jewelry, toys, hobby supplies, cameras, gifts and souvenirs, sewing supplies, flowers, tobacco products, newspapers and magazines, art and art supplies, pets and pet supplies, religious supplies, consumer electronics, personal computers, or other miscellaneous goods. It also includes second-hand stores and pawnshops.

Specific or Management Plan. A plan consisting of text, maps, and other documents and exhibits regulating development within an area of special interest or which contains unique land use and development problems.

Spot Zoning. Rezoning of a lot or parcel of land to benefit an owner for a use incompatible with surrounding land uses and that does not further the comprehensive plan. [NOTE: Spot zoning is usually invalid when all the following factors are present: (1) a small parcel of land is singled out for special and privileged treatment; (2) the singling out is not in the public interest but only for the benefit of the land owner; and (3) the action is not in accord with a comprehensive plan.]

Stables, Riding. A structure providing shelter for horses, mules or ponies which are boarded for compensation. This may include arenas, tracks, and other facilities for equestrian activities either for members of a private club or for the general public. This may also include accessory facilities such as a clubhouse.

Stable, Private. An accessory structure providing shelter for horses or ponies, for use by occupants of the premises.

Staff. Permanent or temporarily employed personnel of the City of Olympia, Washington.

Stepback. Additional setbacks of upper building floor levels.

Storage. Placement or retention of goods, materials and/or personal property in one (1) location for more than twenty-four (24) consecutive hours.

Stormwater Facility. A constructed stormwater system component, including but not limited to a detention, retention, sediment, or constructed wetland basin or pond, generally installed at the ground surface.

Stormwater Retention/Detention Basin. A facility, either above-ground or underground, that temporarily stores stormwater prior to its release to the ground (retention facility), to a surface water (detention facility), or some combination of the two. [NOTE: Retention basins differ from detention basins in that the latter are temporary storage areas. Retention basins have the potential for water recreation and water-oriented landscaping since the water may remain. Both types of basins provide for controlled release of the stored water and groundwater recharge.]

Stormwater Retrofit Facilities. A stormwater treatment or flow-control facility that complies with the City of Olympia Drainage Design and Erosion Control Manual and is constructed by the City of Olympia for the purpose of providing treatment or flow-control in an area where little to none was previously provided.

Story. That portion of a building included between the upper surface of a floor and the upper surface of the floor or roof next above.

Story Above Grade. Any story having its finished floor surface entirely above grade, except that a basement shall be considered as a story above grade where the finished surface of the floor above the basement is: more than six (6) feet above grade plane, more than six (6) feet above the finished ground level for more than fifty (50%) of the total building perimeter, or more than twelve (12) feet above the finished ground level at any point.

Story, First. The lowest above grade story in a building, except that a floor level in a building having only one (1) floor shall be classified as a first story, provided such floor level is not more than four feet below grade, as defined herein, for more than fifty (50) percent of the total perimeter, or more than eight (8) feet below grade, as defined herein, at any point.

Stream. See OMC 18.32.405.

Stream Corridor. Any river, stream, pond, lake, or wetland, together with adjacent upland areas that support vegetation adjacent to the water’s edge.

Street. A public or private right-of-way which affords a primary means of vehicular access to abutting property.

Street, Arterial. An arterial street provides an efficient direct route for long-distance travel within the region and between different parts of the City. Streets connecting freeway interchanges to commercial concentrations are classified as arterials. Traffic on arterials is given preference at intersections, and some access control may be considered in order to maintain capacity to carry high volumes of traffic.

Street Cul-De-Sac. A street with a single common ingress and egress and with a circular turnaround at the end.


Street Frontage. The area between any lot lines which intersect, or area of a lot which directly abuts, the boundary of a public or private street right-of-way.

Street Furniture. Constructed, above-ground objects, such as outdoor seating, kiosks, bus shelters, sculpture, tree grids, trash receptacles, fountains, and telephone booths, that have the potential for enlivening and giving variety to streets, sidewalks, plazas, and other outdoor spaces open to, and used by, the public.

Street, Local Access. A street which provides access to abutting land uses and serves to carry local traffic to a collector.

Street, Major Collector. A street that provides connections between the arterial and concentrations of residential and commercial land uses. The amount of through traffic is less than an arterial, and there is more service to abutting land uses. Traffic flow is given preference over lesser streets.

Street, Neighborhood Collector. A street which distributes and collects traffic within a neighborhood and provides a connection to an arterial or major collector. Neighborhood collectors serve local traffic, provide access to abutting land uses, and do not carry through traffic. Their design is compatible with residential and commercial neighborhood centers.

Street, Private. A street that has not been accepted for maintenance and public ownership by the City of Olympia or other government entity. This does not include private driveways or access easements.

Street Wall. A building wall that faces or is parallel to the street frontage.

Streetscape. The visual character of a street as determined by various elements such as structures, greenery, open space, and view.

Structure. An edifice or building of any kind which is built or constructed, or any piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner.

Structured Parking. A building or a portion of a building used for the parking of motor vehicles.

Subdivider. A person who undertakes the subdividing of land.

Subdivision. The division or redivision of land into ten (10) or more lots, tracts, parcels, sites or divisions, any of which are less than five (5) acres in area, for the purpose of sale, lease or transfer of ownership. (See also Subdivision, Short.)

Subdivision, Cluster. See Clustered Subdivision.

Subdivision, Large Lot. The division of land into lots or tracts, each of which is 1/128 of a section of land or larger, or five (5) acres or larger, if the land is not capable of description as a fraction of a section of land. For purposes of computing the size of any lot under this section which borders on a street, the lot size shall be expanded to include that area which would be bounded by the centerline of the street and the side lot lines of the lot running perpendicular to such centerline.

Subdivision, Short. The division or redivision of land into nine (9) or fewer lots, tracts, parcels, sites or divisions for the purpose of transfer of ownership, sale or lease.

Subordinate. A supplementary use to a permitted primary or principal use.

Substantial Improvement. Any extension, repair, reconstruction, or other improvement of a property, the cost of which equals or exceeds fifty (50) percent of the fair market value of a property either before the improvement is started or, if the property has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred.

Surface water. A body of water open to the atmosphere and subject to surface runoff.

Swap Meet. Any outdoor place, location, or activity where new or used goods or secondhand personal property is offered for sale or exchange to the general public by a multitude of individual licensed vendors, usually in compartmentalized spaces; and, where a fee may be charged to prospective buyers for admission, or a fee may be charged for the privilege of offering or displaying such merchandise. The term swap meet is interchangeable with and applicable to: flea markets, auctions, open air markets, farmers markets, or other similarly named or labeled activities; but the term does not include the usual supermarket or department store retail operations.


Temporary Use. A use established for a specified period of time, with the intent to discontinue the use at the end of the designated time period.

Theater. A building or part of a building devoted to showing motion pictures or for dramatic, dance, musical, or other live performances.

Time-of-travel. The time required for ground water to move through the water bearing zone from a specific point to a well.

Townhouse. See Dwelling, Conventional.

Toxic Substance. See Hazardous Materials or Hazardous Waste.

Tract. An area, parcel, site, piece of land or property. (See also Lot and Critical Area Tract.)

Traffic Impact Study. A report analyzing anticipated traffic flow conditions with and without proposed development. [NOTE: The report includes an analysis of mitigation measures and a calculation of fair share financial contributions.]

Trail. A paved or unpaved surface for pedestrian and/or bicycle commuting or recreational use, which may include sidewalks. Trails may be located parallel to an improved street, within a single development; or may inter-connect different areas by an off-street route.

Transfer of Development Right Sending Zone. The area designated by Thurston County from which development rights can be transferred.

Transferable Development Right. An interest in real property which is the difference between the existing use of a parcel and its potential development use expressed in residential units per acre. This right is made severable from the parcel to which the interest is appurtenant and transferable to another parcel of land for development and use in accordance with applicable regulations.

Transient. A continuous period of two weeks or less.

Transportation Demand Management. Strategies aimed at reducing the number of motor vehicle trips, shortening trip lengths, and changing the timing of trips to non-peak hours. [NOTE: These strategies encourage the use of mass transit, car pools, van pools, bicycling, and walking and typically focus on the home-to-work commute. They also include efforts to provide housing close to jobs to shorten trip lengths. These strategies often require the joint cooperation of developers, employers, and local governments.]

Transportation Demand Management Plan. A system of actions and timetables to alleviate traffic problems through improved management of motor vehicle trip demand. (See also Transportation Demand Management.)

Tree. A self-supporting perennial woody plant characterized by one main stem or trunk, of at least one (1) inch d.b.h., maturing at a height of seven (7) feet above ground level with a definite crown.

Trip. A single or one-way movement of a person via any mode of travel either to or from a subject property within a study area.

Truck, Trailer, and Recreational Vehicle Rental. Businesses primarily engaged in short-term rental or extended-term leasing of trucks, truck-tractors, semi-trailers, moving vans, utility trailers, recreational vehicles, and the like. Finance (equity or full-payout) leasing of trucks, trailers, and recreational vehicles is classified with Motor Vehicle Sales.


Unavoidable and necessary impacts. Those impacts to critical areas that may result when a person proposing to alter such an area has demonstrated that no alternative exists for the proposed project.

Unusual Uses. Undefined land uses or activities resulting from advancing technology.

Upland. The area above and landward of the ordinary high water mark.

Use. The purpose, type and extent for which land or a building is arranged, designed, or intended, or for which either land or a structure is occupied or maintained.

Utility Facility. The physical infrastructure used by private and public utilities to provide service to their customers, e.g., lines, equipment, substations, pump station, and appurtenances. (See also Private Utility and Public Utility.)

Utility Line, Service or Distribution. Any utility line that extends from a main line and terminates at a building or structure.

Utility Line, Stormwater. A constructed stormwater system component, including but not limited to:

1.    A ditch, swale, or similar component installed at ground surface, generally in a linear fashion with clearing and grading limited to 15 feet or less of lateral extent from the centerline;

2.    A pipe, culvert, or similar component installed underground, generally in a linear fashion with clearing and grading limited to 15 feet or less of lateral extent from the centerline; or

3.    A vault, maintenance hole, catch basin/storm drain, or similar component, which:

a.    Is installed underground,

b.    Is connected to one of the above-listed components, and

c.    Results in clearing and grading no more extensive than described above.

Utility Line, Transmission or Main. Any public or private utility line that provides service to numerous commercial, residential, public and/or industrial land uses.


Variance. A modification of the terms of this title that may be granted because of the unusual shape, exceptional topographic conditions or other extraordinary situation or condition in connection with a specific piece of property, where the literal enforcement of this title would involve practical difficulties and cause undue hardship unnecessary to carry out the spirit and intent of this title.

Vegetated Roof. A roof designed and constructed to support, and that does support, living vegetation with at least three inches of engineered soil.

Vegetation - Hydrophytic. Vascular plant life and mosses which grow in water or on a substrate that is at least periodically deficient in oxygen as a result of excessive water content as described in the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands (1989) as amended or revised.

Vegetation - Native. Plants species which have adapted over thousands of years to the weather, soil, and topography of Thurston County, Washington.

Vehicle. A device capable of being moved upon a public highway and in, upon, or by which persons or property are or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway, including automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trailers, and the like. The term includes bicycles, but does not include other devices moved by human or animal power (e.g., skateboards or horse-drawn wagons), nor devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

Veterinary Clinic. See Office, Veterinary/Clinic.

View Corridor. An area at ground level providing views of the waterfront and other landforms of significance, unobstructed by permanent structures between a public street and the preserved. (See also Easement, Scenic.)

Village Center. That portion of an urban village, neighborhood village, or community oriented shopping center which is occupied by commercial, commercial/residential mixed uses, and associated uses such as parking or a village green or park.


Waiver of a Certificate of Appropriateness, Waiver. A letter or other document which allows the building or zoning official to issue a permit for demolition.

Warehouse. A building primarily used for storage and distribution of products, equipment, or materials, which are not available for retail sale on the premises. "Warehousing" is the associated activity. Compare Mini-storage.

Welding and Fabrication. A business engaged in stamping or shaping pieces of metal which are then connected by heat until molten and fused, in order to manufacture, service, or repair sheet metal products.

Well-Adapted Drought-Tolerant Vegetation. Vegetation that is well adapted to current and anticipated environmental conditions in this region, and are not invasive.

Wellhead Protection Area. See OMC 18.32.205.

Wet pond. An artificial water body with a permanent water surface dug as a part of a surface water management system.

Wetland, habitat types or wetland types. Descriptive classes of the wetlands taxonomic classification system of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Cowardin, et al. 1978). These habitat types can include emergent, scrub-shrub or forested wetlands.

Emergent. A wetland with at least thirty (30) percent of the surface area covered by erect, rooted, herbaceous vegetation as the uppermost vegetative stratum.

Forested. A wetland with at least twenty (20) percent of the surface area covered by woody vegetation greater than twenty (20) feet in height.

Scrub-shrub. A wetland with at least thirty (30) percent of its surface area covered by woody vegetation less than twenty (20) feet in height as the uppermost stratum.

Wetlands. See OMC 18.32.505.

Wetlands, Isolated. Those regulated wetlands which:

a.    Are outside of and not contiguous to any one hundred (100) year floodplain of a lake, river or stream; and

b.    Have no contiguous hydric soil between the wetland and any surface water.

Wetlands Mitigation Bank. A site where wetlands are restored, created, enhanced, or in exceptional circumstances, preserved expressly for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation in advance of authorized impacts to similar resources.

Wetland - Mosaic. A wetland where each patch of wetland is less that one (1) acre; and each patch is less that one hundred (100) ft apart, on the average; and the areas delineated as vegetated wetland are more than fifty percent (50%) of the total area of the wetlands and the uplands together, or wetlands, open water, and river bars, all as defined in the Washington State Wetland Rating System for Western Washington (2004) as amended or revised.

Wholesale Sales or Trade. Establishments or places of business primarily engaged in selling merchandise to retailers.

Wildlife blind. A structure no larger than two hundred (200) square feet used for the observation of wildlife.

Wireless Communication Facility (WCF). Any staffed or unstaffed location for the transmission and/or reception of radio frequency signals, or other wireless communications, and usually consisting of an antenna or group of antennas, transmission cables, and equipment cabinets, and may include an antenna support structure. The following developments shall be deemed a WCF: developments containing new, mitigated, or existing antenna support structures, public antenna support structures, replacement antenna support structures, collocation on existing antenna support structures, attached wireless communications facilities, concealed wireless communication facilities, and non-concealed wireless communication facilities. Excluded from the definition are: non-commercial amateur radio, amateur ham radio and citizen band antennas, satellite earth stations and antenna support structures, and antennas and/or antenna arrays for AM/FM/TV/HDTV broadcasting transmission facilities.

Specific types of WCFs include:

Attached WCF. An antenna or antenna array that is secured to an existing building or structure other than an antenna support structure - including light standards, transmission towers, utility poles, or the like - together with a) any accompanying pole or device which attaches it to the building or structure, b) transmission cables, and c) an equipment cabinet, which may be located either on the roof or inside/outside of the building or structure. An attached wireless communications facility is considered to be an accessory use to the existing principal use on a site. (See also Freestanding WCF.)

Concealed WCF, sometimes referred to as a stealth or camouflaged facility. A WCF, ancillary structure, or WCF equipment compound that is not readily identifiable as such, and is designed to be aesthetically compatible with existing and proposed building(s) and uses on a site. There are two types of concealed WCFs: 1) attached and 2) freestanding. 1) Examples of concealed attached facilities include, but are not limited to the following: painted antenna and feed lines to match the color of a building or structure, faux windows, dormers or other architectural features that blend with an existing or proposed building or structure. 2) Concealed freestanding WCFs usually have a secondary, obvious function which may be, but is not limited to the following: church steeple, windmill, bell tower, clock tower, light standard, flagpole with or without a flag, or tree. (See also Non-concealed WCF.)

Freestanding WCF. Any staffed or unstaffed location for the transmission and/or reception of radio frequency signals, or other wireless communications, and usually consisting of an antenna or group of antennas, feed lines, and equipment cabinets, and may include an antenna support structure. A freestanding wireless communication facility includes, but is not limited to the following: guyed, lattice, or monopole antenna support structures. (See also Attached WCF.)

Non-concealed WCF. A wireless communication facility that is readily identifiable as such and can be either freestanding or attached. (See also Concealed WCF.)

ROW Attached Structure. A special case of an attached WCF, this is defined as a pole or other structure primarily used as an electrical transmission support structure for electrical, telephone, cable, or other wired services that can be or has been configured to support the antenna(s) and feedlines of one or more wireless service providers for use as a WCF.

Wireless Communications. Any personal wireless service, which includes but is not limited to: cellular, personal communication services (PCS), specialized mobile radio (SMR), enhanced specialized mobile radio (ESMR), and unlicensed spectrum services utilizing devices described in Part 15 of the FCC rules and regulations (e.g., wireless internet services and paging).

Wireless Facility, Small Cell. A wireless communications facility as defined in RCW 80.36.375(2).

Wireless Telecommunications Master Plan. A plan developed to enforce applicable development standards, state statutes, and federal regulations related to the deployment of wireless telecommunications infrastructure.

Workshops for Disabled People. Sheltered workshops and facilities which provide disabled people with opportunities for training, recreation, and/or employment. This may include assembly of products or any other activity allowed as a permitted use in the district.


Xeriscape. A landscape design which conserves water through creative landscaping. Principles of xeriscape design include reduction of turf areas and increased use of groundcover; grouping of plants with similar water needs; soil improvements to increase moisture and decrease evaporation; and use of drought tolerant plant materials.


Yard. An open space on a parcel of land, other than a court, unobstructed and unoccupied from the ground upward, except for projections permitted by this code.

a.    Front yard. A yard extending across the full width of the building site, having at no point less than the minimum required distance between the front property line or right of way and the building line.

b.    Rear yard. A yard extending from one side property line to the other, except in the case of a corner building site when the rear yard shall extend from the interior side property line or right of way to the opposite side yard.

c.    Side yard. A yard extending from the front yard to the rear yard, except in the case of a corner building site when the side yard on the flanking street shall extend to the rear property line. [NOTE: See Figure 2-10 for yard examples.]

Year. Three hundred and sixty-five days in a normal year, or 366 in a leap year.


Zero Lot. A lot designed in such a manner that one (1) or more sides of the structure may rest directly on or near a side lot line.


(Ord. 7364 §§14-19, 2023; Ord. 7311 §9, 2022; Ord. 7310 §§1, 2, 2022; Ord. 7289 §§1-3, 2021; Ord. 7288 §§10-15, 2021; Ord. 7267 §1, 2020; Ord. 7257 §2, 2020; Ord. 7249 §4, 2020; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 7184 §3 (Exh. C), 2019; Ord. 7163 §1, 2018; Ord. 7159 §1, 2018; Ord. 7090 §§1, 2, 2017; Ord. 7043 §3, 2016; Ord. 7030 §1 (Exh. B), 2016; Ord. 7027 §§11-19, 2016; Ord. 7011 §2, 2016; Ord. 6975 §§1, 2, 2015; Ord. 6967 §§15, 16, 2015; Ord. 6842 §3, 2013; Ord. 6759 §1, 2011; Ord. 6755 §1, 2011; Ord. 6648 §2-6, 2009; Ord. 6592 §1, 2008; Ord. 6581 §1, 2008; Ord. 6562 §2-3, 2008; Ord. 6491 §3-7, 2007; Ord. 6459 §1, 2007; Ord. 6426 §1-10, 2006; Ord. 6408 §8-16, 2006; Ord. 6395 §2-14, 2006; Ord. 6356 §3, 2005; Ord. 6317 §2, 2004; Ord. 6317 §1, 2004; Ord. 6273 §4, §5, §6, §7, 2003; Ord. 6210 §1, 2002; Ord. 6195 §15, 2002; Ord. 6140 §15, 2001; Ord. 6093 §1, 2001; Ord. 6043 §2, 2000; Ord. 5967 §20, 1999; Ord. 5907 §1, 1999; Ord. 5896 §§1, 2, 1999: Ord. 5830 §1, 1998; Ord. 5801 §1, 1998; Ord. 5714 §3, 1997; Ord. 5671 §2, 1997; Ord. 5664 §2, 1997; Ord. 5595 §1, 2, 1996; Ord. 5594 §13, 1996; Ord. 5570 §24, 1995; Ord. 5539 §5, 1995; Ord. 5517 §1, 1995).