Chapter 18.52


18.52.010    Interpretation.

18.52.020    Nonconforming uses.

18.52.030    Nonconforming buildings.

18.52.040    Variances.

18.52.050    Amendment and rezones.

18.52.060    Public hearings.

18.52.070    Enforcement.

18.52.080    Appeals.

18.52.010 Interpretation.

(a)    In interpreting and applying the provisions of this title, the provisions shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the promotion of health, safety and general welfare of the public. Therefore, where the provisions of this title impose a greater restriction upon the use of buildings and premises or upon the height of buildings or structures, or require larger open spaces than are imposed or required by other laws, ordinances, easements, regulations, codes or covenants, the provisions of this title shall control.

In case of a conflict between a general requirement and a specific requirement, the least restrictive shall apply.

(b)    The planning commission shall review and determine any questions involving the proper interpretation or application of the provisions, use, or district boundaries of this title that may be requested by any property owner, tenant, government officer, department, hearings examiner or commission affected.

(c)    Recognizing that there may be uses not specifically mentioned in this title, either because of advancing technology or any other reason, administrator may permit such use to be established if it is clearly evident that the use is similar and in conformity with the designated permitted uses of the use district in which it is to be located. When there is doubt as to the proper classification of a use, the planning commission shall rule on the matter. The hearing examiner’s decision shall be in keeping with the spirit and intent of this title and of the comprehensive plan.

The secretary of the planning commission shall keep a record of all interpretations and rulings made by the planning commission, and such decisions shall be binding.

The hearing examiner shall report his/her findings to the planning commission when it appears desirable and necessary to amend this title. (Ord. 1667 § 21, 2010; Ord. 1562 § 6, 2006; Ord. 1344 § 1 (part), 1997: Ord. 1286 (part), 1995).

18.52.020 Nonconforming uses.

Any existing use lawfully established prior to the passage of the ordinance codified in this title which is not a permitted use in the use district in which it is located is declared a nonconforming use and is not in violation of this title.

(a)    Enlargement, Relocation, Rearrangement. A nonconforming use shall not be enlarged, relocated, or rearranged after the effective date of the ordinance which made the use nonconforming.

(b)    Conditional Use for Expansion. The hearing examiner may grant a conditional use permit for the expansion of a nonconforming use, a Type III action in accordance with Section 19.05.020, only after determining that all of the following criteria have been met:

(1)    The structure, because of its particular design, cannot be reasonably used to house a permitted use;

(2)    The proposed expansion will be consistent with and necessary to the continuation of the existing nonconforming use;

(3)    Adjacent property owners will not be negatively affected by the expansion.

(c)    Discontinuation. A discontinued or abandoned nonconforming use shall not be resumed. Discontinuation or abandonment shall be construed as follows:

(1)    When open land ceases to be used for a nonconforming use for six months;

(2)    When a building designed or arranged for a nonconforming use ceases to be used by that use for twelve consecutive months;

(3)    When a building designed or arranged for a permitted use but used for a nonconforming uses ceases to be used for such nonconforming use for six consecutive months.

(d)    Continuation. Nonconforming uses on open land shall either:

(1)    Be discontinued within two years of the effective date of the ordinance, amendment, or annexation that made such use nonconforming; or

(2)    With the approval of the hearing examiner, be continued, provided it is completely enclosed with a sight-obscuring fence which is attractive and landscaped; and further provided, that adequate measures have been taken to protect surrounding properties from detrimental effects. (Ord. 1812 § 2 (Exh. B)(part), 2015: Ord. 1562 § 7, 2006; Ord. 1286 (part), 1995).

18.52.030 Nonconforming buildings.

(a)    The enlargement of a nonconforming use to any portion of existing building, which portion was designed and built for such use prior to the effective date of the ordinance rendering it nonconforming, may be permitted provided no structural alterations are made.

(b)    A building designed and built for, or devoted to, a nonconforming use may not be enlarged or structurally altered unless the use is changed to a permitted use.

(c)    Any building or structure that is nonconforming as to building coverage, yard, height, open space, density provisions, or parking requirements may be enlarged, remodeled, or renovated provided such alterations do not contribute to further encroachment or infringement upon this title.

(d)    In the event a nonconforming building or structure is less than fifty percent destroyed, nothing in this title shall prevent the securing of a building permit within six months of the date of destruction for the restoration of the building or structure. The determination of the amount of destruction shall rest with the building inspector and shall be based upon the actual cost of replacing the building or structure.

(e)    Any nonconforming building or structure that is more than fifty percent destroyed may be reconstructed provided it meets all of the regulations of the district in which it is located.

(f)    Nonconforming Uses Within the AI—Airport Industrial District. Before any nonconforming structure or tree may be replaced, substantially altered, repaired, rebuilt, allowed to grow taller, or replanted, a permit shall be secured from the applicable building department with the concurrence of the airport manager.

(1)    Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, the owner of any nonconforming use may be required to install, operate, and maintain thereon such markers and lights as are deemed necessary by the airport manager to indicate to the operators of aircraft in the vicinity of the airport the presence of airport hazards or obstructions.

(2)    No permit shall be granted that would allow the establishment or creation of an airport hazard, or permit a nonconforming use to be made higher or become a greater hazard to navigation than it was at the adoption of the ordinance codified in this section or hereby amended, or when a permit was granted whichever is later. (Ord. 1358 § 6(A), 1997; Ord. 1344 § 1 (part), 1997: Ord. 1286 (part), 1995).

18.52.040 Variances.

(a)    Procedure. Variances shall be processed as Type III actions in accordance with Section 19.05.030. The hearing examiner shall have the authority to grant variances from the provisions of this title; provided, that the hearing examiner shall have no power to authorize uses not permitted generally or conditionally in the applicable use district or not otherwise authorized in this title, nor shall the hearing examiner have the authority to allow such uses upon a site smaller in area than would otherwise be sufficient to proceed with the development under the terms of this title. In granting variances, the hearing examiner shall impose such conditions as he or she deems necessary to assure that the adjustment thereby authorized is compatible with the limitations imposed on other properties within the area or within the use district which the subject property is located. Variances shall only be granted when each of the following circumstances is found to apply:

(1)    Under special circumstances that are not the result of the owner’s action (property size, shape, topography, location and/or surroundings), the strict application of the provisions of this title deprive the property of rights and privileges enjoyed on other properties with identical use district classifications;

(2)    The granting of the variances will not be unduly detrimental to the public welfare nor injurious to the property or improvements in the immediate vicinity.

(b)    Expiration. An authorized variance shall be void after the expiration of one year from the date of authorization unless it has either been exercised or there is a valid building permit in force in conformance with the variance as authorized.

(c)    Building Inspector Recommendation. The building inspector shall make an investigation and a written recommendation to the board on each variance application.

(d)    Notice, Hearing and Approval. See Sections 19.05.040, 19.05.060 and 19.05.070.

(e)    Variances within the AI—Airport Industrial District. Requests for height variances in any overlay district shall be processed in the same manner as any other request for variance to land use zoning regulations, with the addition of the following steps:

(1)    Any person desiring to erect or increase the height of any structure, or permit the growth of any tree, or use property, not in accordance with the regulations prescribed in this chapter, may follow the procedures for a Type III action under Title 19 and apply to the hearing examiner for a variance from such regulations. The application for variance shall be accompanied by a determination from the Federal Aviation Administration as to the effect of the proposal on the operation of air navigation facilities and the safe, efficient use of navigable airspace. Such variances shall be allowed when denial would result in unnecessary hardship, and the relief granted will not create a hazard to air navigation, will do substantial justice, and will be in accordance with the spirit of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

(2)    No application for variance to the requirements of this chapter may be considered by the hearing examiner unless a copy of the application has been furnished to the airport manager for advice as to the aeronautical effects of the variance. If the airport manager does not respond to the application within fifteen days after receipt, the hearing examiner may act on his or her own to grant or deny such application. (Ord. 1812 § 2 (Exh. B)(part), 2015: Ord. 1562 § 8, 2006; Ord. 1358 § 6(B), 1997; Ord. 1344 § 1 (part), 1997: Ord. 1286 (part), 1995).

18.52.050 Amendment and rezones.

(a)    Any provision of this title, including the official zoning map, may be amended by following the procedures in this section.

(b)    Application Procedure. The administrator shall prescribe the form in which petitions are made for amendments to this title and any other application which may come before the planning commission or city council for action; provided, however, that the hearing examiner shall prescribe the forms to be used for variances, conditional use permits, and other applications which may come before him or her for action.

(c)    A request for amendment or rezone may be a Type IV or Type V action under Title 19.

(d)    No amendment to this title shall be adopted nor any rezone granted which is inconsistent with the greater Omak area comprehensive plan, as it exists or is hereafter amended.

(e)    Any amendment to the text of this title or to the official zoning map may be initiated by:

(1)    Resolution of the planning commission or city council;

(2)    Petition by a registered voter or landowner of the city of Omak.

(f)    Resolution for Amendment. Resolution of the city council or of the planning commission for amendment to the text of this title or the zoning map shall be directed to the city clerk and shall include a complete description or map of the property for which amendment is sought, and/or a complete explanation of the section(s) of this title for which amendment is sought and the proposed language therefor. Such text or zoning map amendments shall be general or areawide in nature.

(g)    Petition for Amendment. Petitions for amendment shall include the following information:

(1)    Petitions to amend the zoning map shall include a vicinity map and a complete legal description of the property for which amendment is sought, a clear explanation of the requested amendment, and a justification for such change. The petition shall be signed by the owner or owners of not less than sixty percent of the acreage for which rezone is sought, and each signer shall give his/her name, address, and the description by lot and block number or assessor’s tax number accompanied by assessor’s map therefor, of the property owned by each such signer.

(2)    Petitions for amendment to the text of this title shall include a complete explanation of the section(s) of this title for which amendment is sought, and of the requested amendment with proposed language therefor, and each signer shall give his/her name and address.

(h)    Hearing on Petition or Resolution. Upon receipt of such petition or resolution, the administrator shall determine the type of action under Title 19 and if the petition or resolution is complete. If so, the administrator shall refer the same to the planning commission. At its next regular meeting the planning commission shall set a date for public hearing on the petition or resolution, and shall cause notice to be given as required in Section 19.05.040. After conclusion of the public hearing on a petition or resolution for amendment, the planning commission shall consider environmental review documents and all written and oral comments and issue its written recommendation on such petition or resolution to the city council. Such recommendation shall include findings of fact and conclusions upon which such recommendation is based.

(i)    Decision of City Council. Upon receipt of recommendation from the planning commission on a petition or resolution for amendment, the city council shall at its next regular meeting set a date to consider the same which shall be heard at a public meeting of the council. The city council shall at such meeting consider the petition or resolution, public record, environmental review documents and the recommendation of the planning commission and shall thereafter issue its decision to grant the amendment, deny the amendment, or to grant the amendment with conditions or modifications thereto. Provided, however, if it does not accept the recommendation of the planning commission on a resolution for amendment initiated by either the planning commission or council, then the council shall set a date for a public hearing upon the resolution and shall cause notice to be given thereof as set forth in Section 19.05.040. At the date set for public hearing, the council shall hear testimony from all persons who wish to be heard on the resolution, and shall thereafter issue its decision to grant the amendment, deny the amendment, or to grant the amendment with conditions or modifications thereto. (Ord. 1812 § 2 (Exh. B)(part), 2015: Ord. 1562 § 9, 2006; Ord. 1344 § 1 (part), 1997: Ord. 1286 (part), 1995).

18.52.060 Public hearings.

When a public hearing is required by this title, the procedures set forth in Title 19 shall be followed. (Ord. 1812 § 2 (Exh. B)(part), 2015: Ord. 1562 § 10, 2006; Ord. 1286 (part), 1995).

18.52.070 Enforcement.

(a)    Duties. It shall be the duty of the building inspector to make certain that this title is enforced and violations remedied through proper legal channels.

(b)    Scope. Upon presentation of proper credentials, the building inspector or his duly authorized representatives, may enter at reasonable times any building, structure, or premises in the city to perform any duty imposed upon him by this ordinance, provided, however, that the occupant of a dwelling unit has the right to request that the inspections be delayed until a time mutually agreed upon by the occupants and the inspector. Should the occupant refuse to allow inspection within a reasonable time, the building inspector shall obtain a court order prior to entry. When possible, the building inspector is required to advise the occupant of his rights pursuant to this subsection.

(c)    Liability. The building inspector or any city employee charged with the enforcement of this title, acting in good faith and without malice in the discharge of the duties imposed in this title shall not thereby render themselves liable personally and are relieved from all personal liability for the damages that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or by reason of any act or omission in the discharge of their duties. Any suit brought against the building inspector or employee because of such act or omission, shall be defended by the city until termination of the proceedings.

(d)    Conditions for Permits. No building permit shall be issued for the construction, alteration or relocation of any building, structure, or part thereof unless the plans, specifications and intended use of such buildings or structures conform in all respects with the provisions of this title.

(e)    Violations and Penalties. In addition to any civil remedies provided by state law, failure to perform any act required, or the performance of any act prohibited by this title, is designated to be a civil infraction. Any person, firm or corporation found to have committed such an infraction by failing to perform any act required in the Omak zoning ordinance, or the performance of any act prohibited therein, shall be assessed a monetary penalty. Such penalty may not exceed five hundred dollars for each offense. Each day during which a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense and penalties may be assessed for each separate offense. (Ord. 1286 (part), 1995).

18.52.080 Appeals.

(a)    General. Appeals shall be taken to the council by any party of record aggrieved of or by a decision, order, requirement, interpretation, permit, decision, or determination made by an administrative official, the planning commission or hearing examiner. Such appeals shall be filed in writing, in duplicate, with the city clerk within twenty days of the date of the action being appealed.

(b)    Schedule. Upon receipt of an appeal, the city clerk shall set the time and place at which the matter will be considered by the city council at an appeal hearing. No new evidence may be presented at an appeal hearing unless the appeal is of an administrative decision that has been made without an open record public hearing. At least ten days’ notice of such time and place shall be given to the adverse parties of record and to the official or commission whose decision is being appealed. The officer from whom the appeal is being taken shall forthwith transmit to the city council all records and proceedings pertaining to the decision being appealed, together with such additional written report as he deems pertinent.

(c)    City Council Authority. In exercising the powers granted in this chapter, the city council may, in conformity with this title, reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed and may make such order, requirement, decision, or determination as should be made, and to that end, shall have all powers of the officer from whom the appeal is being taken, insofar as the decision on the particular issue is concerned, and in making its determination the city council may hear any pertinent facts bearing on the case.

(d)    Judicial Appeals. Any decision of the city council on a petition for amendment or project permit application submitted in accordance with this title may be appealed by a party of record with standing by filing a land use petition to Okanogan County superior court. Such petition must be filed within twenty-one days of issuance of the decision as provided in RCW 36.70C. (Ord. 1562 § 11, 2006; Ord. 1344 § 1 (part), 1997: Ord. 1286 (part), 1995).