Chapter 18A.15
DENSITY, SETBACKS, AND LOT DIMENSION Revised 12/18 Revised 6/19

Sections:

18A.15.010    General Provisions.

18A.15.020    Residential Density. Revised 12/18 Revised 6/19

18A.15.030    Lot Dimension.

18A.15.040    Setback and Height. Revised 12/18 Revised 6/19

18A.15.010 General Provisions.

A.    Purpose. The purpose of this Chapter is to provide regulations that guide development to occur consistent with the Comprehensive Plan density policies. Density is the number of dwelling units, or housing structures, per unit of land. Chapter 18A.15 PCC also includes lot size, setback and height dimension regulations to ensure that sufficient developable area is provided to accommodate development and, where necessary, to buffer neighboring properties from potentially incompatible land uses. These regulations are established to provide flexibility in project design and promote high density development in urban areas when utilizing incentives. Additional dimension requirements may also apply as set forth elsewhere within Title 18A PCC or other Titles of the Pierce County Code (PCC).

B.    Lots of Record. In any zone that permits a single-family dwelling unit, a single-family dwelling unit and permitted accessory structures may be constructed or enlarged on a lot which cannot satisfy the lot size and/or density requirements of the zone where the lot was legally created. This Section shall not waive the requirements for setbacks and height limits of the zone. See PCC 18A.15.030 C. for regulations applicable to lots 25 feet or narrower.

C.    Density and Dimension Tables.

1.    The residential density and lot dimension Tables 18A.15.020-1 and 18A.15.020-2 provide the density range for each zone classification in which residential density provisions are applicable, and the lot dimension standards, if any, that apply when new lots are created or adjusted.

2.    Setback and height Tables, 18A.15.040-1, 18A.15.040-2, and 18A.15.040-3 provide the minimum front, rear, and interior setbacks required for each zone classification, as well as the corresponding height limits.

3.    Development proposed in accordance with the Pierce County Code shall meet all applicable residential density and dimensions as set forth in Tables 18A.15.020-1 and 18A.15.020-2, setback as set forth in Tables 18A.15.040-1 and 18A.15.040-2, and height as set forth in Table 18A.15.040-3 unless otherwise authorized in Chapter 18A.15 PCC.

4.    The Tables are arranged in a matrix format. The zone classifications and community plan areas with different regulations are listed on the left and the development regulations are listed down the right side of the Tables. The matrix cells contain the applicable requirements of the zone classification. A blank cell, or a cell with N/A, indicates that the cell is not applicable.

(Ord. 2014-42 § 2 (part), 2014; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013; Ord. 2012-2s § 5 (part), 2012)

18A.15.020 Residential Density. Revised 12/18 Revised 6/19

A.    Allowable Dwelling Units – Calculating Density.

1.    Density provisions shall be calculated in dwelling units per acre (du/ac).

2.    Urban. Within urban zone classifications, the allowable number of dwelling units shall be calculated by multiplying the net developable acreage of the site by the allowed density in dwelling units/acres.

a.    Net developable acreage is the result of gross site acreage minus:

(1)    Environmentally constrained lands;

(2)    Private road or vehicle access easements;

(3)    Shared access facilities serving two or more lots; and

(4)    Public road right-of-way; provided, however, that any portion of proposed or future public right-of-way identified through the Pierce County Transportation Corridors and Connectors Right of Way Preservation Map, Chapter 19D.50 PCC, and not required for the development of the project at the time of application, shall not be deducted from the gross site acreage.

b.    Environmentally constrained land includes the following lands identified in the Critical Area Regulations (Title 18E PCC): erosion hazard areas, landslide hazard areas, wetlands, flood hazard areas, and all land below the ordinary high water mark of all lakes, streams, ponds, and tidal waters. The required buffers or setbacks associated with these areas are not included in the definition of environmentally constrained lands.

c.    If an applicant is unable to meet minimum density utilizing the definition of net developable acreage, critical area buffers may also be excluded from the net developable acre calculation.

3.    Rural and Resource. Within rural and resource zone classifications, the allowable number of dwelling units shall be calculated by multiplying the gross site acreage by the allowed density in dwelling units/acres. The result of these calculations shall equal the number of dwelling units allowed.

a.    Gross site acreage is all land, excluding tidelands and any existing public road right-of-way and private road easement, within the boundaries of a development.

4.    If a calculation results in a partial dwelling unit, the partial dwelling unit shall be rounded to the nearest whole number. Less than .5 shall be rounded down. Greater than or equal to .5 shall be rounded up.

Examples:

9.2 acres x 4 du/acre = 36.8 (rounded to 37 allowable dwelling units)

17 acres x 1 du/5 acres = 3.4 (rounded to 3 allowable dwelling units)

15 acres x 1 du/10 acres = 1.5 (rounded to 2 allowable dwelling units)

5.    In no case shall the rounding provision set forth in (4) above prevent a project within an urban zone classification from achieving the minimum density required for the zone. In such cases where the minimum density required for the zone would not otherwise be achieved, rounding up of allowable dwelling units shall be used, regardless of whether or not the fractional unit is greater than or less than .5.

Example of Project within an SF zone:

Minimum density required for SF zone: 4 du/acre

Project area: 11.1 acres (net)

Allowable units pursuant to (a): 11.1 x 4 du/ac = 44.4

Rounding of units pursuant to (b): 44.4 units, rounded down to 44 units

Resulting Density After Rounding: 44 units/11.1 acres = 3.96 units/acre*

*Does not meet required minimum density, rounding down shall not apply. Allowable dwelling units shall be rounded up from 44.4 to 45, resulting in a density of 4.05 du/acre.

6.    On a lot containing both residential and non-residential uses, density shall be based only on that portion of the lot utilized for the residential use. If the residential use is located within the same structure as the non-residential use, the entire lot may be used to calculate density.

7.    The residential densities in Rural Centers shall be the same as permitted in the adjacent rural designations. If the Rural Center is abutting more than one rural designation, the least restrictive density provisions will apply except when abutting lands within a Case II Volcanic Hazard Area, the more restrictive density shall apply. If the Rural Center is surrounded by resource lands, the density of the resource lands will apply. The densities for senior and assisted-living centers shall be based upon the requirements of the Health Department.

B.    Minimum Density.

1.    Urban land divisions and residential developments shall comply with Minimum Density, pursuant to Table 18A.15.020-1, for the zone classification in which the proposal is located, unless relief is allowed pursuant to 2. below.

2.    Relief from minimum density is allowed as follows:

a.    If a lot is more than 300 feet from a sewer hook-up, the minimum density requirement shall not apply; provided, that only one lot of the proposed short plat or subdivision may exceed 7,260 square feet in size and provided improvements associated with the land division do not preclude future access or other improvements needed to achieve minimum density for any future land division.

b.    If an applicant is unable to meet minimum density utilizing the definition of net developable acreage in PCC 18.25.030, critical area buffers may be excluded from the net developable acre calculation.

C.    Base Density.

1.    Land divisions and residential developments may achieve outright the Base Density standard for the zone classification, pursuant to Tables 18A.15.020-1 and -2, in which the proposal is located subject to compliance with all applicable regulations.

D.    Maximum Density.

1.    In an MSF zone classification, sanitary sewers are required to achieve a density greater than base density up to maximum density. In all other classifications, maximum densities shall be achieved through one of the following methods:

a.    The application of density incentives or credits as allowed in PCC 18A.15.020 E.;

b.    Transfer of development rights. Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) means the transfer of the right to develop or build from sending sites to receiving sites (Chapter 18G.10 PCC);

c.    Planned Development District (PDD) or Planned Unit Development (PUD) (Chapter 18A.75 PCC); or

d.    Shadow platting. Shadow platting means lots created as part of a recorded final plat that have been designated for future development when sanitary sewers become available. When dry sewer lines are installed, a residential development up to the maximum density may be allowed; provided that lots in excess of the density permitted with on-site septic shall not be built upon until the sewer line is extended and connected to all the lots. Shadow lots are transferable and may be sold with the restriction on development.

2.    Land divisions and residential developments shall not exceed Maximum Density for the zone classification in which the proposal is located, pursuant to Tables 18A.15.020-1 and -2, unless the proposal qualifies for a density incentive pursuant to PCC 18A.15.020 E.

Table 18A.15.020-1. Urban Residential Density and Urban Lot Dimensions

Urban Zone Classification

Residential Density (du/ac)

Lot Dimensions

Minimum

Base

Maximum

Lot Size (square feet)

Minimum Lot Width (feet) (3)

Mean

Minimum

AC

Activity Center (All County except where listed below)

8

20

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

Gig Harbor

N/A

3.5

3.5

N/A

6,000 residential

50 residential

15,000 other

100 other

South Hill

10

18

25 (1)

N/A

N/A

N/A

CC

Commercial Center (All County except where listed below)

8

20

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

Gig Harbor

N/A

4

12

N/A

N/A

N/A

Mid County

10

14

22

N/A

N/A

N/A

South Hill

8

15

20

N/A

N/A

N/A

CMUD

Commercial Mixed Use District (All County)

8

12

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

HRD

High Density Residential

6

20

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

South Hill

6

12

16

N/A

N/A

N/A

HSF

High Density Single Family

As listed below

Parkland/Spanaway/Midland

6

6

12

N/A

N/A

N/A

South Hill

6

10

12

N/A

N/A

N/A

MHR

Moderate High Density Residential (All County except where listed below)

4

10

15

N/A

N/A

N/A

Frederickson

12

18

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

Parkland/Spanaway/Midland

8

20

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

South Hill

8

15

20

N/A

N/A

N/A

MSF

Moderate Density Single Family (All County except where listed below)

4

4

6

5,000

4,000

50

Gig Harbor

4

4

6

N/A

(4)

Parkland/Spanaway/Midland

4

5

6

5,000

4,000

50

MUC

Major Urban Center (All County)

8

20

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

MUD

Mixed Use District (All County except where listed below)

6

20

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

Frederickson

12

18

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

Gig Harbor

6

15

20

N/A

N/A

N/A

Graham (5)

4

10

15

N/A

N/A

N/A

Mid-County

12

20

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

Parkland/Spanaway/Midland

12

20

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

South Hill

8

15

20

N/A

N/A

N/A

NC

Neighborhood Center (All County except where listed below)

4

16

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

Gig Harbor

7,200 residential

15,000 non-residential

Mid County

8

12

16

N/A

N/A

N/A

Parkland/Spanaway/Midland

4

8

16

N/A

N/A

N/A

South Hill

6

10

12 (6)

N/A

N/A

N/A

OMUD

Office-Residential Mixed Use District (All County)

8

12

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

ROC

Residential/Office/Civic

As listed below

 

Frederickson

8

12

18

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

Parkland/Spanaway/Midland

8

12

25

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

South Hill

6

10

12

N/A

N/A

N/A

RR

Residential Resource (All County)

1

2

3

N/A

N/A

50

SF

Single Family (All County)

4

4

4

6,000

5,000

60

 

Gig Harbor

4

4

4

N/A

(4)

70 (2)

 

Graham

4

4

4

9,000

7,000

75

UV

Urban Village (All County)

12

20

30 (1)

N/A

N/A

N/A

(1)    Maximum density may be increased to 60 dwelling units per acre when commercial, civic, or office/business uses occupy the entire 1st floor or street level floor of all buildings adjacent to a public arterial roadway.

(2)    The minimum lot width may be reduced by multiplying the lot area by 0.007.

(3)    Minimum lot width does not apply to access easements.

(4)    Minimum lot size: MSF = 7,000 sq ft for 4 lots or fewer and 4,000 sq ft for 5 or more lots; NC = 7,200 square feet residential and 15,000 sq ft other; SF = 7,200 sq ft for 4 lots or fewer and 5,000 sq ft for 5 or more lots.

(5)    First floor in multi-level multi-family must be commercial; if not multi-level, a minimum of 50 percent of the total floor area must be commercial.

(6)    Maximum density may be increased to 14 for senior housing.

Table 18A.15.020-2. Rural and Resource Residential Density and Rural Lot Dimensions

Rural and Resource Zone Classification

Residential Density (du/ac)

Lot Dimensions

Base

Maximum

Minimum Lot Dimension (2)

Minimum Lot Size (5)

ARL

Agricultural Resource Lands (All County except where listed below)

.1

.2 (1)

N/A

10 acres

Graham

.1

.2

250 feet in width

10 acres

Key Peninsula

.1

.2

N/A

5 acres

EPF-RAN

Essential Public Facility – Rural Airport North

.1

.2

N/A

N/A

FL

Forest Lands (All County except where listed below)

.0125

.0125

60 feet

80 acres

Graham

600 feet in width

80 acres

R5

Rural 5

.2

.2

60 feet

5 acres

R10

Rural 10 (All county except where listed otherwise below)

.1

.2 (1)

60 feet

10 acres

Graham

.1

.2

250 feet in width (3)

10 acres

R20

Rural 20 (All county except where listed otherwise below)

.05

.1

60 feet

20 acres

Graham

.05

.1

250 feet in width (3)

20 acres

R40

Rural 40

.025

.0625 (1)

60 feet

40 acres

RF

Rural Farm

.1

.2 (1)

N/A

10 acres

Alderton-McMillin

.1

.2

N/A

10 acres

Graham

.1

.1

250 feet in width (3)

10 acres

Key Peninsula

.1

.2

N/A

10 acres

PR

Park and Recreation

.1

.2

N/A

N/A

RNC

Rural Neighborhood Center (All county except where listed otherwise below)

(4)

(4)

(4)

N/A

RSep

Rural Separator

.2

.4

60 feet

2.5 acres

RSR

Rural Sensitive Resource

.1

.2

N/A

10 acres

Graham

.1

.2

250 feet in width (3)

10 acres

TC

Tourist Commercial

.1

.2

N/A

N/A

VC

Village Center

N/A

3

Maximum residential lot size is 14,750 square feet.

VR

Village Residential

.1

.2

60 feet

10 acres

(1)    Maximum density is not allowed in R10 on Anderson Island or in the Upper Nisqually ARL and RF zones.

(2)    Minimum lot dimension does not apply to access easements.

(3)    Lot width may be reduced to 100 feet in the R10 and 200 feet in the R20, RSR, and RF when it is determined that application of critical area or low impact development requirements would otherwise prevent the allowable density per acre from being achieved or a reasonable building envelope from being attained.

(4)    See PCC 18A.15.020 A.7. for RNC density provisions.

(5)    The minimum lot size may be reduced as allowed by PCC 18A.15.020 A., Rural; 18A.15.020 E., Density Incentives and Credits; and 18A.15.030 C.3.*, Lot Dimension – Rural Zones.

*    Code reviser’s note: The reference to PCC 18A.15.030 C.3. above is incorrect. The correct cite should be PCC 18A.15.030 B.3.

E.    Density Incentives and Credits.

1.    Urban.

a.    Urban Open Space. A density incentive of one additional dwelling unit per acre above the base density shall be granted to attain the maximum density in exchange for every 5 percent of the total gross acreage of the project site designated as urban open space.

b.    Transfer of Density. Maximum density may be achieved through the transfer of density credits pursuant to Chapter 18G.10 PCC.

c.    Natural Shoreline Environment Designation. New divisions of land within the Natural Shoreline Environment Designation are prohibited from exceeding base density.

d.    Senior Housing. Senior housing means a development limited to occupants who are at least 55 years of age. Senior housing developments shall only be considered when sewer services are available, housing types are consistent with those allowed in the underlying zone classification, at least two viable modes of transportation serve the development, and when adequate land use controls are prescribed through conditions of a use permit or plat. In the MSF zone classification, maximum density may be increased to 8 dwelling units per acre for senior housing. In the HSF and NC zone classifications, the maximum density may be increased to a total of 14 dwelling units per acre for senior housing.

e.    Environmentally Constrained Lands Density Credit. In urban areas, a partial on-site density credit shall be given when a site contains environmentally constrained land. The credit shall vary based upon the total percentage of the site that is encumbered by the environmental constraint. The credit provides for an additional percentage increase in the allowable dwelling units permitted in the applicable Density and Dimension Table. On-site density credits shall be given as shown in the Table below.

Table 18A.15.020-3. On-Site Density Credits

Percentage of site containing environmentally constrained land

Density credit given

< 20%

No credit

20% to 50%

15% increase in allowable dwelling units

50% to 75%

20% increase in allowable dwelling units

> 75%

25% increase in allowable dwelling units

Example of subdivision proposed on a site that is 10 acres in area, including 2.5 acres of environmentally constrained land, and .5 acres needed for street right of way.

Maximum density is 6 dwelling units per acre.

Net developable acreage = 10 acres – 2.5 acres (25% environmentally constrained land) – .5 acres (street ROW)

Net developable acreage = 7 acres

7 acres x 6 dwelling units per acre = 42 dwelling units

On-site density credits = 42 dwelling units x 1.15 = 48.3, rounded to 48 dwelling units allowed*.

*If the density credit results in a partial dwelling unit, it shall be rounded to the nearest whole number. Less than .5 shall be rounded down. Greater than or equal to .5 shall be rounded up.

2.    Rural and Resource. When authorized by Table 18A.15.020-2, greater than base density may be achieved, up to maximum density by means of cluster development as specified below in PCC 18A.15.020 E.2.a.-g. Cluster development means a development design technique that concentrates buildings or lots in specific areas on a site to preserve the remaining land. Rural and resource density incentives shall not be allowed for properties located in a Case II Volcanic Hazard Area or Natural Shoreline Environment Designation. Open space and associated restrictions shall be designated as such on a recorded document pursuant to the designation criteria of PCC 18A.50.040.

a.    Rural Separator.

(1)    Two dwelling units per 5 acres (0.4 du/ac), when 50 percent or more of the property is designated as open space shall be permitted.

(2)    The maximum number of dwelling units in one cluster shall not exceed 15 principal dwelling units.

b.    Rural 10/Tourist Commercial/Village Residential.

(1)    Two dwelling units per 10 acres (0.2 du/ac) when 50 percent or more of the property is designated as open space.

(2)    The maximum number of dwelling units in one cluster shall not exceed 15 principal dwelling units.

c.    Rural 20.

(1)    Two dwelling units per 20 acres (0.1 du/ac), when 50 percent or more of the property is designated as open space.

(2)    If an adjacent property is classified Forest Land (FL), the required open space tract or easement shall be contiguous with the property classified Forest Land (FL).

(3)    The maximum number of dwelling units in one cluster shall not exceed 15 principal dwelling units.

d.    Rural 40.

(1)    Two dwelling units per 40 acres when 50 percent of the property is designated as open space.

(2)    Two and one-half dwelling units per 40 acres when 75 percent of the property is designated as open space.

(3)    The maximum number of dwelling units in one cluster shall not exceed 15 principal dwelling units.

e.    Rural Sensitive Resource. Two dwelling units per 10 acres (0.2 du/ac) when 50 percent of the property is designated as open space.

f.    Park and Recreation. Two dwelling units per 10 acres (0.2 du/ac) when 50 percent of the property is designated as open space.

g.    ARL and RF.

(1)    When development is clustered, residential density may be increased to a maximum of 1 dwelling unit per 5 acres on properties of 20 acres or more.

(2)    The clustered development may not result in more than 10 lots per cluster and only 1 lot may be larger than 1 acre.

(3)    The resulting lot greater than 1 acre may contain a single-family home, associated agricultural structures, and other hard surfaces not exceeding 10 percent of the total lot. The remaining area of the larger lot shall be restricted to open space or agricultural use.

(Ord. 2017-89s § 2 (part), 2018; Ord. 2017-28s § 7 (part), 2017; Ord. 2016-33 §§ 1 (part), 2 (part), 2016; Ord. 2016-14s § 2 (part), 2016; Ord. 2015-86 § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 2015-40 § 4 (part), 2015; Ord. 2013-45s4 § 3 (part), 2015; Ord. 2014-42 § 2 (part), 2014; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013; Ord. 2012-2s § 5 (part), 2012)

18A.15.030 Lot Dimension.

A.    Lot Width Measurement.

1.    When a lot has four sides or has more than four sides and has an essentially rectangular, or pie shape, the lot width shall be the horizontal distance between the side lot lines measured at right angles to the line comprising the depth of the lot at a point midway between the lot front and the lot rear line. For pipestem or flag lots, the access easement or lot extension shall not be included in determining the depth of the lot.

2.    For lots with more than four sides that are irregular in shape, lot width shall be measured at the widest portion of the lot between the side lot lines.

3.    As an alternative to 1. and 2. above, lot width may be measured at the location of the proposed principal building development.

B.    Situational Lot Dimension Provisions.

1.    25-foot-wide Lots. For residential development of lots that are 25 feet in width or less, two such lots shall be required to construct one detached single-family dwelling unit, and three such lots shall be required to construct a duplex, when all of the following apply:

a.    Two or more such lots are in contiguous and common ownership;

b.    The lots are located in an SF, RR, or MSF zone classification; and

c.    The lots were created prior to August 13, 1974.

2.    MSF and SF.

a.    LID. Average and minimum lot sizes shall not apply to low impact development projects designed pursuant to the Pierce County Stormwater Management Manual and Site Development Manual, Volume VI.

b.    Critical Areas. Average and minimum lot size may be reduced up to 2,000 square feet for those sites containing critical areas or their buffers when it is determined that:

(1)    Compliance with critical area requirements in combination with the average lot size requirement would prevent a density of four dwelling units per net acre from being achieved;

(2)    The reduction in average lot size is the minimum necessary to achieve a density of four dwelling units per acre; and

(3)    In no case shall the minimum lot size in the SF be reduced less than 5,000 square feet.

c.    PDD. Average lot size reductions may be allowed with a Planned Development District permit pursuant to PCC 18A.75.050.

3.    Rural and Resource Zones. Minimum lot size may be reduced to 1 acre (2 acres on Anderson Island) within a short subdivision or formal subdivision and to 5 acres within a large lot division provided the short subdivision, large lot division, or formal subdivision remains in compliance with the density requirements of the applicable zone, except when located in the ARL or FL zone classifications.

(Ord. 2017-28s § 7 (part), 2017; Ord. 2016-33 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2015-86 § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 2015-40 § 4 (part), 2015; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013; Ord. 2012-2s § 5 (part), 2012)

18A.15.040 Setback and Height. Revised 12/18 Revised 6/19

A.    General Provisions. The following general setback and height regulations apply throughout this Chapter.

1.    Setback Measurement. A setback is the minimum required distance between any structure and a specified line. A setback is measured from the edge of a road right-of-way, easement or tract that provides vehicular access, or future road right-of-way as identified by the most recently adopted official control to the closest point of the vertical foundations. (Official control includes, but is not limited to, Pierce County Road Classification, Pierce County Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program, Pierce County Transportation Plan, Approved County Road Project (CRP) plans and/or approved right-of-way plans.) Where there is no road right of way, easement, or tract that provides vehicular access or future road right-of-way as identified in the most recently adopted official control, a setback is measured from the property line.

2.    Designation of Required Setbacks. All lots must contain at least one front yard except pipestem lots. A front yard setback shall be required abutting each right-of-way on through lots. If a corner lot abuts the intersection of two or more rights-of-way, the yard not used for vehicular access may be reduced to 15 feet, provided the reduced yard does not abut a State Highway or any arterial. All lots must contain one rear yard setback except for corner, through, and pipestem lots. All other setbacks will be considered interior yard setbacks. See Figure 18A.15.040-1.

FIGURE 18A.15.040-1

3.    Building Height. The height of a building is the vertical distance from the average elevation of the finished grade on each wall of a building to the top of a flat or shed roof, or mansard roof, and the average distance between the bottom of the eaves to the highest point of a pitched, hipped, gambrel, or gable roof. See Figure 18A.15.040-2. See also PCC 18J.120.070 C.2.a.(1) for a more restrictive building height measurement that applies in the Browns Point/Dash Point communities.

FIGURE 18A.15.040-2

4.    Structure height. The height of all structures, except buildings, is the vertical distance of a structure measured from the average elevation of the finished grade surrounding the structure to the highest point of the structure. For fence height, see PCC 18A.15.040 B.2.d.

5.    Rear Yard Setback in Shoreline Jurisdiction. Rear yard setbacks as found in Table 18A.15.040-1 and Table 18A.15.040-2 do not apply in areas regulated under Shoreline Management Use Regulations.

Table 18A.15.040-1. Urban Setbacks

PCC 18A.15.040 B.1.-6. provisions supersede the figures in this Table when applicable.

Urban Zone Classification

(All County)

Minimum Building Setback (feet)

Front – Arterial

Front – Non-Arterial

Interior/Side

Rear

AC

Activity Center

20

15

0

0

CC

Community Center

20

15

0

0

CE

Community Employment

25

15

0 (1)

0 (1)

CMUD

Commercial Mixed Use District

25

15

0

0

EC

Employment Center

35

15

0

0

ES

Employment Service

20

15

0

0

HRD

High Density Residential

25

15

0

0

HSF

High Density Single Family

25

15

5

8

MHR

Moderate High Density Residential

25

15

0 (1)

0 (1)

MUC

Major Urban Center

0 (1)

15

0

0

MUD

Mixed Use District

25

15

0 (1)

0 (1)

MSF

Moderate Density Single Family

25

12/15/25 (3)

5 (2)

10 (2)

NC

Neighborhood Commercial

20

15

0

0

OMUD

Office-Residential Mixed Use District

25

15

0

0

PI

Public Institution

25

15

0

0

PR

Urban Park and Recreation

25

15

10

10

RO

Residential Office

35

15

0

0

ROC

Residential/Office/Civic

25

15

0 (1)

0

RR

Residential Resource

25

12/15/25 (3)

10

10

SF

Single Family

25

12/15/25 (3)

10 (2)

10 (2)

UV

Urban Village

0

0

0

(1)    In the Graham Community, the 0-foot interior yard setback only applies when structures are attached. When structures are not attached, then either a minimum 5-foot interior setback or a 10-foot separation between buildings, whichever results in the greatest separation, shall apply.

(2)    In the Gig Harbor Community, for lots in a subdivision applied for after December 1, 2002, rear setbacks shall be 30 feet and interior setbacks shall be 8 feet.

(3)    12-foot setback for porches; 15-foot setback to other portions of the building; and 25-foot setback for vehicle parking facilities such as garage or carport either attached or detached, setback applies on the side where vehicle enters only.

Table 18A.15.040-2. Rural and Resource Setbacks

PCC 18A.15.040 B.1.-6. provisions supersede the figures in this Table when applicable.

Rural and Resource Zone Classification

(All County)

Minimum Building Setback (feet)

Front

Interior

Rear

EPF-RAN

Essential Public Facility – Rural Airport North

25

50

50

GC

Gateway Commercial

25

0

0

PI

Public Institution

25

0

0

PR

Park and Recreation

25

30

30

R5

Rural Five

25

10

30

R10

Rural Ten

25 (1)

10 (1,2)

30 (2)

R20

Rural Twenty

25 (1)

10 (1)

30 (1)

R40

Rural Forty

25

10

30

RAC

Rural Activity Center

35

5

5

RF

Rural Farm

25 (1)

30 (1)

30 (1)

RIC

Rural Industrial Center

25

0

0

RNC

Rural Neighborhood Commercial

25

5

5

RSep

Rural Separator

25

10

30

RSR

Rural Sensitive Resource

25 (1)

10 (1,2)

30 (1,2)

TC

Tourist Commercial

0

0

0

VC

Village Center

0

0

0

VR

Village Residential

25

10

30

ARL

Agricultural Resource Lands

25 (1)

30 (1,2)

30 (1,2)

FL

Forest Lands

25 (1)

30 (1)

30 (1)

(1)    In the Graham Community, for lots in an ARL, FL, R10, R20, RF, or RSR subdivision applied for after March 1, 2007, the following setbacks shall apply: front = 60 feet, interior = 30 feet, rear = 30 feet.

(2)    In the Gig Harbor Community, for lots in an ARL, R10, or RSR subdivision applied for after December 1, 2002, interior and rear setbacks shall be 50 feet.

Table 18A.15.040-3. Height

PCC 18A.15.040 B.1.-6. provisions supersede the figures in this Table when applicable.

Urban, Rural, and Resource Zone Classifications (All County)

Maximum Height (feet)

MSF, OMUD, ROC, RR, SF

Moderate Density Single-Family, Office-Residential Mixed Use District, Residential/Office/Civic, Residential Resource, Single-Family

35 (1,5)

ARL, EPF-RAN, FL, GC, HRD, HSF, PI, PR, R5, R10, R20, R40, RF, RIC, RSep, RSR, TC, VC

Agricultural Resource Lands, Essential Public Facility – Rural Airport North, Forest Lands, Gateway Commercial, High Density Residential, High Density Single-Family, Rural Park and Recreation, Rural Public Institution, Rural 5, Rural 10, Rural 20, Rural 40, Rural Farm, Rural Industrial Center, Rural Separator, Rural Sensitive Resource, Tourist Commercial, Village Center

40

MHR , RAC, RNC

Moderate High Density Residential, Rural Activity Center, Rural Neighborhood Center

45 (2)

AC, CC, CE, CMUD, EC, ES, MUD, MUC, NC, PI, PR, RO, ROC(6)

Activity Center, Community Center, Community Employment, Commercial Mixed Use District, Employment Center, Employment Service, Major Urban Center, Neighborhood Commercial, Urban Park and Recreation, Public Institution, Residential Office, Residential/Office/Civic

60 (2,3,4)

UV

Urban Village

70

(1)    In the Browns Point/Dash Point Communities, building height shall not exceed 35 feet above the elevation of East Side Drive (SR-509), see PCC 18J.120.070 C.1.a.(1). New residential construction and remodeling in the SF zone shall meet the height limits of the zone as measured from the existing grade to the height of the highest roof surface prior to site development or modification of the structure, see PCC 18J.120.070 C.2.a.(1).

(2)    In the Graham Community, the building height in MHR may be increased up to a maximum of 60 feet in height when underground parking for the structure is provided. In CE and MUD, the maximum height for a building adjacent to an SF or R5 zone classification shall be 35 feet; provided, that building height may be increased 1 foot for each foot the building is set back more than 35 feet from these zones up to the maximum building height allowed.

(3)    In the Frederickson Community, the maximum height in the EC and CE zone classifications shall be unlimited, except that when a building is within 150 feet of property not zoned EC or CE, maximum height shall be the same as the adjacent zone, but may be increased 1 foot for each foot the building is set back more than 100 feet.

(4)    In the Gig Harbor Community, maximum height shall be 35 feet for the AC, CC, CE, NC and PI zone classifications.

(5)    ROC Zone in all Applicable Community Plans except South Hill Community Plan.

(6)    ROC Zone in South Hill Community Plan only.

B.    Situational Setback and Height Provisions. This subsection provides setback and height provisions in lieu of those set forth in Tables 18A.15.040-1 and -2. These provisons are applicable, unless the setback or height has already been altered through a variance, Planned Development District (PDD) or Conditional Use Permit (CP) process; in which case further exceptions, reductions or deviations shall not be allowed unless another variance is approved.

1.    Transitional Areas.

a.    Multi-family and Commercial Uses. All new multi-family or commercial buildings and associated parking shall establish a minimum interior and rear yard setback of 30 feet from MSF, SF, RR, R5, R10, R20 and R40 zone classifications. Building height shall not exceed the height allowed in the adjacent zone for the first 50 feet adjacent to the interior and rear yard property boundary. Thereafter, heights may be increased by 1 additional foot for each additional 2 feet of distance from the property boundary. See PCC 18J.15.185 for additional residential design standards.

b.    Industrial Uses. The minimum setback for an industrial building, associated loading/unloading areas, and outdoor storage from an MSF, SF, RR, HRD, R5, R10, R20 and R40 zone classification, or a conforming residential use, shall be 100 feet.

c.    Commercial, Senior, or Assisted Living Facilities. The minimum setback for any new senior and assisted-living center or commercial building abutting R5, R10, R20 or R40 zone classification shall be 30 feet.

d.    Neighborhood Commercial Zone. New uses in the NC zone classification within the Gig Harbor Peninsula Community Plan area shall provide a 50-foot wide native vegetation area for adjacent residential land uses and R5, R10, R20 or R40 zone classifications.

e.    South Hill Community. The height and setbacks for buildings in HRD, MHR, ROC and NC zone classifications, in the South Hill Community, shall be limited to the maximum height and minimum setbacks of any immediately adjacent residential zone classification, pursuant to PCC 18J.50.080 A.

f.    Landscape Buffers. Landscape buffer requirements of PCC 18J.15.040 may result in a setback greater than indicated on Tables 18A.15.040-1 and -2.

g.    Infill Compatibility. A 40-foot rear setback may be required pursuant to PCC 18J.50.040 G*. to meet infill compatibility standards. This requirement is reflected on the final plat for affected developments.

*    Code reviser’s note: Refer to PCC 18J.15.060 for setback requirements.

2.    All Yards.

a.    Wetland/Fish and Wildlife Habitat Areas. For sites that contain wetlands and/or fish and wildlife habitat areas, see Title 18E PCC for additional buffer and setback provisions that may be applicable.

b.    Pipestem Lots. Pipestem lots shall have setbacks of 15 feet from all property lines in a rural or resource zone except for lots of one-half acre in size or less which may use a setback of 10 feet from all property lines and 10 feet from all property lines in an urban zone, for both principal and accessory structures. Garages shall be set back such that a 25-foot driveway/approach to the garage can be accommodated on site.

c.    Shared Access Facility. If the only access to a lot is a shared access facility, the lot shall be considered a pipestem for the purpose of setbacks. Setbacks from a shared access facility, for lots not using the shared access facility for access, shall be the applicable interior setback. If a shared access facility is used to provide vehicle access to a non-residential project, the structure setback to the shared access facility shall be zero.

d.    Fences and Retaining Walls. Fences and retaining walls may be erected within required setbacks to a maximum height of 6 feet, or a maximum height of 8 feet for security fencing necessary for a Utility Use, Industrial Use, or an Agricultural Use; provided all applicable sight distance requirements of Title 17B PCC are met.

(1)    The height of a fence shall be measured from a point on the ground immediately adjacent to the fence to the top of the fence. The height of a fence located on a rockery, retaining wall, or berm shall be measured from the ground on the high side of the rockery, retaining wall, or berm to the top of the fence. The top of a fence shall include all attachments, ornamentation, and security devices such as barbed wire. See Figure 18A.15.040-3.

FIGURE 18A.15.040-3

e.    Projections. The following projections into required setbacks are allowed individually or together, but in no case shall the building or structure be allowed closer than 3 feet to the property line, except as allowed in Tables 18A.15.040-1 and -2.

(1)    Fireplace structures, bay or garden windows, stair landings, ornamental features, or similar structures may project into any setback; provided such projections are:

(a)    Limited to two per required yard;

(b)    Not wider than 10 feet;

(c)    Not more than 2 feet into an interior or rear setback; and

(d)    Not more than 3 feet into a front setback.

(2)    Uncovered decks and patios which do not exceed 30 inches from finished lot grade may project into any setback; provided such projections do not extend more than 5 feet into a front setback.

(3)    Wheelchair ramps may project into any required setback.

(4)    Eave overhangs may project 2 feet into any required setback.

(5)    Church spires, belfries, domes, chimneys, antennas, satellite dishes, ventilation stacks or similar structures, may project beyond the height limit; provided the structure is set back 1 additional foot for every foot said structure exceeds the height limitation in the underlying zone classification.

(6)    Rooftop mechanical equipment, to include solar energy equipment, may project 10 feet above the height limit of the zone; provided all equipment is set back 10 feet from the edge of the roof. See also PCC 18J.15.155 for mechanical equipment screening design standards which may apply.

f.    Noise Attenuating Barriers. Any noise attenuating barrier, built in accordance with the standards in PCC 18J.15.070, may be placed within required setbacks to the height specified in the permit; provided that all applicable sight distance requirements of Title 17B PCC are met.

g.    Rural Farm Stands. Farm stands, Christmas tree stands, and associated parking in rural and resource zones shall maintain a 50-foot minimum separation from residences on adjacent properties and shall maintain a minimum setback of 50 feet from State Routes, 25 feet from other roads, and 10 feet from all other property lines.

h.    Accessory Dwelling Units. See PCC 18A.36.070 L.* for setback provisions applicable to dwelling units accessory to a principal single-family dwelling.

i.    Animal Enclosures Where Animals are Raised for Commercial Use Not Associated with a Primary Residence. See Chapter 18A.37 PCC, Residential Accessory Uses for Animal Regulations Accessory to a Primary Residence. See also Chapter 8.94 PCC for Beekeeping/Apiary setback provisions. Agricultural uses and animals that are permitted in PCC 18A.33.260 D., Animal Production, Boarding and Slaughtering, shall be subject to the following requirements:

(1)    Animals As a Principal Use. Setbacks for animal enclosures shall be permitted subject to the following criteria:

(a)    Livestock. Livestock shall be subject to the following provisions:

(i)    Any barn, stable, riding arena, paddock, or similar enclosure shall be set back 45 feet from any adjacent residentially zoned property line. The animal enclosure setback shall not apply to property lines of lots owned in common by the applicant. For purposes of this Section, a fenced area where animals are free roaming is not considered an animal enclosure.

(b)    Small Animals. Small animals shall be subject to the following provisions:

(i)    Any cage, coop or enclosure shall be set back 45 feet from any adjacent residentially zoned property line except kennel or cattery facilities which shall be set back 75 feet from any adjacent property line. All commercial kennels and catteries shall require licensing pursuant to Chapter 5.24 PCC. The animal enclosure setback shall not apply to property lines of lots owned in common by the applicant. For purposes of this Section, a fenced area where animals are free roaming is not considered an animal enclosure.

j.    Airport Overlays. See Chapter 18A.60 PCC for airport safety zone height limits.

k.    Land Divisions.

(1)    In the MSF and SF zone classifications, setbacks may be reduced to the following, without processing a Variance or PDD, when it is determined that application of critical area requirements or low impact development would otherwise prevent minimum density from being achieved.

(a)    Interior setback may be reduced to a minimum setback of 5 feet.

(b)    Rear setback may be reduced to a minimum setback of 10 feet.

(2)    In R5, R10, R20, and R40 zone classifications, setbacks may be reduced to the following, without processing a Variance or PDD, when it is determined that application of critical area or low impact development requirements would otherwise prevent base density from being achieved or a reasonable building envelope from being attained.

(a)    Interior setback may be reduced to a minimum setback of 10 feet.

(b)    Rear setback may be reduced to a minimum setback of 25 feet.

(c)    Road and front setbacks may be reduced to a minimum setback of 30 feet.

l.    Small Lot Design. See PCC 18J.17.040 for setbacks applicable to detached single-family projects at densities of 6 or greater units per acre.

3.    Front Yards.

a.    Title 18J Design Standards. The front setbacks of Tables 18A.15.040-1 and -2 may be reduced as part of Administrative Design Review (ADR) or Site Plan Review (SPR) in order to permit compliance with certain community plan design standards related to building placement set forth in Title 18J PCC.

b.    Averaging. Averaging may be used to reduce a front setback requirement when a principal building has been established on an adjacent lot within the required yard. This provision shall not apply if the adjacent lot has received a reduced setback based upon a discretionary land use approval. This exception shall be calculated as follows:

(1)    Averaging shall be calculated by adding the existing front setbacks of the adjacent lots together and dividing that figure by two.

(2)    In the case of a corner lot or when an adjacent lot is vacant, averaging shall be calculated by adding the front setback of the adjacent developed lot with the minimum front setback of the zone in which the construction is proposed and dividing that figure by two.

c.    Topography. If the topography of a lot is such that the minimum front setback line is 8 feet or more above the street grade, and there is no reasonable way to construct a driveway up to the dwelling unit level, a garage/carport may be built into the bank and shall be set at least 5 feet back from the right-of-way.

d.    Bus Shelters. Bus shelters for school district or transit authority purposes may be located within a front yard when located on private property if they do not exceed 50 square feet of floor area and one story in height; provided all applicable sight distance requirements of Title 17B PCC are satisfied.

4.    Interior Yards.

a.    Detached single-story accessory structures, except for accessory dwelling units, may occupy 25 percent of the total area of an interior yard and shall maintain a minimum 3-foot setback. The interior yard does not include any portion of the front or rear yard for purposes of this calculation. See Figure 18A.15.040-4. See also Chapter 18A.36 PCC, Accessory Development, for additional accessory use requirements.

b.    Where two or more lots are used as a building site and where principal buildings cross lot lines, interior setbacks shall not be required from those lot lines crossed by the principal building.

c.    Existing lots of record that are 100 feet or less in width may reduce the interior yard setback to 10 percent of the lot width. Lots between 101 feet and 150 feet wide may reduce the interior yard setback to 15 percent of the lot width. Lots between 151 and 200 feet wide may reduce the interior lot setback to 25 percent of the lot width. In no case shall the setback be less than 3 feet unless a variance is approved.

FIGURE 18A.15.040-4 – Accessory Structures in Interior and Rear Yards

5.    Rear Yards.

a.    Detached accessory 1-story structures, except for accessory dwelling units, may occupy 50 percent of the total area of a rear yard and must maintain a 3-foot setback. See Chapter 18A.36 PCC, Accessory Development, for additional accessory use requirements. See Figure 18A.15.040-4.

b.    In the case of triangular or otherwise irregularly shaped lots, a line 10 feet in length entirely within the lot, parallel to and at a maximum distance from the front lot line, may be considered the "rear lot line" at the owner's discretion. See Figure 18A.15.040-1.

c.    A garage serving a single family residence may have a minimum setback of 3 feet from the rear property line provided:

(1)    All portions of the dwelling unit comply with the rear setbacks of the applicable zone, except for associated living area above the garage;

(2)    Vehicular access to the garage shall be from an alley only; and

(3)    For lots in excess of 55 feet in width, the width of the garage shall not exceed 50 percent of the width of the lot.

d.    Existing lots of record that are less than 150 feet in depth may reduce the required rear setback 1 foot for each foot the lot is less than 150 feet in depth; provided a rear setback of at least 25 feet shall be maintained.

6.    Planned Development District (PDD). For a lot in a final plat that is no longer within the period specified in RCW 58.17.170 and which has an associated PDD approval, the following two options are available for structure/building height and yard/setback:

a.    An individual lot may be developed consistent with the height and yard/setback requirements identified by the Hearing Examiner's Decision or on the face of the recorded plat. All development on the lot shall be consistent with all of the requirements of the approval(s) and may not utilize setback reductions, allowances, or exceptions of current codes in addition to the reduced setbacks identified through the PDD approval. All future development activities on the lot shall also comply with the requirements of the preliminary and final land division approval and PDD approval; or

b.    An individual lot may be developed consistent with the height and yard/setback requirements of the current zone classification in effect on the date of application for the proposed development. All future development activities on the lot shall also comply with the regulations that exist at the time of application.

(Ord. 2017-89s § 2 (part), 2018; Ord. 2016-33 §§ 1 (part), 2 (part), 2016; Ord. 2016-14s § 2 (part), 2016; Ord. 2015-86 § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 2015-40 § 4 (part), 2015; Ord. 2013-45s4 § 3 (part), 2015; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013; Ord. 2012-2s § 5 (part), 2012)

*    Code reviser’s note: The reference to PCC 18A.36.070 L. in PCC 18A.15.040 B.2.h. above is incorrect. The correct cite should be PCC 18A.37.120.