Chapter 18A.50
OPEN SPACE LANDS

Sections:

18A.50.010    Purpose.

18A.50.020    Applicability.

18A.50.030    Incentives.

18A.50.040    General Provisions.

18A.50.050    Classification of Rural or Urban Open Space.

18A.50.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this Chapter is to outline the provisions for classifying rural or urban open space in conjunction with new development. Open space serves to: preserve the character of the natural and rural environment, protect stream corridors, ridgelines, shorelines, critical areas and fish and wildlife movement corridors; provide residents with usable open space for passive recreation and alternative non-motorized transportation corridors; and protect the health and welfare of citizens by providing space for the control and enhancement of natural processes such as aquifer recharge, water quality, and flood water storage capacity. (Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.50.020 Applicability.

The provisions of this Chapter apply only to the zone classifications specifically identified in PCC 18A.15.020 F., Density Incentives. (Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.50.030 Incentives.

The decision of whether to pursue the designation and recording of open space lands is the responsibility of the applicant. As a mechanism to encourage open space classification, the following incentives are available:

A.    Density Incentive. A density incentive shall be available which allows an exchange of additional dwelling units greater than the base density allowed in the underlying zone classification for classification of rural or urban open space, per PCC 18A.15.020 E.

B.    Tax Relief. Any property owner who has classified rural or urban open space land in accordance with this Chapter may apply for tax relief pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 84.34 RCW, Open Space, Agricultural, and Timber Lands-Current Use Assessment-Conservation Futures.

(Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.50.040 General Provisions.

A.    Rural and Urban Open Space Location and Designation Criteria.

1.    The location and designation of a proposed classification of rural or urban open space shall be determined utilizing the following criteria. Prior to receiving an Open Space designation, the subject property shall meet one of the following criteria:

a.    Tract(s) which are identified in the Comprehensive Park and Recreation Plan for a proposed new trail or extension of an existing trail system;

b.    Tract(s) which create a linkage to another classified open space or public park on an adjacent parcel;

c.    Tract(s) which create a linkage to a critical area and its associated buffer(s);

d.    Tract(s) which provide access to marine, lake, river, or stream shoreline areas;

e.    Tract(s) which preserve sensitive areas for aquifer recharge and enhancement of water quality or provide flood water storage capacity;

f.    Tract(s) which serve as a buffer between the urban/rural line;

g.    Tract(s) which serve as a buffer between the road and a proposed development in a rural or resource designation;

h.    Tract(s) which provide consolidated common open lawn areas for residents or employees in a development with an emphasis on access, visibility, and usability;

i.    Tract(s) which preserve rural prime agricultural soils for agricultural land use activities;

j.    Tract(s) which preserve critical areas such as steep slopes, wetlands, and fish and wildlife habitat areas;

k.    Tract(s) which preserve forested land; or

l.    Tract(s) which preserve prairie land.

2.    Tract(s) should be contiguous or form a linear system unless separation into multiple tracts would be more beneficial in fulfilling the locational criteria herein established.

3.    Within the Gig Harbor Peninsula Community Plan area, any obstacles that impair fish or wildlife movement, such as undersized culverts in streams or fencing in wildlife corridors, shall be removed, repaired or modified to permit fish or wildlife passage prior to acceptance of an open space dedication.

B.    Permitted Uses. The following uses shall be permitted in areas which have been classified for rural or urban open space:

1.    Rural Open Space.

a.    Passive recreation and associated accessory structures;

b.    Golf course (excluding areas devoted to maintenance buildings, commercial structures, and parking areas);

c.    Agricultural practices and associated agricultural structures;

d.    Forestry practices based on an approved timber management plan as determined by the Department of Natural Resources or Natural Resource Conservation Service;

e.    Pervious and impervious surface trails; and

f.    Drainfields.

2.    Urban Open Space.

a.    Pervious and impervious surface trails;

b.    Passive recreation and associated accessory structures;

c.    Agricultural practices and associated agricultural structures;

d.    Utility easements; and

e.    Drainfields.

(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)

18A.50.050 Classification of Rural or Urban Open Space.

A.    Classification Mechanisms.

1.    To assure that the rural or urban open space is adequately protected, a restriction shall be placed on the title of the property and a note placed on the face of the final plat, if platting is required, which specifies that the tract(s) has been classified as permanent open space. The restriction shall also indicate that uses permitted within the rural or urban open space are limited to those identified in PCC 18A.50.040 B.1. and 2. above.

2.    Prior to or concurrent with final approval of the Special Use Permit, PDD, subdivision, short plat, or Building Permit, the rural or urban open space area(s) shall be placed in a separate tract(s), protective easement, public or private land trust dedication, or similarly preserved through an appropriate protective mechanism as determined by the Department.

B.    Public Access.

1.    The Department may acquire public access by appropriate means to the rural or urban open space tract(s) when the Comprehensive Park and Recreation Plan specifies public access to the tract(s) as necessary for a proposed new trail or extension of an existing trail system.

2.    If public access is needed to an open space tract(s), as specified in PCC 18A.50.050 B.1. above, then prior to or concurrent with final approval of the Special Use Permit, PDD, subdivision, short plat, or Building Permit, conveyance of the right to public access, through easement or other mechanism, shall be negotiated between the County and the applicant.

3.    Public access may not be desirable or necessary when determined to be inappropriate due to the presence of sensitive environmental areas or other unique features which would be better preserved and protected by limiting access.

(Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)