Chapter 18J.10
GENERAL PROVISIONS Revised 12/18

Sections:

18J.10.010    Introduction and Intent.

18J.10.020    Title.

18J.10.030    Definitions.

18J.10.040    Applicability. Revised 12/18

18J.10.050    Approvals Required. Revised 12/18

18J.10.055    Submittal and Review Requirements. Revised 12/18

18J.10.060    Reconsideration and Appeals.

18J.10.070    Fees.

18J.10.080    Compliance. Revised 12/18

18J.10.090    Severability.

18J.10.010 Introduction and Intent.

The concept of development review is not new in Pierce County. Building and zoning codes have long regulated the use of property and have specified density and dimensional requirements. The design review process is a tool intended to ensure that new development and remodels enhance the visual quality and identity of communities and are compatible with the community character.

Through design review, builders, developers, business owners, residents, and property owners work with Planning and Public Works (PPW) staff and/or the applicable land use advisory commission (LUAC) to protect identified community values through the application of design principles.

Although architectural styles change, the principles of good design can be identified and applied to future development. Thus, the principles illustrated in the individual design standards are intended to implement the goals, objectives, and policies of community plans and the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan by encouraging development that is compatible with and complementary to the examples of good design observed within the community(ies).

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2009-98s § 7 (part), 2010; Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.020 Title.

This Title shall be officially cited as Title 18J PCC, Development Regulations – Design Standards and Guidelines, and may be commonly referred to as the Pierce County Design Standards and Guidelines. (Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.030 Definitions.

See Chapter 18.25 PCC for a list of all defined terms. (Ord. 2012-2s § 8 (part), 2012; Ord. 2004-58s § 7 (part), 2004; Ord. 2004-52s § 5 (part), 2004; Ord. 2004-26s2 § 2 (part), 2004; Ord. 2002-113s § 4 (part), 2002; Ord. 2000-55s § 3 (part), 2000; Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.040 Applicability. Revised 12/18

The provisions of this Title apply throughout unincorporated Pierce County. Thresholds which establish design review are set forth in applicability Sections and Tables in the subsequent Chapters of this Title.

A.    This Title shall apply to:

1.    New construction and expansion of buildings, structures, and parking lots;

2.    Use permits and expansion of uses, if the underlying project is subject to this Title;

3.    Site development activities, if the underlying project is subject to this Title;

4.    Site clearing, grading or filling without a proposed principal use; and

5.    Land divisions.

B.    Exemptions. This Title shall not apply to:

1.    Structures used solely for agricultural purposes containing items generally associated with farming including, but not limited to, farm equipment such as tractors, or farm animals such as livestock. (See also Chapter 18A.45 PCC, Agricultural Uses and Animals)

2.    Installation, construction, replacement, operation, repair, or alteration of all utility lines, equipment, and appurtenances, excluding substations and similar facilities.

3.    Water dependent uses regulated and conducted within the jurisdiction of the Pierce County Shoreline Management and Use Regulations.

4.    Land Divisions resulting in the creation of not more than two single-family residential lots, except that the significant tree retention provisions specified in PCC 18J.15.030 F.3. shall apply. The significant trees shall be shown on the site plan and shall be reviewed in conjunction with the short plat.

5.    Temporary uses authorized and conducted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 18A.38 PCC.

6.    Interior remodel work that does not alter the exterior of the structure or site.

7.    Normal building maintenance including the repair or maintenance of structural members.

8.    Portable classroom structures that are accessory to existing education facilities on a project site of 2 acres or greater.

9.    Variances.

10.    Bus shelters not exceeding 300 square feet in size.

11.    Construction, expansion, remodeling, or reconstruction of single-family residences and their accessory structures, unless located within the Graham, Gig Harbor or Browns Point/Dash Point Community Plan areas, except that significant tree retention as specified in PCC 18J.15.030 F.3. shall apply. In this instance, the significant trees shall be shown on the site plan and can be reviewed in conjunction with the building permits.

12.    A change of use, only when all of the following criteria are met:

a.    The new use is permitted outright in the zone classification;

b.    The original use was legally established;

c.    No exterior building alteration is proposed;

d.    Current parking requirements for the new use can be met with existing off-street parking; and

e.    Outdoor storage is not proposed.

13.    Land divisions exempt pursuant to PCC 18F.10.060.

C.    Special Exemptions.

1.    Building design and architectural standards of this Title shall not apply to:

a.    Buildings, sites or objects listed on the National, Washington State, or Pierce County Register of Historic Places shall be subject to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, the Washington State Historic Building Code, and other locally adopted review standards, if any.

b.    Buildings located at a local park, county park, regional park, linear park/trail or Resource Conservation Park.

c.    Structures and buildings that do not require a building permit.

(Ord. 2017-89s § 6 (part), 2018; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 9 (part), 2013; Ord. 2012-2s § 8 (part), 2012; Ord. 2010-70s § 15 (part), 2010; Ord. 2009-98s § 7 (part), 2010; Ord. 2004-114s2 § 4, 2004; Ord. 2002-113s § 4 (part), 2002; Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.050 Approvals Required. Revised 12/18

Projects subject to Title 18J PCC shall be reviewed for conformance with applicable design standards through the project application (i.e., land division, use permit, building permit). If a project is unable to meet an applicable design standard or standards, a Site Plan Review application shall be submitted. The alternative(s) proposed in the Site Plan Review application shall meet applicable design objectives.

A.    Design Standards.

1.    If any design standard of Title 18J PCC is applicable to a project, design review shall be performed by the Department. In the case of a preliminary plat or use permit reviewed by the Hearing Examiner, the Examiner shall consider the design review concurrent with the review of the application.

B.    Site Plan Review (SPR).

1.    Applicants proposing designs, details, treatments, or other design solutions not expressly provided for in the standards shall obtain Site Plan Review approval.

2.    The purpose of Site Plan Review is to establish a process by which a requested deviation from a design standard may be reviewed and approved prior to permit issuance.

3.    Site Plan Review may be satisfied by using the design guidelines to create a design solution or by following an applicant's innovative design concept to bring a project into conformance with the intent of the design objective that the specific standard is derived from. Additionally, the following review criteria shall be considered before any alternative design is granted:

a.    The alternative design solution will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvement in such vicinity and zone in which the subject property is located;

b.    The alternative design solution is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan including any applicable Community Plan;

c.    Significant adverse environmental impacts will not be caused as a result of the alternative design; and

d.    The alternative design solution will meet the applicable design objective in the same or better way than compliance with the standards requested to be deviated from.

4.    Site Plan Review applications fall into one of two categories: Minor Site Plan Review or Major Site Plan Review.

a.    Minor Site Plan Review shall apply to a deviation from one or more countywide design standards, found in Chapters 18J.15 and 18J.17 PCC.

b.    Major Site Plan Review shall apply to a deviation from one or more community plan design standards, found in Chapters 18J.20 through 18J.130 PCC.

5.    Review of Minor Site Plan Review shall be performed by the Department. For preliminary plat and use permit applications reviewed by the Hearing Examiner, the Examiner shall consider the Minor Site Plan Review concurrent with the review of the application.

6.    Major Site Plan Review associated with administrative review applications such as, but not limited to, building permits, site development permits and Administrative Use Permits, the Department shall prepare a staff report for review by the LUAC. The LUAC shall conduct a public hearing to review the proposal and provide the Director with a recommendation of approval, modification, or denial based on the design standards, guidelines and objectives contained within Title 18J PCC or applicable community plan policies. If the project is located in an area of the County where there is no LUAC established, Major Site Plan Review shall be conducted by staff and a decision issued by the Director.

7.    Applications which require a hearing before the Pierce County Hearing Examiner that require Major Site Plan Review shall be subject to a public meeting before the appropriate LUAC, if any. PPW shall prepare a staff report for review by the LUAC and the Hearing Examiner. The LUAC shall conduct a public meeting to review, evaluate and recommend a design solution. The LUAC shall provide the Hearing Examiner with a recommendation for approval, denial, or modification based on the design standards, guidelines and objectives contained within this Title and applicable community plan policies. A decision shall be issued by the Hearing Examiner.

(Ord. 2017-89s § 6 (part), 2018; Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 9 (part), 2013; Ord. 2009-98s § 7 (part), 2010; Ord. 2009-18s3 § 7 (part), 2009; Ord. 2005-84s § 3 (part), 2005; (Ord. 2004-31 § 1, 2004; Ord. 2003-40s2 § 3 (part), 2003; Ord. 2002-113s § 4 (part), 2002; Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.055 Submittal and Review Requirements. Revised 12/18

A.    Design Review Application Submittal Requirements. All design review and Site Plan Review applications shall include a site plan, and shall meet the submittal standards for the development or use permit together with any other plans and drawings necessary to describe how the project conforms to the design objectives and standards of this Title.

1.    Preliminary Review. The provisions for conducting a preliminary review for any application filed pursuant to this Title are set forth in Title 18 PCC, Development Regulations – General Provisions.

2.    Application Filing. Applications shall be reviewed for completeness in accordance with Department submittal standards checklists and pursuant to Title 18 PCC, Development Regulations – General Provisions. Any application that fails to include the information required under this Title shall be returned to the applicant as an incomplete application.

3.    Site Plans. Site plans and building elevations shall be drawn to scale and shall address in writing or through graphic illustration the following items:

a.    Existing and planned roadways and parking, sidewalks, open space and trail systems, utilities, exterior lighting and buildings;

b.    On-site natural features, including, but not limited to: soils, vegetation, hydrogeologic and geologically hazardous areas, wetlands, and watercourses;

c.    Critical areas and important natural features, and how these areas and features will be incorporated into overall site design;

d.    Limits of construction, showing existing and proposed grade changes;

e.    Identification of, and compatibility with, surrounding land uses, zoning, overlay districts and view corridors;

f.    Net developable area calculations;

g.    Compliance with applicable design objectives and standards; and

h.    View corridors and scenic vistas (e.g., views of Mount Rainier, the Cascade or Olympic Mountain Ranges, lakes, etc.) with appropriate landscape, building, and site design techniques that avoid or minimize view obstruction.

4.    Building Elevations. Building elevations, to include exterior building illumination if proposed, shall be submitted for each wall plane for which the design standards of this Title are applicable and shall include detailed notes on specifically how architectural points have been achieved.

5.    Tree Conservation Plans. At the time of application, sufficient information regarding tree conservation shall be shown on the site plan to support the design and location of the proposed development. Final tree conservation plans shall be prepared, submitted and approved prior to the approval of site development permits or final approval of any development permits, whichever is first. The plans shall be drawn to the same scale as the site plan, show approximate locations of trees to be retained or planted, shall meet the applicable standards of PCC 18J.15.030, and shall include:

a.    For designated Forest Lands, tree unit calculations, including the estimated volume of merchantable timber proposed to be removed from the site.

b.    Significant trees on the site shall be identified and labeled on the plan with species name and diameter at breast height (dbh). Where a sampling method is proposed for treed project sites, standards shall follow accepted industry methods as determined by a Professional Forester or licensed Landscape Architect.

c.    Where sampling methods are not used, an inventory of all trees located on the site which are being retained and have a dbh of 6 inches or more and masses of trees (if being used to meet tree unit requirements), with the drip-lines of individual trees or tree masses outlined. The average dbh within tree masses shall be specified on the drawing.

(1)    Trees with a dbh of 1 to 6 inches shall be inventoried and located if the trees are intended to be used to meet tree unit density requirements.

(2)    Where a sampling method is proposed, standards shall follow accepted industry methods as determined by a Professional Forester or licensed Landscape Architect.

d.    The mature tree canopy shall be shown for each tree proposed for retention and/or replacement tree, other than street trees, when such trees are located within 100 feet of a buildable area in order to identify and minimize potential future conflicts between such trees and adjacent structures.

6.    Landscape Plans. Landscape plans are required to ensure compliance with applicable standards prior to the approval of any associated development permit or recommended approval of any land use or land division application. Landscape plans shall be drawn to the same scale as the site plan.

a.    The requirements at time of initial project submittal can be limited to the following:

(1)    A site plan showing:

(a)    Locations of proposed structures, off-street parking, pedestrian, bus and bicycle facilities;

(b)    Any type of vegetation retention such as Native Vegetation boundaries;

(c)    Location and type of landscape buffers;

(d)    Location of parking lot landscaping;

(e)    Location of proposed stormwater facilities and required buffers; and

(f)    Location of proposed active and passive recreation areas.

b.    Prior to approval of site development permits or final approval of development permits, whichever is first, landscaping plans shall be submitted and include the location, size, species, and number of plants to be planted and a narrative description detailing site preparation, installation and maintenance measures necessary for the long-term survival and health of the plants. The following information is also required:

(1)    A plant schedule shall be provided on the planting plan. The schedule shall include botanical and common names of new plant material and plants to be retained, typical spacing for each species, size of plant material, quantity of each plant species, and planting instructions (refer to PCC 18J.15.100 for native and drought tolerant plant selection requirements); and

(2)    Provide a timeline and/or phasing plan for site preparation, installation, and maintenance.

c.    Vegetation retention areas required pursuant to PCC 18J.15.020 (Site Clearing) shall be indicated on the landscaping plan. The landscaping plan shall also include information regarding the plant types, sizes, quantities, and general health information regarding the vegetation retention areas.

7.    Irrigation Plans. Irrigation plans shall be prepared for all landscaped areas for which temporary or permanent irrigation methods will be used. Irrigation plans shall be submitted prior to or at time of site development permit application. Refer to PCC 18J.15.110 C.5. for irrigation standards.

8.    Recreation Space Plans. For projects requiring recreation space, the applicant shall submit a recreation space plan prior to approval of site development permits or final approval of development permits, whichever is first. The Hearing Examiner or Director shall review the recreation space plan in conjunction with the development application and shall have the authority to approve, deny or modify the location and type of recreation facilities, landscaping, and other improvements. Recreation space plan information may be included on the landscaping plans, and shall include the following information:

a.    Detail of the improvements proposed for the active recreation spaces;

b.    The location of passive recreation spaces; and

c.    An analysis of how the recreation spaces meet the minimum recreation space standards of this Title.

9.    Persons Qualified to Prepare Plans. To help ensure adequate plans are submitted for review, the following minimum plan preparation standards shall apply.

a.    Tree Conservation Plans. Tree retention and inventory information shall be prepared by a Professional Forester or licensed Landscape Architect.

b.    Landscape Plans. The planting plan shall be prepared by a licensed Landscape Architect or a Washington State Professional Horticulturalist, except that planting plans for land divisions of 4 or fewer lots, street tree requirements, and canopy tree requirements for properties abutting vacant land may be prepared by the applicant.

c.    Irrigation Plans. Irrigation plans shall be prepared by a licensed Landscape Architect or Irrigation Association Certified Designer for all permanent irrigation systems except those systems having a value of less than $3,000.00. Irrigation plans for systems having a value of less than $3,000.00 may be prepared by the property owner or other individual.

d.    Critical Area Plans. Planting or retention plans for land subject to Title 18E, Development Regulations – Critical Areas, which are used to meet standards of this Title, shall be prepared by professionals as permitted by Title 18E. If compliance with critical area requirements will be used to partially or fully satisfy landscaping, native vegetation, or tree conservation requirements, detailed information shall be provided which explains how critical area compliance will satisfy the applicable design requirement.

B.    Modifications.

1.    Design Review Plans. The Director may allow or approve minor modifications to approved plans, to include associated landscape, irrigation, tree conservation and recreation space plans, during site development or building construction to account for unforeseen site conditions and circumstances. A request for minor modification must be submitted in writing along with a copy of the revised plan or building elevation.

C.    Public Notice. Public notice provisions for notice of application, public hearing, and final decision pursuant to this Title are outlined in Title 18, Development Regulations – General Provisions.

D.    Time Limitations.

1.    Expiration of Approval. The design review approval expiration time lines shall run concurrently with the expiration timelines established for the underlying permit or approval, or if no expiration date is specified, then the design review shall expire one year from the approval date.

2.    Time Extensions. Time extensions shall run concurrently with the timelines established for the underlying permit or approval.

3.    Time Period for Final Decision. The provisions for issuing a notice of final decision on any application filed pursuant to this Title are set forth in Title 18, Development Regulations – General Provisions.

(Ord. 2017-89s § 6 (part), 2018; Ord. 2016-33 § 2 (part), 2016; Ord. 2016-14s § 6 (part), 2016; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 9 (part), 2013; Ord. 2012-2s § 8 (part), 2012; Ord. 2010-70s § 15 (part), 2010; Ord. 2009-98s § 7 (part), 2010; Ord. 2006-53s § 7, 2006; Ord. 2003-40s2 § 3 (part), 2003; Ord. 2002-113s § 4 (part), 2002; Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.060 Reconsideration and Appeals.

Procedures for appeal of any administrative decision and procedures for reconsideration or appeal of a Hearing Examiner decision issued pursuant to this Title are set forth in Chapter 1.22 PCC. (Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.070 Fees.

Fees for applications filed pursuant to this Title are set forth in Chapter 2.05 PCC. (Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.080 Compliance. Revised 12/18

The regulations for compliance with the provisions of this Title are set forth in Chapter 18.140 PCC, Compliance. The following requirements shall supplement Chapter 18.140 PCC:

A.    Tree Conservation and Landscaping.

1.    Compliance with the approved plans shall be a condition of approval for land use permits and approvals shall be identified on the face of final plats, short plats, and large lots.

2.    Title Notification of approved Tree Conservation and Landscape Plans shall be recorded with the Pierce County Auditor prior to issuance of any site development or building permit approval.

3.    Site Development plans shall include notes and locations for all required vegetation and tree protection before and during development of the site.

a.    All tree protection areas shall be clearly identified on the site, and erosion control measures shall be in place or installed prior to grading, clearing or other vegetation removal.

b.    Protect, at a minimum, the Critical Root Zones (CRZ) of trees marked for preservation. Within the CRZ of each tree to be preserved, the existing native vegetation and soils shall remain undisturbed.

4.    Retained vegetation must be protected during construction by protective barricades and other measures in accordance with the requirements of PCC 18J.15.130. Such protective measures shall be shown on the site development plans.

(Ord. 2017-89s § 6 (part), 2018; Ord. 2017-28s § 8 (part), 2017; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 9 (part), 2013; Ord. 2009-98s § 7 (part), 2010; Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)

18J.10.090 Severability.

If any provision of this Title is held invalid, the remainder of this Title or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected. (Ord. 99-68 § 1 (part), 1999)