Chapter 20.02


20.02.010    Purpose of interpretation.

20.02.020    Submission requirements.

20.02.030    Director’s decision.

20.02.040    Time limitation and enforcement.

20.02.050    Appeal of interpretation by PCD director.

20.02.060    Judicial appeal.

20.02.010 Purpose of interpretation.

An interpretation of the provisions of PTMC Titles 16, 17, 18 and 19 (“development codes”), and PTMC Titles 1 and 20 (on procedures), is intended to clarify conflicting or ambiguous wording, interpret proper classification of a use, or interpret the scope or intent of the provisions of the code; provided, however, that an interpretation of the building codes adopted under PTMC 16.04.020 may not be requested under this chapter. An interpretation of the provisions of the code may not be used to amend that code. (Ord. 3026 § 1 (Exh. A-5), 2010; Ord. 2867 § 2, 2004; Ord. 2531 § 1, 1996).

20.02.020 Submission requirements.

A. Who May Request Interpretation. Any person may request a written interpretation of the provisions of the code. In addition, the PCD director may issue an interpretation on the director’s own initiative.

B. Submittal Requirements. Any person requesting an interpretation of code shall submit a written request specifying each provision of the development code(s) for which an interpretation is requested, why an interpretation of each provision is necessary, and any reasons or materials in support of a proposed interpretation. The applicant shall pay the fee set forth in Chapter 20.09 PTMC for a director’s interpretation.

C. Factors for Consideration. In making an interpretation of the provisions of the development codes, the PCD director should consider the following as applicable:

1. The applicable provisions of the code, including its purpose and context;

2. The implications of the interpretation for development within the city as a whole, including the precedent the interpretation will set for other applicants;

3. Consistency with Port Townsend Comprehensive Plan and other relevant codes and policies.

D. Conflicts with Other Regulations. Where conflicts occur between the provisions of a development code and the building and fire codes or other regulations of the city, the more restrictive shall apply. If any conflict between the land use map and the text of the applicable title ensue, the text of the title shall prevail. (Ord. 3287 § 5, 2022; Ord. 3026 § 1 (Exh. A-5), 2010; Ord. 2892 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2531 § 1, 1996).

20.02.030 Director’s decision.

A. The PCD director’s decision on an interpretation shall include the name of the applicant, the description of the subject proposal, the language of the development code(s) subject to interpretation, the explanation of the PCD director’s interpretation, and any other necessary information reasonably related to the proposal.

B. Response to Written Request. The PCD director shall mail a written response to any person filing a written request to interpret the provisions of the development code within 28 days of having received that request; provided, however, that when a request is made while a project is pending and after a determination of completeness has been issued, the permit applicant must agree to waive the time frame required under Chapter 20.01 PTMC to allow for preparation of the interpretation, and any changes to the project that the interpretation might require. (Ord. 3287 § 5, 2022; Ord. 3026 § 1 (Exh. A-5), 2010; Ord. 2892 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2531 § 1, 1996).

20.02.040 Time limitation and enforcement.

A. Time Limitation. An interpretation of the code remains in effect unless and until rescinded in writing by the PCD director.

B. Enforcement. An interpretation of the code issued in accordance with these provisions may be enforced in the same manner that any provision of the development code is enforced. All written interpretations of the code with a current index of such interpretations shall be maintained by the PCD and made available for public inspection. (Ord. 3287 § 5, 2022; Ord. 3026 § 1 (Exh. A-5), 2010; Ord. 2892 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2531 § 1, 1996).

20.02.050 Appeal of interpretation by PCD director.

When an interpretation is made in response to a written request pursuant to these provisions, the person filing the written request may appeal the decision of the PCD director to the hearing examiner within 14 calendar days of the decision, using the process for appeals of Type II permit decisions as set forth in PTMC 20.01.295. The fee for such appeal shall be as set forth in Chapter 20.09 PTMC and must be paid by the appellant at the time of filing the appeal. (Ord. 3287 § 5, 2022; Ord. 3026 § 1 (Exh. A-5), 2010; Ord. 2892 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2531 § 1, 1996).

20.02.060 Judicial appeal.

Appeals from the final decision of the hearing examiner shall be made to the Jefferson County superior court within 21 calendar days of the date the decision or action becomes final (as defined in PTMC 20.01.280(B)). All appeals must conform with the provisions of PTMC 20.01.320, and are subject to the requirements set forth in that section. (Ord. 3026 § 1 (Exh. A-5), 2010; Ord. 2531 § 1, 1996).