20C.50.25 Site Requirements for Commercial Zones.

20C.50.25-010 Purpose.

This division establishes the basic site requirements for the commercial zones. These standards implement the Washington State Growth Management Act (Chapter 36.70A RCW), the County-Wide Planning Policies, and Redmond’s Comprehensive Plan, while also protecting Redmond’s commercial areas from public nuisances, incompatible uses, and hazards. (Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-020 Chart of Site Requirements.

(1)    Purpose. Subsection 3 of this section, Site Requirements in Commercial Zones, establishes the dimensional requirements for commercial and conditional residential development. The standards and rules shall be determined to be the minimum requirements, unless stated as maximum by this division. The standards and rules are established to provide flexibility in project design, prevent fire danger, provide adequate access and circulation, reduce incompatibilities and prevent overloading of infrastructure due to the impacts of development.

(2)    Explanation of Chart. Subsection 3 of this section, Site Requirements in Commercial Zones, is arranged in table format. Development standards are listed down the left column, and the commercial zones are identified across the top row. The matrix cells contain the minimum or maximum dimensional requirements of each zone. The footnotes identify particular requirements applicable to either a specific use or zone.

(3)    Site Requirements in Commercial Zones.

Commercial Zones Site Requirements Chart 

Site Requirement

Zoning Districts



Minimum Lot Frontage (in feet)



Minimum Building Front-, and all Street Setbacks (in feet)2



Minimum Building Rear Setbacks (in feet)2



Minimum Building Side Setbacks (in feet)2



Maximum Lot Coverage of Structures and Other Impervious Surfaces



Minimum Landscaped Area/Landscaping Requirements2

See RCDG 20C.50.25-080.

See RCDG 20C.50.25-080.

Maximum Height (in feet)2 for Nonresidential Uses

2 stories or 35' whichever is less

2 stories or 35' whichever is less

Maximum Height (in feet)2 for Residential Uses in Single Use or Mixed-Use Buildings, where allowed

2 stories or 35' whichever is less

3 stories or 40'3 whichever is less

Maximum Height Within Shorelines (SMP)9



Maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) without TDRs4 for Nonresidential Uses



Maximum Floor Area Ratio with TDRs5 for Nonresidential Uses



Maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) without TDRs4 for Residential Uses in Single Use or Mixed-Use Buildings where allowed



Maximum Floor Area Ratio with TDRs5 for Residential Uses in Single Use or Mixed-Use Buildings where allowed



Floor Area Ratio (FAR) bonus for Residential Uses6



Ground Floor Window Standards Apply7



Pedestrian Requirements




NS = No standard.

1    Setback shall be 10 feet if abutting a property in a residential zone. This setback shall be landscaped as required by Chapter 20D.80 RCDG, Landscaping and Natural Screening, or its successor. Also see Chapter 20D.40 RCDG, Design Standards, for buffer requirements when adjacent to residential areas.

2    See Chapter 20D.230 RCDG, Transition Overlay Areas, for regulations specific to properties in a Transition Overlay.

3In the GC zone, if a building includes housing in the second and higher floors and the Design Review Board concludes the roof is well designed and approves its design, the maximum height limit shall be three stories or 45 feet, whichever is less.

4    All legal lots are allowed the greater of either the maximum allowed FAR or 10,000 square feet of building(s), provided all other applicable site requirements are met. The purchase of TDRs shall not be required for the 10,000 square feet minimum building(s).

5Please refer to RCDG 20D.200.10, Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program, and RCDG 20C.50.30-050, Receipt of Development Rights in Commercial Zones.

6    The bonus may only be used for residential uses as defined in RCDG 20C.50.25-090, Floor Area Ratio (FAR) Bonus for Residential Uses.

7    See RCDG 20C.50.25-100, Ground Floor Windows.

8    See RCDG 20C.50.25-110, Pedestrian Standards.

9    The maximum height of structures, including bridges, that support a regional light rail transit system may be higher than 35 feet but shall be no higher than is reasonably necessary to address the engineering, operational, environmental, and regulatory issues at the location of the structure.

(Ord. 2486; Ord. 2390; Ord. 2385; Ord. 2052; Ord. 2027)


20C.50.25-030 Minimum Lot Frontage.

(1)    Purpose. The minimum lot frontage is designed to prevent congestion by allowing for on-site parking and to reduce public nuisances that result from an inability of emergency vehicles to access a building either because vehicles block the access or the lot is not wide enough to allow the effective use of fire trucks from the street.

(2)    Requirements. Minimum lot frontage is the width of the lot which adjoins a public or private street, or access corridor. (Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-040 Building Setbacks.

(1)    Purpose. The purpose of front, street, side, and rear building setbacks is to help maintain the desirable character of the community, provide adequate light and air to all properties, and reduce incompatibilities, such as excessive light and noise, prevent overloading of public infrastructure, and prevent public nuisances such as the danger of fire from buildings constructed too close to each other.

(2)    Requirements.

(a)    Measurement. All setbacks shall be measured at right angles, or as near to right angles as possible, to the nearest property line in a plane horizontal to the ground. Front, side, and rear directions shall be determined as provided in subsection (2)(d) of this section.

(b)    Setback Exceptions. Upon the presentation of a binding site plan, an approved site plan or a master planned development processed in accordance with RCDG Title 20F, setbacks may be modified as follows:

(i)    Side setback distances may be modified to permit a zero side setback to accommodate clustering.

(ii)    Front setbacks may be modified from private streets and access corridors, provided front setbacks are maintained from all public streets.

(iii)    Setback exceptions may trigger additional requirements under provisions of the International Building Code (IBC).

(c)    Improvements.

(i)    Improvements less than 30 inches above grade, including decks, patios, walks and driveways, are permitted in setbacks. Fences, landscaping, flagpoles, street furniture, transit shelters and slope stability structures are permitted in setback areas, provided that all other applicable requirements are met. No other structures including accessory structures are permitted in setback areas.

(ii)    Projections or Equipment. Attached or detached mechanical structures or equipment, such as, but not limited to, electrical equipment boxes, heat pumps, air conditioners, emergency generators, and water pumps are allowed in a street setback. However, mechanical structures or equipment shall not be allowed in a required setback or buffer abutting a residential zone. Landscaping shall screen such structures. Where there is no alternative location and the equipment will generate no noise, electrical or utility equipment boxes may be located in a setback abutting a residential zone, but not a buffer.

(d)    Lot Orientation. For the purpose of applying setback regulations, the following shall be applied: the front shall be toward the public or private street, or access corridor, from which the lot is addressed or which provides the primary access; the rear is opposite to the front or as nearly so as the lot shape permits; and the sides are 90 degrees to the front or as nearly so as the lot shape permits.

(e)    Private Streets and Access Corridors. Setbacks from private streets and access corridors shall be met when the private street, or access corridor, serves more than two separate lots, except as provided by RCDG 20D.180.10-060(5), Exceptions to Lot Standards – Lots for Building Pads.

(3)    Repealed by Ord. 2385.

(4)    Repealed by Ord. 2385.

(5)    Repealed by Ord. 2390.(Ord. 2447; Ord. 2390; Ord. 2385; Ord. 2302; Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-050 Maximum Lot Coverage – Structures and Total Impervious Surface.

(1)    Purpose. Maximum lot coverage of structures and impervious surface helps to maintain community character by providing for green spaces, reduce adverse impacts from storm water runoff, and reduce public nuisances, such as increased flooding due to decreased storm water infiltration and increased runoff.

(2)    Requirement. Maximum lot coverage indicates the maximum percentage of the land that can be developed and covered with structures (including outdoor storage) and other impervious surfaces, such as parking lots, sidewalks, and plazas.

(3)    Modifications. As part of an approved binding site plan, subdivision or master planned development, the Technical Committee may allow increased maximum impervious surface limits on individual lots within a multi-lot development, provided that the total amount of impervious surface for the entire development does not exceed that set forth by the Site Requirements Chart. If a modification is approved, the development shall be conditioned and recorded with the property’s title to ensure compliance with the total impervious surface limits set by the Chart. (Ord. 2447; Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-060 Maximum Height of Structures.

(1)    Purpose. The maximum height of structures maintains Redmond’s visual character and limits potential overburdening of related infrastructure. Shoreline height limits are established to protect habitats and the aesthetic resources of the shoreline while preserving views in shoreline areas.

(2)    Requirements. Maximum height requirements set the limit measured from the finished grade above which structures shall not extend. Antennas, heating, cooling and ventilation equipment, and flagpoles, may exceed the height limit by not more than 15 feet. Please refer to Chapter 20A.20 RCDG, Definitions, for measuring building height. For additional shoreline regulations, please refer to Chapter 20D.150 RCDG, Shoreline Regulations. (Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-065 Maximum Height of Structures in a Transition Overlay.

Repealed by Ord. 2390. (Ord. 2385; Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-070 Allowed Residential Density.

(1)    Purpose. The allowed residential densities and minimum lot sizes maintain the desirable character of Redmond’s commercial areas and prevent public nuisances that would result from overcrowding residential housing units within commercial areas and overloaded and overused public facilities.

(2)    Requirements.

(a)    For residential units located within the commercial zones, dwelling unit densities shall be determined as noted below. Other regulations in the Development Guide may reduce the number of dwelling units otherwise allowed in this chapter.

(b)    To determine the allowed density for residential development in commercial zones, please refer to the requirements of RCDG 20C.30.25-030(3), Allowed Density Calculations, found in the Site Requirements for Residential Zones chapter. (Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-080 Landscaped Areas.

(1)    Purpose. Landscaping is required in some zones because it is attractive and it helps to soften the effects of built and paved areas. It also helps reduce storm water runoff by providing a surface into which storm water can percolate. Landscaping is required for all commercial and employment-zoned lands abutting R-zoned lands to provide buffering and promote the livability of the residential lands.

(2)    Minimum Landscaped Area Standards.

(a)    RCDG 20C.50.25-020(3) sets the required amounts of landscaped areas.

(i)    The required landscaped areas shall be at ground level. For residential uses, up to one-half of the required landscaping may be at other levels if it is in a common area the residents are allowed to use.

(ii)    The required landscaped areas shall comply with at least the L1 General Landscaping Standard, in subsection (2)(d) of this section, Landscaped Areas.

(iii)    The required landscaping areas shall also comply with the applicable provisions of Chapter 20D.80 RCDG, Landscaping and Tree Protection.

(iv)    Up to one-third of the required landscaped area may be improved for active or passive recreational use, or for use by pedestrians. Examples include walkways, play areas, plazas, picnic areas, and unenclosed recreational facilities.

(v)    Any required landscaping, such as for required setbacks or parking lot landscaping, applies towards the landscaped area standard if it meets the requirements of this section.

(b)    NC and GC Zones. In the NC and GC zones, the land between a building and a street shall be landscaped to at least the L1, General Landscaping Standard in subsection (2)(c) of this section, Landscaped Areas, or paved for use by pedestrians. Unless developed as a pedestrian plaza, paved areas for pedestrian use shall not exceed 14 feet in width. The landscaped area may be counted towards any minimum landscaped area requirements. Vehicle areas, including parking and driveways, and exterior display, storage, and work activities, if allowed, are exempt from this requirement but must comply with any other applicable landscaping requirements.

(c)    L1 General Landscaping Standard. To be moved to Chapter 20D.80 RCDG, Landscaping and Tree Protection, when that chapter is updated.

(i)    Intent. The L1 standard is a landscape treatment for open areas. It is intended to be applied in situations where distance is used as the principal means of separating uses or development or landscaping is required to enhance the area in-between or where landscaped areas are provided for aesthetic purposes. While primarily consisting of groundcover plants, including lawns, it also includes a mixture of trees, high shrubs, and low shrubs.

(ii)    Required Materials. The L1 standard has two different requirements for trees and shrubs. Where the area to be landscaped is less than 30 feet deep, the requirement is one tree per 30 linear feet. Where the area is 30 feet deep or greater, the requirement is one tree per 800 square feet and either four high shrubs or six low shrubs per 400 square feet of landscaped area. The shrubs and trees may be grouped. Groundcover plants shall fully cover the remainder of the landscaped area within three years. Lawns may be used as a groundcover.

(iii)    Notwithstanding the provisions of RCDG 20F.10.50, Nonconformances, tenant improvements which do not increase the area of a building shall not be required to comply with the requirements of this section (RCDG 20C.50.25-080, Landscaped Areas) provided there is no reduction in landscaped areas. (Ord. 2385; Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-085 Landscaping, Open Space and Buffers.

Repealed by Ord. 2390. (Ord. 2385; Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-090 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) Bonus for Residential Uses.

Repealed by Ord. 2385. (Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-100 Ground Floor Windows.

(1)    Purpose. In the commercial (NC and GC) zones, blank walls on the ground level of buildings are limited in order to:

(a)    Provide a pleasant, rich, and diverse pedestrian experience by connecting activities occurring within a structure to adjacent sidewalk areas;

(b)    Encourage continuity of retail and service uses;

(c)    Encourage surveillance opportunities by restricting fortress-like facades at street level; and

(d)    Avoid a monotonous pedestrian environment.

(2)    Required Amounts of Window Area.

(a)    In NC and GC zones, exterior walls on the ground level that are within 30 feet of the street lot line shall meet the general window standard in subsection (2)(b) of this section. However, on corner lots, the general standard shall be met on one street frontage only. The general standard shall be met on the street that has the highest street classification in the Comprehensive Plan’s Arterial Function Classification and Street Plan, Map TR-7 or its successor and Table TR-7, Arterial Function Classification Summary or its successor. On the other street(s) the requirement is one-half of the general standard. If two or more streets have the same classification, then the applicant may choose on which street to meet the general standard.

(b)    General standard. The windows shall be at least 50 percent of the length and 25 percent of the ground level wall area. Ground level wall areas include all exterior wall areas up to nine feet above the finished grade. The requirement does not apply to the walls of residential units or to parking structures when set back at least five feet and landscaped to at least the L1 standard.

(3)    Qualifying Window Features. Required window areas shall be either windows that allow views into working areas or lobbies, pedestrian entrances, or display windows set into the wall. Display cases attached to the outside wall do not qualify. The bottom of the windows shall be no more than four feet above the adjacent exterior grade.

(4)    Adjustments. Public art may be considered for adjustments to the ground floor window provision. The Design Review Board, after consulting with the Redmond Arts Commission, will review the application to determine whether public art is appropriate at the location, taking into account the scale and character of the building and area. The budget, selection process, final artwork, and installation shall be approved by the Design Review Board, after consulting with the Redmond Arts Commission, and follow any guidelines the Commission may adopt. Legally binding provisions that run with the land shall be required to ensure the installation, preservation, maintenance, and replacement of the public art. The provisions, if acceptable, shall be approved by the Administrator and City Attorney and be recorded in King County’s real property records. (Ord. 2385; Ord. 2027)

20C.50.25-110 Pedestrian Standards.

(1)    Purpose. The pedestrian standards encourage a safe, attractive, and usable pedestrian circulation system in all developments. They ensure a direct pedestrian connection between the street and buildings on the site, and between buildings and other activities within the site. In addition, they provide for connections between adjacent sites, where feasible.

(2)    Standards. The standards of RCDG 20C.50.25-110, Pedestrian Standards, apply to all development in commercial zones. An on-site pedestrian circulation system shall be provided. The system shall meet all standards of this section.

(a)    Required Connections.

(i)    Connection to the Street. The system shall connect all adjacent streets to the main entrance. One of the connections should be no longer than the straight-line distance from the entrance to the closest sidewalk. It may not be more than 20 feet longer or 120 percent of that straight-line distance, whichever is less. Buildings or sites where all of the floor area is used for residential uses are only required to provide this connection to one main entrance.

(ii)    Connection to Neighboring Uses. The system shall connect to all adjacent properties. The connections shall run to the property line and connect to paths or sidewalks on neighboring properties or to the likely location of connections on those properties. Where no connections exist on a neighboring property and extending a connection would create a safety hazard or it is not possible to determine the likely location of future connections on that property, the Administrator may enter into a legally binding agreement with the owner of the property being developed to construct the connection to the neighboring use when the property on which the use is located develops or redevelops. This agreement shall run with the land and be recorded in King County’s real property records. Buildings or sites where all of the floor area is used for residential uses are only required to provide this connection to one main entrance.

(iii)    Internal connections. The system shall connect all buildings on the site, and provide connections to other areas of the site, such as parking areas, bicycle parking, recreational areas, common outdoor areas, and any pedestrian amenities.

(b)    Materials.

(i)    The circulation system shall be paved and be at least five feet wide.

(ii)    Where the system crosses driveways, parking areas, and loading areas, the system shall be clearly identifiable, through the use of elevation changes, speed bumps, a different paving material, or other equally effective methods. Striping does not meet this requirement.

(iii)    Where the system is parallel and adjacent to an auto travel lane, the system shall be a raised path or be separated from the auto travel lane by a raised curb, bollards, landscaping or another physical barrier. If a raised path is used, the ends of the raised portions shall be equipped with curb ramps.

(iv)    Lighting. The on-site pedestrian circulation system shall be lighted to intensity where the system can be used at night by the employees, residents, and customers. Lighting should be a height appropriate to a pedestrian pathway system. (Ord. 2027)