WALL PLATE: A horizontal member built into or laid along the top of a wall to support and distribute the pressure from joists, rafters, etc.

WALL PLATE HEIGHT: The vertical distance from the grade plane of a site to the top of one or more wall plates of a building located thereon.

WAREHOUSING: A use located wholly within a building engaged in the storage of goods and/or materials characterized by infrequent pick-up and delivery. The definition includes data centers, but excludes bulk storage, hazardous material storage, self-service storage, warehousing and distribution, fulfillment centers, wholesale retail, and vehicle storage.

WAREHOUSING AND DISTRIBUTION: A use engaged in storage and distribution of manufactured products, supplies, and equipment. This use excludes hazardous material storage, indoor storage, outdoor storage, self-service storage, vehicle storage, and warehousing, storage, or distribution for commercial laundry operations within the Downtown Business District.

WASTE RECYCLING AND TRANSFER FACILITIES: Facilities for the collection of solid waste for either recycling or transfer to a landfill or disposal facility. This definition includes but is not limited to concrete and construction material recycling operations.

WATER AUTHORITY: The City of Renton Water Utility, or any other municipal or quasi-municipal entity distributing water to fire hydrants within the City of Renton.


WATER-DEPENDENT USE: Referring to uses or portions of a use which cannot exist in any other location and is dependent on the water by reason of the intrinsic nature of its operations. Examples of water-dependent uses may include ship cargo terminal loading areas, ferry and passenger terminals, barge loading facilities, ship building and dry docking, marinas, aquaculture, float plane facilities and sewer outfalls.

WATER-ENJOYMENT USE: Referring to a recreational use, or other use facilitating public access to the shoreline as a primary characteristic of the use; or a use that provides for recreational use or aesthetic enjoyment of the shoreline for a substantial number of people as a general characteristic of the use and which through the location, design and operation assures the public’s ability to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of the shoreline. In order to qualify as a water-enjoyment use, the use must be open to the general public and the shoreline-oriented space within the project must be devoted to the specific aspects of the use that fosters shoreline enjoyment. Primary water-enjoyment uses may include, but are not limited to, parks, piers and other improvements facilitating public access to the shorelines of the State; and general water-enjoyment uses may include, but are not limited to, restaurants, museums, aquariums, scientific/ecological reserves, resorts/hotels, riverwalk developments, and multiple use commercial/office/residential developments; provided, that such uses conform to the above water-enjoyment specifications and the provisions of the Shoreline Master Program.

WATER-ORIENTED USE: “Water-oriented” refers to a use that is water-dependent, water-related, water-enjoyment, or a combination of such uses.

WATER-RELATED USE: Referring to a use or portion of a use which is not intrinsically dependent on a waterfront location, but whose economic viability is dependent upon a waterfront location because:

1. Of a functional requirement for a waterfront location such as the arrival or shipment of materials by water or the need for large quantities of water; or

2. The use provides a necessary service supportive of the water-dependent commercial activities and the proximity of the use to its customers makes its services less expensive and/or more convenient. Examples include manufacturers of ship parts large enough that transportation becomes a significant factor in the products cost, professional services serving primarily water-dependent activities and storage of water-transported foods.

Examples of water-related uses may include warehousing of goods transported by water, seafood processing plants, hydroelectric generating plants, gravel storage when transported by barge, oil refineries where transport is by tanker, and log storage.

WELL: A pit or hole dug into the earth to reach an aquifer.

WELL FIELD: An area which contains one or more wells for obtaining a potable water supply.


WETLAND BUFFERS or WETLAND BUFFER ZONES: Areas that surround and protect a wetland from adverse impacts to its functions and values. Buffers are designated areas abutting a regulated wetland which protect the wetland from changes in the location of the wetland edge. Wetland buffers minimize the short and long term impacts of development on properties abutting wetlands, preserve important wildlife habitat, allow for infiltration and water quality improvement, protect buildings, roads and other infrastructure as well as property owners from flood damage in years of high precipitation.

WETLAND CATEGORY: A classification system used for the purpose of regulating wetlands in the City. The criteria for determining a wetland’s category are listed in RMC 4-3-050.

WETLAND CREATION (OR ESTABLISHMENT): The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics present to develop a wetland that did not previously exist on an upland or deepwater site. Establishment results in a gain in wetland acres.

WETLAND, DISTURBED: Wetlands meeting the following criteria:

1. Are characterized by hydrologic isolation, hydrologic alterations such as diking, channelization, and/or outlet modification; and

2. Have severe soils alterations such as the presence of large amounts of fill, soil removal and/or compaction of soils.

WETLAND EDGE: The boundary of a wetland as delineated using the Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual.

WETLAND, EMERGENT: A regulated wetland with at least thirty percent (30%) of the surface area covered by erect, rooted herbaceous vegetation as the uppermost vegetative strata.

WETLAND ENHANCEMENT: The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a wetland (undisturbed or degraded) site to heighten, intensify, or improve specific function(s) or for a purpose such as water quality improvement, flood water retention or wildlife habitat. Enhancement results in a change in wetland function(s) and can lead to a decline in other wetland function, but does not result in a gain in wetland acres. This term includes activities commonly associated with the terms “enhancement,” “management,” “manipulation,” and “directed alteration.”

WETLAND, FORESTED: A vegetation community with at least twenty percent (20%) of the surface area covered by woody vegetation (trees) greater than twenty feet (20') in height.

WETLAND, IN-KIND COMPENSATION: To replace wetlands with substitute wetlands whose characteristics closely approximate those destroyed or degraded by a regulated activity.

WETLAND, ISOLATED: Those regulated wetlands which:

1. Are outside of and not contiguous to any one hundred (100) year floodplain of a lake, river, or stream; and

2. Have no contiguous hydric soil or hydrophytic vegetation between the wetland and any surface water.

WETLAND, OFF-SITE COMPENSATION: To replace wetlands away from the site on which a wetland has been impacted by a regulated activity.

WETLAND, ON-SITE COMPENSATION: To replace wetlands at or adjacent to the site on which a wetland has been impacted by a regulated activity.

WETLAND PROTECTION/MAINTENANCE: The removal of a threat to, or preventing decline of, wetland conditions by an action in or near a wetland. Includes purchase of land or easements, repairing water control structures or fences, or structural protection such as repairing a barrier island. This term also includes activities commonly associated with the term “preservation.” Protection/maintenance does not result in a gain of wetland acres or function.


WETLAND RESTORATION: The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning natural/historic functions to former or degraded wetland. For the purpose of tracking net gains in wetland acres, restoration is divided into:

Re-establishment: the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning natural/historic functions to a former wetland. Re-establishment results in rebuilding a former wetland and results in a gain in wetland acres.

Rehabilitation: the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of repairing natural/historic functions of degraded wetland. Rehabilitation results in a gain in wetland function, but does not result in a gain in wetland acres.

WETLAND, SCRUB-SHRUB: A regulated wetland with at least thirty percent (30%) of its surface area covered by woody vegetation less than twenty feet (20') in height at the uppermost strata.

WETLANDS: Areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway. Wetlands include artificial wetlands created from nonwetland areas to mitigate the conversion of wetlands.


1. Wetlands occurring on top of fill materials; and

2. Characterized by emergent vegetation, low plant species richness, and used minimally by wildlife. These wetlands are generally found in the Black River Drainage Basin.

WHOLESALE RETAIL: See “Retail, Wholesale.”

WILDLIFE HABITAT: An area characterized by wildlife that forage, nest, spawn, or migrate through in search of food or shelter.


A. Antenna: Any system of poles, panels, rods, reflecting discs or similar devices used for the transmission or reception of radio frequency signals.

B. Antenna, Amateur Radio (also called ham radio): A device that picks up or sends out radio frequency energy used for purposes of private recreation, noncommercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication. The term “amateur” is used to specify persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest, and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public safety (such as police and fire), or professional two (2) way radio services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).

C. Antenna Array: A group of antennas connected and arranged in a regular structure to form a single antenna that is able to produce radiation patterns not produced by individual antennas.

D. Antenna, Panel: Transmits and receives radio frequency signals in a specific directional pattern of less than three hundred sixty degrees (360°).

E. Antenna, Vertical Monopole Amateur Radio: A type of amateur radio device consisting of a single vertical element constructed of wire, aluminum, or fiberglass without any attached horizontal antennas. This definition does include associated guy wires attached not more than halfway up the monopole for anchoring purposes. This definition does not include amateur radio antennas with any more than a single vertical element (e.g., tower or lattice-type amateur radio antennas).

F. Base Station: A structure or equipment at a fixed location that enables FCC-licensed or authorized wireless communications between user equipment and a communications network. The term does not encompass a tower as defined herein nor any equipment associated with a tower. “Base station” includes, without limitation:

1. Equipment associated with wireless communications services as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixed wireless services such as microwave backhaul.

2. Radio transceivers, antennas, coaxial or fiber-optic cable, regular and backup power supplies, and comparable equipment, regardless of technological configuration (including distributed antenna systems (“DAS”) and small cell networks).

3. Any structure other than a tower that, at the time the relevant application is filed (with jurisdiction) under this Section, supports or houses equipment described in subsections F1 and 2 of this definition that has been reviewed and approved under the applicable zoning or siting process, or under another State or local regulatory review process, even if the structure was not built for the sole or primary purpose of providing that support.

The term does not include any structure that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the City under this Section, does not support or house equipment described in subsections F1 and 2 of this definition.

G. Collocation: The mounting of antennas and related equipment on an existing support structure by more than one wireless communications provider.

H. Compound: The leased or owned property upon which all elements of a WCF reside, which is demarcated with security fencing.

I. Eligible Facilities Request: Any request for modification of an existing tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station, involving:

1. Collocation of new transmission equipment;

2. Removal of transmission equipment; or

3. Replacement of transmission equipment.

J. Eligible Support Structure: Any tower or base station as defined in this Section; provided, that it is existing at the time the relevant application is filed with the City.

K. Equipment Cabinet: A mounted case with a hinged door used to house equipment for utility or service providers.

L. Equipment Shelter: A room or building used to house equipment for utility or service providers (also known as a base station).

M. Equipment Structure: A facility, shelter, cabinet or vault used to house and protect electronic or other associated equipment necessary for processing wireless communications signals. “Associated equipment” may include, for example, air conditioning, backup power supplies and emergency generators.

N. FAA: The Federal Aviation Administration, which maintains stringent regulations for the siting, building, marketing and lighting of cellular transmission antennas near airports or flight paths.

O. FCC: The Federal Communication Commission, which regulates the licensing and practice of wireless, wireline, television, radio and other telecommunications entities.

P. Microcells: A wireless communication facility consisting of an antenna that is either:

1. Four feet (4') in height and with an area of not more than five hundred eighty (580) square inches; or

2. If a tubular antenna, no more than four inches (4") in diameter and no more than six feet (6') in length.

Q. Pole Extender: A pole extender is a device that extends a utility pole or similar structure, the material of such structure being wood, composite, or otherwise, to the maximum height as permitted under this Title, without requiring the entire structure to be replaced, such that a small cell wireless facility may be located at the top of said structure and meet any required clearances as dictated by the structure owner.

R. Radome: A plastic housing sheltering the antenna assembly.

S. Related Equipment: All equipment ancillary to the transmission and reception of voice and data via radio frequencies. Such equipment may include, but is not limited to, cable, conduit and connectors.

T. Satellite Dish: A microwave dish typically used for receiving television transmissions from at least one orbiting satellite.

U. Service Provider: Is defined in accordance with RCW 35.99.010(6). “Service provider” shall include those infrastructure companies that provide telecommunications services or equipment to enable the deployment of personal wireless services.

V. Small Cell Facility: A personal wireless services facility that meets both of the following qualifications:

1. Each antenna is located inside an antenna enclosure of no more than three (3) cubic feet in volume or, in the case of an antenna that has exposed elements, the antenna and all of its exposed elements could fit within an imaginary enclosure of no more than three (3) cubic feet; and

2. Primary equipment enclosures are no larger than seventeen (17) cubic feet in volume. The following associated equipment may be located outside the primary equipment enclosure and, if so located, are not included in the calculation of equipment volume: electric meter, concealment, telecom demarcation box, ground-based enclosures, battery backup power systems, grounding equipment, power transfer switch, and cutoff switch.

W. Small Cell Network: A collection of interrelated small cell facilities designed to deliver personal wireless services.

X. Support Structure: A structure used to support wireless communication antennas and related equipment, either as its primary use or as an accessory use. Support structures include, but are not limited to, towers, existing buildings, water tanks, signs, and light fixtures.

Y. Tower: Any structure built for the sole or primary purpose of supporting any FCC-licensed or authorized antennas and their associated facilities, including structures that are constructed for wireless communications services including, but not limited to, private, broadcast, and public safety services, as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixes wireless services such as microwave backhaul and the associated site. Types of towers include, but are not limited to:

1. Guyed Tower: A freestanding or supported wireless communication support structure that is usually over one hundred feet (100') tall, which consists of metal crossed strips or bars and is steadied by wire guys in a radial pattern around the tower.

2. Lattice Tower: A self-supporting wireless communication support structure that consists of metal crossed strips or bars to support antennas and related equipment.

3. Monopole I: A freestanding support structure less than sixty feet (60') in height, erected to support wireless communication antennas and connecting appurtenances.

4. Monopole II: A freestanding support structure sixty feet (60') or greater in height, erected to support wireless communication antennas and connecting appurtenances.

5. Stealth Tower: A freestanding support structure that is disguised as a natural or built object typically appearing in the natural or urban landscape and is primarily erected to accommodate wireless communication facilities. Examples include, but are not limited to, manmade trees, freestanding signs, flagpoles, light fixtures and clock towers.

Z. WCF: See Wireless Communication Facility (WCF).

AA. Wireless Communication Facility (WCF): An unstaffed facility for the transmission and reception of low-power radio signals usually consisting of an equipment shelter or cabinet(s), a support structure, antennas and related equipment, generally contained within a compound. For purposes of this Title, a WCF includes antennas, support structures and equipment shelters, whether separately or in combination.

BB. Wireless Communication Facility, Camouflaged: A wireless communication facility that is typically affixed to the facade of an existing structure that was not originally constructed to be a WCF support structure (e.g., an existing building), in a manner that integrates and disguises the WCF with the building by matching architectural elements, colors, materials, etc.

CC. Wireless Communication Facility, Concealed: A wireless communication facility that is incorporated into an existing structure, that was not originally constructed to be a WCF support structure (e.g., an existing building), in a manner that completely hides the WCF within the existing structure or within an addition to the existing structure that is architecturally compatible.

DD. Wireless Communication Facility, Temporary: A self-contained, portable telecommunications facility that can moved to a location and set up to provide wireless services on a temporary or emergency basis. Temporary wireless communication facilities are not deployed in a permanent manner, do not have a permanent foundation, may be vehicle mounted, and generally contain a telescoping boom as the antenna support structure. An example of a temporary wireless communication facility is a “cell-on-wheels” or COW.

WRECKING YARD, AUTO: A facility for the dismantling or wrecking of used motor vehicles or trailers, or the storage, sale, or dumping of dismantled or wrecked vehicles or their parts, including the repair of wrecked vehicles, consistent with chapter 46.80 RCW.

(Ord. 4007, 7-14-1986; Ord. 4346, 3-9-1992; Ord. 4351, 5-4-1992; Ord. 4689, 11-24-1997; Ord. 4716, 4-13-1998; Ord. 4835, 3-27-2000; Ord. 4851, 8-7-2000; Amd. Ord. 4963, 5-13-2002; Ord. 5137, 4-25-2005; Ord. 5241, 11-27-2006; Ord. 5633, 10-24-2011; Ord. 5639, 12-12-2011; Ord. 5675, 12-3-2012; Ord. 5676, 12-3-2012; Ord. 5746, 1-12-2015; Ord. 5757, 6-1-2015; Ord. 5790, 4-25-2016; Ord. 5876, 1-22-2018; Ord. 5917, 12-10-2018; Ord. 5950, 11-25-2019; Ord. 5954, 11-18-2019; Ord. 6100, 12-5-2022)