Chapter 17.20


17.20.010    Purpose.

17.20.020    Commercial/industrial districts.

17.20.030    Use regulations.

17.20.040    Area, height, setback and miscellaneous provisions.

17.20.050    Planned commercial/industrial provisions.

17.20.010 Purpose.

The purpose of the commercial/industrial districts is to provide land for several different intensities and types of business, industrial, office, retail, service and entertainment uses which complement, enhance and support the mix of land uses within the city of Snoqualmie. The commercial/industrial districts are intended to provide a variety of economic opportunities, a tax base for the city, as well as the necessary goods, services, and employment opportunities to accommodate visitors and support the residents of the city. Each district shall be regulated by its own zoning criteria; however, all districts share in the goal of providing well designed, quality commercial and industrial developments that further the city’s goals and policies as stated in the Snoqualmie Vicinity Comprehensive Plan. Each district should ensure that new development is integrated with the existing community and furthers the goals of the city through such methods as pedestrian orientation and circulation, transportation, site planning and design, signage, lighting, public open space, public facilities and other means to maintain and create physical and social linkages along with enhancing the character of the community. A mix of primarily commercial and some residential uses should be allowed in commercial districts with commercial uses at the street level and residential generally above. Commercial areas should be designed with the pedestrian, bicycle and automobile in mind. Business opportunities which support the full range of rural activities occurring in the adjacent rural areas, including support services for agriculture and forestry, are encouraged. Impact generating industrial uses should be buffered from other uses and be sited carefully to minimize environmental impacts. (Ord. 1198 § 22 (Exh. D), 2017; Ord. 744 § 2, 1995).

17.20.020 Commercial/industrial districts.

The following commercial/industrial districts are hereby established:

A. Business-General District (BG). The business-general district is intended to accommodate a broad range of retail and commercial uses, including businesses and services that are of a larger scale or are inappropriate for the historic downtown area, such as certain automotive services and limited light-industrial uses.

B. Business-Office District (BO). The business-office district is intended principally for providing space within the city for smaller-scale office uses, but also allows for some retail and service uses.

C. Business-Retail District (BR). The business-retail district is intended to serve as the core pedestrian-oriented shopping area within the historic downtown area, with uses serving as shopping catalysts to other businesses within the district. Ground floor retail sales and services are encouraged with offices and professional services on upper floors. The business-retail district should support the downtown historic district by encouraging the use of architectural styles which reflect the history of the city and the railroad depot. The business-retail district is divided into two subdistricts, as follows:

1. BR-1. The BR-1 subdistrict contains all properties located within the downtown historic district retail overlay zone pursuant to Chapter 17.37 SMC, and is intended for shopping and dining in a pedestrian-oriented environment.

2. BR-2. The BR-2 subdistrict contains all properties within the BR district outside of those listed within the BR-1 subdistrict.

D. Office Park District (OP). The office park district is intended to provide areas appropriate for commercial and office uses, such as medical, dental, and other professional services.

E. Planned Commercial/Industrial District (PCI). The planned commercial/industrial district is intended to provide areas in the city for master planned commercial/industrial uses, which might include single- or mixed-use retail, office, light industrial and open space uses. All development on parcels of two acres or larger upon which more than one principal structure is to be constructed shall be subject to the requirements of this chapter.

F. Industrial District (I). The industrial district is intended to provide areas for a broad range of light industrial uses, and includes heavy/resource-based industrial uses as conditional uses. This district is also known as the resource extraction district. (Ord. 1203 § 7, 2018; Ord. 1198 § 22 (Exh. D), 2017; Ord. 1066 § 3, 2010; Ord. 980 § 2, 2005; Ord. 744 § 2, 1995).

17.20.030 Use regulations.

Use regulations for the commercial districts are found in Chapter 17.55 SMC, Use and Other Regulations. (Ord. 1198 § 22 (Exh. D), 2017; Ord. 744 § 2, 1995).

17.20.040 Area, height, setback and miscellaneous provisions.

A. Table 17.20.040-1 indicates restrictions and regulations for the lot area, setbacks, and height of all structures permitted in the commercial districts, subject to the additional provisions for height set forth in subsections C, D and E of this section:

Table 17.20.040-1 – Restrictions and Regulations for Lot Area, Setbacks, and Height for Structures in Commercial Districts 


Zoning District








1. Minimum Lot Area (square feet)







2. Minimum Lot Width







3. Minimum Front Yard Setback1







4. Minimum Side Yard Setback1







5. Minimum Rear Yard Setback1







6. Maximum Height of Structure2







1 Where a more intense use abuts a less intense use, setbacks shall be equal to the width of the required landscape area.

2 Church spires, church towers, flagpoles, antennas, clerestories, and fire towers of a safe height may be permitted as a conditional use.

B. Table 17.20.040-2 indicates the maximum impervious area allowed for commercial and industrial uses based on lot area.

Table 17.20.040-2 – Impervious Area Standards for Commercial/Industrial Uses

Lot Area

≤ 10,000 sf

> 10,000 sf

Maximum impervious area



C. Customary Rooftop Appurtenances.

1. Customary rooftop appurtenances include elevator shaft extensions and roofs, rooftop access stairways and roofs, mechanical equipment for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and parapet walls used to screen the roof and customary rooftop appurtenances.

2. No element or feature of a structure, other than customary rooftop appurtenances and their screens, may exceed the applicable height limitation established for each use in each use zone.

3. Abandonment. Customary rooftop appurtenances which are abandoned or no longer serve the building or tenant space with which they are associated shall be removed by the building owner within 90 days of the date they were abandoned or their service discontinued. Customary rooftop appurtenances associated with buildings or tenant spaces which are vacant but which are undergoing renovation and/or are available for lease or rent shall not be considered abandoned.

4. Required Screening.

a. New construction shall, to the extent feasible, visually screen rooftop appurtenances by incorporating them into the roof form, or by using architectural designs such as roof wells or clerestories having a slope of at least three feet vertical to 12 feet horizontal. Such roof forms and architectural designs may extend five feet above the height limit.

b. New or replacement customary rooftop appurtenances on existing buildings and new customary rooftop appurtenances on new buildings where compliance with subsection (C)(4)(a) of this section is not feasible shall be surrounded by a solid screening enclosure equal in height to the appurtenances being screened. The screen must be integrated into the architecture of the building.

c. Exemptions from screening requirements are allowed for the following appurtenances:

i. Rod, wire, and dish antennas approved pursuant to Chapter 17.77 SMC are exempt from the requirements of subsections (C)(4)(a) and (b) of this section where screening would interfere with the effective operation of these antennas.

ii. A customary rooftop appurtenance screened by alternative measures, including but not limited to landscaping maintained at a height equal to the height of the appurtenance, painting to match the building roof, or the use of premanufactured self-screening appurtenances, is exempt from the requirements of subsections (C)(4)(a) and (b) of this section if the director determines that such alternative screening will be as effective in minimizing rooftop clutter as a solid screening enclosure.

5. Allowable Height and Size.

a. Customary rooftop appurtenances may exceed the applicable height limitation shown in subsection A of this section by a maximum of four feet if the area of all appurtenances and screening does not exceed 10 percent of the total area of the building footprint.

b. The director may approve a modification to the standards of subsection (C)(5)(a) of this section if:

i. No reasonable alternative to the increased height or size, such as utilizing alternative equipment design or technology or locating the appurtenances at or below grade or within the structure, exists, and the amount of increase and the size of the appurtenance and its screening is the minimum amount necessary; and

ii. The applicant submits accurate graphic representations or other information that demonstrates that:

(A) Views from adjacent properties will not be significantly blocked; and

(B) Visibility of the appurtenances from adjacent properties and streets will be minimized; and

(C) Aesthetic impacts resulting from the increased height and/or area will be minimized through appropriate screening, architectural integration, and/or location or consolidation of the appurtenance(s); and

iii. The height of the customary rooftop appurtenance, including the combined height of mechanical equipment or elevator penthouse and appurtenances mounted on top of the penthouse, shall in no event exceed the lesser of the following:

(A) The height of the story immediately below the appurtenance; or

(B) Fifteen feet above the applicable height limitation shown in subsection A of this section; and

iv. In no event shall the total area occupied by rooftop appurtenances or enclosed within their screening exceed 25 percent of the total area of the building footprint.

c. The director shall not approve or deny a modification pursuant to subsection (C)(5)(b) of this section without first providing notice of the modification request to the owners and residents of each adjoining property and providing opportunity for comment. The director shall use mailing labels provided by the applicant, or, at the discretion of the director, by the city. Said comment period shall not be less than seven calendar days. The fee for processing a modification request shall be as established by resolution of the city council.

D. Height Exceptions for Solar Panels and Small Wind Energy Generators. Small wind energy generators and solar panels may extend up to 18 inches above the maximum building height for the district.

E. The provisions of Chapter 17.77 SMC related to personal wireless service facilities supersede the provisions of this section to the extent a customary appurtenance falls within the definition of a personal wireless service facility. (Ord. 1205 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1198 § 22 (Exh. D), 2017; Ord. 1128 § 2, 2014; Ord. 980 § 3, 2005; Ord. 744 § 2, 1995).

17.20.050 Planned commercial/industrial provisions.

A. The purpose of the planned commercial/industrial district is to provide for imaginative, well-designed, master-planned commercial/industrial development containing compatible and complementary uses, including mixed or single retail, wholesale, service and professional businesses, second-story residential uses above such businesses, office and light industrial uses, on parcels of two or more acres, which:

1. Optimizes the efficiency of the use of land;

2. Is at a scale which serves to maintain existing small-town character;

3. Optimizes the opportunity for public amenities such as open space, parks and trails;

4. Promotes or encourages pedestrian and bicycle orientation and provides the opportunity for district-wide coordination and continuity of pedestrian and bicycle corridors; and

5. Gives due consideration to development which can reasonably be anticipated on adjacent or nearby lands, both with respect to common infrastructure requirements and compatibility of uses.

B. In the planned commercial/industrial district, no land shall be used, subdivided, cleared, graded or filled and no building or structure shall be constructed, altered or enlarged on a parcel of two acres or larger except under the authority of an approved plan pursuant to this section; provided, an approval under this section shall not be required for road and utility corridors, or for temporary uses and structures for which no grading, clearing or building permit is required. The approved plan shall authorize development on land which is not to be further divided, and shall provide the basis and standards for processing of a binding site improvement plan or subdivision on land which is to be further divided for sale or lease of lots, parcels or pads.

C. On parcels in the planned commercial/industrial district of less than two acres, permitted uses shall be as specified for the business-general (B-G) district.

D. In the event two or more contiguous parcels in common ownership lie in whole or part in both the planned commercial/industrial district subject to the provisions of this section and the planned residential district subject to the requirements of Chapter 17.15 SMC, the owner may optionally elect to present one plan for all parcels, and the location of the residential and commercial/industrial uses thereon need not adhere strictly to the boundaries of each respective district so long as the minimum requirements for uses in each district respectively are met in the overall plan. Additional adjacent property with zoning designations other than PCI and PR may be included, provided they constitute no more than 15 percent of the total acreage of the proposal.

E. The planned/commercial industrial district allows and encourages a mix of uses, both vertically and horizontally, but does not require such a mixture.

F. Tracts included in a development proposal in a planned commercial/industrial district must be in one ownership or control, or be the subject of a joint application by owners of all of the property included.

G. At least 35 percent of the total acreage for the development proposal must be dedicated to open space, natural areas, parks, or greens, commons or public assembly areas; provided, for projects subject to the provisions of subsection D of this section, the common open space may be provided within the area subject to the plan as a whole.

H. Proposed circulation, solid waste disposal and recycling, and water, sewer and stormwater management systems shall be designed in such a manner to allow adequate and efficient expansion to accommodate development which can reasonably be anticipated on adjacent or nearby lands.

I. It is the intention of this section to encourage development proposals not constrained by fixed development standards, and toward that end, deviation from development standards of general applicability throughout the city may be authorized when the city council, with the advice of the planning commission, finds that such deviation would advance the purpose of the district as set forth in subsection A of this section, provided deviation shall not be allowed from development standards deemed necessary to protect health, safety or the environment. Any such deviations shall be included in the approved plan for the planned commercial/industrial development.

J. The application shall include all of the materials required for a planned unit development pursuant to SMC 17.50.090(B), together with the following information, together with a list of all development standards of general applicability from which a deviation is proposed, and a statement of how such deviation will achieve the purpose set forth in subsection A of this section.

K. The notice, hearing and decision process for applications for approval of a plan for development in the planned commercial/industrial district shall be as set forth in Chapter 17.50 SMC, Planned Unit Development Regulations. (Ord. 1198 § 22 (Exh. D), 2017; Ord. 980 § 4, 2005; Ord. 933 § 2, 2003; Ord. 769 § 24, 1996; Ord. 744 § 2, 1995).