Chapter 20.51


20.51.010    Purpose.

20.51.030    Definitions.

20.51.040    Application for concurrency determination.

20.51.050    Applicability and standards.

20.51.060    Exemptions.

20.51.070    Level of service standards.

20.51.080    Concurrency management process.

20.51.090    Concurrency determination.

20.51.100    Certificate of concurrency.

20.51.110    Monitoring concurrency.

20.51.120    Fees.

20.51.130    Other authority.

20.51.140    Severability clause.

20.51.150    Appeal.

20.51.010 Purpose.

The primary purpose of this chapter is to establish regulations which ensure that at the time of new development, public facilities and services are in place or are adequately planned to avoid the predicament of development after development decreasing levels of service leading to complete failure of facilities or services with no funding plan in sight. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.030 Definitions.

The following are definitions provided for administering concurrency management:

A. “Affected arterial or street” means any street which can be identified as significant to the area in which it serves in terms of the nature and composition of travel and which will be impacted by new development. Arterials serve major centers of activity and carry the major portion of the traffic entering and leaving the city. Principal and minor arterials are designated in Chapter 12.01.

B. “Annual capacity statement” means the statement issued by the city indicating the available capacity of the facilities or services covered by concurrency management.

C. “Approved traffic study” means a study to estimate and assess traffic demand patterns and quantities and to identify mitigation measures needed to meet level of service (LOS) standards, based on the type and size of a proposed development. An approved traffic study may be required by the city as part of a complete application.

D. “Capacity” means the maximum traffic volume that can pass through an intersection or arterial during a given peak hour as measured by the sum of critical volumes.

E. “Capital facilities element” means the element of the city’s comprehensive plan which evaluates the need for public facilities as identified in the comprehensive plan elements and as defined in the applicable definition of each public facility, which estimates the cost of improvements, which analyzes the fiscal capability of the local government to finance and construct improvements, which adopts financial policies to guide the funding of improvements, and which schedules the funding and construction of improvements in a manner necessary to ensure that capital improvements are provided when required based on the needs identified in the comprehensive plan.

F. “Certificate of concurrency” means the official written statement issued by the city which documents concurrency approval for a development application.

G. “Change in use” means a change from one permitted use in the city’s Zoning Code to another permitted use in the city’s Zoning Code.

H. “City manager” means the Walla Walla city manager or his/her designee(s).

I. “Complete application” means the application form and all accompanying documents, fees and exhibits required of an applicant by the city for development review purposes, and determined in writing by the city to be sufficient.

J. “Concurrency” means the provision for assuring that improvements or strategies to accommodate the impacts of development are in place at the time of development or that a financial commitment is in place to complete the improvements or strategies so that the level of service for transportation facilities does not fall below the level of service standards adopted by the comprehensive plan due to the impacts of new development. Road and highway improvements are to be provided within a maximum of six years.

K. “Concurrency approval” means the official determination by the city that a proposed development will not result in the reduction of the level of service below the standards set forth in the city’s comprehensive plan for facilities and services. Concurrency approval will be documented in writing by a certificate of concurrency.

L. “Concurrency determination” means a technical study of the impacts on the applicable facilities or services, including forecasted level of service of a proposed land use development using current data and analytical techniques. A comprehensive facility study (e.g., approved traffic study) may be required of the applicant, based on the requirements of this chapter.

M. “Concurrency facilities” means facilities for which concurrency is required in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. These are public rights-of-way, highways, and transportation facilities. The city reserves the ability to amend this section to include public water, sanitary sewer, storm drainage and parks as future facilities subject to the concurrency management system.

N. “Concurrency management system” means the procedures, forms and processes used by the city to evaluate proposed development for compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

O. “Concurrent with development” means the improvements or transportation strategies are in place at the time of building permit issuance or residential preliminary plat approval, or the financial commitment is in place to complete the improvements or strategies within six years.

P. “Conditions of approval” means, as they apply to concurrency evaluation, those conditions necessary to ensure that the proposed development will not cause the transportation level of service to fall below the standards adopted in the comprehensive plan. The conditions of approval shall be binding upon the approval of any permit application for which this chapter is applicable.

Q. “Development” means any construction, reconstruction or any use of real property which requires review and approval of a development permit.

R. “Development permit” means an approval of an application for development authorization, building permit application (including remodel or tenant improvement), planned unit development application, short plat application, preliminary plat application, and project rezone application.

S. “Financial commitment” means any form of binding and enforceable financial obligation which is acceptable to the city, and provided utilizing a two-tiered approach to meeting obligations for concurrency management. The first tier would be made up front prior to project approval. The second tier would be made at the development approval level, when required improvements are accepted by the city. Applicability would depend on the circumstances for the project, providing the city with two financial commitment options which are flexible instead of one.

T. “Impact fee” means the payment of money for a proportional share of the cost of transportation facilities needed to serve new growth and development; imposed by the city upon the development as a condition of issuance of a development permit to mitigate the impacts of the development of facilities on the city, but not including any permit or application fee. Payment of impact fees does not ensure that concurrency has been met.

U. “Level of service (LOS)/transportation” means the relationship between vehicular traffic volumes, roadway capacity, design standards, road conditions, and definition of levels of service as specified in the city’s comprehensive plan.

V. “Mitigation” means methods used to alleviate or lessen the impact of development. Mitigation may be provided in the form of developer requirements or special work designed to alleviate impacts such as redesign of an intersection, opening or closing a street, etc.

W. “Peak hour” means the time period of highest travel on the city’s arterial street system on an average weekday afternoon. For purposes of this chapter, this time period shall be from four p.m. to six p.m.

X. “Peak hour trips” means the number of trips by land use type and land use size which are generated during peak hour as determined by the Trip Generation Manual of the Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE). Other trip generation rate sources approved by the city may be used where ITE data are based on a limited survey base or where there may be special trip generating characteristics of the proposal.

Y. “Peak hour volume to capacity ratio (V/C)” means the volume of actual or projected traffic as measured in number of vehicles per hour in the peak hour divided by the capacity of a roadway or several roadway segments (identified by a screenline) as measured in number of vehicles per hour.

Z. “Reasonably funded” means a project in the currently adopted TIP or other project in the capital facilities element of the comprehensive plan, for which (1) funds are in hand, or (2) the city is expected to have sufficient funds secured for construction within the six-year time frame of the TIP.

AA. “Streets” and “roads” mean public rights-of-way within the city of Walla Walla jurisdiction.

BB. “Traffic study” means a specialized study of the impacts that a certain type and size of development in a specific location will have on the surrounding transportation system. The scope of work for the study will be determined by the city.

CC. “Transportation facilities” means the public infrastructure within the right-of-way to include utilities, curbing, sidewalks, street trees, structures providing ADA accessibility, street lights, storm drainage and other required improvements.

DD. “Transportation improvement program (TIP)” means the currently adopted comprehensive transportation program required by RCW 35.77.010 which consists of a subset of projects contained in the city’s capital improvement program. The TIP is a set of comprehensive street programs/projects which after a public hearing is annually adopted by the city council for the purpose of advancing plans for not less than six years as a guide for carrying out the coordinated transportation/street construction program. The six-year TIP shall contain a small group of capacity projects which will be considered reasonably funded for determining transportation concurrency and impact fees.

The adoption of the six-year TIP will obligate the city to actively pursue funds to implement the capacity component of the transportation improvement program as best possible with the available resources.

EE. “Transportation improvements” means the transportation improvements reasonably necessary to mitigate the cumulative impacts of growth and development.

FF. “Volume to capacity ratio (V/C)” means the volume of actual or projected traffic as measured in vehicles per hour divided by the capacity of the roadway as measured in vehicles per hour. (Ord. 2012-36 § 3, 2012: Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.040 Application for concurrency determination.

A. Any application and accompanying traffic analysis required by this chapter shall be reviewed by the site plan review committee and used to determine the impact on each mobility management zone it affects. A proposal will not be approved under this chapter if there is no concurrency with public facilities as required in this chapter. Additionally, the site plan review committee will determine if mitigation is required and appropriate under this chapter due to lack of concurrency and, if so, whether any mitigation proposed by the developer meets the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.050 Applicability and standards.

This chapter applies to applications for development permits which create ten or more peak hour vehicle trips, or create the need for ten or more off-street parking spaces. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.060 Exemptions.

The following developments are exempt from the requirements of this chapter:

A. New uses, tenant improvements, expansions or changes of use that do not exceed limitations provided in Section 20.51.050.

B. Development that is vested prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter is exempt for the development approval for which vested status is achieved. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.070 Level of service standards.

The level of service standards identified below shall be enforced by the provisions of concurrency management:

A. Roads, Streets and Transportation Facilities. The level of service shall be measured in a manner consistent with the most current version of the Highway Capacity Manual published by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences.

B. Rights-of-way in general shall be assessed in terms of required improvements to include but not be limited to curbing, sidewalks, street trees, structures accommodating ADA accessibility, street lights, storm drainage, signs and signals. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.080 Concurrency management process.

A. The city manager will administer the concurrency management system with the assistance of the site plan review committee.

B. A concurrency review and determination shall be required for the issuance of any development permit that will create ten or more peak hour trips on any roadway, except as provided under Section 20.51.060.

C. A concurrency determination for a new increase in demand for facilities or services will be performed at the time a complete application for the new demand is received by the city.

D. A concurrency determination shall be required for a change in use or modification to an existing building or site if the new use or modification in combination with the existing use generate impacts exceeding thresholds provided in this chapter. For purposes of this chapter, a change in use or modification to an existing building will be subject to a concurrency determination for the new increase in demand for the new facilities only.

E. If development requires more than one development permit, the concurrency determination shall occur prior to the issuance of the first development permit.

F. No reservation of capacity will be approved for a change in use which is otherwise not permitted pursuant to the city’s Zoning Code and official zoning map.

G. A concurrency determination shall be valid as long as the development permit to which it applies is valid, and any change to the proposed development does not change the impact, as measured by the level of service.

H. The impacts of new development will be measured in terms of the capacity removed or added to the level of service standards adopted by the city or as otherwise described in the comprehensive plan.

I. Any development subject to concurrency review shall be granted concurrency approval, if, pursuant to this chapter, an adequate level of service will exist after the development’s facility and service impacts are added to:

1. The sum of existing facility or service usage; and

2. The cumulative impacts of all other development in the city for which development approval or concurrency approval has been granted but which have not been built or occupied; and

3. The cumulative demand for new facilities and services due to developments outside of the city’s boundaries. The capacity of the city’s facilities and services for use in determining concurrency shall include the planned capacity of the projects in the capital facilities element of the comprehensive plan and other adopted facility plans which are reasonably funded.

J. If concurrency approval is granted, the city shall reserve the capacity required for the development at the time of concurrency determination. This capacity shall not be returned to the system unless and until the application is, for whatever reason, denied, rejected, invalidated or abandoned; or the city determines that the reservation of capacity to be rescinded under the provisions of Section 20.51.100 (Certificate of concurrency). Reservation of capacity will only be granted if the development is determined by the city to have a complete application.

K. If the concurrency determination results in a finding that the impacts of the proposed development will cause the city’s overall facilities and services to fall below the adopted standards, the applications for concurrency approval shall not be granted; provided, that the applicant may accept a single ninety-day reservation of available capacity, and within the same ninety-day period, amend the application so that one or more of the following conditions are met and made conditions of approval:

1. Mitigating measures needed to meet the level of service standards are identified in an impact study (e.g., approved traffic study), and the project development provides the financial commitment to guarantee the funding of the approved mitigating measures and the anticipated completion date of construction of the mitigating measures. For city-owned roads, highways and transportation facilities, the completion of construction shall not be more than six years from the date of the development permit approval.

2. The applicant reduces the traffic impacts to achieve an acceptable level of service by a reduction of the size of intensity change in the land use or mix of land uses, delay for the committed facility construction, or phasing the development to match future facility construction.

3. The applicant reduces the impacts to achieve an acceptable level of service by scaling the project down, by reducing the demand for new facilities or by providing ways to utilize facilities that are not at capacity.

L. The city shall provide a written statement of the reason for denying an application under this section. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.090 Concurrency determination.

A. The city’s concurrency determination shall be timely provided to the approving authority for consideration prior to issuance of a decision on a proposal made in accordance with Section 20.14.090.

B. No development authorization or permit may be approved for a project permit proposal for which a concurrency determination is required prior to issuance of a certificate of concurrency. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.100 Certificate of concurrency.

A. A certificate of concurrency shall be issued by the city manager for each application that is granted concurrency approval under this chapter.

B. The city manager shall issue certificates of concurrency first for the earliest application reviewed and approved. Subsequent certificates will be issued in the order of completion of review and approval. The purpose of this section is to enable applicants who are ready for approval to receive a certificate of concurrency, even if their application was submitted after an earlier applicant. It is the city’s intent to treat applications on a first-come, first-served basis, but to use this section to avoid delays in approval of development caused by applicants who are unable to complete the review process of their own action (or inaction).

C. Upon issuance of a certificate of concurrency, the city shall reserve capacity on behalf of the applicant, and indicate the reservation on the certificate of concurrency.

D. A certificate of concurrency shall be valid for the same period of time as the development permit; provided, that concurrency must be achieved no later than six years from the issuance of the development permit.

E. No development shall be required to obtain more than one certificate of concurrency, unless the applicant or subsequent owner proposes changes or modifications to the property location, density, intensity or land use that creates additional impacts on facilities and services.

F. A certificate of concurrency is valid only for a specified parcel on which the development will be built, and is valid only for subsequent development permits on the same parcel, and the new owners of the original parcel for which it was issued. A certificate of concurrency cannot be transferred to a different parcel, and shall be limited to the uses, densities, and intensities for which it was originally issued.

G. Upon subdivision of a parcel that has obtained a certificate of concurrency, the city shall replace the certificate of concurrency by issuing a separate certificate of concurrency to each subdivided parcel, assigning to each a pro rata portion of the concurrency capacity rights of the original certificate. The city manager may modify such assignment upon petition of the owner, or may reject such petition. Any change of use of such subdivided parcels shall require a new determination of concurrency.

H. A certificate of concurrency shall expire if the underlying development permit is revoked or expires.

I. All development permits that require one or more transportation facilities to be provided by the development shall condition the issuance of the permit, and any subsequent permit for the same development, on a financial commitment by the applicant, binding on subsequent owner, for the completion of such transportation facilities. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.110 Monitoring concurrency.

The city shall monitor the cumulative impacts of new development by taking traffic counts annually on selected city streets and roads. All other facilities and services that are subject to concurrency management shall be monitored when they reach the range of seventy-five to eighty percent of the level of service standard. Monitoring will be documented through the annual capacity statement. The annual capacity statement will include any capacity allocated to development which is determined to be exempt under Section 20.51.060. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.120 Fees.

The city shall charge a processing fee as set forth in the current fee ordinance to any individual or entity that requests a concurrency determination. The processing fee shall be nonrefundable and nonassignable to any other fees. All such concurrency processing fees are to be paid in full upon application for concurrency determination. The city manager may establish the amount of the processing fee. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.130 Other authority.

Nothing in this chapter is intended to limit the city’s authority under the State Environmental Policy Act, the Walla Walla Municipal Code or any other source to deny applications or to impose development requirements and conditions. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.140 Severability clause.

If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter should be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of any other section, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).

20.51.150 Appeal.

Any decision to approve, condition or deny a development proposal based on the requirements of this chapter may be appealed in accordance with Chapter 20.38, Closed Record Decisions and Appeals. The city shall reserve any available capacity required by a development during an appeal. (Ord. 2012-09 § 37(part), 2012).