Chapter 21.07


21.07.010    Purpose.

21.07.020    Binding site plan alternative.

21.07.030    Binding site plan procedure.

21.07.031    Pre-application meeting.

21.07.032    Preliminary approval decision criteria.

21.07.033    Phasing, expiration and time extensions for preliminary binding site plan approval.

21.07.040    Development requirements.

21.07.050    Roads.

21.07.060    Public and community sites.

21.07.070    Easements.

21.07.080    Water supply – Health requirement.

21.07.090    Sewage disposal.

21.07.100    Fire protection.

21.07.110    Modifications to approved preliminary binding site plans.

21.07.120    Reserved.

21.07.130    Reserved.

21.07.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish or reference the procedure and requirements for the application, review and approval of preliminary binding site plans. The procedure is intended to provide orderly and expeditious processing of such applications. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.020 Binding site plan alternative.

As an alternative to applying for short subdivision or long subdivision approval, an application for binding site plan approval may be submitted for the following:

(1) Land divisions into lots zoned for industrial or commercial use;

(2) Land divisions for the purpose of creating lease spaces in a mobile home park or RV park when no other residential structures are permitted; and

(3) Land divisions that result from subjecting a portion of a lot to condominium ownership as provided in Chapter 64.32 or 64.34 RCW. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.030 Binding site plan procedure.

Binding site plan applications shall be processed in accordance with Chapter 22.05 WCC, except as otherwise stated in this chapter. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2004-031 § 1; Ord. 2002-017 § 1; Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.031 Pre-application meeting.

Pre-application Meeting Required Pursuant to Chapter 22.05 WCC. Any person contemplating preparation of a preliminary binding site plan application shall submit information required in the department’s administrative manual. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E)).

21.07.032 Preliminary approval decision criteria.

Approval of a preliminary binding site plan shall be accompanied by written findings that:

(1) Appropriate provisions have been made for the public health, safety, and general welfare and for such open spaces, drainage ways, stormwater management, streets or roads, pedestrian and bicycle paths, alleys, other public ways, transit stops, potable water supplies, sanitary wastes, parks and recreation, playgrounds, schools and schoolgrounds and all other relevant facts, including sidewalks and other planning features that assure safe walking conditions for students who only walk to and from school, and the public use and interest will be served by the platting of such binding site plan and dedication; and

(2) The proposal is in conformity with applicable land division, zoning, critical areas, shoreline management, and other land use regulations. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E)).

21.07.033 Phasing, expiration and time extensions for preliminary binding site plan approval.

(1) Approval of a preliminary binding site plan shall become invalid unless a general binding site plan and all specific binding site plans are submitted in proper form for approval, within five years of the date of preliminary binding site plan approval. This expiration date may be extended as follows:

(a) An applicant files a written request with the subdivision administrator prior to expiration of the five-year expiration period. The request shall state the specific work items, standards, and criteria which have not been completed and the reasons therefor. The request shall also indicate when the work will be completed within the requested period. The subdivision administrator shall review the request and provide a recommendation to the hearing examiner.

(b) The hearing examiner shall have authority to grant one one-year extension subsequent to the original preliminary plat approval.

(c) The one-year extension may be granted if, after taking into consideration technical, economic and other matters beyond the control of the applicant, the hearing examiner finds that there is reasonable justification for the granting of an extension.

(d) In granting the one-year extension the hearing examiner shall take into consideration such changes in rules, regulations, ordinances, or development standards, or portions thereof, that have occurred since the time the original approval was granted.

(e) The hearing examiner may condition the extension so as to require compliance with any such subsequently adopted rules, regulations, ordinances, or development standards, or portion thereof, that are deemed necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

(2) As an alternative to being subject to the expiration and time extension rules in subsection (1) of this section, an applicant may seek approval of a phasing plan at the time of preliminary binding site plan approval. A preliminary binding site plan that has been approved with a phasing plan shall expire 10 years from the date of preliminary approval unless Whatcom County establishes a different expiration period at the time of preliminary approval. Each phase submitted after five years from the date of preliminary approval shall comply with the rules, regulations and ordinances in effect as of the date construction plans are submitted for each phase. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E)).

21.07.040 Development requirements.

(1) All binding site plans shall comply with the applicable standards, requirements and procedures of the Whatcom County Development Standards and local, state, and federal laws and regulations. The county, to the extent practicable, will require new land divisions located within city urban growth areas to conform to city development standards, in accordance with adopted interlocal agreements.

(2) Improvements are required to be installed and completed by the subdivider prior to general or specific binding site plan approval, unless security is provided under WCC 21.08.030.

(3) Improvements and other requirements shall be provided to the extent that each specific binding site plan will be adequately served by all roads, utilities, drainage facilities, easements and other amenities necessary to its existence in the event that subsequent phases are not completed. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.050 Roads.

Roads shall be designed with appropriate consideration for existing and projected roads, anticipated traffic patterns, topographic and drainage conditions, public convenience and safety, and the proposed uses of the land served.

(1) Dedications for the realignment and widening of the adjacent rights-of-way, in accordance with county standards, shall take place whenever a binding site plan abuts a county road. Frontage roads or parallel access roads may be required to eliminate direct access to arterial and collector roads.

(2) Frontage improvements to the public roadway(s) adjacent to the subject property shall be completed to the current functional classification prior to recording the general or specific binding site plan, unless security is provided under WCC 21.08.030.

(3) Minor and local access roads should discourage through traffic.

(4) All binding site plans shall abut and be accessed by a constructed and maintained public road or a private road as allowed under the Whatcom County Development Standards. The number of access points shall create efficient on- and off-site circulation patterns and facilitate emergency response. A traffic analysis may be required by the county engineer in order to analyze present and future traffic circulation patterns to determine the appropriate location and number of access points to the site, and to ascertain the appropriate classification and character of the proposed roads.

(5) Where reasonably necessary to join with existing roads or needed for future circulation, road rights-of-way and/or easements shall be extended to the outside boundaries of the binding site plan.

(6) Public road rights-of-way and/or easements shall be extended to the boundaries of binding site plans that abut public lands and public bodies of water, if requested by the administrator of said public lands. Such access roads need not be provided at an interval more frequent than one-half mile.

(7) Private roads may be permitted in a binding site plan when in compliance with the Whatcom County Development Standards. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.060 Public and community sites.

The dedication of sites for schools, parks, and other public or community purposes may be required to the extent that such dedication is suitable to and reasonable for the needs anticipated by full development of the binding site plan. Dedicated school sites must meet the requirements of Chapter 246-366 WAC. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.070 Easements.

(1) Easements shall be provided where applicable for development related facilities.

(2) All easements shown on binding site plans shall include:

(a) The beneficiary of the easement;

(b) The purpose of the easement; and

(c) A clear depiction of the easement (including dimensions) on the face of the binding site plan.

(3) The owner may specify the burdening of the easement. Examples of burdening may include the average daily trips for ingress and egress easements, the equivalent single-family units for water, sewer, and on-site sewage disposal systems, and the maximum peak flow rate expressed in accepted units for drainage easements. The owners of the subservient estates are not entitled to rely upon the county to enforce the limitations of the easements so granted, and no cause of action shall lie against the county for errors or omissions occurring in connection with the administration of, or issuance of, permits for development of properties that burden the easements referred to herein. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.080 Water supply – Health requirement.

(1) Water from a public water system(s) shall be provided to serve each lot or lease space in a binding site plan.

(2) The applicant shall demonstrate that adequate water right(s) exist to serve the binding site plan, except when water withdrawal is exempt from obtaining a water right permit under RCW 90.44.050.

(3) If a group B public water system is created to serve the binding site plan, the number of wells shall be limited to the minimum needed to serve the water needs of the binding site plan as determined by the health department.

(4) All requirements of Chapter 246-290 WAC, Group A Public Water Systems, or Chapter 246-291 WAC, Group B Public Water Systems, must be met prior to specific binding site plan approval. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2004-031 § 1; Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.090 Sewage disposal.

(1) Within urban growth areas, public sewer shall be required in binding site plans unless the on-site sewage disposal requirements of WCC 24.05.220, Developments, subdivisions, and minimum land area requirements, can be met.

(2) Outside of urban growth area and small town Comprehensive Plan designations, binding site plans shall not be approved that require extension or expansion of public sewer except when:

(a) Public sewer is necessary to protect the public health, safety or environment; and

(b) Public sewer is financially supportable at rural densities and does not permit urban development.

(3) On-site sewage disposal systems shall meet the requirements of WCC 24.05.220, Developments, subdivisions, and minimum land area requirements.

(4) All portions of a community on-site sewage system that are held in common ownership shall be constructed and approved prior to specific binding site plan approval. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.100 Fire protection.

Binding site plans shall incorporate adequate capability for fire protection in accordance with sound engineering practices and locally adopted codes and development standards and shall be approved by the county fire marshal. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.110 Modifications to approved preliminary binding site plans.

(1) The technical review committee may approve minor changes to a preliminary binding site plan. In order to qualify as a minor change, the proposal must not adversely impact neighbors or the environment, and the density, uses and basic design of the approved preliminary binding site plan must be maintained.

(2) The hearing examiner or county council, whichever approved the original preliminary binding site plan, may approve major changes to the binding site plan. Major changes are those that, in the opinion of the technical review committee, would adversely impact neighbors or the environment, alter the density, alter the uses or alter the basic design of the preliminary binding site plan. The SEPA official shall review major changes and determine whether the original SEPA determination is still valid or a new determination is required. The hearing examiner or county council shall hold a public hearing prior to issuing the decision. The appropriate city shall be notified of the request and given the opportunity to comment on major changes, if the land division is located within that city’s urban growth area. (Ord. 2018-032 § 1 (Exh. E); Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.120 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 2018-032. (Ord. 2016-045 § 1 Att. A; Ord. 2000-056 § 1).

21.07.130 Reserved.

Repealed by Ord. 2018-032. (Ord. 2000-056 § 1).