Chapter 15.01


15.01.010    Title and authority.

15.01.020    Jurisdiction.

15.01.030    Purpose and intent.

15.01.040    Applicability.

15.01.050    Compliance.

15.01.060    Conflict of provisions.

15.01.070    Severability.

15.01.080    Number and gender.

15.01.010 Title and authority.

Yakima Municipal Code (YMC) Title 15, codified in YMC Chapters 15.01 through 15.31 of this code, shall be known as the Yakima urban area zoning ordinance (UAZO). The Yakima urban zoning ordinance is enacted under authority granted to the city of Yakima by Article XI, Section II, of the Washington State Constitution and RCW 36.70. (Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2008-46 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 2947 § 1 (part), 1986).

15.01.020 Jurisdiction.

A.    Generally. This title is enacted and administered separately by the city of Yakima for lands and uses located within the city limits of the city of Yakima.

B.    Yakima Urban Area Boundary. For purposes of this title, the Yakima urban growth area is hereby officially declared to be that area bounded and described:

1.    On the official zoning maps adopted in accordance with YMC 15.03.030; and

2.    In the “Yakima Urban Growth Area Legal Description” codified at the end of this title as Appendix A and hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this title. In cases of conflict between the official zoning maps and the official legal description, the official legal description shall control.

C.    Terminology. Unless the context clearly implies some other meaning, references to “county,” “city,” or similar terms in this title refer either to Yakima County or the city of Yakima, whichever entity has jurisdiction over the particular land use proposal or other item involved or affected. In no event shall such references be construed to require, directly or indirectly, action by both entities or their respective officials or agencies. References to “legislative body,” “administrative official,” “department of community development director,” “hearing examiner” or other official or agency under this title mean those officials or agencies of the city of Yakima or Yakima County, whichever entity has jurisdiction. (Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2008-46 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 2002-01 § 1, 2002; Ord. 2947 § 1 (part), 1986).

15.01.030 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this title is to implement the Yakima urban area comprehensive plan and promote the general health, safety and welfare of present and future inhabitants of the Yakima urban growth area. The goals and policies of the urban area comprehensive plan will be used for interpretation and implementation. These goals are accomplished in many ways, including:

1.    Achieving public and private land use decisions consistent with the policies and objectives of the Yakima urban area comprehensive plan;

2.    Dividing the Yakima urban area into districts according to the use of land and structures and the intensity of such use;

3.    Encouraging the location and use of structures and land for commerce, industry and residences in districts where they are compatible with neighboring land uses;

4.    Encouraging development in areas where adequate public services including water and sewer, police and fire protection, roads, and schools can be provided; and limiting development in areas where these facilities are not provided;

5.    Securing economy in local governmental expenditures;

6.    Encouraging innovative site design;

7.    Providing for adequate privacy, light, air, and view;

8.    Promoting development within the Yakima urban growth area that is cost-effective to build and maintain;

9.    Reducing the time required for public review of proposed projects;

10.    Protecting existing land uses and property values from adverse impacts of adjoining developments;

11.    Reducing traffic danger and congestion on roads and highways;

12.    Minimizing public and private losses due to flooding.

This title is designed to be flexible and intentionally increases the potential uses or choices available to individual property owners. This flexibility is balanced by procedures and standards based on the Yakima urban area comprehensive plan designed to guard against and mitigate undue adverse impacts and to protect individual neighborhoods and the community’s general welfare. Both concepts are essential to this title and declared necessary for the promotion of the general health, safety and welfare.

Further, this title divides all the land within the unincorporated portion of the Yakima urban area and the city of Yakima into zoning districts. Each zoning district has an intent statement that clearly defines the district’s purpose, identifies the general character of the area within the district, and establishes policies to be achieved by development in the district. Distinctions between each district are significant and based on the Yakima urban area comprehensive plan. The intent statements serve as a guide to the administration and interpretation of this title and are declared to be an official statement of legislative finding and purpose. (Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2008-46 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 2947 § 1 (part), 1986).

15.01.040 Applicability.

A.    Except as exempted, no “use” or “development,” or “modification of use or development,” as those terms are defined, may be established, placed, performed, constructed, or implemented, in whole or in part, without a permit. The permit required by this title is called a “development permit.” Yakima Municipal Code Chapters 15.11 and 15.12 contain provisions governing such permits and applications for permits. The following uses and modifications are exempt from review and permit requirements; provided, that they do not conflict with the requirements of a previously issued permit:

1.    Normal structural repair and maintenance;

2.    Changes to conforming structures which do not involve “structural alteration” as that term is defined by this title;

3.    Rehabilitation of dwelling units, when such rehabilitation does not expand the number of units nor physically expand the structure;

4.    Accessory structures (YMC 15.04.060) otherwise meeting the specific development standards and other requirements of this title and which do not require a building permit under the provisions of the applicable building code as adopted by the city;

5.    Exempt signs;

6.    Yard sales meeting the requirements of YMC 15.04.090;

7.    Alterations to land including grading, leveling, paving and excavation, the fair market value of which does not exceed five hundred dollars or fifty cubic yards;

8.    Sitescreening and landscaping; and

9.    All grading, construction of private or public roads, landscaping, construction of sewer, wastewater facilities, water, electrical, and other utilities pursuant to an approved and valid short or long subdivision regulating such improvements.

B.    Uses of Lands Are Regulated by This Title. (See YMC 15.02.020 defining “use,” “accessory use,” “structure,” “site improvement,” and “development.”) Title 15 regulates such uses in the following ways:

1.    By specific development standards which must be met (see YMC Chapters 15.05, 15.06, 15.07, 15.08, and 15.09). Some of the development standards are designed to be administratively adjusted to accommodate the purpose and intent of the zoning district involved and allow flexibility of development. (See YMC 15.10.020.)

2.    By prior review of more significant uses to allow general policies and standards to be applied; to assure compliance with the purpose and intent of this title; and to allow more flexibility of development and use. (See YMC 15.01.030.) Different types of review procedures (Type (1), (2), or (3)) (see YMC Chapters 15.13, 15.14, and 15.15) are established for different categories or classes of uses (Class (1), (2), or (3)). The type of review is generally determined by the classification of the use involved under the use chart contained in Table 4-1 (see YMC Chapter 15.04). Accessory uses are also subject to the review processes and development standards.

C.    New and Existing Uses Regulated. Both uses established before and after the adoption of this title are regulated, but are treated differently depending on their status under this title. Permitted uses are established by Table 4-1, which determines which particular uses are allowed, and the degree of compatibility of the land use in a given zoning district. Uses and development are reviewed under Type (1), (2), or (3) processes, and if approved are called “approved uses.”

Previous uses whose principal use would be permitted in the zoning district in which it is located are called “existing uses.” Existing uses are allowed to continue even though they have not been through the regular review procedures of this title and may not fully comply with the development standards of this title. Such uses may be reestablished as they previously existed if damaged or destroyed (see YMC Chapter 15.18). Previously established uses which were legally established prior to the adoption of this title, but which have a principal use which would not be permitted in the zoning district in which it was located, are called “nonconforming uses.” Such uses are allowed to continue, but are subject to more restrictions (see YMC Chapter 15.19).

D.    Changes and Alterations to Uses and Development. Changes and alterations to approved, existing, or nonconforming uses or development are also regulated by this title and are called “modifications.” Certain nominal modifications to “approved” or “existing uses” are exempt. Other modifications to “approved” or “existing uses” which are minor and meet certain criteria can be administratively approved with minimal review. Procedures for such modifications are contained in YMC Chapter 15.17. More significant changes to “approved” or “existing” uses and development, which do not meet the exemptions or administrative approval criteria of YMC Chapter 15.17, must be reviewed using the normal Type (1), (2), or (3) review procedures of this title. Modifications to nonconforming uses are regulated by YMC Chapter 15.19. (Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2008-46 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 2947 § 1 (part), 1986).

15.01.050 Compliance.

No structure, land, or use shall hereafter be constructed, erected, maintained, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted, or demolished except as authorized by the terms of this title. (Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2008-46 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 2947 § 1 (part), 1986).

15.01.060 Conflict of provisions.

In the case of conflicts between parts of this title and other rules, regulations, resolutions, ordinances or statutes lawfully adopted by the city, the most restrictive shall govern. In the case of conflicts between the text, maps and tables of this title, the text shall govern unless otherwise stated. (Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2008-46 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 2947 § 1 (part), 1986).

15.01.070 Severability.

This title is declared to be severable. If any division, chapter, section, paragraph, clause or other portion or any part adopted by reference is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the title, nor shall it affect the application of such portion of the zoning ordinance to other property, uses, or structures. (Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2008-46 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 2947 § 1 (part), 1986).

15.01.080 Number and gender.

Words designating the singular number may also be applied to the plural of persons and things; words designating the plural may also be applied to the singular; words designating the masculine gender may be extended to that of the female; and words designating the feminine gender may be extended to that of the male. (Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2008-46 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 2947 § 1 (part), 1986).