Code Amendments

Code Amendments


The Planning Department is responsible for amending and updating the City's land development regulations.  Development regulations in the Snohomish Municipal Code are found within Title 14.

Development regulations are intended to implement and be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan goals and policies.  Proposed amendments to the development code are first considered at a public hearing by the Planning Commission, which makes a recommendation to the City Council.  The City Council typically holds a second public hearing before taking action on a code amendment.  All development code amendments are adopted by City Council ordinance.

Amendments to the development code may be initiated by the City Council, the Planning Commission, staff, or citizens. 

Find links to our current codes on the Code Compliance page.

Dimensional and Other Requirements (Chapter 14.210 SMC)

This code amendment is proposed to clarify, reorganize, and clean up the chapter regulating dimensional standards such as setbacks, open space, and building heights (Chapter 14.210 SMC).  The intent is to consolidate dimensional regulations, remove redundant language, and generally make the chapter easier to read, understand, and administer.


Associated is a proposal to adopt a new height limit for detached accessory structures within the regular setback area.  The proposal is for a 16-foot height limit for garages, sheds, carports, and other accessory buildings, and a 30-foot height limit if the building contains an accessory dwelling unit.  Also proposed is a one-foot reduction in the rear setback for accessory buildings that gain vehicular access from an alley.


The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider these changes at 6pm on Wednesday, September 7th at the Carnegie Building, 105 Cedar Avenue.  Community members can also attend remotely online or via telephone.  Information on how to attend will be included in the agenda packet.  Go to the Agenda Center to download the packet on Friday, September 2nd.


View a matrix showing all proposed changes here.

Land use tables (Chapter 14.207 SMC)

In November 2021, the City Council adopted interim zoning regulations prohibiting the establishment of new uses in the City’s commercial zones that were potentially “undesirable”.  A use is undesirable if it does not generate adequate tax revenue for the city, provide for living wage jobs and housing options, or only benefits a limited number of community members.

 

The Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing to consider permanent zoning regulations to replace the interim regulations.  That hearing will be at 6pm on Wednesday, April 6th at the Carnegie Building, 105 Cedar Avenue.  Community members can also attend remotely online or via telephone.  Information on how to do that will be included with the agenda packet.  Go to the Agenda Center to download the packet on Friday, April 1st.


At the same time the Planning Commission considers limiting the permitted uses in commercial zones, they will also be considering a staff proposal to consolidate the current nine permitted land use tables in Chapter 14.207 SMC into five tables and reducing the number of land uses in those tables by 30%; from 189 to 132.

 

Some of the currently allowed uses that the draft proposal would prohibit include the following:

  • In the Commercial zone
    • Farm product refrigeration/storage and warehousing;
    • Freight and cargo service;
    • Self-service storage;
    • Warehousing;
    • Heavy machinery and equipment;
    • Industrial and commercial machinery;
    • Recreational vehicle park;
    • Raising livestock, small animals; and
    • Jail
  • In the Midtown Districtzone
    • Places of Worship
  • In the Business Parkzone
    • Raising livestock, small animals; and
    • Mineral extraction
  • In the Historic Business Districtzone
    • Freight and cargo service
  • In the Pilchuck District Centerzone
    • Religious assembly

Click the links below to download the draft tables that the Planning Commission will be considering:

The City Council will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation at a public hearing on Tuesday, April 19.

Code Interpretations

The Land Use Development Code, Title 14 of the Snohomish Municipal Code (SMC), authorizes the Planning Director to interpret the code where it is unclear or contradictory.  The Director is also authorized to determine whether a land use is allowed when that land use isn't specifically listed in any land use table.


The Director must issue a written interpretation to formalize that determination in order to establish a clear precedent.  This authority and relevant rules for code interpretations are found in SMC 14.05.050 and SMC 14.207.060.


Previous Interpretations