2020/2021 Unified Development Code Maintenance


A Plan Commission Hearing on proposed Phase 1 Unified Development Code (UDC) Maintenance is scheduled for hearing February 24, 2021. Proposed amendment draft and other hearing materials are listed below.

Please note that the Plan Commission hearing dates are subject to change and may be continued. Plan Commission agendas, when available, can be viewed on the Plan Commission webpage.

Plan Commission Meeting Materials


City of Spokane Planning Services is the lead on proposed amendments to the Unified Development Code, more familiarly known as the Spokane Municipal Code (SMC). Maintenance projects are conducted periodically; this is the fifth such effort over the past two decades. To help understand the types of changes that are recommended, the amendments are generally categorized under three types.

The three types are:

  • Minor: These include changes such as corrections to cross references from Title 11, typically repealed sections of chapter 11.19 found in Title 1. In some cases, the amendments include striking redundant phrasing or inaccurate word choice without changing meaning or substance.
  • Clarification: These include changes such as fixing conflicting provisions within the code or fixing code provisions that were either oversights or mistakes when the code was adopted.
  • Substantive: These include changes such as adjusting permitted uses, adjusting a development standard, or improving the practical application of the code.

The current Proposal is classified as “clean up,” likely taking place in three phases from 2020-2021. Phase I addresses minor changes and specifically amends Spokane Municipal Code (SMC): Chapter 04.13 Administrative Agencies and Procedures, Section 04.13.015 Design Review Board Purpose; Chapter 17C.110 Residential Zones, Section 17C.110.100; Residential Zones Primary Uses; Limited Uses (L) and Conditional Uses (CU); Chapter 17C.124, Section 17C.124.110  Downtown Zones; Limited Use Standards; Industrial Limitation; Chapter 17C.220, Land Use Standards, Section 17C.220.060 Off-site impacts, Noise; Chapter 17E.050 SEPA Article III, Section 17.050.080 Categorical Exemptions-Applicability, Chapter 17F.010, Construction Standards General Provisions, Section 17F.010.050 Notice of Hearing; Chapter 17F.040 Building Code, Section 17F.040.140 Awnings; Chapter 17G.040 Design Review Board Administration and Procedures, Section 17G.040.040 Design Review Criteria; Chapter 17G.060 Administration and Procedures, Section 17G.060.020 Administration; Chapter 17G.070 Planned Unit Developments, Section 17G.070.220 Vesting; Chapter 17G.080 Subdivisions, Section 17G.080.070 Subdivision Design Standards.

Phase I amendments are intended to remove references to repealed SMC chapters or sections, redundant phrases, and other minor clean up actions such as typographical errors.

Summary of Proposed Amendments

  • Amend Section 04.13.015 to replace “development standards” with “design standards.”
  • Amend Section 17C.110.100 to replace “Design Criteria” with “Decision Criteria.”
  • Amend Section 17C.124.110 to remove redundant phrasing regarding Limited Industrial uses are allowed, striking through a second phrase stating that “only limited industrial uses are allowed.”
  • Amend Section 17C.220.060 to update and remove obsolete cross reference to 10.08.020 and replace with SMC 10.08D.090 Public Disturbance Noise.
  • Update Section 17E.050.080 to replace the term “special use permit” with current conditional use permit terminology.
  • Update 17F.010.050 to remove reference to repealed Chapter 11.11 and update references to department names to reflect current Developer Services department.
  • Amend Section 17F.040.140 Building Code to remove reference to obsolete International Building Code regarding awnings.
  • Update 17G.040.040(B) Design Review Criteria to amend location of Design Review Application Handbook and summary of contents.
  • Update 17G.060.020(A)(3) Director of Planning Services to accurately reflect SMC Title names and remove cross-reference to repealed Title 11 chapters.
  • Update 17G.060.070(B)(5)(c) Planned Unit Developments with amendments removing cross reference to repealed chapter 11.19 and replacing with reference to Title 17.
  • Update section 17G.070.220(A) Planned Unit Developments, vesting with amendments removing cross reference to repealed Title 11 and replacing with reference to Title 17.
  • Update section 17G.080.070(C)(5) Design of Lots and Blocks with amendments removing cross reference to repealed chapter 11.19 and replacing with reference to Title 17.

Proposed Amendments

SEPA Status

The proposed amendments are categorically exempt from SEPA.

Legislative Process

A briefing before the Spokane Plan Commission was held on September 23 and November 11, 2020. Amendments will proceed through the regular Plan Commission and City Council Adoption process which includes opportunities for public comment and testimony.

A Plan Commission hearing regarding these amendments has been rescheduled for January 21, 2021; a special meeting agenda will be made available January 19.

Please note that the Plan Commission hearing date is subject to change and may be continued. Plan Commission agendas, when available, can be viewed on the Plan Commission webpage.

City Council scheduling is anticipated in second quarter of 2021.

Helpful links to the current codes under consideration for amendment:

Should you have questions or concerns or wish to enter comment into the public record prior to the public hearing, please submit your comments regarding these proposed actions to Amanda Beck at:
Email:: abeck@spokanecity.org
By mail: Attn: Amanda Beck, Assistant Planner
808 West Spokane Falls Boulevard
Spokane, WA 99201-3333

Contact Information

Melissa Wittstruck
Assistant Planner