City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

Title 17A
Chapter 17A.020
Section 17A.020.010

Title 17A Administration

Chapter 17A.020 Definitions

Section 17A.020.010 “A” Definitions
  1. Abandoned Sign Structure.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Aboveground Storage Tank or AST.

Any one or connected combination of tanks that is used to contain an accumulation of liquid critical materials and the aggregate volume of which (including the volume of piping connected thereto) is more than sixty gallons and the entire exterior surface area of the tank is above the ground and is able to be fully visually inspected. Tanks located in vaults or buildings that are to be visually inspected are considered to be aboveground tanks.

  1. Accepted.

A project for which the required plans have been found to be technically adequate.

  1. Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

An accessory dwelling unit is a separate additional living unit, including separate kitchen, sleeping, and bathroom facilities, attached or detached from the primary residential unit, on a single-family lot. ADUs are known variously as:

  1. “Mother-in-law apartments,”
  1. “Accessory apartments,” or
  1. “Second units.”
  1. Accessory Structure.

A structure of secondary importance or function on a site. In general, the primary use of the site is not carried on in an accessory structure.

  1. Accessory structures may be attached or detached from the primary structure.
  1. Examples of accessory structures include:
      1. Garages,
      1. Decks,
      1. Fences,
      1. Trellises,
      1. Flagpoles,
      1. Stairways,
      1. Heat pumps,
      1. Awnings, and
      1. Other structures.
  1. See also SMC 17A.020.160 (“Primary Structure”).
  1. Accessory Use.

A use or activity which is a subordinate part of a primary use and which is clearly incidental to a primary use on a site.

  1. Activity.

See Regulated Activity.

  1. Administrative Decision.

A permit decision by an officer authorized by the local government. The decision may be for approval, denial, or approval with conditions and is subject to the applicable development standards of the land use codes or development codes.

  1. Adult Bookstore or Adult Video Store.
  1. A commercial establishment which, as one of its principal business activities, offers for sale or rental for any form of consideration any one or more of the following: books, magazines, periodicals or other printed matter, or photographs, films, motion pictures, video cassettes, compact discs, digital video discs, slides, or other visual representations which are characterized by their emphasis upon the display of “specified anatomical areas,” as defined in SMC 17A.020.190, or “specified sexual activities,” as defined in SMC 17A.020.190. A “principal business activity” exists where the commercial establishment meets any one or more of the following criteria:
  1. At least thirty percent of the establishment’s displayed merchandise consists of said items; or
  1. At least thirty percent of the retail value (defined as the price charged to customers) of the establishment’s displayed merchandise consists of said items; or
  1. At least thirty percent of the establishment’s revenues derive from the sale or rental, for any form of consideration, of said items; or
  1. The establishment maintains at least thirty percent of its floor space for the display, sale, and/or rental of said items (aisles and walkways used to access said items, as well as cashier stations where said items are rented or sold, shall be included in “floor space maintained for the display, sale, and/or rental of said items”); or
  1. The establishment maintains at least five hundred square feet of its floor space for the display, sale, and/or rental of said items (aisles and walkways used to access said items, as well as cashier stations where said items are rented or sold, shall be included in “floor space maintained for the display, sale, and/or rental of said items”); or
  1. The establishment regularly offers for sale or rental at least two thousand of said items; or
  1. The establishment regularly features said items and regularly advertises itself or holds itself out, in any medium, by using “adult,” “XXX,” “sex,” “erotic,” or substantially similar language, as an establishment that caters to adult sexual interests.
  1. For purposes of this definition, the term “floor space” means the space inside an establishment that is visible or accessible to patrons, excluding restrooms.
  1. Adult Business.

An “adult bookstore or adult video store,” an “adult entertainment establishment,” or a “sex paraphernalia store.”

  1. Adult Entertainment Establishment.
  1. An “adult entertainment establishment” is an enclosed building, or any portion thereof, used for presenting performances, activities, or material relating to “specified sexual activities” as defined in SMC 17A.020.190 or “specified anatomical areas” as defined in SMC 17A.020.190 for observation by patrons therein.
  1. A motion picture theater is considered an adult entertainment establishment if the preponderance of the films presented is distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on the depicting or describing of "specified sexual activities" or "specified anatomical areas."
  1. A hotel or motel providing overnight accommodations is not considered an adult entertainment establishment merely because it provides adult closed circuit television programming in its rooms for its registered overnight guests.
  1. Adult Family Home.

A residential use as defined and licensed by the state of Washington in a dwelling unit.

  1. Agency or Agencies.

The adopting jurisdiction(s), depending on the context.

  1. Agricultural Activities.
    1. Pursuant to WAC 173-26-020(3)(a), agricultural uses and practices including, but not limited to:
  1. Producing, breeding, or increasing agricultural products;
  1. Rotating and changing agricultural crops;
  1. Allowing land used for agricultural activities to lie fallow in which it is plowed and tilled but left unseeded;
  1. Allowing land used for agricultural activities to lie dormant as a result of adverse agricultural market conditions;
  1. Allowing land used for agricultural activities to lie dormant because the land is enrolled in a local, state, or federal conservation program, or the land is subject to a conservation easement;
  1. Conducting agricultural operations; maintaining, repairing, and replacing agricultural equipment;
  1. Maintaining, repairing, and replacing agricultural facilities, provided that the replacement facility is not closer to the shoreline than the original facility; and
  1. Maintaining agricultural lands under production or cultivation.
    1. The City of Spokane shoreline master program defines agriculture activities as:
  1. Low-intensity agricultural use is defined as passive grazing and plant cultivation; or
  1. High-intensity agricultural use includes such activities as feedlots, feed mills, packing plants, agricultural processing plants or warehouse for the purpose of processing, packing, and storage of agricultural products.
  1. Agricultural Land.

Areas on which agricultural activities are conducted as of the date of adoption of the updated shoreline master program pursuant to the State shoreline guidelines as evidenced by aerial photography or other documentation. After the effective date of the SMP, land converted to agricultural use is subject to compliance with the requirements herein.

  1. AKART.

An acronym for “all known, available, and reasonable methods to control toxicants” as used in the sense of the state Water Pollution Control Act and RCW 90.48.520 thereof. AKART shall represent the most current methodology that can be reasonably required for preventing, controlling, or abating the pollutants associated with a discharge. The concept of AKART applies to both point and nonpoint sources of pollution.

  1. Alkali Wetlands.

Alkali wetlands means wetlands characterized by the occurrence of shallow saline water. In eastern Washington, these wetlands contain surface water with specific conductance that exceeds three thousand micromhos/cm. They have unique plants and animals that are not found anywhere else in eastern Washington such as the alkali bee. Conditions within these wetlands cannot be easily reproduced through compensatory mitigation.

  1. All Weather Surface.

A road surface which emergency vehicles and typical passenger vehicles can pass in all types of weather.  If unpaved, the top course should be six inches minimum of compacted crushed rock meeting standards for a roadway surface.

  1. Alley.

See “Public Way” (SMC 17A.020.160).

  1. Alteration.

A physical change to a structure or site.

  1. Alteration does not include normal maintenance and repair or total demolition.
  1. Alteration does include the following:
      1. Changes to the facade of a building.
      1. Changes to the interior of a building.
      1. Increases or decreases in floor area of a building; or
      1. Changes to other structures on the site, or the development of new structures.
  1. Alteration of Plat, Short Plat, or Binding Site Plan.

The alteration of a previously recorded plat, short plat, binding site plan, or any portion thereof, that results in a change to conditions of approval or the deletion of existing lots or the change of plat or lot restrictions or dedications that are shown on the recorded plat. An alteration does not include a boundary line adjustment subject to SMC 17G.080.030.

  1. Alteration of Watercourse.

Any action that will change the location of the channel occupied by water within the banks of any portion of a riverine waterbody.

  1. Alternative or Post-incarceration Facility.

A group living use where the residents are on probation or parole.

  1. [Deleted]
  1. [Deleted]
  1. [Deleted]
  1. API 653.

The American Petroleum Institute’s standards for tank inspection, repair, alteration, and reconstruction.

  1. Appeal.

A request for review of the interpretation of any provision of Title 17 SMC.

  1. Appeal – Standing For.

As provided under RCW 36.70C.060, persons who have standing are limited to the following:

  1. The applicant and the owner of property to which the land use decision is directed; and
  1. Another person aggrieved or adversely affected by the land use decision, or who would be aggrieved or adversely affected by a reversal or modification of the land use decision. A person is aggrieved or adversely affected within the meaning of this section only when all of the following conditions are present:
      1. The land use decision has prejudiced or is likely to prejudice that person;
      1. That person’s asserted interests are among those that the local jurisdiction was required to consider when it made the land use decision;
      1. A judgment in favor of that person would substantially eliminate or redress the prejudice to that person caused or likely to be caused by the land use decision; and
      1. The petitioner has exhausted his or her administrative remedies to the extent required by law (RCW 36.70C.060).
  1. Applicant.

An application for a permit, certificate, or approval under the land use codes must be made by or on behalf of all owners of the land and improvements. “Owners” are all persons having a real property interest. Owners include:

    1. Holder of fee title or a life estate;
    1. Holder of purchaser’s interest in a sale contract in good standing;
    1. Holder of seller’s interest in a sale contract in breach or in default;
    1. Grantor of deed of trust;
    1. Presumptively, a legal owner and a taxpayer of record;
    1. Fiduciary representative of an owner;
    1. Person having a right of possession or control; or
    1. Any one of a number of co-owners, including joint, in common, by entireties, and spouses as to community property.
  1. Application – Complete.

An application that is both counter-complete and determined to be substantially complete as set forth in SMC 17G.060.090.

  1. Aquaculture.

The farming or culture of food fish, shellfish, or other aquatic plants or animals in freshwater or saltwater areas, and may require development such as fish hatcheries, rearing pens and structures, and shellfish rafts, as well as use of natural spawning and rearing areas. Aquaculture does not include the harvest of free-swimming fish or the harvest of shellfish not artificially planted or maintained, including the harvest of wild stock geoducks on DNR-managed lands.

  1. Aquatic Life.

Shall mean all living organisms, whether flora or fauna, in or on water.

  1. Aquifer or Spokane Aquifer.

A subterranean body of flowing water, also known as the Spokane-Rathdrum Aquifer, that runs from Pend Oreille Lake to the Little Spokane River.

  1. Aquifer Sensitive Area (ASA).

That area or overlay zone from which runoff directly recharges the aquifer, including the surface over the aquifer itself and the hillside areas immediately adjacent to the aquifer. The area is shown in the map adopted as part of SMC 17E.050.260.

  1. Aquifer Water Quality Indicators.

Common chemicals used for aquifer water quality screening. These are:

    1. Calcium,
    1. Magnesium,
    1. Sodium,
    1. Total hardness,
    1. Chloride,
    1. Nitrate-nitrogen, and
    1. Phosphorus.
  1. Archaeological Areas and Historical Sites.

Sites containing material evidence of past human life, such as structures and tools and/or cultural sites with past significant historical events. These sites are a nonrenewable resource and provided a critical educational link with the past.

  1. Architectural feature.

Ornamental or decorative feature attached to or protruding from an exterior wall or roof, including cornices, eaves, belt courses, sills, lintels, bay windows, chimneys, and decorative ornaments.

  1. Architectural Roof Structure.

Minor tower or turret extending from the cornice or main roof line of a building, typically highlighting a primary corner or building entry. For purposes of the FBC, such features may not be occupied.

    1. Area of Shallow Flooding.

A designated AO or AH Zone on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

    1. The base flood depths range from one to three feet.
    1. A clearly defined channel does not exist.
    1. The path of flooding is unpredictable and indeterminate.
    1. Velocity flow may be evident.
    1. AO is characterized as sheet flow and AH indicates ponding.
  1. Area of Shallow Flooding.

A designated AO or AH Zone on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

    1. The base flood depths range from one to three feet.
    1. A clearly defined channel does not exist.
    1. The path of flooding is unpredictable and indeterminate.
    1. Velocity flow may be evident.
    1. AO is characterized as sheet flow and AH indicates ponding.
  1. Area of Special Flood Hazard.

The land in the floodplain within a community subject to a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year. Designation on maps always includes the letters A or V.

  1. Arterial.


    1. “Principal Arterials” – SMC 17A.020.160,
    1. “Minor Arterials” – SMC 17A.020.130, or
    1. “Collector Arterial” – SMC 17A.020.030.
  1. Articulation.

The emphasis of architectural elements, such as windows, balconies, and entries that create a complementary pattern or rhythm, dividing the buildings into smaller identifiable pieces.

  1. Assisted Living Facility.

A multi-family residential use licensed by the state of Washington as a boarding home pursuant to chapter 18.20 RCW, for people who have either a need for assistance with activities of daily living (which are defined as eating, toileting, ambulation, transfer [e.g., moving from bed to chair or chair to bath], and bathing) or some form of cognitive impairment but who do not need the skilled critical care provided by nursing homes.

    1. An "assisted living facility" contains multiple assisted living units.
    1. An assisted living unit is a dwelling unit permitted only in an assisted living facility.
  1. Attached Housing.

Two or more dwelling units that are single-family residences on individual lots attached by a common wall at a shared property line. These include:

    1. Townhouses,
    1. Row houses, and
    1. Other similar structures
  1. Attached Structure.

Any structure that is attached by a common wall to a dwelling unit.

  1. The common wall must be shared for at least fifty percent of the length of the side of the principal dwelling.
  1. A breezeway is not considered a common wall.
  1. Structures including garages, carports, and house additions attached to the principal dwelling unit with a breezeway are still detached structures for purposes of this chapter and its administration.
  1. Available Capacity.

Capacity for a concurrency facility that currently exists for use without requiring facility construction, expansion, or modification (RCW 76.70A.020).

  1. Average Grade Level.

Means the average of the natural or existing topography of the portion of the lot, parcel, or tract of real property on that part of the lot to be occupied by the building or structure as measured by averaging the elevations at the center of all exterior walls of the proposed structure.

  1. Awning

A roof-like cover, often made of fabric or metal, designed and intended for protection from the weather or as a decorative embellishment, and which projects from a wall or roof of a structure over a window, walk, or door.

Date Passed: Monday, October 25, 2021

Effective Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021

ORD C36117 Section 1