City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

***Note: Many local criminal codes can now be located under Chapter 10.60 SMC while others are now cited under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which was incorporated into the municipal code in 2022. (See SMC 10.58.010). Code Enforcement, including Noise Control and Animal Regulations are located in Chapters 10.62 through 10.74.

Title 17A
Chapter 17A.020
Section 17A.020.030

Title 17A Administration

Chapter 17A.020 Definitions

Section 17A.020.030 ā€œCā€ Definitions
  1. Candidate Species.

A species of fish or wildlife, which is being reviewed, for possible classification as threatened or endangered.

  1. Carport.

A carport is a garage not entirely enclosed on all sides by sight-obscuring walls and/or doors.

  1. Cellular Telecommunications Facility.

They consist of the equipment and structures involved in receiving telecommunication or radio signals from mobile radio communications sources and transmitting those signals to a central switching computer that connects the mobile unit with the land-based telephone lines.

  1. Central Business District.

The general phrase “central business district” refers to the area designated on the comprehensive plan as the “downtown” and includes all of the area encompassed by all of the downtown zoning categories combined.

  1. Certificate of Appropriateness.

Written authorization issued by the commission or its designee permitting an alteration or significant change to the controlled features of a landmark or landmark site after its nomination has been approved by the commission.

  1. Certificate of Capacity.

A document issued by the planning and economic development services department indicating the quantity of capacity for each concurrency facility that has been reserved for a specific development project on a specific property. The document may have conditions and an expiration date associated with it.

  1. Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead (CESCL).

An individual who is knowledgeable in the principles and practices of erosion and sediment control. The CESCL shall have the skills to assess the:

    1. site conditions and construction activities that could impact the quality of stormwater, and
    1. effectiveness of erosion and sediment control measures used to control the quality of stormwater discharges.

The CESCL shall have current certification through an approved erosion and sediment control training program that meets the minimum training standards established by the Washington State department of ecology.

  1. Change of Use.

For purposes of modification of a preliminary plat, “change of use” shall mean a change in the proposed use of lots (e.g., residential to commercial).

  1. Channel Migration Zone (CMZ).

A corridor of variable width that includes the current river plus adjacent area through which the channel has migrated or is likely to migrate within a given timeframe, usually one hundred years.

  1. Channelization.

The straightening, relocation, deepening, or lining of stream channels, including construction of continuous revetments or levees for the purpose of preventing gradual, natural meander progression.

  1. City.

The City of Spokane, Washington.

  1. City Engineer.
    1. The Director of the Engineering Services department, or their designee for approval authority.
  1. Clear Street Width.

The width of a street from curb to curb minus the width of on-street parking lanes.

  1. Clear Pedestrian Zone.

Area reserved for pedestrian traffic; typically included herein as a portion of overall sidewalk width to be kept clear of obstructions to foot traffic.

  1. Clear View Triangle.

A clear view maintained within a triangular space at the corner of a lot so that it does not obstruct the view of travelers upon the streets.

    1. Intersection of two local streets: A right isosceles triangle having sides of fifty feet measured along the curb line of each intersecting residential street.

        Description automatically generated

    1. Intersection of local and arterial: A right triangle having a fifteen-foot side measured along the curb line of the residential street and a seventy-five foot side along the curb line of the intersecting arterial street, except that when the arterial street has a speed limit of thirty-five miles per hour, the triangle has a side along such arterial of one hundred twenty-two feet, or when the arterial speed limit is 40 mph or greater the dimensions of the triangle shall be determined by Street Department staff using AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design as a reference.

        Description automatically generated

    1. Alleys: A right isosceles triangle having sides of seven feet measured along the right-of-way line of an alley and:
  1. the inside line of the sidewalk; or
  1. if there is no sidewalk, a line seven feet inside the curb line.

        Description automatically generated

  1. Clear Zone.

The roadside area free of obstacles, starting at the edge of the traveled way.

  1. Clearing.

The removal of vegetation or plant cover by manual, chemical, or mechanical means. Clearing includes, but is not limited to, actions such as cutting, felling, thinning, flooding, killing, poisoning, girdling, uprooting, or burning.

  1. Cliffs.
  1. A type of habitat in the Washington department of fish and wildlife (WDFW) priority habitat and species system that is considered a priority due to its limited availability, unique species usage, and significance as breeding habitat. Cliffs are greater than twenty-five feet high and below five thousand feet elevation.
  1. A “cliff” is a steep slope of earth materials, or near vertical rock exposure. Cliffs are categorized as erosion landforms due to the processes of erosion and weathering that produce them. Structural cliffs may form as the result of fault displacement or the resistance of a cap rock to uniform downcutting. Erosional cliffs form along shorelines or valley walls where the most extensive erosion takes place at the base of the slope.
  1. Closed Record Appeal Hearing.

A hearing, conducted by a single hearing body or officer authorized to conduct such hearings, that relies on the existing record created during a quasi-judicial hearing on the application. No new testimony or submission of new evidence and information is allowed.

  1. Collector Arterial.

Collector arterials (consisting of Major and Minor Collectors) collect and distribute traffic from local streets to principal and minor arterials. They serve both land access and traffic circulation.

  1. Co-location.

Is the locating of wireless communications equipment from more than one provider on one structure at one site

  1. Colony.

A hive and its equipment and appurtenances, including one queen, bees, comb, honey, pollen, and brood.

  1. Commercial Driveway.

Any driveway access to a public street other than one serving a single-family or duplex residence on a single lot.

  1. Commercial Vehicle.

Any vehicle the principal use of which is the transportation of commodities, merchandise, produce, freight, animals, or passengers for hire.

  1. Commission – Historic Landmarks.

The City/County historic landmarks commission.

  1. Community Banner.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Community Meeting.

An informal meeting, workshop, or other public meeting to obtain comments from the public or other agencies on a proposed project permit prior to the submission of an application.

  1. A community meeting is between an applicant and owners, residents of property in the immediate vicinity of the site of a proposed project, the public, and any registered neighborhood organization or community council responsible for the geographic area containing the site of the proposal, conducted prior to the submission of an application to the City of Spokane.
  1. A community meeting does not constitute an open record hearing.
  1. The proceedings at a community meeting may be recorded and a report or recommendation shall be included in the permit application file.
  1. Compensatory Mitigation.

Replacing project-induced wetland losses or impacts, and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    1. Restoration.

The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning natural or historic functions to a former or degraded wetland. For the purpose of tracking net gains in wetland acres, restoration is divided into re-establishment and rehabilitation.

    1. Re-establishment.

The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning natural or historic functions to a former wetland. Re-establishment results in a gain in wetland acres (and functions). Activities could include removing fill material, plugging ditches, or breaking drain tiles.

    1. Rehabilitation.

The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of repairing natural or historic functions of a degraded wetland. Rehabilitation results in a gain in wetland function but does not result in a gain in wetland acres. Activities could involve breaching a dike to reconnect wetlands to a floodplain or return tidal influence to a wetland.

    1. Creation (Establishment).

The manipulations of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics present to develop a wetland on an upland or deepwater site where a wetland did not previously exist. Establishment results in a gain in wetland acres. Activities typically involve excavation of upland soils to elevations that will produce a wetland hydroperiod, create hydric soils, and support the growth of hydrophytic plant species.

    1. Enhancement.

The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a wetland site to heighten, intensify, or improve specific function(s) or to change the growth stage or composition of the vegetation present. Enhancement is undertaken for specified purposes such as water quality improvement, flood water retention, or wildlife habitat. Enhancement results in a change in some wetland functions and can lead to a decline in other wetland functions, but does not result in a gain in wetland acres. Activities typically consist of planting vegetation, controlling non-native or invasive species, modifying site elevations or the proportion of open water to influence hydroperiods, or some combination of these activities.

    1. Protection/Maintenance (Preservation).

Removing a threat to, or preventing the decline of, wetland conditions by an action in or near a wetland. This includes the purchase of land or easements, repairing water control structures or fences or structural protection such as repairing a barrier island. This term also includes activities commonly associated with the term preservation. Preservation does not result in a gain of wetland acres, may result in a gain in functions, and will be used only in exceptional circumstances.

  1. Comprehensive Plan.

The City of Spokane comprehensive plan, a document adopted pursuant to chapter 36.70A RCW providing land use designations, goals and policies regarding land use, housing, capital facilities, housing, transportation, and utilities.

  1. Conceptual Landscape Plan.

A scale drawing showing the same information as a general site plan plus the location, type, size, and width of landscape areas as required by the provisions of chapter 17C.200 SMC.

    1. The type of landscaping, L1, L2, or L3, is required to be labeled.
    1. It is not a requirement to designate the scientific name of plant materials on the conceptual landscape plan.
  1. Concurrency Certificate.

A certificate or letter from a department or agency that is responsible for a determination of the adequacy of facilities to serve a proposed development, pursuant to chapter 17D.010 SMC, Concurrency Certification.

  1. Concurrency Facilities.

Facilities for which concurrency is required in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. They are:

1.   transportation,

2.   public water,

3.   fire protection,

4.   police protection,

5.   parks and recreation,

6.   libraries,

7.   solid waste disposal and recycling,

8.   schools, and

9.   public wastewater (sewer and stormwater).

  1. Concurrency Test.

The comparison of an applicant’s impact on concurrency facilities to the available capacity for public water, public wastewater (sewer and stormwater), solid waste disposal and recycling, and planned capacity for transportation, fire protection, police protection, schools, parks and recreation, and libraries as required in SMC 17D.010.020.

  1. Conditional Use Permit.

A “conditional use permit” and a “special permit” are the same type of permit application for purposes of administration of this title.

  1. Condominium.

Real property, portions of which are designated for separate ownership and the remainder of which is designated for common ownership solely by the owners of those portions. Real property is not a condominium unless the undivided interests in the common elements are vested in unit owners, and unless a declaration and a survey map and plans have been recorded pursuant to chapter 64.34 RCW.

  1. Confidential Shelter.

Shelters for victims of domestic violence, as defined and regulated in chapter 70.123 RCW and WAC 248-554. Such facilities are characterized by a need for confidentiality.

  1. Congregate Residence.

A dwelling unit in which rooms or lodging, with or without meals, are provided for nine or more non-transient persons not constituting a single household, excluding single-family residences for which special or reasonable accommodation has been granted.

  1. Conservancy Environments.

Those areas designated as the most environmentally sensitive and requiring the most protection in the current shoreline master program or as hereafter amended.

  1. Container.

Any vessel of sixty gallons or less in capacity used for transporting or storing critical materials.

  1. Context Areas

Established by the Regulating Plan, Context Area designations describe and direct differing functions and features for areas within FBC limits, implementing community goals for the built environment.

  1. Contributing Resource

Contributing resource is any building, object, structure, or site which adds to the historical integrity, architectural quality, or historical significance of the local or federal historic district within which the contributing resource is located.

  1. Conveyance.

In the context of chapter 17D.090 SMC or chapter 17D.060 SMC, this term means a mechanism for transporting water from one point to another, including pipes, ditches, and channels.

  1. Conveyance System.

In the context of chapter 17D.090 SMC or chapter 17D.060 SMC, this term means the drainage facilities and features, both natural and constructed, which collect, contain and provide for the flow of surface and stormwater from the highest points on the land down to receiving water. The natural elements of the conveyance system include swales and small drainage courses, streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. The constructed elements of the conveyance system include gutters, ditches, pipes, channels, and most flow control and water quality treatment facilities.

  1. Copy.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Cottage Housing.
    1. A grouping of residential units with a common open space.
  1. Council.

The city council of the City of Spokane.

  1. County.

Usually capitalized, means the entity of local government or, usually not capitalized, means the geographic area of the county, not including the territory of incorporated cities and towns.

  1. Courtyard apartments.

Three or more attached dwelling units arranged on two or three sides of a yard or court.

  1. Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).

A document setting forth the covenants, conditions, and restrictions applicable to a development, recorded with the Spokane County auditor and, typically, enforced by a property owner’s association or other legal entity.

  1. Creep.

Slow, downslope movement of the layer of loose rock and soil resting on bedrock due to gravity.

  1. Critical Amount.

The quantity component of the definition of critical material.

  1. Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas (CARA).

Critical aquifer recharge areas (CARA) include locally identified aquifer sensitive areas (ASA) and wellhead protection areas.

  1. Critical Areas.

Any areas of frequent flooding, geologic hazard, fish and wildlife habitat, aquifer sensitive areas, or wetlands as defined under chapter 17E.010 SMC, chapter 17E.020 SMC, chapter 17E.030 SMC, chapter 17E.040 SMC, and chapter 17E.070.SMC.

  1. Critical Facility.

A facility for which even a slight chance of flooding might be too great. Critical facilities include, but are not limited to:

    1. schools;
    1. nursing homes;
    1. hospitals;
    1. police;
    1. fire;
    1. emergency response installations; and
    1. installations which produce, use, or store hazardous materials or hazardous waste.
  1. Critical Material.
    1. A compound or substance, or class thereof, designated by the division director of public works and utilities which, by intentional or accidental release into the aquifer or ASA, could result in the impairment of one or more of the beneficial uses of aquifer water and/or impair aquifer water quality indicator levels. Beneficial uses include, but are not limited to:
      1. domestic and industrial water supply,
      1. agricultural irrigation,
      1. stock water, and
      1. fish propagation.

Used herein, the designation is distinguished from state or other designation.

    1. A list of critical materials is contained in the Critical Materials Handbook, including any City modifications thereto.
  1. Critical Material Activity.

A land use or other activity designated by the manager of engineering services as involving or likely to involve critical materials. A list of critical materials activities is contained in the Critical Materials Handbook.

  1. Critical Materials Handbook.

The latest edition of a publication as approved and amended by the division director of public works and utilities from time to time to accomplish the purposes of this chapter.

    1. The handbook is based on the original prepared by the Spokane water quality management program (“208”) coordination office, with the assistance of its technical advisory committee. It is on file with the director of engineering services and available for public inspection and purchase.
    1. The handbook, as approved and modified by the division director of public works and utilities, contains:
  1. a critical materials list,
  1. a critical materials activities list, and
  1. other technical specifications and information.
    1. The handbook is incorporated herein by reference. Its provisions are deemed regulations authorized hereunder and a mandatory part of this chapter.
  1. Critical Review.

The process of evaluating a land use permit request or other activity to determine whether critical materials or critical materials activities are involved and, if so, to determine what appropriate measures should be required for protection of the aquifer and/or implementation of the Spokane aquifer water quality management plan.

  1. Critical Review Action.
    1. An action by a municipal official or body upon an application as follows:
      1. Application for a building permit where plans and specifications are required, except for Group R and M occupancies (SMC 17G.010.140 and SMC 17G.010.150).
      1. Application for a shoreline substantial development permit (SMC 17G.061.070(B)(1)).
      1. Application for a certificate of occupancy (SMC 17G.010.170).
      1. Application for a variance or a certificate of compliance SMC 17G.061.110.
      1. Application for rezoning SMC 17G.061.110.
      1. Application for conditional permit SMC 17G.061.110.
      1. Application for a business license (SMC 8.01.120).
      1. Application for a permit under the Fire Code (SMC 17F.080.060).
      1. Application for a permit or approval requiring environmental review in an environmentally sensitive area (SMC 17E.050.260).
      1. Application for connection to the City sewer or water system.
      1. Application for construction or continuing use of an onsite sewage disposal system (SMC 13.03.0149 and SMC 13.03.0304).
      1. Application for sewer service with non-conforming or non-standard sewage (SMC 13.03.0145, SMC 13.03.0314, and SMC 13.03.0324).
      1. Application involving a project identified in SMC 17E.010.120.
      1. Issuance or renewal of franchise; franchisee use of cathodic protection also requires approval or a franchise affecting the City water supply or water system.
  1. Application for an underground storage tank permit (SMC 17E.010.210); and
      1. Application for permit to install or retrofit aboveground storage tank(s) (SMC 17E.010.060(A) and SMC 17E.010.400(D)).
    1. Where a particular municipal action is requested involving a land use installation or other activity, and where said action is not specified as a critical review action, the City official or body responsible for approval may, considering the objectives of this chapter, designate such as a critical review action and condition its approval upon compliance with the result thereof.
  1. Critical Review Applicant.

A person or entity seeking a critical review action.

  1. Critical Review Officer – Authority.
    1. The building official or other official designated by the director of public works and utilities.
    1. For matters relating to the fire code, the critical review officer is the fire official.
    1. The critical review officer carries out and enforces the provisions of this chapter and may issue administrative and interpretive rulings.
    1. The critical review officer imposes requirements based upon this chapter, regulations, and the critical materials handbook.
    1. The officer may adopt or add to any requirement or grant specific exemptions, where deemed reasonably necessary, considering the purpose of this chapter
  1. Critical Review Statement.

A checklist, disclosure form, or part of an application for a critical review action, disclosing the result of critical review. Where not otherwise provided as part of the application process, the critical review officer may provide forms and a time and place to file the statement.

  1. Cumulative Impacts.

The combined, incremental effects of human activity on ecological or critical area functions and values. Cumulative impacts result when the effects of an action are added to or interact with other effects in a particular place and within a particular time. It is the combination of these effects, and any resulting environmental degradation, that should be the focus of cumulative impact analysis and changes to policies and permitting decisions.

  1. Curb Ramp.

A ramp constructed in the sidewalk to provide an accessible route from the sidewalk to the street.

  1. Cutbank.

The concave bank of a moving body of water that is maintained as a steep or even overhanging cliff by the actions of water at its base.

Date Passed: Monday, November 20, 2023

Effective Date: Monday, January 1, 2024

ORD C36459 Section 3