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.020.190

Title 17A Administration

Chapter 17A.020 Definitions

Section 17A.020.190 ā€œSā€ Definitions
  1. Salmonid.

Belonging to the family of Salmonidae, including the salmons, trouts, chars, and whitefishes.

  1. Sandwich Board Sign.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Scrub-shrub Wetland.

An area of vegetated wetland with at least thirty percent of its surface area covered by woody vegetation less than twenty feet in height at the uppermost strata.

  1. Secondary Building Walls.

Exterior building walls that are not classified as primary building walls.

  1. Secondary Containment.

A means of spill or leak containment involving a second barrier or tank constructed outside the primary container and capable of holding the contents of the primary container.

  1. Sediment.

Mineral or organic matter deposited as a result of erosion.

  1. Sedimentation.

The settling and accumulation of particles such as soil, sand, and gravel, suspended in water or in the air.

  1. SEPA Rules.

Chapter 197-11 WAC adopted by the department of ecology.

  1. Service Area.

A geographic area defined by the City, which encompasses public facilities that are part of a plan.

  1. Serviceable.

Means presently useable.

  1. Setback.

The minimum distance required between a specified object, such as a building and another point. Setbacks are usually measured from lot lines to a specified object. In addition, the following setbacks indicate where each setback is measured from:

    1. “Front setback” means a setback that is measured from a front lot line.
    1. “Rear setback” means a setback that is measured from a rear lot line.
    1. “Side setback” means a setback that is measured from a side lot line.
    1. “Street setback” means a setback that is measured from a street lot line.
  1. Sex Paraphernalia Store.

A commercial establishment that regularly features sexual devices and regularly advertises or holds itself out, in any medium, as an establishment that caters to adult sexual interests. This definition shall not be construed to include:

  1. Any pharmacy, drug store, medical clinic, any establishment primarily dedicated to providing medical or healthcare products or services; or
  1. Any establishment located within an enclosed regional shopping mall.
  1. Sexual Device.

Any three dimensional object designed for stimulation of the male or female human genitals, anus, buttocks, female breast, or for sadomasochistic use or abuse of oneself or others and shall include devices commonly known as dildos, vibrators, penis pumps, cock rings, anal beads, butt plugs, nipple clamps, and physical representations of the human genital organs. Nothing in this definition shall be construed to include devices primarily intended for protection against sexually transmitted diseases or for preventing pregnancy.

  1. Shall.

Unless the context indicates otherwise, the term “shall” means:

  1. In reference to the obligations imposed by this title upon owners or occupants of premises or their agents, a mandatory obligation to act, or when used with a negative term to refrain from acting, in compliance with this code at the risk of denial of approval or civil or criminal liability upon failure so to act, the term being synonymous with “must”;
  1. With respect to the functions of officers and agents of the City, a direction and authorization to act in the exercise of sound discretion; or
  1. The future tense of the verb “to be.”
  1. Shallow Groundwater.

Naturally occurring water within an unconfined (water table) aquifer, partially confined aquifer or perched groundwater aquifer, and which is present at depth of fifteen feet or less below the ground surface, at any time, under natural conditions.

  1. Shared Use Pathway.

A non-motorized transportation pathway shared by pedestrians, scooters and bicyclists. May be located next to a street or in a separate right-of-way.

  1. Shorelands.

Or “shoreline areas” or “shoreline jurisdiction” means all “shorelines of the state” and “shorelands” as defined in RCW 90.58.030. Those lands extending landward for two hundred feet in all directions as measured on a horizontal plane from the ordinary high-water mark; floodways and contiguous floodplain areas landward two hundred feet from such floodways; and all wetlands and river deltas associated with the streams, lakes, and tidal waters which are subject to the provisions of the entire shoreline master program; the same to be designated as to location by the department of ecology.

  1. Shoreline and Ecosystems Enhancement Plan and Program.

See SMC 17E.020.090, Habitat Management Plans.

  1. Shoreline Buffer.
  1. A designated area adjacent to the ordinary high-water mark and running landward to a width as specified by this regulation intended for the protection or enhancement of the ecological function of the shoreline area.
  1. The buffer will consist primarily of natural vegetation or planted vegetation which maintains or enhances the ecological functions of the shoreline area.
  1. The term “buffer area” has the same meaning as “buffer.”
  1. Shoreline Enhancement.

Any alteration of the shoreline that improves the ecological function of the shoreline area or any aesthetic improvement that does not degrade the shoreline ecological function of the shoreline.

  1. Shoreline Environment Designations.

The categories of shorelines established by local shoreline master programs in order to provide a uniform basis for applying policies and use regulations within distinctively different shoreline areas. The basic recommended system classifies shorelines into four distinct environments (natural, conservancy, rural, and urban). See WAC 173-16-040(4).

  1. Shoreline Habitat and Natural Systems Enhancement Projects.
  1. Shoreline habitat and natural systems enhancement projects include those activities proposed and conducted specifically for the purpose of establishing, restoring, or enhancing habitat for propriety species in shorelines.
  1. Provided that the primary purpose of such actions is clearly restoration of the natural character and ecological functions of the shoreline, projects may include shoreline modification actions such as:
  1. Modification of vegetation,
  1. Removal of nonnative or invasive plants,
  1. Shoreline stabilization, dredging, and filling.
  1. Shoreline Jurisdiction.

See “Shorelands.”

  1. Shoreline Letter of Exemption.

Authorization from the City which establishes that an activity is exempt from shoreline substantial development permit requirements under SMC 17E.060.300 and WAC 173-14-040, but subject to regulations of the Act and the entire shoreline master program.

  1. Shoreline Master Program.
  1. The comprehensive use plan for a described area, and the use regulations together with maps, diagrams, charts, or other descriptive material and text, a statement of desired goals, and standards developed in accordance with the policies enunciated in RCW 90.58.020.
  1. For the City of Spokane, the shoreline master program includes the:
  1. Shoreline Goals and Policies (Comprehensive Plan Chapter 14),
  1. Shoreline Regulations (chapter 17E.060 SMC),
  1. City of Spokane Shoreline Restoration Plan (stand-alone document), and
  1. Shoreline Inventory and Analysis (Comprehensive Plan Volume III).
  1. Shoreline Mixed Use.

Combination of water-oriented and non-water oriented uses within the same structure or development area.

  1. Shoreline Modifications.

Those actions that modify the physical configuration or qualities of the shoreline area, usually through the construction of a physical element such as a dike, breakwater, pier, weir, dredged basin, fill, bulkhead, or other shoreline structure. They can include other actions, such as clearing, grading, or application of chemicals.

  1. Shoreline Protection.
  1. Structural and nonstructural methods to control flooding or address erosion impacts to property and dwellings or other structures caused by natural processes, such as current, flood, wind, or wave action.
  1. The terms “Shoreline protection measure” and this term have the same meaning.
  1. Substantial enlargement of an existing shoreline protection improvement is regarded as new shoreline protection measure.
  1. Shoreline Recreational Development.

Recreational development includes commercial and public facilities designed and used to provide recreational opportunities to the public. Water-dependent, water-related and water-enjoyment recreational uses include river or stream swimming areas, boat launch ramps, fishing areas, boat or other watercraft rentals, and view platforms

  1. Shoreline Restoration.
  1. The re-establishment or upgrading of impaired ecological shoreline processes or functions. This may be accomplished through measures including, but not limited to, re-vegetation, removal of intrusive shoreline structures and removal or treatment of toxic materials.
  1. Restoration does not imply a requirement for returning the shoreline area to aboriginal or pre-European settlement conditions.
  1. Shoreline Stabilization.

Structural or non-structural modifications to the existing shoreline intended to reduce or prevent erosion of uplands or beaches. They are generally located parallel to the shoreline at or near the ordinary high-water mark. Other construction classified as shore defense works include groins, jetties, and breakwaters, which are intended to influence wave action, currents, and/or the natural transport of sediments along the shoreline.

  1. Shoreline Structure.

A permanent or temporary edifice or building, or any piece of work artificially built or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner, whether installed on, above, or below the surface of the ground or water, except for vessels.

  1. Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB).

The shorelines hearings board is a quasi-judicial body with powers of de novo review authorized by chapter 90.58 RCW to adjudicate or determine the following matters:

  1. Appeals from any person aggrieved by the granting, denying, or rescinding of a permit issued or penalties incurred pursuant to chapter 90.58 RCW.
  1. Appeals of department rules, regulations, or guidelines; and
  1. Appeals from department decisions to approve, reject, or modify a proposed master program or program amendment of local governments which are not planning under RCW 36.70A.040.
  1. Short Plat – Final.

The final drawing of the short subdivision and dedication, prepared for filing for record with the Spokane county auditor and containing all elements and requirements set forth in this chapter and chapter 58.17 RCW.

  1. Short Plat – Preliminary.
  1. A neat and approximate drawing of a proposed short subdivision showing the general layout of streets, alleys, lots, blocks, and other elements of a short subdivision required by this title and chapter 58.17 RCW.
  1. The preliminary short plat shall be the basis for the approval or disapproval of the general layout of a short subdivision.
  1. Short Subdivision.

A division or redivision of land into nine or fewer lots, tracts, parcels, or sites for the purpose of sale, lease, or transfer of ownership. (RCW 58.17.020(6)).

  1. Sign.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Sign – Animated Sign.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Sign – Electronic Message Center Sign.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Sign Face.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Sign – Flashing Sign.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Sign Maintenance.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Sign – Off-premises.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Sign Repair.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Sign Structure.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Significant Vegetation Removal.

The removal or alteration of trees, shrubs, and/or ground cover by clearing, grading, cutting, burning, chemical means, or other activity that causes significant ecological impacts to functions provided by such vegetation.

    1. The removal of invasive or noxious weeds does not constitute significant vegetation removal.
    1. Tree pruning, not including tree topping, where it does not affect ecological functions, does not constitute significant vegetation removal.
  1. Single Unit Residential Building (or “Single-unit Residential”).

A dwelling containing only one dwelling unit.

  1. Single-room Occupancy Housing (SRO).

A structure that provides living units that have separate sleeping areas and some combination of shared bath or toilet facilities.

  1. The structure may or may not have separate or shared cooking facilities for the residents.
  1. SRO includes structures commonly called residential hotels and rooming houses.
  1. Site.

Any parcel of land recognized by the Spokane County assessor’s office for taxing purposes. A parcel may contain multiple lots.

  1. Site – Archaeological.
  1. A place where a significant event or pattern of events occurred. It may be the:
  1. Location of prehistoric or historic occupation or activities that may be marked by physical remains; or
  1. Symbolic focus of a significant event or pattern of events that may not have been actively occupied.
  1. A site may be the location of a ruined or now non-extant building or structure if the location itself possesses historic, cultural, or archaeological significance.
  1. Site, Parent.

The initial aggregated area containing a development, and from which individual lots may be divided.

  1. Sixplex.

A building that contains six dwelling units on the same lot that share a common wall or common floor/ceiling.

  1. Slump.

The intermittent movement (slip) of a mass of earth or rock along a curved plane.

  1. SMC.

The Spokane Municipal Code, as amended.

  1. Soil.

The naturally occurring layers of mineral and organic matter deposits overlaying bedrock. It is the outer most layer of the Earth.

  1. Sound Contours.

A geographic interpolation of aviation noise contours as established by the 2010 Fairchild AFB Joint Land Use Study and placed on the official zoning map. When a property falls within more than one noise zone, the more restrictive noise zone requirements shall apply for the entire property.

  1. Sound Transmission Class (STC).

A single-number rating for describing sound transmission loss of a wall, partition, window or door.

  1. Special Drainage District (SDD).

An area associated with shallow groundwater, intermittent standing water, or steep slopes where infiltration of water and dispersion of water into the soils may be difficult or delayed, creating drainage or potential drainage problems. SDDs are designated in SMC 17D.060.130.

  1. Special Event Sign.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Species of Concern.

Species native to Washington State listed as state endangered, state threatened, state sensitive, or state candidate, as well as species listed or proposed for listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service.

  1. Specified Anatomical Areas.

They are human:

  1. Genitals, pubic region, buttock, and female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola, when such areas are less than completely and opaquely covered;
  1. Male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered.
  1. Specified Sexual Activities.

Any of the following:

    1. Human genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal;
    1. Acts of human masturbation, sexual intercourse, or sodomy; and
    1. Fondling or other erotic touching of human genitals, pubic region, buttock, or female breast.
  1. Spokane Regional Stormwater Manual (SRSM).

A technical document establishing standards for stormwater design and management to protect water quality, natural drainage systems, and down-gradient properties as urban development occurs.

  1. Spokane Register of Historic Places.

The register maintained by the historic preservation office, which includes historic landmarks and districts in the City and County.

  1. Sports Field.

An open area or stadium in which scheduled sports events occur on a regular basis. Sports events include both competitive and noncompetitive events such as track and field activities, soccer, baseball, or football games.

  1. Stabilization.

The process of establishing an enduring soil cover of vegetation or mulch or other ground cover and may be in combination with installation of temporary or permanent structures.

  1. Stacked flat.

Dwelling units in a residential building of no more than three stories in which each floor may be separately rented or owned.

  1. Standard Plans.

Refers to the City of Spokane’s standard plans.

  1. Standard References

Standard engineering and design references identified in SMC 17D.060.030.

  1. Start of Construction

Includes substantial improvement and means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement, or other improvement was within 180 days from the date of the permit. The actual start means either the first placement of permanent construction of a structure on a site, such as the pouring of slab or footings, the installation of piles, the construction of columns, or any work beyond the stage of excavation; or the placement of a manufactured home on a foundation. Permanent construction does not include land preparation, such as clearing, grading, and filling; nor does it include the installation of streets and/or walkways; nor does it include excavation for a basement, footings, piers, or foundations or the erection of temporary forms; nor does it include the installation on the property of accessory buildings, such as garages or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not part of the main structure. For a substantial improvement, the actual start of construction means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of a building, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.

  1. State Candidate Species.

Fish and wildlife species that WDFW will review for possible listing as state endangered, threatened, or sensitive.

  1. State Endangered Species.

Any wildlife species native to the State of Washington that is seriously threatened with extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range within the state.

  1. State Register.

The register maintained pursuant to chapter 195, Laws of 1977, 1st ex. sess., section 6 (chapter 27.34 RCW).

  1. State Sensitive Species.

Any wildlife species native to the State of Washington that is vulnerable or declining and is likely to become endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range within the state without cooperative management or removal of threats.

  1. State Threatened Species.

Any wildlife species native to the State of Washington that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout a significant portion of its range within the state without cooperative management or removal of threats.

  1. Stealth Facilities.

Any cellular telecommunications facility that is designed to blend into the surrounding environment. Examples of stealth facilities include:

    1. Architecturally screened roof-mounted antennas;
    1. Building-mounted antennas painted to match the existing structure;
    1. Antennas integrated into architectural elements; and
    1. Antenna structures designed to look like light poles, trees, clock towers, bell steeples, or flag poles.
  1. Stewardship.

Acting as supervisor or manager of the City and County’s historic properties.

  1. Stormwater.
  1. Any runoff flow occurring during or following any form of natural precipitation, and resulting from such precipitation, including snowmelt.
  1. “Stormwater” further includes any locally accumulating ground or surface waters, even if not directly associated with natural precipitation events, where such waters contribute or have a potential to contribute to runoff onto the public right-of-way, public storm or sanitary sewers, or flooding or erosion on public or private property.
  1. Stormwater Management Program (SWMP).

A set of actions and activities designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the regulated MS4 to the maximum extent practicable and to protect water quality, and comprising the components listed in S5 or S6 of the Eastern Washington Phase II Municipal Permit (WAR04-6505) and any additional actions necessary to meet the requirements of applicable TMDLs.

  1. Story.

That portion of a building included between the upper surface of any floor and the upper surface of the floor next above, except:

  1. The topmost story is that portion of a building included between the upper surface of the topmost floor and the ceiling or roof above;
  1. That portion of a building between the eaves and the ridge, when over twenty feet in height, is considered a story;
  1. That portion of a building below the eaves which exceeds fourteen feet in height is considered a story, each fourteen feet of height (or major part of fourteen feet) being an additional story; and
  1. A basement or unused under-floor space is a story if the finished floor level directly above is either more than:
  1. Six feet above grade for more than half of the total perimeter, or
  1. Twelve feet above grade at any point.
  1. Stream.

A naturally occurring body of periodic or continuously flowing water where the:

    1. Mean annual flow is greater than twenty cubic feet per second; and
    1. Water is contained with a channel (WAC 173-22-030(8)).
  1. Street.

See “Public Way”(SMC 17A.020.160).

  1. Street Classifications.
  1. Arterial and local access streets are classified in section 4.5 of the comprehensive plan as follows:
      1. Principal arterial.
      1. Minor arterial.
      1. Collector arterial.
      1. Local access street.
      1. Parkway.
  1. Definitions of all of the above classifications are included herein. Private streets are not classified but are defined under SMC 17A.020.160, “P” Definitions.
  1. Street Frontage.

The lot line abutting a street.

  1. Strobe Light.

A lamp capable of producing an extremely short, brilliant burst of light.

  1. Structural Alteration.

See SMC 17C.240.015.

  1. Structure.

Any object constructed in or on the ground, including a gas or liquid storage tank that is principally above ground.

    1. Structure includes:
      1. Buildings,
      1. Decks,
      1. Fences,
      1. Towers,
      1. Flag poles,
      1. Signs, and
      1. Other similar objects.
    1. Structure does not include paved areas or vegetative landscaping materials.
    1. For floodplain management purposes, a walled and roofed building, including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is principally above ground, as well as a manufactured home.
  1. Structure – Historic.

A work made up of interdependent and interrelated parts in a definite pattern of organization. Generally constructed by man, it is often an engineering project.

  1. Subdivision.

A division or redivision of land into ten or more lots, tracts, or parcels for the purpose of sale, lease, or transfer of ownership (RCW 58.17.020).

  1. Subject Property.

The site where an activity requiring a permit or approval under this code will occur.

  1. Sublevel Construction Controls.

Design and construction requirements provided in SMC 17F.100.090.

  1. Submerged Aquatic Beds.

Wildlife habitat area made up of those areas permanently under water, including the submerged beds of rivers and lakes and their aquatic plant life.

  1. Substantial Damage – Floodplain.

Damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its pre-existing condition would equal or exceed fifty percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

  1. Substantial Development.

For the shoreline master program, shall mean any development of which the total cost or fair market value exceeds the dollar amount set forth in RCW 90.58 and WAC 173-26 for any improvement of property in the shorelines of the state.

  1. Substantial Improvement – Floodplain.
  1. This definition includes structures that have incurred “substantial damage,” regardless of the actual work performed.
  1. Any repair, reconstruction, or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds fifty percent of the assessed value of the structure either:
  1. Before the improvement or repair is started, or
  1. If the structure has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred.
  1. For the purposes of this definition, “substantial improvement” is considered to occur when the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of the building commences, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the structure.
  1. The term does not, however, include either any:
  1. Project for improvement of a structure to correct previously identified existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or
  1. Alteration of a “historic structure” provided the alteration will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a “historic structure.”
  1. Suffix.

Describes the roadway type and is located after the root roadway name (i.e., street, avenue, court, lane, way, etc.). The appropriate suffix shall be used in accordance with SMC 17D.050A.040(U).

Date Passed: Monday, November 20, 2023

Effective Date: Monday, January 1, 2024

ORD C36459 Section 9