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 17G
Chapter 17G.025
Section 17G.025.010

Title 17G Administration and Procedures

Chapter 17G.025 Unified Development Code Amendment Procedure

Section 17G.025.010 Text Amendments to the Unified Development Code
  1. Purpose.

This section provides for orderly and transparent modifications to the Unified Development Code with significant opportunities for public review and participation.

  1. Definitions.
  1. Construction Standards.

The following chapters of the Spokane Municipal Code are referred to herein as Construction Standards:

  1. Chapter 17F.040 SMC (International Building Code, International Residential Code, International Energy Conservation Code);
  1. Chapter 17F.050 SMC (National Electrical Code);
  1. Chapter 17F.080 SMC (International Fire Code)
  1. Chapter 17F.090 SMC (International Mechanical Code)
  1. Chapter 17F.100 SMC (Uniform Plumbing Code)
  1. Applicability.

The requirements of this section apply to all proposed modifications to Title 17 SMC.

  1. Amendments to Construction Standards.
  1. Adoption Process.

Amendments to Construction Standards do not follow the remainder of this section. Instead, they follow City Council’s regular legislative process. When a proposal combines modifications to Construction Standards with other proposed amendments to Title 17 SMC, the portion pertaining to Construction Standards is not subject to the same approval process but should be clearly identified in public notices. 

  1. Application of State Code.

Adoption of changes to the Construction Standards is also subject to the following sections of state code:

  1. RCW 43.21C, if any;
  1. RCW 19.27.040; and 
  1. RCW 19.27.060.
  1. State Building Code Council.

Changes to Construction Standards that apply to single-dwelling or multi-dwelling residential buildings shall be submitted for the approval of the State Building Code Council pursuant to RCW 19.27.074(1)(b).

  1. Initiation.

Proposals to amend Title 17 SMC may be initiated by any of the following pursuant to the procedures set forth in this chapter:

  1. Property owner(s) or their representatives;
  1. Any citizen, agency, neighborhood council, or other party; or
  1. A City department, the Plan Commission, or the City Council.
  1. Proposals Initiated by Persons or Entities other than a City department, the Plan Commission, or the City Council.
  1. Applications.

Amendment proposals shall be submitted on an application form(s) provided by the City. Application fees are specific in chapter 8.02 SMC.

  1. Privately-initiated amendment applications must be submitted no later than October 31 each year and shall be subject to the threshold review and docketing procedures set forth in SMC 17G.020.025, using the following criteria:
    1. The proposed amendment presents a matter appropriately addressed through an amendment to Title 17 SMC; and
    1. The proposed amendment does not raise policy or land use issues that are more appropriately addressed by an ongoing work program approved by the City Council or by a neighborhood/subarea planning process; and
    1. The proposed amendment can be reasonably reviewed within the resources and time frame of the Annual Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program; and
    1. The proposed amendment is consistent with the comprehensive plan. The proposed amendment must also be consistent with policy implementation in the Countywide Planning Policies, the GMA, and other state or federal law; and
    1. The proposed amendment is not the same as or substantially similar to a proposal that was considered in the previous year’s threshold review process, but was not included in the Annual Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program, unless additional supporting information has been generated; or
    1. State law required, or a decision of a court or administrative agency has directed such a change.
  1. If the proposed text amendment is included on the Annual Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program, the application should be placed on the next available plan commission agenda for a workshop.
  1. Notice of Intent to Adopt and SEPA Review

Proposals to amend Title 17 SMC may be subject to SEPA review, unless categorically exempt. When a draft of the amendment proposal and SEPA checklist are available for review by the public, a notice describing the amendment proposal should be published in the City Gazette at time of Plan Commission workshop review, or earlier if possible. Public participation, appropriate to the scope or potential impact of the proposal, should be undertaken as outlined in SMC 17G.020.080.

  1. Notice of Public Hearing.

Amendments to Title 17 SMC require a public hearing before the plan commission.

  1. Contents of Notice.

A notice of public hearing shall include the following:

    1. The citation, if any, of the provision that would be changed by the proposal along with a brief description of that provision;
    1. A statement of how the proposal would change the affected provision;
    1. The date, time, and place of the public hearing;
    1. A statement of the availability of the official file; and
    1. Description of SEPA status; if the project is SEPA exempt, state the statutory basis for exemption; and
    1. A statement of the right of any person to submit written comments to the planning commission and to appear at the public hearing of the planning commission to give oral comments on the proposal.
  1. Distribution of Notice.

The department shall distribute the notice to the applicant, newspaper, City Hall and the main branch of the library. The applicant is then responsible for following the public notice requirements outlined in SMC 17G.061.210 Public Notice – Types of Notice.

  1. Plan Commission Recommendation – Procedure.

Following the public hearing, the plan commission shall consider the proposal and shall prepare and forward a recommendation to the city council. The plan commission shall take one of the following actions:

    1. If the plan commission determines that the proposal should be adopted, it may, by a majority vote, recommend that the city council adopt the proposal. The plan commission may make modifications to any proposal prior to recommending the proposal to city council for adoption. If the modifications proposed by the plan commission are significant, the plan commission shall accept testimony on the modifications before voting on the modified proposal, unless the proposed modifications are within the scope of alternatives available for public comment ahead of the hearing;
    1. If the plan commission determines that the proposal should not be adopted, it may, by a majority vote, recommend that the city council not adopt the proposal; or
    1. If the plan commission is unable to take either of the actions specified in (1) or (2) of this subsection, the proposal will be sent to city council with the notation that the plan commission makes no recommendation.
  1. Approval Criteria.

The City may approve amendments to this code if it finds that:

    1. The proposed amendment is consistent with the applicable provisions of the comprehensive plan; and
    1. The proposed amendment bears a substantial relation to public health, safety, welfare, and protection of the environment.
  1. City Council Action.

Within sixty days of receipt of the plan commission’s findings and recommendations, the city council shall consider the findings and recommendations of the commission concerning the application and shall hold a public hearing pursuant to council rules. Notice of city council hearings must be published in the Official Gazette. The applicant shall also publish a legal notice in the newspaper at least two weeks prior to the hearing by the city council. The city council may:

    1. Approve the application;
    1. Disapprove the application;
    1. Modify the application. If modification is substantial, the council must either conduct a new public hearing on the modified proposal (unless the modification is within the scope of alternatives available for public comment ahead of the hearing); or
    1. Refer the proposal back to the plan commission for further consideration.
  1. Transmittal to the State of Washington.

At least sixty days prior to final action being taken by the city council, the Washington Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) shall be provided with a copy of the amendments in order to initiate the sixty-day comment period. No later than ten days after adoption of the proposal, a copy of the final decision shall be forwarded to Commerce.

Date Passed: Monday, November 20, 2023

Effective Date: Monday, January 1, 2024

ORD C36459 Section 30