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Table of Contents
Flooring goes green
From bamboo to cork to carpet, local dealers have options for you
An inexpensive “remodel” that can add beauty and value to your home
Almost perfectly passive
A German home design standard raises the bar for energy efﬁciency
Ten tips for the homebuilder
Navigating the permit process, choosing the right lumber, new rules for the builder
The scoop on poop
Tips to help maximize the life of your on-site septic system
It’s in the code
Washington’s new energy code pushes standards for energy efﬁciency
10 14 18 22
2011 Home Improvement Guide PUBLISHER Scott Wilson
LAYOUT AND DESIGN Chris Hawley
EDITOR James Robinson
COVER John Stanger
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Sara Radka
PHOTOGRAPHERS Allison Arthur James Robinson Patrick J. Sullivan Scott Wilson
WRITERS Allison Arthur Linda Atkins James Robinson Patrick J. Sullivan Scott Wilson
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Flooring: Going, going, gone green Carpet cleaning systems, padding are eco-friendly options as well By Allison Arthur Flooring has gone green – because of health concerns, because of resource concerns, because green is what people want – and the industry is reacting quickly. David McCrorie, owner of McCrorie Carpet One Floor and Home in Port Hadlock, and Bob Weidner, owner of Peninsula Floors and Furnishings in Port Townsend, say people are stepping over to “green” flooring, such as cork, bamboo and wood. But both also say advances in carpeting – in cleaning processes and in padding materials especially – are offering consumers better choices than in the past. “Floor covering is expanding at a rapid rate, and everyone is getting into the green thing,” said Weidner. While Weidner is touting a carpet made by Alexander Smith Sorona that is “soft and very cleanable” with fibers made of corn sugar, McCrorie would like more people to know about a flooring installation system called HealthinEx, which disinfects, protects and diminishes allergens such as mold, mildew and bacteria before carpeting is laid. Both also note that carpet cushioning has made huge improvements.
Padding used to be constructed out of foam from old car seats, and the glue that was used to keep it together was yummy to dust mites, said McCrorie. The new padding is made out of recycled material as well, but unlike the foam from car seats, the new cushion is hypo-allergenic, inhibits mold and moisture, and meets new indoor-air-quality standards. Or, to put it in carpet-user terms, your cat can pee on your carpet, and the padding will stop the pee from permeating the area, allowing you to steam-clean the carpet and remove that telltale smell. In fact, there’s a lot of new stuff happening with flooring. “It’s come tenfold from where it was 16 years ago,” said Weidner. WOOD VS. CARPET While soft, plush carpeting still is popular for bedrooms, concerns about mold and dust that cause allergies have more people ripping out carpeting and laying wood floors. Like many of his customers, McCrorie put not one yard of carpeting in his new home recently, opting instead for a new wood flooring that looks – old. He chose a hand-scraped renewable hardwood that looks antique, as if it had been worn for years, scuffed up by kids and high heels and dogs. But it’s also beautiful and ever so slightly shiny. “Wood is soft and it dents, and this hand-scraped wood is already dented,” said McCrorie. Customers say it looks new and yet old at the same time, and they like it because they don’t have to “wear it in.” Over the years – McCrorie has been in the carpeting business for two decades – there has been a shift from carpeting to wood. “We sell more and more hard surface. The percentage of carpet covering is dwindling compared to hard surface product like hardwoods,” he said of the trends he sees. Just as “green” and “sustainable” are buzzwords in the construction and food industries, so, too, in the flooring business. McCrorie has what he calls a
“green island” in his showroom that promotes several green products, including cork from Portugal and bamboo from China, both renewable products. Natural linoleum is another environmentally friendly flooring option. Marmoleum, a linoleum look-alike that is made out of wood flour, linseed oil and pine rosin, also is certified as a sustainable product. It’s made in Scotland and sells for $4 a foot. It has no “offgassing” and is compostable. NEW PRODUCTS Another new product that McCrorie sees being used more and more on a commercial basis are carpet tiles, 2-by-2-foot tiles of durable vinyl-backed carpet that are laid down with pressure-sensitive adhesive. What’s so hot about that? Traffic patterns, in short. “You can pull up a tile or two and replace it like that,” said McCrorie. “It’s versatile and very durable.”
And like other carpeting being sold, it’s certified by Greenguard. Greenguard Environmental Institute certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions. (See greenguard.org.) “The nice thing about carpeting tiles we’re using is that they’re 100 percent recyclable,” said McCrorie. So all the carpeting tiles that get laid will never get dumped in a landfill. They’ll get recycled, he said. Finding a place to take regular old carpeting is still something McCrorie is interested in, because he wants the company to live up to the new “green” mantra. Currently, the nearest place to recycle old carpeting is in Seattle, and that is not cost effective. NEW SERVICE When the economy started going sour a few years ago and new construction started to slow, McCrorie came up with the idea of refinishing wood floors. Now, it’s a
huge segment of his business. What’s new is the system McCrorie uses – the Magnus Anderson system – which controls dust. “We’ve got two crews out today alone,” McCrorie said one day. “Insurance companies hire us because we can refinish a floor and they don’t have to hire a cleaning crew to clean up.” The system, which McCrorie said cost him “a lot,” also uses a toxin-free hardwood finish. McCrorie said the system is so popular that he travels into Kitsap County on jobs, most of which he’s gotten by word of mouth. IMPROVEMENTS While both McCrorie and Weidner say more and more people are quitting carpeting and going for wood floors, Weidner said he wishes more people would look at the advances made in carpeting and cleaning. – Continued on Page 8
David McCrorie, owner of McCrorie Carpet One Floor & Home in Port Hadlock, installed a hand-scraped wood ﬂoor covering (shown) in his own home. More people are asking for “green” ﬂooring options, including bamboo and cork. Photo by Allison Arthur The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
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Interior painting An inexpensive alternative to remodeling Trying to decide whether to do some home remodeling this year or leave your money in the bank? You can do both if you “remodel” with paint. “The cost of do-it-yourself interior painting is so low, it’s almost like remodeling without touching your bank account,” said Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute, a national trade group. The key, of course, is investing some sweat equity. “If you’re willing to provide the labor, you can complete the job” for a fraction of a professional fee, said Zimmer. Of course, the pro is more likely to turn out the pro job, but improvements in paint and paint technology have gone a long way toward making it more likely that a do-it-yourselfer will be able to transform a room and brighten up an entire house. Aside from the labor cost, do-ityourself interior painting is downright thrifty. The only outlay is for paint, application equipment such as brushes and rollers, and some miscellaneous expenses for things like tape and a drop cloth. Total cost? “Less than $100 a room,” said Zimmer. Chris Benson is the paint manager at Hadlock Building Supply.
He constantly sees county residents come in and describe a room they want to paint. “The first thing I ask is, ‘How bad is it?’” said Benson. A wall affected by pinpoints and small holes has easy fixes; a wall with major cracks and holes takes a little more time and different products. Preparation is four-fifths of the key to a good do-it-yourself interior paint job, said Benson. That involves emptying the room, removing wall plates and other fixtures, then repairing cracks and holes with spackling compound, plaster, putty or acrylic caulk. Paint store experts will be happy to provide you with the right filling for the job, said Benson. Once that material has dried, sanding is needed to smooth it out. Nails sticking out of wallboard should be reset. Any peeling paint should be scraped, and the edges sanded to feather in with the remaining paint. The old paint should also be washed, noted Zimmer, with detergent and water, and then be rinsed and allowed to dry. Now to the equipment. You can buy a brush for $3 or $4. Or you can buy a brush for $30. What’s the difference?
flooring – Continued from Page 6
“It’s kind of the old wives’ tale that hard surfaces are better,” he said. “In Sweden, they found it not to be true,” he said. They discovered that carpeting holds dust, but with steam cleaning, it’s quickly removed. New kinds of carpets that have natural enzymes in them have improved carpeting and, with better cushions, carpeting is a viable green option. Weidner also said there are grades of “green.” There is regular bamboo flooring, for example, and then there is a new bamboo flooring that uses bamboo that’s been shredded and blended with acrylic bonding and put under high pressure, re-
Painting an interior room in your house is a relatively inexpensive way to “remodel” and freshen up the space. Chris Benson of Hadlock Building Supply said paint experts are happy to give do-it-yourselfers speciﬁc guidance with wall repair materials, painting equipment and the right quality of paint for the job. Photo by Scott Wilson
A lot, according to Benson. “It depends on the job and what you are doing,” he said. “If it’s just a small space, maybe a cheap brush will do it. But if you want a 15-year brush, we’ve got that.” The high-quality brushes last as
sulting in a product that is twice as dense as regular bamboo. “There’s lots and lots of grades of bamboo,” said Weidner. CARBON FOOTPRINT? Both flooring experts were asked what they would say if someone came in and asked for carpeting with the least carbon footprint. Both wanted time to figure out the best answer. “Wool is probably the carpet that would be the greenest,” said Weidner. Most wool comes from New Zealand, and the sheep aren’t killed to get it. Then again, Weidner said, rugs hand-tied in Asia by children also may meet a “green” standard, but might fall short by other standards. Green – the world is going green, right down to the carpet and flooring under your feet.
long as they are maintained with good care and cleaning, he said. Every good brush should be completely cleaned, until its solvent – whether water or thinner – runs clear. Then it should be maintained and kept in its original sleeve if possible. Brushes of higher quality have a much finer tip than the cheaper ones. “You can feel the difference,” Benson said. He recommends the Wooster brand, but every paint store has a line of professional brushes. Likewise, Zimmer recommends using only high-quality brushes and rollers. “These will help you apply the paint more evenly to get professional-looking results, even if this is your first time painting,” she said. As for the paint selection, there is a gigantic selection that grows each year. Most interior painting, said Benson, is done with water-based paints. The thickness and quality of water-based paints has increased tremendously in recent years, which keep fumes and cleanup to a minimum. “Twenty or 30 years ago, people
still thought oil looks better and lays on better,” he said. “But the new acrylic paints have the same flow as oil, and the same coverage ability.” And with acrylics, there is less chance of splatter or brush marks. Most interior wall painting jobs have even better results if preceded by a coat or two of primer, Benson said. It might take two coats depending on what surface is being covered and how much wall repair was done. Then a single coat of high-quality finish paint should do the job. Benson pointed to one brand of paint, Easy Care, that is sold as a primer and finish paint all in one. The difference with this product, he said, is that it contains a higher percentage of titanium. “Top-quality 100 percent acrylic latex paints are extremely durable. Plus, they resist fading, so your paint job will look great for years to come,” said Zimmer.
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Almost perfectly passive German environmental design inspires Cape George home By James Robinson When Naomi Nachun became a casualty of the economy in 2006, she left behind her career in Seattle as a legal secretary and took the opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream of building her own home. Not satisfied with just any stickbuilt shelter and inspired by the super-energy-efficient design of the German Passivhaus building method, Nachun connected with Port Townsend’s Kurt Schweizer of Schweizer Construction Inc. to build a home that was gentle on the environment, inexpensive to heat and cool, and easy to maintain. “I wanted a house that was going to last forever … with really good bones,” Nachun said. “That’s my mentality. I’m not just thinking of my generation, but future generations.” Schweizer broke ground on April 13, 2010, and the Cape George home – aside from interior finish work – was completed in November. Nachun said the seeds for building a home that would provide comfortable, energy-efficient
shelter for generations of inhabitants were sown when she lived in France in the 1970s. It was there, Nachun said, that she saw homes built to last hundreds of years, and those sturdy homes inspired her to someday do the same. Decades later, after years of maximizing her 401k contributions and, ironically enough, losing her job, Nachun, a self-described environmentalist, said she saw the vision of her future, low-impact, energy-efficient multiperson home crystallize when she listened to German-born architect Katrin Klingenberg, the executive director and founder of the Passive House Institute U.S., speak at a Seattle Ecobuilders Guild event at the Green Lake Public Library in February 2009. “It was a sunny day and not too cold, which was fortunate because they needed to open all the windows on both the lawn and parking lot sides to accommodate the overflow crowd willing to stand outside and listen,” Nachun said. “Many builders and architects attending already had some knowledge of passive house, but no one had ac-
Distinct design details such as this long oval window allow natural light into the living area. Unlike windows in most conventional homes, the windows in this house sit recessed in thick stucco walls.
tually built to those standards yet. It was very inspiring.” Since then, and according to an April 2010 report in The New York Times, there have been upwards of 25,000 certified passive structures built in Europe since the design’s inception in 1988, but just 13 in the United States, with perhaps a few dozen more in the planning or construction pipeline. In the April/ May 2010 edition of Fine Homebuilding, the magazine reported fewer than two dozen passive homes in the U.S. Jesse Thomas, a project manager and passive house consultant with Richard Berg and Terrapin Architecture in Port Townsend, said the firm has designed four passive homes, with one attaining true passive house certification. The others, including Nachun’s home, Thomas said, come close. Although Nachun said she designed her Cape George home herself, she noted that Thomas helped fine-tune the project using passive house modeling software. PASSIVE HOUSE STANDARDS Although passive house designs vary – from timber exteriors to stucco, from two floors to one, from über modern to timber-frame farmhouse or Nachun’s Tuscanstyle villa – they do share a few key traits. First, and perhaps the most distinguishing feature of a passive house, is the absence of a central heating or cooling system. Second, passive houses are built with careful consideration of the structure’s orientation to the sun in order to maximize solar gain. Third, passive houses are superinsulated and built virtually airtight – ventilation, heating and cooling are handled mechanically, using carefully designed and installed ductwork, a super-energy-efficient ventilator and a heat exchanger. Lastly, certified passive houses achieve peak energy efficiency with triple-pane, super-energy-efficient windows and high-performance
An archway greets visitors to Naomi Nachun’s passive home in Cape George. Photos by James Robinson
doors. The doors in Nachun’s home, for example, use a threepoint locking system to maintain the home’s tight seal. The ultimate goal of a certified passive house, according to Klingenberg, is to slash a home’s energy use by 90 percent as compared to a traditional code-built home. To achieve this, passive homes are designed using energy modeling software called the Passive House Planning Package, which helps designers meet the concept’s stringent standards for air infiltration, Btu consumption and kilowatt hour (kwh) usage. For example, and according to the passive house standard, the annual energy use for heating and cooling a passive house cannot exceed 4,755 Btu per square foot annually. The standard for air in-
filtration can be no greater than 0.6 changes per hour at 50 pascals, which means the house is virtually airtight. Lastly, the maximum total energy use of the house – which includes heating, cooling and electricity – cannot exceed 11.1 kwh per square foot. The software helps designers make choices that keep the building in line with the baseline passive house standards. Passive house proponents argue that the passive house standard is the most rigorous and comprehensive standard for energy efficiency used in home building today and that other codes tend to focus on just one facet of a home’s overall energy efficiency or don’t demand enough in terms of energy efficiency. – Continued on Page 12
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The Fourth Annual JeffCo HomeShow has a building, remodeling and landscaping focus. Exhibitor booths and demonstrations offer inspiration for all of your new construction and home improvement plans. Builders and suppliers: This is the perfect venue to show off your talents and materials—and the only home show in Jefferson County.
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passive – Continued from Page 10
NOT INEXPENSIVE There’s no doubt that building a passive house will cost more than conventional construction, Schweizer said, adding that prospective passive homebuilders should plan on spending 12 to 15 percent more than they might for typical construction. Much of those costs, Schweizer said, come from additional insulation and the extra work required to seal the home. “You save money though, with advanced framing,” Schweizer said. “You don’t have to put in an energy-efficient whole-house heat system, such as the more traditional heat pump.” In her book, Homes for a Changing Climate, Klingenberg argues that steeper costs up front can be easily recuperated through savings on the homeowner’s energy bill. “The costs of energy consumption are high, and they are going higher. The savings realized over the life of a Passive House are remarkable, both economically and environmentally,” Klingenberg writes. TECHNICAL INFO Nachun’s passive house totals 2,200 square feet and begins with 6 inches of rigid foam insulation
under the basement slab; 12-inchthick walls with blown-in R-50 insulation; vaulted ceilings with blown-in insulation at R-58; and a completely filled attic space with insulation values averaging R-126. The exterior walls are made of two 2-by-4 walls with 3 inches of insulated space in between. The walls were built on 24-inch centers, which Schweizer said reduced material costs for framing. Special attention was paid to minimizing interior surfaces thermally connecting to exterior surfaces (called thermal bridging and a key element in the passive house design), and great care was taken to seal all penetrations, Schweizer said. Tyvek was used on the exterior walls as an air seal, along with a rain screen under the house’s stucco exterior. Six-millimeter Visqueen was used for the interior vapor barrier, and windows and doors were sealed on the outside with Grace Vycor self-adhering flashing and closed cell foam inside. “Rim joist areas, which are typically hard to air seal,” Schweizer said, “were sealed with 3 inches of closed cell, spray-inplace foam.” After the structure was insulated and sealed, Schweizer hired an independent firm to conduct a blower door test. That test measured air leakage at just .32 air changes per hour (the
passive house standard is .6), which means the house is extremely airtight. In order to circulate fresh air, an air-to-air heat exchanger and low-volume fan are used to move air throughout the house. Stale air passes through the heat exchanger, which recoups about 95 percent of the heat and passes that heat on to the fresh air being drawn in from the outside. Because of the construction and air tightness of the house, Schweizer said, very little supplemental heat is required. Electric wall heaters and a propane stove provide heat, although the addition of the wall heaters and other factors could push the energy use at Nachun’s home to 14.13 Btus per square foot. That number does not meet the passive house standard of 4.75 Btus per square foot. Energy consumption will be offset in the future, Nachun said, with the installation of solar panels on the south-facing roof. According to the German Passivhaus model, triple-pane windows are key to achieving the passive house standard. However, Schweizer discovered that triplepane windows meeting the European standard were six times more expensive than the high performance double-pane windows that Nachun selected from Andersen Windows. Schweizer said the Andersen windows (Series 100 with the Fibrex frame
Naomi Nachun stands on the balcony off the master bedroom at her new passive home in Cape George. Nachun, a stickler for details, opted for stone windowsills and custom wrought-iron work. These accents, Nachun says, help give the home a Mediterranean look.
and sash) should perform admirably in Port Townsend’s mild marine climate, and Nachun liked the fact that the windows were made from 40 percent preconsumer reclaimed wood fiber and 12 percent reclaimed glass. Stucco and metal roofing were used on the exterior for their longevity and sustainability. Although the house looks complete on the exterior, Nachun has much yet to tackle. There’s still a kitchen and a bath to complete, trim work, painting and flooring to install. A veteran of a kitchen
and bathroom remodel in her Seattle home, Nachun said she is undaunted by what lies ahead and has enjoyed watching her dream slowly become a reality. “I figured my sweat would turn into equity,” Nachun said. “It’s kind of like a mother with a baby. It’s your baby, and you enjoy watching it grow a little every day, but you don’t expect it to become a teenager overnight.”
Super insulation is the name of the game in passive house design. Here, rigid foam insulation lies ready for installation. Passive home design calls for a minimalist approach to lumber use, which means minimal framing and a different approach to window headers.
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The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
One house, 10 ideas
Tips for owners, builders in these unsettling times By Patrick J. Sullivan The housing market and construction business in Jefferson County in 2011 is a far cry from the boom period of a few years ago. Today’s market is what it is: some of it bad, some of it good, for builders, buyers and property owners. Here’s the story of one house being built in Port Townsend and 10 valuable lessons learned. Dan and Vicky Owen purchased two lots off 19th Street before the property prices went through the roof (raw land prices in PT have not fallen that much). They started by building a twostory structure, garage downstairs and apartment upstairs. They’ve been living in the apartment, and gathering construction material in the garage. Last fall, they began construction on a 1,100-square-foot, twostory house with an unfinished basement. The basis is a Craftsman design, incorporating various features the owners like. AN OWNER/BUILDER This is not Dan Owen’s first trip to the lumberyard – it is his fourth construction project as owner/builder – so he is capable of taking on work not every property owner would relish. A retired military veteran, Dan has the time and skill to serve as his own gen-
Dan Owen has been the owner/builder on four separate projects, so he knows his way around a lumberyard. Serving as your own general contractor is a way to save money and have more direct control over day-to-day changes. Photos by Patrick J. Sullivan
eral contractor. “It is daunting, especially if you don’t have experience in it,” he said. “But you can save a lot of money by being your own general contractor.” Another savings opportunity: You can do your own electrical work if it is a house you will live in for two years. Owen started with a house plan purchased off the Internet, which he then modified according to personal taste and lot size. By using such a design, he was able to present plans to the city building department without needing to hire an architect or an engineer. Not every builder or subcontractor appreciates having the owner on the job site. Owen hired Peter Bates and Aaron McGregor of Good Homes Construction, based in Port Townsend, and for them, it’s worked out well. “We’re a team, and when the owner is on-site, instead of having to make a phone call or wait for them to be in town, you can de-
cide things right away,” Bates said. “We’ve made some changes on the fly,” Owen said. “As things take shape, someone may have a better idea.” For example, bookcases were added in his living room and a storage area added to the stairwell in the second floor, as suggested by his builders. TIME TO BUILD Compared to the period of 2003-2007, this is a great time to build in terms of the cost of labor and materials. People are hungry for business. “Three years ago, you couldn’t get a subcontractor to call you back, they were so busy,” McGregor noted. “Now they’re at the job site the next day.” Owen received six bids for drywall work, all from companies or individuals who drove by and saw the construction under way. The bids were supercompetitive with rock-bottom prices. CONTRACTOR CHOICE The city offers “12 tips to re-
member” when hiring a contractor, starting with: make sure the contractor is licensed and registered, and be wary if the contractor The house that Dan and Vicky Owen are having built asks you to pick in Port Townsend is based on a ﬂoor plan purchased up the building on the Internet and modiﬁed to their personal taste. permit. When choosing whom to hire, doesn’t mean who is a better don’t be put off when an applicant builder.” admits to not having work. Bates and McGregor worked GETTING A PERMIT for a homebuilding company that One of the most challenging went bankrupt in 2009, so they aspects for any building contractor branched out on their own. To is working with the city or county find work, they’ve gone from do- to obtain the proper permits. It’s ing major custom homes to small all about communication, Owen jobs such as decks, kitchen remod- said, and reading and understandels and even hanging screen doors. ing the rules. A study completed late last year The City of Port Townsend, indicates that in Jefferson County, for example, will meet with an construction companies have laid owner or contractor before any off 60 to 70 percent of their crews actual plans must be submitted from the peak of 2006. for official review. “Take advan“It’s the luck of the draw who tage of preconstruction meethas a job or not,” Bates said about – Continued on Page 16 those in the building trades. “It The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
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ings,” Owen said. Overall, “We’ve had a very good experience working with the city. They have been fair and consistent.” CODE CHANGES Builders, contractors and homeowners need to pay attention to code language, and it is not always easy. With the State Building Code Council’s approval, the 2009 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) took effect on Jan. 1, 2011, and it means new energy efficiency requirements for builders across the state. There were also significant changes made to the International Residential Code (and are reflected in the city and county codes published in this Home Improvement Guide). A lot of these code changes have added cost. For example, new construction must use tamper-resistant electrical outlets. Instead of buying 15-cent plastic plugs to keep toddlers from sticking things into an outlet, new construction now must have special outlets (including GFI outlets) that cost two or three times more than a standard outlet. Also, exterior decks now need special hardware attaching them to the main structure. “The inspectors are good about walking you through that stuff,” Owen noted. “You may not like the code, but it is the code, and if you want to pass inspection, you’ve got to follow it.” SHOPPING AROUND These days, people want to save money. Cutting corners on quality is one thing, getting a good deal is another. Buying local whenever he can is Owen’s goal, but, in reality, not when an item here is two or three times more expensive than the same
Peter Bates of Good Homes Construction moves insulating house wrap into position.
item at a warehouse store in Kitsap or Clallam counties. He purchased a lot of items online, from heaters made in Germany to electrical outlets. “Take the time to shop around, because it pays off,” Owen said. And ask, does your hardware store offer a military or senior citizen discount? ENERGY EFFICIENCY This is not a new thought, but it is more applicable than ever: “Energy is only getting more expensive, and we really need to build energy-efficient homes,” McGrego-
rsaid. “You only pay for insulation once and you pay for energy every single day.” Owen’s project uses insulation products that exceed the code requirements. He opted for a highend, blown-in wall insulation product costing about $200 more than the standard insulation. “That’s an easy decision,” he said. Along with energy efficiency, there are products promising reduced maintenance. Owen is using fiber cement siding, prepainted, and a “green” exterior deck product made from recycled plastic and rice. For Owen, the most important strategy for energy efficiency is to build small. “Two people rambling around in a big old house? Build small so there is less to heat.” REFURBISH, REUSE This option is a personal deci-
This brace connecting an exterior deck to the home is a new code requirement.
sion, but Owen is all about reusing materials. He has plucked bathroom and kitchen sinks from the Waste Not Want Not store in town, and has purchased items from garage sales and off Craigslist. He has refurbished a 100-year-old clawfoot tub, and even has secondhand (but like new) appliances. “The new stuff isn’t as well made. We didn’t buy a single new light fixture,” he noted. “If you shop around, you can get good deals.”
LUMBERYARD One place not to skimp is on lumber quality. Owen strongly suggests using a local lumberyard. McGregor hand-picked this project’s lumber at Carl’s Building Supply in Port Hadlock. “The lumberyard is your partner in building, so it is important to have a good, close relationship,” Owen noted. – Continued on Page 17
The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
Kitchen & Bath Design anD sales
– Continued from Page 16
CUSTOM FEATURES Custom features don’t have to cost a lot of money. Texture 1-11 covering was used under this home’s eaves to create the look of tongueand-groove. Old planks were resawn to create 2-inch-thick, long-grained staircase steps. The design of a dogwood flower blossom was crafted from cedar shingles and added as a decorative piece above the home’s picture window. “You can get nice details without spending a lot of money,” Owen said. Where do you get these ideas? “Drive around town and look at houses, and if you see something you like, take a picture and show it to your contractor.”
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The scoop on poop Care and maintenance can stretch the life of your septic system By Linda Atkins Protecting your on-site sewage system during site development and construction – even before it is installed – and operating the system to extend its working life after you move in are both keys to the long-term success of the system. Following are some “do’s and don’ts” to ensure a septic system’s longevity. For more details on how a septic system operates and information on different types of septic systems, visit jeffersoncountypublichealth.org. During site development and construction: • Do block off the drainfield area and the repair area with flagging or another barrier to keep it free from construction equipment and materials from start to finish. Your septic system is a living system that contains organisms that need an oxygen-rich environment in order to kill harmful bacteria found in your wastewater. Heavy construction equipment compacts soil, making it difficult to carry oxygen and disperse sewage. • Don’t allow any grading or removal of soils or plants in the
drainfield area. Many areas of the county have shallow soils above glacial till, sometimes referred to as “hardpan.” The type of septic system that is permitted depends largely on how deep the soil is above the hardpan. Removal or disturbance of even a few inches can compromise the operation or decrease the lifespan of your septic system. Protect this important part of your home’s infrastructure; it will extend the life of your system and save you money. • Don’t dig any utility trenches, curtain drains or drainage ditches in the vicinity of the drainfield unless approved on your septic permit or building plans. • Do plan to install your septic system during the months when the soil is drier – generally June to October. Installing a system when soil conditions are too wet can damage the soil through compaction and smear the soil pores, reducing the ability of the soil to treat your wastewater. • Do install your system if you plan to live on the property while you are building. If you reside on a property, you will need to dispose of all of your wastewater into an approved on-site sew-
age system. You can temporarily connect your RV to the system or dump your holding tank into the septic tank inlet. • Don’t let any construction waste or wash water be discharged into your system. Paint and drywall have very small solid particles that can clog up the soils in the drainfield and deprive it of needed oxygen. The large amount of water required to wash out brushes and tools can overload your system. • Do be sure to turn the system on – flip the breakers. Some septic systems include a pump and electrical controls. If the septic system was installed early in your project or existed before you owned the property, it may have been left in the “off ” position. The breakers need to be turned on to activate the system. There will be breakers in your main electrical panel, probably two: one for the pump and one for the high water alarm. There are also breakers in the septic sys-
tem control panel for the pump, alarm and timer, as well as a “safety” shutoff nearby. Check for blown fuses in the panel. IN YOUR NEW HOUSE Most septic systems contain two major components: a septic tank and a drainfield or soil absorption field. If the soils are shallow or poor for treatment of sewage, the system may also have a treatment unit. The septic tank is alive with microorganisms that break down the waste materials that leave your home. The tank allows the solids to be separated from the wastewater. The wastewater is the liquid portion that goes on to the drainfield for treatment (removal of disease-causing organisms) and disposal. Now that you are in your new home, there are four important elements that will contribute to the long life and successful operation of your system: operation, conservation, monitoring and maintenance. These will protect your
investment as well as the community and the environment. DOWN THE DRAIN What you put down the drain can have a huge impact on your system’s operation. The following items should never be put down the drain: cat litter, degreasers, paints, solvents, chemical drain cleaners, plastics, photographic chemicals and leftover medications (prescription or over the counter). Medications can be taken to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office or the Port Townsend Police Department office during regular business hours. Both agencies have drop boxes in the lobby for medications – no questions asked and no paperwork required. Food waste can lead to a buildup of solids in your tank, requiring additional maintenance and expense. Jefferson County Public Health recommends that septic system users minimize the – Continued on Page 19
Atkins checks a newly installed septic system. Through site visits and seminars, she helps homeowners achieve the best results with their septic systems. Atkins, an environmental health specialist with the county health department, discusses the ﬁner points of onsite sewage systems during a Washington State University Water Watchers class. Photos courtesy of Linda Atkins
The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
poop – Continued from Page 18
following items going down the drain: food waste, coffee grounds, liquid fabric softeners, oils and grease from cooking, paper towels and other “flushable” wipes. Garbage disposals add excess solids and fine particles to the tank that can get flushed out to the drainfield. Use water wisely. Water conservation is important, because excessive amounts of water can shorten the life of your system by flushing solids through your tank and into the drainfield. This can clog the soil and limit its ability to disperse wastewater, in turn reducing the treatment and removal of bacteria, viruses and other pollutants in the wastewater. Your septic system is designed to treat and dispose of a specific number of gallons of wastewater in a day. Exceeding that amount can shorten the life of the system. Small drips add up and can release 100 gallons over a 24-hour period. You can take charge and save money by fixing dripping faucets and running toilets, installing low-flow fixtures and spreading out loads of laundry over several days. If you are on a public water system with a water meter, you can compare your water use with your septic system’s approved capacity. If you are on a well, the installation of a meter is recommended. OUTSIDE THE HOME Protect the drainfield area from parking, driving and other landdisturbing activities. Divert roof drains and surface-water drainage away from the system. This excess water can overload the system. Plant grass or other shallow-rooted plants over the drainfield area. Avoid trees and woody shrubs that will seek the water and nutrients in the drainfield and may result in damage to the system. Don’t cover the drainfield area with barriers such as plastic, decks or buildings. The soil needs to “breathe” and allow moisture to escape. Irrigation systems should be installed at least 10 feet from the edge of the drainfield to prevent excess water.
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SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS: PORT TOWNSEND
SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS: JEFFERSON COUNTY
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Energy code State requires builders to meet new standards for efﬁciency By James Robinson With the State Building Code Council’s approval, the 2009 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) took effect on Jan. 1, 2011, and it means new energy efficiency requirements for home builders. Included in the code, for example, are updated mandates for air leakage testing, insulation and programmable thermostats, among other items. “As we were entering the 2009 adoption cycle, the governor and the climate action team requested the State Building Code Council to increase building energy efficiency by 30 percent,” said Tim Nogler, managing director of the state Building Code Council. Although Nogler acknowledged that the council did not reach the governor’s goal with the 2009 energy code, the new code does achieve about a 15 percent increase in energy efficiency as compared to the 2006 energy code. Although the governor and the climate action team sought greater energy efficiency with code revisions during the 2009 cycle, Nogler said the new code represents a balancing act between current economic realties and the push from the governor’s office for a higher degree of energy efficiency. Nogler said the Washington State University Extension Energy Program played a vital role in providing technical assistance with the new codes, and the university offers free continuing education and training for builders and building officials to bring them up to speed on the new code’s requirements. COMPLIANCE TRAINING This course on the residential sections of the 2009 WSEC focuses on changes to the energy code as well as energy basics, code layout and use, and application to projects during the design, review, and construction phases. Time permitting, the sessions also cover how various compliance forms are used, and practical matters of code compliance documentation and inspection. WSU recommends the course for building department employees, builders, subcontractors and designers. Instructors: Gary Nordeen, Luke Howard, Emily Salzberg. Call 360956-2042. Classes are free and class size varies by location.
DUCT TESTING The training on duct testing protocols is a result of a code change in the WSEC that requires mandatory duct testing if HVAC ducts are located outside of the conditioned space. Attendees receive a certificate documenting completion of the minimum requirement to test ducts for 2009 WSEC compliance. The training does not certify individuals to test ducts for the Northwest Energy Star Program or Performance Tested Comfort Systems (PTCS). Technicians who can verify that they have successfully completed duct testing training provided by the Northwest Energy Star Program or from PTCS are not required to take this course. Industry professionals involved in duct installation and code officials directly affected by this new code amendment are encouraged to attend. Training is planned for next year throughout the state. In a two- to three-hour classroom session, attendees learn the new testing standard and how to operate the equipment. The second half of the day is in the field, where participants have the opportunity to operate the equipment and demonstrate their ability to run the test in a new construction scenario. Instructors: Gary Nordeen, Luke Howard, Emily Salzberg. Call 360-956-2042. Classes are free and class size varies by location. Go to energy.wsu.edu/EventsTrainings. aspx for a complete listing of courses.
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– Continued from Page 19
MONITORING AND MAINTENANCE Monitoring means having your system inspected regularly by a knowledgeable person. Inspections can reveal problems before they become serious. Install inspection ports over the septic tank to make regular maintenance easier and less costly. Keep inspection ports in the drainfield clear for observation. By checking the depth of solids in the tank, you can determine when the tank needs to be pumped. Observation of monitoring ports in the drainfield lets you know if your system is functioning properly and the soils are dispersing the wastewater. Keep a record, such as a sketch, of where your tank and drainfield are located to assist you or the inspector in observing the system. Maintenance is required to remove the solids that build up in the septic tank. When you have the tank pumped, everything should be removed from every compartment – “starter” is not needed to reactivate the tank. The tank should be refilled with water to prevent “floating.” Additives do not prevent the need to pump and are not recommended. Records for many septic systems are available online at co.jefferson.wa.us. There are instructions at jeffersoncountypublichealth.org for locating your files, as well as helpful tips, a list of inspectors and links to other resources. (Linda Atkins is an environmental health specialist with Jefferson County Public Health.)
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The Port Townsend & Jefferson County
2011 Building Codes CONTENTS Chapter 1: Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 When is a building permit required? Customer Assistance Meetings Chapter 2: Other Permits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Chapter 3: Building Permits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 How to apply Building permit fees Chapter 4: Building Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Chapter 5: Inspections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Chapter 6: Certiﬁcate of Occupancy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Chapter 7: Smoke Detectors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Chapter 8: Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Washington State Energy Code Alternatives Energy inspections Chapter 9: Wood Heat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Chapter 10: Septic Permits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Chapter 11: Manufactured/Mobile & Modular Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Chapter 12: Shorelines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Jurisdiction of the act Shoreline setback Chapter 13: SEPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Critical Areas (city) Chapter 14: Subdivisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Chapter 15: Easements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Chapter 16: Jefferson County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Chapter 17: Port Townsend Description of zoning districts . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Design review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Home occupations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 B&Bs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Setbacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Building height limits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Fences and hedges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Permitted & conditional uses tables . . . . . . .34 Lot coverage & min. lot requirements. . . . . . 35 Outbuildings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Engineering requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Streets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Parking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Latecomer agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Sign code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Temporary Use Permits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 “Grandfathered” buildings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 “Grandfathered” uses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Zoning exceptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Variances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Conditional use permits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Fee Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Planned unit developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Rezones, appeals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Tree cutting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Chapter 18: Growth Management Act . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
How to Get Further Information PORT TOWNSEND The City’s Permit Center (the Development Services Department) is located in City Hall, 250 Madison St., Suite 3, and is open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; Wednesday 9:15 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Appointments for commercial and multi-family projects may be made by calling 360-379-5095. Development Services Department (DSD): Rick Sepler, Planning / DSD Director; Fred Slota, Building Ofﬁcial; John McDonagh, Senior Planner; Judy Surber, Senior Planner / Planning Manager; Meg Way, Administrative Assistant; Michael Hoskins, Building Inspector / Plans Examiner; Scottie Foster, Administrative Assistant; Suzanne Wassmer, Land Use Development Specialist. Public Works: Ken Clow, P.E., Public Works Director; David Peterson, P.E., City Engineer; Alex Angud, Engineering Tech; Samantha Trone, P.E., Development Review Engineer. JEFFERSON COUNT The Department of Community Development at 621 Sheridan St. is open between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; closed on Friday. The phone number is 360-379-4450. Al Scalf, director; Rose Ann Carroll, ofﬁce coordinator; Stacie Hoskins, planning manager; Joel Peterson, UGA lead associate planner; Michelle McConnell, long range lead associate planner and SMP update; Michelle Farfan, associate planner and FHM lead; David W. Johnson, associate planner and Port Ludlow lead; Zoe Lamp, associate planner and DRD lead; Donna Frostholm, associate planner/ wetland scientist; Colleen Zmolek, assistant planner of the day (POD); Jim Coyne, building inspector lead; Frank Benskin, plans examiner; Lisa Keller, permit tech II. Be Sure to Check for Building Code Updates The information contained in the 2011 Home Improvement and Building Guide pertaining to building code and permit requirements is current as the guide goes to press. However, building codes, zoning and other regulations are updated regularly by the city and county. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact Jefferson County (360-379-4450) or the City of Port Townsend (360-379-5095), as appropriate, before starting work. Online Permit Information You can also ﬁnd zoning, building code and permit information online. For the City of Port Townsend, go to: http://www.cityofpt.us/DSD For the Port Townsend Municipal Code (PTMC), go to: http://www.codepublishing.com/wa/porttownsend.html Electrical Permits Whether you live in the city or the county, all electrical permits are handled by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). The local L&I ofﬁce is located at 1605 E. Front Street, Suite C, Port Angeles,WA 98362-4628. Ofﬁce hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; an inspector is available to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Call 360-417-2700 for general information.To schedule an inspection, call 360-417-2722 by at least 4 p.m. on the business day prior to the desired inspection.The L&I inspector serving Jefferson County and the City of Port Townsend is Len Moser. For convenience, electrical permit applications are available at the Puget Sound Energy ofﬁce, 181 Quincy Street, and the County Permit center, 621 Sheridan Street.
Getting Started ▼ When Is a Building Permit Required? The City of Port Townsend and Jefferson County have adopted the following codes: 2009 International Building Code -WAC 51-50, 2009 International Residential Code -WAC 51-51, 2009 International Mechanical Code -WAC 51-52, National Fuel Gas Code (NFPA 54) - WAC 51-52, Liqueﬁed Petroleum Gas Code (NFPA 58) - WAC 51-52, 2006 International Fire Code - WAC 5154, 2003 Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Plumbing Code Standards - WAC 51-56 and 5157, Washington State Energy Code, as amended - WAC 51-11. The IBC requires a building permit before constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, moving, converting or demolishing a structure unless expressly exempted. Exemptions include: detached, accessory onestory tool and storage sheds less than 200 square feet in ﬂoor area; fences up to six feet high; movable cases, counters and partitions not over ﬁve feet nine inches high; platforms, walks and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below; retaining walls four feet and less measured from top of wall to bottom of footing unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or III-A liquids; and painting, wallpapering and similar ﬁnish work. Exemptions should be checked in advance. All work must meet zoning and other requirements, even if a building permit is not required. Many informational handouts are available at the City’s Permit Center and at the Jefferson County Department of Community Development. Please call prior to starting your project, as double permit fees may be assessed for work that is undertaken without a permit.
Jefferson County Pre-application conferences provide a prospective applicant and the county the opportunity to determine if and how the regulations (e.g., environmentally sensitive areas and SEPA) may apply, an opportunity to acquaint the applicant with the requirements of the Jefferson County Code, and to discuss, if applicable, how the applicant may modify the scope and design of the project to reduce or avoid restrictions which may be imposed by the County. Pre-application conferences are required for all Type II and Type III project applications and Type I project applications proposing impervious surfaces of ten thousand (10,000) square feet or more and/or non-single family structures of ﬁve thousand (5,000) square feet or more. Pre-application conferences for all other types of applications are optional. CHAPTER 2:
Are Other Permits Required? ▼ Depending on the nature and location of the project, other permits may be required in addition to a building permit. Other permits could include: Energy Code: If your project includes heated space, the Washington State Energy Code requires applicants to adhere to all energy code requirements. Street and Utility Development Permit (SDP):
Port Townsend - A Street and Utility Development permit is required for all development projects that require work in a city right-of-way. The Street and Utility Development permit is used for applications for water and sewer connections and/or main extensions, and stormwater and/or street improvements. Street and Utility Development Permit applications are available at the City’s Development Services Department; the completed application must have a site plan showing the work to be done. As a general rule, a building permit will not be issued without an accompanying Street and Utility Development Permit; however, Street and Utility Development permits may be issued prior to a building permit when the street and utility work is needed prior to building. If only minor Public Works improvements are needed for the development (e.g. development of a lot in a Planned Unit Development) where all utilties are stubbed in, a Minor Improvement Permit (MIP) may be substituted for the Street and Utility Development Permit. The fee for an MIP is $110 and it is typically used for driveways, culverts, sidewalks, parking improvements, and cable, phone and power service. Street and Utility Development or Minor Improvement Permits not tied to a building permit will expire unless the work is completed within 12 months after issuance of the permit. All Street and Utility Development or Minor Improvement Permits tied to a building permit are valid as long as the building permit remains active with the Building Department. Drainage: Port Townsend – All new development within the City must have a plan for handling stormwater on-site. The 2005 Department of Ecology’s Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington was adopted by the City in February 2007. Applicants must submit a drainage plan. The level of drainage plans varies depending on the complexity of the project. Copies of the requirements are available at DSD. The City’s Engineering Design Standards and Department of Ecology handouts describe in detail the requirements for drainage plans. Additional requirements may be imposed for sites within or near Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Jefferson County ﬁrst adopted a Stormwater Management Ordinance on November 4, 1996. The current stormwater management standards are contained in the Jefferson County Code, Sec. 18.30.070. Avoiding impacts related to erosion, sedimentation, and stormwater runoff from land clearing development is vital, consequently all projects require review under this ordinance and many projects will require the use of best management practices as outlined in the WA State Department of Ecology Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington, 2005 edition, as amended. Separate plumbing and/or mechanical permits: Are required for changes or additions to existing plumbing, heating or ventilation if not part of the building permit. Clearing and Grading Permit: If not part of the building permit, a separate clearing and grading permit is required prior to any land-disturbing activity for the city, and may be required for Jefferson County, including grading, clearing, grubbing, ﬁlling, excavating or stockpiling. There are a few exemptions that can be made by the Building Ofﬁcial; call the city for speciﬁc information. — Continued on page 25 The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
— Continued from page 24 Any land-disturbing activity of 7,000 sq. ft. or more, or within an environmentally sensitive area, requires a stormwater management permit. Call Jefferson County for speciﬁcs. Demolition Permit: A demolition permit is required to ensure that structures are removed from the Assessor’s tax rolls and that the site is left in a safe, sanitary condition. Moving Permit: If not part of a building permit, a separate moving permit is required to move a house or other building. Lifting a house for foundation work or other purpose requires a permit prior to lifting.
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Manufactured Home Siting Permit: (Chapter 296 - 150M WAC, Manufactured and Mobile Homes.) Manufactured homes may be placed anywhere within the City of Port Townsend’s residential zoning districts. Maps of these areas are available at DSD. Manufactured homes must also meet the following requirements: 1. Set on a permanent foundation with the space from the bottom of the home to the ground enclosed by poured concrete or concrete or masonry blocks so that no more than one foot of the perimeter foundation is visible above the ground; 2. Originally constructed with and now has a composition or wood shake or shingle, coated metal, or similar roof with a minimum 3.12 pitch; and 3. Originally constructed within 3 years of the date proposed for placement. The placement of manufactured homes that were constructed more than 3 years prior is prohibited. The title of manufactured homes must be eliminated through the state Department of Licensing as a condition of building permit approval. Manufactured homes require building permits and street development permits. Fees for manufactured home permits are based on the foundation valuation plus the cost of any site-built structures. Wood, Pellet, and Propane Stove Installations: Require permits and inspections by the city or county Building Ofﬁcial and Fire Department. (Chapter 10, IRC.) Mechanical permits are required for installation of new or replacement propane containers (both above ground and underground), appliances and/or piping. Most mechanical permits are issued while you wait. Inspection is required for tank placement (setbacks) and piping tests. A Shoreline Substantial Development Permit: May be required if construction lies within 200 feet of a body of water. The Shoreline Management Act pertains to all bodies of water and wetlands over 20 acres in size, as well as most rivers and streams. (Shoreline Master Pro-
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— Continued from page 25 gram.) Even if the project proposal is exempt from the permit process, the policies of the WA State Shoreline Management Act and the applicable Shoreline Master Program must be followed. See fee schedule. Critical Areas Permit: Port Townsend: A critical areas permit may be required if it is determined the site is near or within a critical area such as a seismic area, wetland, steep slope, or critical drainage corridor. (See PTPC Chapter 19.05, Critical Areas.) Jefferson County: Jefferson County requires Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) review for all permit applications except where the footprint of the structure is not changed (i.e.: remodels, plumbing permits, etc.). Construction in the Intertidal Zone: May also require additional permits from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and approval from the Department of Natural Resources per the Aquatic Land Management Act. City or county staff will help you initiate these applications. SEPA: For projects not exempt, an environmental checklist must be submitted in compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). A checklist is also necessary anytime a shoreline permit is required (Shoreline Master Program, SEPA). HPC: Design Review by the Historic Preservation Committee is required for all proposals within the historic district of the City which are also within the C-III or P-1 zoning districts (uptown and downtown business districts). It is also required for bed and breakfast inns and other uses within the historic district which require a conditional use permit. Residences are not included. Design Review is also required within the Special Overlay
Design Review District (north of the ferry terminal to Point Hudson and east of the bluff). (See PTPC Chapter 17, PT Zoning: Design Review.) Sign Permit: Sign permits are required for new signage as well as those replaced, revised, re-erected and relocated. Administrative review or committee design review for signs within the historic district is also required. The sign code is scheduled to be revised in 2009; contact DSD for more information. (City Chapter 17, PT Zoning: Sign Code.) (County: refer to JCC Section 18.30.150.) CHAPTER 3:
How To Apply For a Building Permit ▼ If the property is in Jefferson County outside of the Port Townsend city limits, apply at the Jefferson County Department of Community Development at 621 Sheridan St. in Port Townsend. In the City of Port Townsend applications are taken by the city’s Permit Center on the third ﬂoor of City Hall, 250 Madison Street. Building permits submitted to the City are accepted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For commercial project submittals, appointments are required. Please call 360-379-5095. Permit applications may be submitted to Jefferson County Department of Community Development. It is recommended to contact permit tech prior to submittal to check on availability or obtain a submittal time and date for application submittal. Please call 360-379-4450. Planner of the day is available 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday,Tuesday,Thursday and available 1:30-4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Applications require information concerning the construction and project site and help determine a project’s compliance with zoning and building codes. You will need the name, mailing address and telephone number of both owner and contractor; contractor’s Washington state registration number (also a City of Port Townsend business license is required of contractors for work
Considering Application for a Jefferson County Building Permit? Here’s information you’ll need during your project The building permit must be posted at the job site.The building inspector will sign the permit for each stage of construction that has been satisfactorily completed. Stages of construction may include all or most of the following: 1. Footings and setbacks (rebar must be in place). 2. Foundation (rebar must be in place). 3. Under-slab plumbing (10 foot head of water). Underground insulation. 4. Framing and plumbing (done at same time; roof completed, windows installed, and electrical approved; water must be in lines). Air-seal of utility penetration. Shear wall and hold downs. 5. Masonry chimney. 6. Shear wall 7. Insulation. 8. Sheetrock nailing (before taping). 9. Stormwater 10. Zoning, as required
11. Final (including safety features and woodstove). Jefferson County Department of Community Development, 621 Sheridan, Port Townsend (360) 379-4455: 24-hour inspection number (360) 379-4450: information number PERMITS ARE VALID FOR ONE YEAR ONLY. Contact Department of Community Development for current renewal policy. Inspections must be requested by 3 pm the day before the inspection is need and can be called in 24 hours a day at (360) 379-4455. Please note – inspections for Mondays must be called in by 3 pm on Thursday due to our ofﬁce currently being closed on Fridays. Please use a land line to ensure the clarity of your request. Inspections are available to all areas Mon - Thurs except for the West End which are done by appointment only. Please plan to be ready for your inspection. All permit owners will be charged a reinspection fee if the job site is not ready when the inspector arrives. Although you may request a speciﬁc day according to the schedule, we regret that we are unable to accept requests for speciﬁc times of day. All inspections will be conducted between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on the requested day.
performed within the city); construction site nine digit parcel number and legal description (parcel numbers may be obtained from the County Assessor’s ofﬁce); ﬂoor area of planned and existing buildings; and the existence of any applicable plat or other restrictions on the use of the property. Other plans, showing foundation, ﬂoor framing, section drawings (from foundation to roof) and elevations may also be required. Building plan review fees are collected at the time of application (see Building Permit Fees). Once you apply for a building permit with the necessary forms and information, the time it takes to issue the permit is site speciﬁc and varies depending on the time of year and the volume of permit applications. Larger commercial or multifamily residential projects may take longer. Per the International Building Code, a building permit may expire during the plan review process and may also expire once the permit is issued. Expiration of Plan Review: When a permit has not been issued within 180 days following the date of application for want of information from the applicant, the application and plan review expire. However, the code authorizes the Building Ofﬁcial to extend this time for one additional 180-day period when it is determined that circumstances beyond the control of the applicant prevented action to secure the permit. Expiration of the Building Permit: CITY - Once issued the permit expires if work does not begin within 180 days. Not unlike the one time plan review extension, the Building Ofﬁcial may extend the permit for one additional 180day period on written request by the permittee showing that circumstances beyond the control of the permittee have prevented action from being taken. If the permit expires, new fees will be required to issue a new permit. COUNTY - The issued permit expires after one year. Contact county to ﬁnd out current renewal policy. Building Permit Fees Building Permit Fees are based on project valuation, or the estimated value per square foot for each type of construction to replace the building or addition. Standard replacement value ﬁgures have been adopted by the city and county. Other city fees will be assessed for house number assignment, water and sewer connections, public works and ﬁre review, and storm water reserve capacity catch up fees (Other Permits, Chapter 2). System Development Charges (SDCs) (City Only) System Development Charges are fees charged to new development projects to ensure that, rather than being subsidized by the general ratepayers, “growth pays for growth.” Any person requesting a water or sewer connection within the City, or a water connection in Jefferson County within the City’s water service area, or an upsize of existing service, must pay SDCs. Contact the City’s Development Services Department at 360-379-5095 to ﬁnd out what fees are applicable to your project. CHAPTER 4:
Building Plans ▼ Building permit applications are accompanied by plans and speciﬁcations drawn to scale and in sufﬁcient detail to judge that the project will be constructed in accordance with building codes and all relevant regulations. The plans should clearly show what you intend to build, how it will be placed on your property, and how it will be constructed. All plans should be detailed enough to allow construction from the plans. In the city and the county, two sets (three sets for commercial projects) of the following plans are
required: plot plan, typical framing detail, ﬂoor plan, foundation plan and elevation (vertical view). Port Townsend requires a third set of site plans for commercial projects or if utilities or street development or street access are involved. Most plans are drawn by local builders, designers and home-owners. However, the building ofﬁcial may require plans, computations and speciﬁcations be prepared by a licensed engineer or architect, and if so, those plans must be “wet-stamped.” If an architect or engineer (licensed in the State of Washington) has prepared and stamped your plans, one set must have an original signature and wet stamp on each page. (The other set may be copies.) At plan submittal all lateral and structural calculations (by architect or engineer) such as strapping, nailing, shearwalls, beam sizes, grade and species of lumber, truss design, holdowns, etc. shall be clearly depicted on the plans and in the details. Plans shall also include elevations, foundation, ﬂoor (structural), roof plans, cross sections and ﬂoor plans with all rooms labeled. The package of plans must include: Plot Plan • setbacks from property lines and all existing buildings with special attention toward buildings within 10 feet (whether on applicant’s lot or neighboring lot) • street names, road easements and easements of record • off-street parking • existing and/or proposed septic tank/drainﬁeld location, if applicable (include extra set of plans for County Health Dept.) • property lines and dimensions, including all interior lot lines • legal description • any accessory buildings • slope of land (including grade and direction, and top of slope) elevations • if waterfront property, show bank height, setback between building and top of bank, all creeks, rivers, wetlands, etc. • existing and proposed utilities: service lines and pipe size (pipe size: PT only) • drainage plans • building lines and exterior dimensions • temporary erosion and sediment control Foundation Plan • footings, piers & foundation walls (including interior footings) • foundation vents • posts and beams (sizes and spans) • ﬂoor joists, size, spacing, direction • plumbing sizes and locations through foundations • type and location of vapor barriers Floor Plan • room uses and sizes • window, skylight and door locations; sizes • plumbing ﬁxtures • smoke detector locations • stairway: rise, run, handrails, dimensions etc. • hot water tank, furnaces, wood stove, ﬁreplaces • attic and crawl space access • wall bracing, both interior and exterior Wall Section • footing size and depth below ﬁnish grade • foundation wall, height, width and reinforcement (horizontal and vertical rebar placement) • ﬁnish grade • thickness of ﬂoor slab • ﬂoor joist size and spacing • ﬂoor sheathing, size and material — Continued on page 27 The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
— Continued from page 26 • wall stud size and spacing • ceiling height • wall sheathing and siding, size and material • rafters, ceiling joists, trusses, seismic anchors • roof sheathing, rooﬁng material, roof pitch, attic ventilation • insulation material and R value in walls, ﬂoor, ceiling and slab • headers, dimensions, insulation • anchor bolts and pressure-treated plates • sheet rock thickness; ﬁre resistive, if required • type and location of vapor barriers • framing to be used: standard, intermediate or advanced
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— Continued from page 27 combined with others, depending on the type of project. After each stage of construction is satisfactorily completed, the inspector will sign the permit posted on the site. WA State law requires that the Building Permit be posted on the site and that an approved set of plans also be available at the site; if plans are not on site, a re-inspection fee is charged. Inspections are made at each of the following stages of residential construction: City - Development Services Department 1. Tempoarary erosion and sediment control 2. Footings and setbacks (rebar and forms must be in place) 3. Foundation walls or slab (rebar and forms must be in place) 4. Under-slab plumbing 5. Drainage installations, if required-(before drain lines are covered) 6. Floor framing (over crawl space prior to decking). 7. Exterior sheathing, alternate braced wall panels, and engineered sheer walls require inspection prior to cover. 8. Framing, mechanical and plumbing (done at same time with roof completed, and windows and doors installed). Electrical inspection required prior to framing inspection. (Electrical inspections are made by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries; call 360-457-2683 in Port Angeles). Air-seal of utility penetration. Shear walls and hold downs. 9. Masonry chimney 10. Insulation 11. Drywall nailing 12. Public Works Final 13. Planning Final 14. Building Final / C of O Public Works Department City: The Public Works Inspector will inspect all of the improvements approved through the Street and Utility Development or Minor Improvement Permit. The Public Works inspector must sign-off on all Public Works improvements prior to a ﬁnal inspection. Contact the City at 360-379-5095 for applicable fees for your project. County: 1. Footings and setbacks (rebar must be in place) 2. Foundation (rebar must be in place) 3. Under-slab plumbing (10-foot head of water). Underground insulation. 4. Framing and plumbing (may be done at same time; roof completed, windows installed, and electrical approved; water must be in lines). Air-seal of utility penetration. Shear walls and hold downs. 5. Masonry chimney 6. Shear wall 7. Insulation 8. Sheetrock nailing (before taping) 9. Stormwater 10. Zoning, as required 11. Final (including safety features and woodstove) (Septic and road approach permits are to be ﬁnaled prior to CO) How To Call for an Inspection Port Townsend - Building inspection requests are made by calling the 24-hour inspection line 360-385-2294. Inspections requested before 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday will be made the following day. Calls made before 3 p.m. Friday will be made on Monday. When requesting an inspection, leave the permit number, the name listed on the permit, the address of the construction, the type of inspection requested, the day for which the inspection is requested, and on-site or cellular
phone number. The inspection card and approved plans must be available to the Inspector at the job site. Inspections will not be made unless these items are on the site. Reinspection fees will be charged for return visits ($50.00). The Public Works inspection can be requested at 360-385-2294. Permits and plans must be available at the site. A minimum of 24 hours notice should be provided for public works inspections. The City reserves the right to reject any installation not inspected by the Public Works inspector. Jefferson County - Requests for inspections outside of the Port Townsend city limits must be made prior to 3 p.m. the business day before the inspection. Due to the Department being closed on Fridays, Monday inspection requests must be received by 3 p.m. Thursday of the previous week. The City and County recognize the costs to builders whenever work must stop to wait for inspection. Every effort is made to visit the job site when requested to avoid delays. Nevertheless, critical work such as concrete pours or drywall taping should not be scheduled until the required inspections have been made and passed. A reinspection fee is charged each time the inspector must return for reinspection of work not ready at the initial inspection. No additional inspections will be made until all reinspection fees have been paid. CHAPTER 6:
Certiﬁcate of Occupancy ▼ A certiﬁcate of occupancy (C of O) is a written statement which certiﬁes that the structure has passed all inspections and is ready for occupancy. When a commercial or multi-family structure passes ﬁnal inspection, a certiﬁcate of occupancy is automatically issued. A certiﬁcate of occupancy is optional for single-family houses and is issued only upon request. CHAPTER 7:
Smoke Detectors ▼ All new homes need a smoke detector in each sleeping room, in addition to those in the hallways adjacent to sleeping rooms, and one on each ﬂoor. All smoke detectors must have electric power and battery backup. For all projects requiring a permit, smoke detectors must be installed in all areas as required in the IBC for new construction. Batterypowered smoke detectors are adequate for complying with smoke detector requirements in existing construction. See smoke detector information under woodstoves. Carbon Monoxide Alarms For new construction, an approved carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms in dwelling units within which fuelﬁred appliances are installed and in dwelling units that have attached garages. Where required in existing dwellings. Where work requiring a permit occurs in existing dwellings that have attached garages or in existing dwellings within which fuel-ﬁred appliances exist, carbon monoxide alarms shall be provided in accordance with Section R315.1. CHAPTER 8:
Washington State Energy Code ▼ The Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) is enforced statewide for residences heated by gas, oil, heat pumps and electric resistance. Although wood heat may be used as back-up heat, it may
not be listed as a primary heat source within the city of Port Townsend, but is allowed by state law in portions of Jefferson County. WSEC compliance must be included with an application for a building permit. With few exceptions, all new construction of heated space, including remodels and additions, must meet energy code standards; this applies to both residential and commercial projects. Alternatives There are three very different ways to show your building complies with the WSEC: 1. Prescriptive Approach.The simplest but most restrictive path, this approach is based on a ratio of window area to ﬂoor area. It requires that each exterior wall, ﬂoor, window and ceiling meet speciﬁed heat loss standards. 2. Component Performance Approach. This approach compares the heat loss rate of your home, as designed, to a house of “standard design” built to WSEC requirements. It allows you to trade increased insulation in one area for less in another, or perhaps more window or skylight area. 3. Systems Analysis Approach. This is the most ﬂexible but most complex approach. It compares building heat losses and gains, giving credit for solar and thermal mass.The computed annual energy consumption must be no greater than a building of “standard design” under the prescriptive approach. Additions and Remodels Residential remodels and additions must comply with the 2009 WSEC. However, additions less than 750 square feet are not required to comply if improvements are made to the existing building to compensate for the non-conforming addition. Mechanical Ventilation The 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) requires a mechanical ventilation system in all new construction of residential occupancies, and in residential additions which are larger than 500 square feet or include a “wet room” such as a bathroom, laundry or kitchen.The ventilation system has two separate, but related, tasks to accomplish: 1. Source Speciﬁc Ventilation: A mechanical ventilation system which removes stale air from rooms where excess water vapor or cooking odor is produced (such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, spas, or similar uses) provides source speciﬁc ventilation. 2. Whole House Ventilation: To provide good air quality in other rooms, or whole house ventilation, the system must: - Remove stale air from the bedrooms and other living spaces; -Distribute sufﬁcient outdoor air to all habitable rooms IRC deﬁnes “habitable” space as that used for “living, eating, sleeping, or cooking.” Bathrooms, closets, or hallways are not habitable rooms. Energy Inspections Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) requires a building air leakage (blower door) and duct test prior to ﬁnal inspection. There are three common problems found in insulation inspections: 1. Inadequate vapor retarder. The WSEC requires a vapor retarder be installed between the inside wall covering (sheet rock, etc.) and the insulation. Typically, this is accomplished with kraftfaced batt insulation face-stapled to the framing studs, or through stapling 4-mil polyethylene to the insulated walls before installing sheet rock or paneling. Approved vapor barrier paint may also be used. - Roof/ceiling assemblies in which the ventilation space above the insulation is less than an average of 12 inches must also have a vapor retarder between the inside ceiling covering and the insulation.The vapor retarder must meet the same
impermeability rating as for walls. - Blown or poured loose-ﬁll insulation may be used in attic spaces where the slope of the ceiling is not greater than three feet in 12 feet and there is at least 30 inches of clear distance from the top of the bottom chord of truss or ceiling joists to the underside of the roof sheathing at the roof ridge. - Insulation must be cut around electrical boxes and installed tightly against each box, not pushed behind the boxes. 2. Insulation bafﬂes at eaves. Ceiling insulation often shifts or compresses where attic space narrows at the eaves where the roof meets the top of the walls.This blocks the ﬂow of air, where eave vents are installed, resulting in moisture problems in the attic.To prevent this, bafﬂes must be installed to deﬂect the incoming air above the insulation. 3. Caulking. To reduce inﬁltration of outside air, the energy code requires outside joints to be caulked or sealed. Exterior joints around windows and door frames, openings between walls and foundations, between walls and roof and between wall panels; openings at penetrations of utility services through walls, ﬂoors and roofs and rim joists exposed in stairwells; and all other such openings in the building envelope shall be sealed, caulked, gasketed, or weather-stripped to limit air leakage. CHAPTER 9:
Woodstoves, Fireplace Inserts, Pellet Stoves, Masonry and Concrete Fireplaces ▼ In recent years, both lending institutions and insurance companies have become increasingly cautious in lending on or insuring structures containing solid fuel appliance (woodstoves, ﬁreplace inserts, and pellet stoves). Improper installation of these heating units has resulted in a signiﬁcant increase in home ﬁres. The City of Port Townsend requires a Mechanical Permit and Jefferson County requires an Installation Permit for retroﬁtting a wood stove or installing a new wood stove in an existing structure. Inspection is required, and in new construction the wood stove installation may be included in the building permit. A wood stove may not be installed as the sole source of heat but may be utilized as a secondary source of heat in the city of Port Townsend. Common errors in woodstove installation include: not enough clearance from walls or combustible surfaces, inadequate hearth extension, installing the pipe sections with the crimped end toward the chimney, or improper venting of pellet stoves. A ﬁnal wood stove permit is your assurance that the stove was properly installed per the International Building Code and the International Mechanical Code. Note: when any work requiring a permit is done in a dwelling, smoke detectors must be installed per the International Building Code. The essential smoke detector requirements are: one in each sleeping room and one in any hallway leading to a sleeping room. Also, each ﬂoor, including basements, must have a smoke detector. Battery powered smoke detectors are adequate in dwelling areas where no new construction is being done. All solid-fuel burning appliances require an outside source of combustion air supply and doors on woodstoves and ﬁreplaces. The requirement for “tight-ﬁtting” metal or glass doors reduces heat loss and back drafting. As houses become tighter under the new energy code, attention must be paid to the need for an adequate supply of air for combustion without detracting from indoor air quality. Therefore, a six-inch (or two 3-inch) duct for ﬁreplaces and the manufacturer’s recommended duct design for wood stoves must be installed from the ﬁrebox to — Continued on page 29 The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
— Continued from page 28 outside air. When a woodstove is installed in an existing building and the location of the wood stove prohibits direct connection to outside air, an approved wall make-up air inlet must be installed as close to the appliance as possible into the room in which the appliance is located. The duct must also have a barometric damper to minimize heat loss to the outside. Woodstoves must be Washington State certiﬁed. The State Building Code Council has adopted two state-wide amendments to the International Building Code pertaining to the testing, certifying and labeling of factory-built, masonry and concrete ﬁreplaces. Essentially, a factory-built masonry or concrete ﬁreplace must have a certiﬁcation label. The Department of Energy (1-800-523-4636) maintains an approved woodstove and ﬁreplace list.
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Onsite Septic Systems ▼ Why Septic Is Needed Because soil varies, the ability of each soil to absorb sewage efﬂuent also varies. Serious health problems can arise from an overloaded or poorly designed septic system. While most of us are acquainted with the top soil on our property, systems must rely on the lower soils. Glaciers left deposits of till and silt over much of the area. These and clay soils can create hardpan soils which restrict water absorption. Impermeable soils keep sewage near or at the surface, or may cause back-up into the house. When Is a Permit Required? Any place where people live, work, or congregate, which is not served by a sanitary sewer needs to have a permitted on-site sewage system. New construction to replace or remodel an existing structure requires a new permit. Temporary uses (more than 30 days) such as camps or recreational vehicles also require a permit. Applications must include plans designed by a licensed engineer or licensed septic designer. Plans are drawn to scale and show the required distances between a well, septic tank, surface water, and buildings. Prior to approval, the Jefferson County Environmental Health Department evaluates the soil on the site from a minimum of four test holes. Often, soil evaluation must be conducted during the wet season. Both primary and reserve drain ﬁelds are required and soil must be approved for each. The system should be designed for greater than typical capacity. If approved, permits are issued for the speciﬁc site, not the family or business. Permits are valid for three years. Applications are made at the Jefferson County Department of Community Development or Environmental Health Department. New on-site septic systems are only — Continued on page 30 The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
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— Continued from page 29 allowed in the City of Port Townsend for new single family residential development which is greater than 260 feet from the nearest city sewer
main and which is not subject to any of the following: a) subdivision, short subdivision and planned unit development (PUD) approvals subject to the Subdivision Ordinance PTMC Title 18 (as stated in PTMC 13.22.010) b) review and threshold deter-
SHORELINE SETBACK Jefferson County Setback is a minimum of 30 feet and a maximum of 100 feet. Property owners may choose to set back greater than 100 feet.
Low Bank Waterfront 30 Foot Minimum
Medium to High Bank Waterfront Maximum Required Setback
1 Foot Setback for Each Foot of Bank Height
Greater than 30 Feet
mination under the State Environmental Policy Act Implementing Ordinance (Chapter 19.04 PTMC) or c) permit requirements of the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Ordinance (Chapter 19.05 PTMC). On-site septic systems must be approved by the Jefferson County Health Department. If an on-site septic system within the City of Port Townsend fails (at any time), connection to the City’s system is required unless the nearest portion of the parcel is greater than 260 feet from the nearest sewer main, in which case the septic system may be repaired to serve the property, provided it can be upgraded to Jefferson County Health Department requirements. Septic Inspections Two inspection approvals are required for septic systems. One comes at the time of application and includes a visit to the site. The second comes at time of installation. A Septic System Primer Waste water and sewage (efﬂuent) must be treated to prevent disease. Efﬂuent ﬂows from the house to a septic tank, from where it ﬂows into drain lines that carry it to absorbing soils. As it ﬁlters down through the soil, it is puriﬁed by soil bacteria. Two to four feet of good soil must exist below the drain ﬁeld pipes to treat the efﬂuent.The amount varies due to soil types. Soil types range from gravel to sand, sandy loam, loam, to clays. If the efﬂuent ﬂows or percolates (percs) too quickly, it may reach ground water without adequate puriﬁcation, polluting neighboring wells or springs. If it percs too slowly, the efﬂuent backs up into the house or resurfaces. Sandy soil requires less area than ﬁner, loamy soils. Conventional septic systems cannot be used in clay or other impervious soils. Approved alternative systems can overcome some site limitations. On-Site-Septic systems (OSS) are effective if the following conditions exist: 1. Properly designed and installed system. 2. Adequate soil conditions. 3. System is not overloaded, neglected or impeded by excessive wastes from the house or business. 4. Solid wastes are kept at a minimum. Septic systems can handle only human excrement, toilet paper and wash water. Garbage disposals may be too much. 5. Clear liquid is visible through annual visual inspections. 6. Pumped out every three to ﬁve years. 7. The drain ﬁeld is protected from vehicles. CHAPTER 11:
Manufactured/Mobile and Modular Homes ▼ Manufactured/mobile and modular homes are treated the same as site-constructed homes with respect to setbacks, water, sewage disposal, drainage, stormwater, footing drains, roof drainage and the like. A siting permit is required for both manufactured/mobile and modular homes. Modular homes are built in a factory to the standards of the International Building Code (IBC) and are installed on a conventional foundation and require a foundation plan and the appropriate inspections. Manufactured homes are built to Federal Housing and Urban Development speciﬁcations. Manufactured homes do not require a conventional foundation and may be installed per the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The blocking, plumbing, skirting, steps, and porches are inspected as part of a Manufactured Home permit. In conformance with the City’s comprehensive plan, manufactured homes are allowed in all residential zones except in the Historic District.
Shoreline Master Program ▼ Enacted in 1971, the Washington State Shoreline Management Act recognizes shorelines as among the most valuable and fragile of the state’s natural resources. Shoreline Act policy aims to maximize public access to the waterfront, provide for uses which are water dependent or water related and to protect and restore shoreline resources. Some projects are exempt from the shoreline permit process, but all projects must comply with the policies of the Shoreline Master Program and the Shoreline Management Act. The Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program regulates all shoreline activities outside the City limits and the Port Townsend Shoreline Master Program regulates all shoreline activities within the city limits. Port Townsend adopted an updated Shoreline Master Program in February 2007, and can be found on the City web site home page under “City Plans”. A pre-application conference is required for all project proposals. Should a shoreline permit be necessary, an Army Corps of Engineers permit and a Department of Fish and Wildlife hydraulics permit may also be necessary. All application forms are available at City Hall and at the County Department of Community Development as well as online at www.co.jefferson.wa.us and at www.cityofpt.us. After a shoreline permit has been applied for, the application is advertised to allow public comment. A public hearing may be conducted. After ﬁnal action by the city or county, the application is reviewed by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE). The DOE may accept, modify or reject decisions on shoreline variances or shoreline conditional use permits. The entire process takes approximately 4 months, depending on the complexity of the project, the quality of project planning, and the number of projects already submitted. Also see Chapter 18.25 of the Jefferson County Code. Jurisdiction of the Act The Shoreline Management Act’s jurisdiction includes all marine waters of the state; all freshwater areas of the state except rivers and streams with a mean annual ﬂow of under 20 cubic feet per second and except lakes under 20 acres in areas; their associated wetlands; and the upland areas extending 200 feet landward. In general, if you plan to develop within 200 feet of these shorelines or to establish a permanent structure near or on the water, you will probably be required to have a shoreline permit. Very small projects may be exempt from the shoreline permitting process; however, exempt projects must still be reviewed by city and county staff to ensure consistency with the Master Program. A formal exemption must be issued prior to working on an exempt project. Shoreline Setback Single Family Residences typically require a shoreline exemption approval. Shoreline setbacks are measured from the top of the shoreline bank. On sites containing critical areas, critical area buffers may also apply, requiring increased setbacks from bluff tops or the water’s edge. Exceptions to this standard may be discussed with city or county planners. CHAPTER 13:
State Environmental Policy Act (PTMC 19.04) ▼ The State Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, is — Continued on page 31
The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
— Continued from page 30 a set of regulatory procedures based on the simple notion that environmental values and consequences must be considered, along with technical and economic considerations, by state and local government ofﬁcials when making decisions. The SEPA process starts when someone submits a permit application or when a government agency proposes to take some ofﬁcial action. Not all permit activities or governmental proposals require SEPA review. There are over 200 minor actions and development activities which are exempt from the SEPA process, ranging from normal repair and remodeling to the construction of up to nine new homes. Generally speaking, the SEPA process will apply to your project if the proposal involves a subdivision of land, involves a shoreline or wetland, is a conditional use, requires a comprehensive plan amendment, or is commercial, industrial, or multi-family residential in nature. The SEPA process is two-fold. First, it attempts to understand and evaluate the environmental consequences of a proposal. (The term environment applies to the natural environment as well as the built environment.Therefore, SEPA is used to understand the effects a project would have on migratory waterfowl as well as how a proposal may impact a local transportation system.) And second, SEPA attempts to reduce potential adverse impacts or to ﬁnd a less environmentally harmful way of doing the same thing. SEPA’s procedure begins with an Environmental Checklist. This questionnaire serves as an environmental disclosure statement. It is from this questionnaire and/or supplementary information, that the city or county will determine whether the impacts “may have a probable signiﬁcant adverse environmental impact.” Should this be the case, an environmental impact statement (EIS) will be prepared. If, however, the identiﬁed impacts may be mitigated, or conditioned, or if the project is modiﬁed to reduce the impacts, then a determination of non- signiﬁcance (DNS) or mitigated determination of non-signiﬁcance (MDNS) may be issued. Some projects have no impacts which require mitigation so a determination of nonsigniﬁcance (DNS) is made. The SEPA Responsible Ofﬁcial is responsible for making the threshold determination. The Jefferson County SEPA Responsible Ofﬁcial has jurisdiction outside the City. Once the local determination has been issued, other private and local and state agencies, tribes, as well as the public have the opportunity to review the determination and offer additional comments for consideration. A determination of nonsigniﬁcance is not considered ﬁnal until 14 days after issuance of the threshold determination, pending comments. Depending on the comments received, the original determination may be (1) withdrawn, (2) the project’s impacts may be further mitigated or modiﬁed, or (3) left as originally issued. The SEPA threshold determination process, as it is called, takes a minimum of 40 days to complete after a com-
plete environmental checklist is submitted and usually runs concurrently with other permit review. An “optional DNS process” may be utilized when the responsible ofﬁcial makes a threshold determination and issues a DNS or MDNS. This process shall use a single integrated fourteen (14) day comment period to obtain comments. There is no second comment period. If the City / County determines that a proposal is likely to result in signiﬁcant adverse environmental impacts, an EIS provides more opportunity for the public, agencies, and tribes to participate in assessing impacts and developing mitigation and / or alternatives. If you have questions about the applicability of SEPA to a project you may have in mind, feel free to contact the
planning staff. Critical Areas (City Only) Amended 2005 (PTMC 19.05) Under the Growth Management Act, the city was required to identify and protect environmentally sensitive areas. As deﬁned by the state, Critical Areas are to include wetlands and streams, frequently ﬂooded areas, aquifer recharge areas, ﬁsh and wildlife habitat, and geologically hazardous areas including steep slopes, seismic hazards, and soils with high erosion rates. The city adopted an Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) ordinance as required under the GMA in November 1992. Revisions to the ordinance were approved in 2005 and the title was changed to “Critical Areas Ordinance” or CAO.
State law now requires the use of “best available science” in developing policies and implementing regulations to protect the functions and values of critical areas. As the City grows and densities become greater, cumulative effects from development may pose problems to the public health and safety from such hazards as increased ﬂooding and landsliding. The City is beginning to see increasing numbers of development applications in Critical Areas as the more-easily developed lots become scarce and as property buyers seek the scenic views or rural characteristics which typify many Critical Area sites. Most of the Critical Areas in the City are still largely undeveloped. The intent of the ordinance is to pro-
vide certain safeguards to Critical Areas by encouraging good site planning and construction techniques which minimize development impacts. For each type of Critical Area, such as wetland or steep slope, there are speciﬁc standards which will guide development to avoid or address a particular hazard, or protect or maintain a natural process or resource. A Critical Areas permit is required whenever a “development proposal” would impact a Critical Area. Development proposals include activities requiring a development permit (e.g., a building permit, clearing and grading permit or street development permit). If you suspect that your property may be classiﬁed as a Critical Area, it is rec— Continued on page 32
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— Continued from page 31 ommended that you contact a planner with the City Development Services Department prior to commencing land altering activities. Typically, the Critical Area application process begins once an application for a development proposal has been submitted. The city has maps available for use by the public showing the general location of Critical Areas. Once the City has determined that your property is in a mapped Critical Area or may meet the criteria for a Critical Area, city staff will conduct a site investigation to determine whether your property has a conﬁrmed Critical Area located on it. It if does, you may be required to obtain a Critical Area permit. The Critical Area permit process begins with a required pre-application consultation with city staff to discuss the project. Next you or your contractor submits a site construction plan which includes a ﬁeld inventory of your site and, possibly, a survey to determine the property lines on your site. If your site has a Critical Area located on it, you may also be required to hire a qualiﬁed sensitive area professional to prepare a Special Report describing the Critical Area’s location, its functions, or any potential hazard, and ways in which the project minimizes impacts or avoids the sensitive area. Upon approval of the site plan and any required reports, a pre-construction meeting is required between city staff, the applicant, consultants and contractors, to review speciﬁc project details and methods of construction. The last step involves city staff approving ﬁeld marking on the site before permitted activities may begin. If your site is uncomplicated, you may be able to complete most of the paperwork by yourself.There are some surveys and reports, such as a wetland delineation and mitigation plan, which must be handled by qualiﬁed experts. Your contractor will not necessarily be qualiﬁed to complete all of the paperwork for you, but will be able to hire the necessary experts, or you can hire them yourself.You can represent yourself at the meetings with City staff. The meetings are a good opportunity for you to ask questions. For many projects, the City may request your contractor, consultants, or subcontractors to attend, so that everyone understands the process and regulations. Processing time varies for Critical Area permits. It is dependent on the property and its development constraints and the types of information required to prepare a construction plan which minimizes critical area impacts to the greatest feasible extent. Land Use Permits Prior to submitting a land use application (e.g., subdivision, shoreline, revisions to shoreline management permits, Critical Area permits, variance, conditional use, binding site plans, and site speciﬁc rezones consistent with the Port Townsend comprehensive plan), staff suggests applicants apply for public information and technical assistance. There are three types: 1. A “Customer Assistance Meeting” (CAM) is no charge for the property owner (or potential purchaser or business with the property owner’s permission). It is designed to assist a potential applicant through the land use process and / or provide preliminary infrastructure requirements. 2. A “Pre-Application Conference” ($150 - $250 depending on the proposal) provides a written report including planning, building and general public works information pertinent to a speciﬁc development proposal. The purpose of a pre-application conference is to acquaint the applicant with the requirements of the Port Townsend Municipal Code and to allow an exchange of information and ideas based upon the applicant’s preliminary sketch of the proposal.
Issues commonly addressed at a pre-application conference include permit requirements, the process, timing, public notice requirements, application fees, and submittal requirements. 3. A “Technical Conference” ($250) provides public works requirements that remain valid for one year from the date of review. It may be required by the public works director when streets or infrastructure is extended. CHAPTER 14:
Subdivisions (short & long) & Binding Site Plans ▼ Zoning or development codes in the city and county regulate the type and intensity of development that may occur in the community. Subdivision codes govern the process of dividing a single parcel of land into two or more parcels, for further sale or development. This process is regulated to ensure that the lots which are created are usable, adequately served by roads and utilities and are compatible with the neighborhoods in which they are situated. Port Townsend adopted a new subdivision code (PTMC Title 18) in 1997. In Port Townsend the Uniform Development Code identiﬁes three different types of subdivisions: a full subdivision (10 or more lots), a short subdivision or short plat (nine lots or fewer) and a binding site plan (available for division of mixed use, commercial or industrial zoned property and for residential condominiums). The requirements are slightly different for each, since a larger subdivision requires more in the way of roads and utilities. The Jefferson County Code (Chapter 18.35) ensures that proposed subdivisions will include adequate provisions for such things as water supply, sewage disposal, and roads. This is to safeguard that property will be divided into buildable lots, this being in compliance with Washington State law and the Jefferson County Code. Short subdivision or short plat:This is the division or splitting of property into four or fewer lots. Long subdivision or long plat: This is the division or splitting of property into ﬁve or more lots. (If the date of the last subdivision is less than ﬁve years ago, a long subdivision is required to create additional lots.) In Port Townsend, short plats and binding site plans are primarily administrative, while full subdivisions require a public hearing. In the county short plats are an administrative function, but long plats must go through the subdivision review process outlined below. Subdivision review involves a two step process: preliminary and ﬁnal. The preliminary plat presents information that allows for a detailed review of the project. The ﬁnal plat is designed to assure that all the conditions and improvements required during preliminary approval are implemented. The time period for the subdivision process varies, depending upon how long the applicant takes in presenting the ﬁnal plat. The preliminary plat process takes up to 120 days from determination of completed application. Short subdivisions expire after three years if ﬁnal plat is not completed. Long subdivisions expire after ﬁve years if ﬁnal plat is not completed. CHAPTER 15:
Easements ▼ An easement is generally the right of a person to go upon land owned by someone else and use it for various speciﬁed purposes. Normally, though not always, an easement runs across one piece of land for the use and beneﬁt of one or more nearby owners, or the general public. Most common examples are easements for
utility lines (e.g., water, sewer, storm drain, electrical power) and for access (e.g., roads, driveways, trails, ingress-egress). An easement often includes the right to do work to the property so that the easement can be used (e.g., digging, grading, ﬁlling, leveling, graveling, etc.), and can vary in width or length. Easements may be created by a written document; be implied by circumstances; become established through continuous use; or by other means under the law. Because easements may affect the title to or use of land, property owners should take great care to inspect the title and the property to ensure the easement is valid and sufﬁcient. Legal assistance is advised. The Jefferson County Auditor’s Ofﬁce has a ﬁle of recorded easements. CHAPTER 16:
Jefferson County ▼ Special Considerations for Jefferson County Projects: Address Numbering The Department of Public Works, through the Department of Community Development, assigns addresses in Jefferson County. Structures are required to have an address so that the ﬁre department or aid car can ﬁnd your structure in the case of emergency. The U.S. Postal Service also can serve you with an assigned and posted address. Flood Plains Areas adjacent to streams, rivers, and marine shorelines that are subject to ﬂooding fall within the jurisdiction of the Jefferson Flood Damage Prevention Management Ordinance. These regulations govern development and construction within ﬂoodplains. These areas have been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and depicted on special maps. Consult the Department of Community Development and Title 15.15 Jefferson County Code. Road Approach Road approach permits are required any time you wish to construct an approach (driveway) to access a county road or state highway. You will need to apply for a permit at the Department of Community Development or Washington State Department of Transportation. Complete instructions for completion of the application and approach construction standards are available at the Department of Community Development. Water Washington State requires that proof of potable (safe for drinking) water be provided prior to building permit issuance. This usually means that a well must be drilled and tested, or a tap commitment must be obtained from an approved water company. Check with the Department of Community Development for more information. Zoning The Jefferson County Code governs how areas of the County are developed. Designed to prevent haphazard development, it deals with the relationship of uses and structures to the neighborhood as a whole and also to the individual piece of property. Zoning is based upon the Comprehensive Plan, which is a policy developed by and for the citizens of Jefferson County. The Comprehensive Plan guides land use decisions for all of us. JCC consistency review and/or permit approval is required for any commercial or industrial development in Jefferson County, home business, cottage industry, temporary use, etc. Consult with the Department of Community Development to become familiar with the Jefferson County Code (JCC),
which implements the Comprehensive Plan or log on to www.co.jefferson.wa.us Site Plan Approval Advance Determination (SPAAD) A Site Plan Approval Advance Determination, or SPAAD, is to allow a prospective buyer, owner or developer of land a means of obtaining advance determinations of the site requirements and constraints to particular parcels without undertaking the risk or expense of applying for a “triggering” building or other development permit. The process is intended to reduce the cost of development and aid in the facilitation of pre-development ﬁnancing for applicants. Advanced site plan approval may be granted without an accompanying building or development permit only upon completion of an administrative review process to ensure consistency with the performance standards of the JCC. SPAAD approval is effective for ﬁve years from the date of original approval and will expire after ﬁve years if a building permit has not been issued. A SPAAD is not immune from changes in state or federal laws which are enacted or have an effective date after the date of the site plan approval and which may affect the performance and implementation of the site plan and associated use or activity. Environmentally Sensitive Areas Your permit application will be reviewed by the Department of Community Development at the time of application. The intent of the review is to promote site development that is consistent with individual land owner’s goals while protecting environmental resources, which are valuable to everyone. (See Chapter 18.22 of the Jefferson County Code) Comprehensive Plan Comprehensive land use planning is a systematic process designed to incorporate community vision with existing conditions in the community. The plan develops clear policies to regulate appropriate future development, and implements the Growth Management Act (GMA) and other applicable state and federal regulations. The GMA requires communities to consider thirteen goals and several elements. On August 28, 1998, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a Comprehensive Plan to guide and focus County growth over the next twenty years. The plan complies with the Growth Management Act.The Plan is published in two volumes; both volumes are available at public libraries and community centers as well as on the Internet at www.co.jefferson.wa.us. Copies are also available at the Jefferson County Department of Community Development, 621 Sheridan Street. Based on the requirements of the Growth Management Act, County-wide Planning Policies, community input, and Growth Management Hearings Board rulings, Jefferson County determined that the County’s land use and rural strategy for rural commercial lands must include the following key policy guidelines: 1. The County must ensure that rural areas of more intensive residential, commercial and industrial development are contained in a manner that preserves rural character. 2. The County must ensure that rural commercial development located outside designated Urban Growth Areas is appropriately scaled to serve the needs of the local rural community and the traveling public and to protect and enhance rural character. In terms of single family residence building permits, lots which were legally created and that meet Health Department standards for septic and water, setback requirements, critical areas restrictions and other applicable regulations may be de— Continued on page 33 The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
— Continued from page 32 veloped even if the land use map indicates a higher density. Jefferson County requires an application and fee for removal or trimming of trees and/or removal or pruning of vegetation if located within a landslide hazard area, stream and/or wetland buffer that is located outside the 200 foot shoreline jurisdiction as measured from ordinary high water mark (OHWM). Please check with the Development Review Division Planner of the Day to see if there has been a change in this requirement for vegetation removal/trimming within 200 feet of OHWM. Now that the Plan is adopted, the County has developed regulations consistent with the Plan, most of which are contained in the Jefferson County Code (JCC) or community plans. The Department of Community Development is guided in developing land use regulations by the Planning Commission. All Planning Commission meetings are public and are advertised in the governmental meetings section of the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader. CHAPTER 17:
Port Townsend ▼ Description of Zoning Districts (PTMC Title 17) Property in Port Townsend, as in most cities, is classiﬁed into zoning districts to preserve public safety, to protect property values, and to facilitate provision of public services. Basically, zoning in Port Townsend is a means to assure that nearby uses are compatible and that buildings are placed to reduce ﬁre risks and to provide adequate open spaces for light and air. All land within the City is divided into 16 zoning districts as shown on the ofﬁcial zoning map.These maps are posted at DSD in City Hall and found on the city website at www. cityofpt.us under Public Works. The districts, purposes, uses and major restrictions are as follows: Residential Zoning Districts Refer to the Port Townsend Municipal Code (PTMC) Title 17 for information pertaining to all residential zoning districts. See Table 17.16.030. The setbacks for R-II have changed in the last year. Permitted and Conditional Uses Each zoning district permits some uses outright “P”, allows others with a Conditional Use Permit “C”, and prohibits others “X”. All use tables are within PTMC Title 17 Zoning online at: http://www.codepublishing.com/wa/ porttownsend.html. Overlay Districts The Overlay District is a special designation that uses speciﬁc standards and requirements which are applied in addition to the basic zoning classiﬁcation. The Special Design Review Overlay District (north of the ferry terminal to Point Hudson and east of the bluff) requires Historic Preservation Committee Design Review and mandatory compliance. The Special Height Overlay District extends from the waterline to the bluff in the historic commercial downtown area. Height limits vary from 25 to 50 feet and are shown on the “Ofﬁcial Height Overlay Map,” available at DSD. Formula Retail and Restaurant Establishments (PTMC 17.54) Chapter 17.54 regulates the location of new or expanded “formula retail” establishments within Port Townsend.The purposes of the Formula Retail development standards are to regulate the location and The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
operation of formula retails and restaurant establishments in order to maintain the City’s unique Victorian Seaport and surrounding rural character, the diversity and vitality of the community’s commercial districts, and the quality of life in Port Townsend residents. Businesses meeting the deﬁnition of “formula retail” establishments are regulated in the C-II General Commercial zoning district and prohibited in the C-I/MU, C-II/MU, C-I, C-II, C-II(H), C-III, M-C, and the M-II(B) Point Hudson zoning districts, and the downtown historic overlay district.“Formula retail” means a type of retail sales or rental activity and retail sales or rental establishment, including restaurants, hotels and motels, which along with fourteen or more other establishments, maintains two or more of the following features: 1. Standardized array of merchandise or standardized menu 2. Standardized façade 3. Standardized décor and color scheme 4. Uniform apparel 5. Standardized signage 6. Trademark or service mark The following businesses are exempt from Chapter 17.54 formula business regulations: auto sales; auto tire sales and service; banks; gas (fueling) stations and convenience stores selling gasoline or other fuels; grocery stores; health care; and services, including professional services (for example, real estate ofﬁces, insurance ofﬁces, copy centers, and mail centers). Contact the city’s permit center or go to www.codepublishing.com/wa/ porttownsend.html for a complete copy of this ordinance. Historic Design Review (PTMC 17.30) Port Townsend’s National Historic Landmark District (NHLD) is a special community asset. Its impact on community character and quality of life are signiﬁcant. Established by the National Park Service in 1976, the NHLD is approximately 475 acres in size and contains over 800 commercial, government, religious, residential and maritime trade buildings. In 1986, the Port Townsend Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) was created to provide design assistance and review for projects that involve historic structures (including bed and breakfast inns and other conditional uses). Its mission is to assist in creating projects that are both economically feasible and supportive of community goals. The HPC meets regularly on the ﬁrst and third Tuesdays of each month at 3:00 p.m. at City Hall in the 3rd Floor Conference Room. Scope of Review Design review involving the HPC is required, and compliance with the outcome is mandatory, for any development project in the non-residential zones of the NHLD that requires a building or sign permit. Also, a change in paint color in these areas is subject to the following: If colors are selected from the pre-approved color palette, administrative review only is required. Other colors require a review and recommendation by the HPC. Paint colors for residential buildings are exempt from design review; however, any new additions or changes to a historic home, whether within the NHLD or outside, is also required. A map showing designated historic homes within the NHLD is available at the Development Services Department and on line at the city’s web site. Exemptions Exempt from design review are emergency repairs, ordinary maintenance and repairs, and interior remodeling or decoration. Pre-application Consultation All projects subject to Land Use Permit PreApplication Consultation that also require design review with the HPC will be reviewed for code
compliance as part of the land use permitting process. Information on the HPC review process will be provided during the pre-application process and a separate HPC pre-application consultation may be required in addition to submittal of application materials for review at a regular HPC meeting. Process and Use of Guidelines Once a complete design review application is received, the HPC’s review must be completed within 45 days unless there are companion applications associated with the project (such as a shorelines permit). HPC review takes the form of a recommendation that is made to the Development Services Director, who makes a ﬁnal decision. The HPC’s recommendation and the Director’s decision are based on locally adopted guidelines for signage, murals, awnings, exterior mechanical equipment, new additions and new construction. The review process also uses the Secretary of the Interior’s guidelines developed by the National Park Service. Information on the paint palette and all other guidelines are available at the Development Services Department. Home Occupations (PTMC 17.56) A Home Occupation Permit is required for any home business activities that generate more than ﬁve customer or business visits per week. It is a one time fee, currently $162.50. Although businesses are generally not permitted in residential zoning districts, small home businesses may be permitted if certain conditions are met. A home occupation permit may be issued only if the business is fully enclosed within the primary residence or accessory structure, occupies no more than 50 percent (but not more than 500 square feet) of the primary structure and provides for adequate parking. At least one resident of the house must be engaged in the business and no more than three persons who are outside the immediate resident family may be employed. Noise levels and appearance must be compatible with the neighborhood and the business may not be subdivided from the residential property for sale or lease. There may be no more than ﬁve business visits per day. Hours for deliveries or non-resident employment are limited to 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday. A 3-square-foot sign is permitted which must be mounted ﬂat to the house and may not be internally illuminated. A sign permit is not required. Home occupations also require a city business license. Certain types of business activities are not eligible for a home occupation permit because of their incompatibility with the maintenance of residential neighborhood character: medical or professional clinics having more than ﬁve visits a day; retail activities, except for merchandise crafted on site or items clearly accessory to a service; stables, kennels, animal husbandry or farming activities except as provided in Chapter 17.16 PTMC; vehicle repair, automobile detailing or automobile servicing activities; any activities involving more than ﬁve customer or business visits per day; and other uses not allowed outright or conditionally in residential zones. The following business activities are exempt from requiring a home occupation permit but must otherwise comply with the intent and provisions of the home occupation chapter: • Activities that involve no more than ﬁve (5) vehicle visits per week • No non-resident employees • Only activities which are incidental to the residential use of the property • Instructional activities involving up to ten (10) non-residents which occur no more than one (1) time per week • Childcare services involving twelve (12) or fewer children, including children who reside in the home (provided that these services comply
with PTMC Chapter 17.52 Day Care Facilities) Bed & Breakfast Inns and Tourist Homes (PTMC 17.08 & 17.84) These transient accommodations in residential zones are deﬁned as providing lodging for periods of no more than 29 consecutive days. Only guest rooms may be rented, not entire houses or accessory structures, unless the tourist home was established prior to June 1, 1989. A bed and breakfast inn is deﬁned as a building with a central kitchen which provides the primary residence for the owner or operator and which offers guest rooms. Food may be served to guests. Food handling is under the jurisdiction of the Jefferson County Health Department. A tourist home is deﬁned as the primary residence of the owner and may offer up to two guest rooms for sleeping purposes only. A bed and breakfast inn or tourist home may only be established with a conditional use permit in any of the residential zones (R-I, R-II, R-III and R-IV), but not in any other zone. (See “Conditional Use Permits” under Zoning Exceptions later in this chapter, page 36.) Lodgings with three or more units require a transient accommodation permit from the State of Washington and all units require a life-safety inspection. Previously approved transient accommodations may apply to increase the number of guest rooms through a Modiﬁed Conditional Use Permit application. Setback (Yard) Requirements Buildings are required to set back from property lines or other buildings to preserve light, air and open space, as well as to reduce ﬁre hazards by impeding the spread of ﬁre and providing adequate space for ﬁreﬁghting. Required setbacks are measured from property lines to building lines and do not apply to decks less than 30 inches above the ground. The roof or eaves may extend up to two feet into required setback (yard) areas. The front lot line is typically adjacent to a street right- of-way or access easement which affords the principal means of access to the property.This line is the legal property line separating private property from the street right-of-way or private access easement. The actual placement of street or sidewalk paving is not a reliable guide to locating the front lot line as few streets in Port Townsend are constructed in the center of the right-of-way. On corner lots (fronting on two intersecting streets) the property owner determines which is to be considered the front for zoning purposes. Street addresses are assigned separately based on postal and emergency vehicle considerations. Surveys are required for new construction and additions. How To Determine Building Height The Zoning Ordinance deﬁnes the height of a building as the vertical distance from average natural grade to the average height of the highest roof surface (see Building Height Diagram from PTMC 17.08.020, page 35). For more information on how height is calculated, please contact the Development Services Department at 379-5095. Fences and Hedges (PTMC 17.68) Fences up to 6 feet in height do not require a building permit but must meet City standards for placement. Fences are allowed on the property line, but have height limits of 4 feet (solid fence) in a front yard or along any right of way. Fences, walls and other site obscuring installations or features are allowed on the property line. However, the burden shall rest upon the property owner to demonstrate to the satisfac— Continued on page 34
— Continued from page 33 tion of DSD the lot line locations (by a survey or other means). Maximum heights are the following: • When abutting a public street right-of-way whether opened or unopened o A solid fence shall not exceed four (4) feet in height o Any portion between four (4) and six (6) feet in height shall be no less than 50% open (when viewed perpendicular to the property line). o Any portion between six (6) and eight (8) feet in height shall be no less than 90% open • When not abutting a public street right-ofway o The maximum height shall be eight (8) feet
An arbor, defined as any detached latticework or archway, may not be attached to a fence or wall within the required setback area (see residential zoning table 17.16.030). However, one arbor per property side used as an entrance or gate is allowed as a portion of the fence. No portion may exceed ten (10) feet in height. Temporary deer fences with temporary stakes do not require building permits. DSD has a pre-approved deer fence design for those more “permanent” wire fences. Please note that any fence over six (6) feet requires a building permit and may require engineering review. There are special rules regulating retaining walls; please contact DSD before constructing any wall. Fences, walls, arbors or vegetation cannot block traffic visibility, and may be only 30 inches tall in the “sight triangle” at a traffic intersection. The height of hedges is regulated
only when the hedge creates a potential safety hazard to traffic visibility. Hedges in the “sight triangle” are subject to required maintenance including trimming and / or removal. Hedges shall be sufficiently set back at time of planting so mature vegetation does not encroach
into the street right-of-way. Fences, walls, arbors and hedges are not allowed within public rights-of-way. — Continued on page 35
The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
— Continued from page 34 Lot Coverage and Minimum Lot Requirements The zoning code sets out the maximum portion of the lot or building site which may be covered with buildings (deﬁned as structures over 30” above grade) as well as the minimum area and width of the lot required for development in each zone. Outbuildings Outbuildings such as garages, storage sheds, garden sheds or tool sheds which are accessory to and on the same lot as a dwelling are subject to the same setbacks as the dwelling. Outbuildings must be on the same parcel as the dwelling, or on a second parcel that is legally tied to the ﬁrst. A restrictive covenant may be required to be prepared by the City, signed and recorded with the County by the applicant. Port Townsend Engineering Design Standards The City of Port Townsend has adopted Engineering Design Standards Manual (EDS Manual), which identiﬁes minimum requirements for development of water, sewer, stormwater, erosion control, and transportation improvements. The EDS Manual contains text and drawings which should be referred to for all development projects in the City and within the City’s water service area. The EDS Manual and the Port Townsend Municipal Code are available for review at DSD and on the City’s website. The EDS manual is also for sale for $50 per copy and $20 for a disk copy which includes the design drawings. Contact Dave Peterson, City Engineer, with speciﬁc questions regarding Engineering Design Standards. Unopened Streets and Alleys There are many “unopened” streets and alleys in Port Townsend. Pedestrians and bicyclists have the right to use unopened streets and alleys. Property owners who landscape in unopened rights of way should do so in a manner that does not impede access and should be aware that any improvements made may have to be removed if the
Figure 502.1(5) “Building height” means the vertical distance from the average natural (preexisting) grade to the highest point of the coping of a ﬂat roof or the deck line of a mansard roof or the average height of the highest gable of a pitched or hipped roof.
The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
right of way is developed in the future. Improvements and maintenance expenses are assumed by the property owner. The City shall be notiﬁed of any landscaping done within public rights-of-way prior to the work being done. Rights of way may not be used for fences, rockeries, buildings or other obstructions to public access. Removal of trees or other vegetation must be approved in advance by the city. Parking (PTMC 17.72) Chapter 17.72 provides off-street parking requirements applicable to new development and redevelopment within the City of Port Townsend. The parking code is intended: to implement Comprehensive Plan parking management policies and strike a more appropriate balance between providing parking for automobiles and promoting alternative transportation modes (e.g., transit, walking and bicycles); to promote economic development and historic preservation; to reduce the creation of new impervious surfaces through lower required parking ratios, establish maximum parking limits and shared parking facilities; to reduce trafﬁc congestion and hazards; to provide accessible, attractive, well-maintained and screened off-street parking facilities; to provide aesthetically pleasing parking facilities in proportion to individual land use needs; and to assure the maneuverability of emergency vehicles. The off-street parking requirements apply to all new development and redevelopment within Port Townsend, with the following exceptions: 1. New development or redevelopment within non-residential areas of the National Register Historic Overlay District (includes the uptown and downtown historic commercial districts); and 2. Upper ﬂoors of commercial and mixed use buildings in all commercial and mixed use zoning districts outside the historic district. All development is subject to the bicycle parking requirements. If parking is provided it is subject to the minimum dimensions, landscaping, maintenance, and maximum parking space ratios of Chapter 17.72. Chapter 17.86 Variances includes speciﬁc criteria for variance requests to either exceed the maximum parking requirements of Chapter 17.72 or to provide less parking than would normally be required. The minimum dimensions of a standard-sized, perpendicular parking space are 9 feet by 19 feet. If the requirement is for more than 10 spaces, onehalf of the spaces may be compact-sized spaces, 8 feet by 16 feet. The code sets out varying dimensions for diagonal and parallel parking spaces. Landscaping requirements for parking facilities are described in Subsection 17.72.190 of the PTMC.This section applies to all off-street parking facilities in the city except those that are accessory to single or two-family dwellings. In cases where the City Council anticipates development may cause parking congestion, requirements in addition to those cited in Section 17.72 PTMC may be imposed pursuant to a conditional use permit or environmental determination. Be sure to check with the Development Services Department to determine the parking requirements for your project. Latecomer Agreements The City has adopted ordinances authorizing latecomer agreements for streets (Chapter 12.26 PTMC) and utilities (Chapter 13.04 PTMC). Latecomer agreements are 15-year contracts which allow for reimbusement to the developer by other property owners for a portion of the costs associated with design and construction of street(s) and/ or utilities. For street latecomer agreements the estimated total cost for the improvements must be at least $2,500. For utility latecomer agreements the estimated total cost for the improvements must be at least $2,500 for each utility (water, sewer or storm drainage facility) or $4,000 for
all utilities. Latecomer Agreements must be set up prior to starting construction of the street(s) and or utilities. The city charges $200 for each agreement to set up, collect and distribute the funds over the life of the agreement. The City also collects recording fees for the ﬁnaled latecomer document, which is recorded at the Jefferson County Auditor’s ofﬁce. Port Townsend Sign Code (PTMC 17.76) The Port Townsend Sign Code aims to enhance the natural beauty of the city, promote economic vitality and fair competition, and ensure public safety through care in sign placement and control of distraction and clutter. With few exceptions, a sign permit must be issued by the city before a sign may be erected. For signs located within the Commercial Historic District or Special Overlay Design Review District, sign designs must be approved by the Port Townsend Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) prior to permit issuance (see “Design Review” earlier in this chapter, page 33). The HPC has adopted approved fonts and colors. If they’re used on the sign, DSD may issue a permit with Administrative HPC review. Be sure to obtain a sign permit and the necessary design review, if applicable, before the sign is made to assure that it complies with the code. The current sign permit fee is $43, plus $10 for each additional sign on the permit. Administrative HPC design review is $33, and HPC committee design review is $58. The code prescribes a maximum sign area for buildings and businesses within each zoning district. The code encourages monument directory
signs for multiple business complexes. These signs are allowed in addition to allowable sign area for each individual business. The code also permits sandwich board signs in the Historic Commercial District only, under certain guidelines. In 2010, after 3 years of public process the Sign Code was amended. One of the biggest changes is about sandwich board signs.They are only allowed on Water Street or Lawrence Street if the business does not have a street window display fronting on Water Street or Lawrence Street. Sandwich boards are therefore allowed for Historic District businesses on upper stories, in lower levels, behind other businesses and not located on Water Street or Lawrence Street. This reverts back to the original purpose of sandwich board signs, which is to provide advertising for businesses not located on these main streets. Sandwich boards need up-todate liability insurance, proper construction and maintenance, and HPC and sign permit approval. Generally, each store-front business in the Commercial Historic District is allowed 40 square feet of sign area. If the length of the store front is longer than 40 feet, one square foot of sign area is allowed for each lineal foot of the store front. Special provisions are made for multiple-tenant buildings and second-ﬂoor businesses. In other commercial districts, each building is allowed a minimum of 100 square feet of sign area, while each business in a multiple business complex is allowed at least 32 square feet of sign area. However, if the length of the building exceeds 100 feet or the length of the store front in a multiple business complex exceeds 32 feet, one square foot of sign area is allowed per one lineal foot of — Continued on page 36
Pre-approved Deer Fence Design The deer fence shown below may be built in all residential zones without a building permit, if it is constructed consistent with the dimensions and materials indicated. CHANGES IN DESIGN/MATERIALS/DIMENSIONS WILL REQUIRE A BUILDING PERMIT IF THE FENCE EXCEEDS SIX (6) FEET IN HEIGHT. Fences may be placed on property lines if the property owner can verify the true property line locations. Temporary deer fences (with temporary stakes) do not require building permits. Wire in-fill (“hog wire” type) minimum 3-inch openings
2 inch x 6 inch pressure-treated
top and bottom rails
8 foot Maximum Height. If any portion of the fence exceeds 6 feet, a building permit is required.
4 inch x 4 inch pressure-treated posts
8 feet maximum post spacing
Min. 8” (Hole diameter)
Concrete post holes, Minimum 8 inches in diameter, Minimum 18 inches deep If you have any questions, prior to building a fence please contact the City of Port Townsend If you have any questions, prior to building a fence please contact the City of Port Townsend Development Services Department staff at (360) 379‐5095, or visit our office at Development Services Department staff at (360) 379‐5095, or visit our office at 250 Madison Street Suite 3, Port Townsend, WA 98368 Monday through Friday 8 AM–5 PM. 250 Madison Street Suite 3, Port Townsend, WA 98368 Monday through Friday 8 AM–5 PM.
Created on 2/4/2011 Revised: _______________
— Continued from page 35 the store front for the business. Banner Signs are allowed for announcements of community events in Port Townsend, and may be erected across State Highway 20, between Benedict Street and Decatur Street. Such signs shall be limited to 30’ in width and 24” in height per sign face, and the banner and bracing systems must be designed and constructed to support the weight of the sign and the vertical and lateral forces which may occur from winds, snow or seismic activity. A community announcement sign permit is required for all banner signs. Call Peach Stebbins at 360379-5047 to apply. First time banner is $188 and $163 for a repeat banner. In residential districts, identiﬁcation signs are limited to 16 square feet for schools, churches and public buildings. Multifamily housing complexes and non-residential uses allowed in residential zones are allowed a 24-square-foot identiﬁcation sign. Home occupations (separate permit required) and residences may have a wall-mounted sign up to three square feet, and no sign permit is required. Signs exempted from the ordinance include signs which are not readable from a public rightof-way, historic site plaques, window signs with letters less than six inches in height, barber poles, national ﬂags, and government trafﬁc and directional signs. Some signs may be erected without a permit as long as they meet the other requirements of the code. Among these are parking lot identiﬁcation signs, real estate signs, garage sale signs, political signs and temporary construction signs (up to 16 sq. ft.). Examples of prohibited signs include blinking, revolving or ﬂashing signs; single-pole signs; roofmounted signs; signs which create a safety hazard or conﬂict with trafﬁc control signs or signals; streamers; signs with any sign face larger than 25 square feet which is illuminated by internal lighting; and all freestanding signs (sandwich boards) for businesses located outside of the Commercial Historic District. Permit applications and copies of the sign code are available at the Development Services Department. Please consult the code for complete provisions, or call Suzanne Wassmer at 360-385-0644. Temporary Use Permits (PTMC 17.60) A temporary use permit is required by the City
of Port Townsend for anyone who operates out of a temporary structure on private property adjacent to a public right of way. The business must be operated only in the assigned location; no mobile vending is permitted. Other requirements for obtaining a temporary use permit include permission from the owner of the property, Port Townsend business license, Washington State Retail Sales Tax Number, and Jefferson County Health Department permit where applicable for food / beverage services. A temporary use permit may be used for 6 months, with a possible two-month extension. Fee is $89 for the ﬁrst year and $48 subsequently. “Grandfathered” Non-conforming Buildings (PTMC 17.88) Many of the structures built in Port Townsend prior to the zoning code of 1971 do not meet the physical restrictions of the zoning code. Front setbacks are often less than required in residential zones and some garages are built right up to the property line. They do not conform to height limits, lot coverage or other provisions which would apply to the structure if built under today’s zoning rules. Such buildings (called “legal, nonconforming” or “grandfathered” buildings) are allowed to remain and are indeed some of our most prized historic structures. Necessary maintenance and incidental alterations are allowed, but alterations may not increase the degree of nonconformity of the building. Additions or expansions of the building must meet the requirements of the zoning code. Basically, you may add to a nonconforming structure as long as the addition does not protrude into any of the required setbacks or exceed height limits or lot coverage restrictions. If these limitations result in a hardship or neighboring properties are already built in the way you wish to build, then you may wish to consider applying for a variance. (See Variances, below.) “Grandfathered” Non-conforming Uses (PTMC 17.88) In addition to nonconforming buildings, discussed above, there are also businesses, storage yards, shops, etc., which were legally established prior to passage of the zoning code, but which could not be legally established today. These are called legal, nonconforming or “grandfathered” uses because they are allowed to continue even though the use is not permitted by the zoning code within the zoning district in which it is
housed. A hotel or auto repair garage in a residential zone are examples of nonconforming uses. The building may or may not be conforming; the zoning code treats uses as a separate matter from buildings. Legal, nonconforming uses are allowed to continue, to change ownership and to be maintained, but no changes other than necessary maintenance and repairs are permitted. If the use is discontinued for 365 days the property may no longer be occupied by a nonconforming use. Zoning Exceptions The City Council has provided two ways to consider exceptions to zoning regulations: variances and conditional uses. Variances (PTMC 17.86) Like most zoning codes, the Port Townsend zoning code regulates all properties within a zoning district identically, regardless of individual site characteristics. Therefore, there may be situations where, because of some unusual site characteristic, the strict application of zoning standards may produce an especially difﬁcult and unreasonable burden for a property owner. A variance allows a property owner to be relieved from meeting one or more provisions of the zoning code. Before granting a major variance, the Hearings Examiner must be satisﬁed that each of the criteria set forth in the zoning code is met in the application. These are: 1. The variance will not constitute a grant of special privilege inconsistent with the limitation upon uses of other properties in the vicinity and zoning district. 2. The variance is necessary because of special circumstances relating to the size, shape, topography, location or surroundings of the subject property, to provide it with use rights and privileges permitted to other properties in the vicinity and in the zoning district. 3.The granting of the variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and zoning district. 4. The special circumstances make the strict enforcement of the zoning code an unnecessary hardship. 5. The special circumstances are not the result of the actions of the applicant. 6.The variance is the minimum necessary to fulﬁll the purpose and need of the applicant.
CITY OF PORT TOWNSEND FEE SCHEDULE
Building permit fee (per IBC Value)......... $1 to $500 – $23.50 $501 to $2,000 – $26.55 to $69.25 $2001 to $25,000 – $83.25 to $391.25 $25,001 to $50,000 – $401.35 to $643.75 $50,001 to $100,000 – $650.75 to $993.75 $100,001 and up – $999.35 and up Plan review fee/residential......................... 65% of building permit fee Plan review fee/commercial ...................... 65% of building permit fee Pre-application conference Type I & II .... $150 + $50/hr over 3 hrs Pre-application Conference Type III ........ $250 + $50/hr over 5 hrs Reinspection fee .......................................... $50/hr Revision (bldg. & land use) ........................ $50/hr + costs Special & ADU inspections........................ $50/hr Lot line adjustment ..................................... $215 + $50/hr over 3 hrs Comp. plan amendment ............................. $725 + $50/hr over 10 hrs Conditional use permit .............................. $622 + $50/hr over 10 hrs Cond. use permit *(major projects & hearing examiner) ... $1,640 + $50/hr over 10 hrs Environmental checklist ............................. $773 + $50/hr over 6 hrs Environmental checklist **(major) .......... $1,181 + $50/hr over 10 hrs CA advance determination ....................... $110 CA reasonable use exception .................. $520 + $50/hr over 5 hrs
CA peer reviews ......................................... paid in advance, any third party changes CA permit (minor) ..................................... $265 + $50/hr over 5 hrs Shoreline exemption .................................. $136.25 Personal wireless service facility permits Type II permit............................................ $775 + $50/hr over 10 hrs Type III permit .......................................... $2,660 + $50/hr over 5 hrs CA permit *(major).................................... $775 + $50/hr over 5 hrs Home occupation permit .......................... $162.50 HPC design review *(major)..................... $775 + $50/hr over 10 hrs Legal agreement preparation .................... $65 Recording fees ............................................. $25 + county fee Sign permit.................................................... $43, $10/additional sign Temporary use permit ............................... $89 ﬁrst year, $48 renewal Street Development permit...................... $150 Minor Improvement permit ...................... $110 ADDITIONAL PUBLIC WORKS FEES MAY BE APPLICABLE. Full subdivision/PUD .................................. preliminary: $2,915 + $50 per lot or unit + $50/hr over 10 hrs ﬁnal: $520 + ﬁling costs Variance *(major/SF residence)................ $1,540 Variance *(minor)........................................ $547 Letter to the Assessor ............................... $50
Lots of record certiﬁcation ...................... $110-$215 + $50/hr over 3 hrs * The term “major project” includes the following: PUDs, full subdivisions, all commercial projects in excess of 10,000 sq. ft. • Accessory land use applications (e.g., CUP) are charged 1/2 full fee amount when submitted with a major land use application (e.g., PUD). ** Submittal of an environmental checklist is charged a full fee amount. Fee schedule available at City Hall, 250 Madison St., Suite 3.
7. The variance is consistent with the purposes and intent of the zoning code. 8. The variance is consistent with the goals and policies of the Port Townsend Comprehensive Plan. 9. The fact that property may be utilized more proﬁtably will not be an element of consideration before the decision maker. A variance cannot be used to permit a use which is not otherwise permitted in a zoning district (for example, a variance cannot be used to allow an animal kennel in an R-II zone). Variance applications are available at the Port Townsend Development Services Department (DSD). Completed applications are submitted to DSD after a mandatory pre-application conference. City staff makes a determination of completeness within 28 days of submittal. Once an application is deemed complete, a ﬁnal decision will be made within 120 days. Public notice is required. The applicant will receive a draft recommendation prepared by DSD staff prior to the open-record hearing. At the hearing, city staff will make a recommendation to the Hearings Examiner to grant or deny the application. The Hearings Examiner will make a ﬁnal decision on the application. The Hearings Examiner may also place conditions on the variance to minimize adverse impacts on neighboring properties. Some minor variance applications may be handled administratively without a public hearing. Citizens are given a 20-day comment period before the ﬁnal decision is made by the DSD Director. The Director’s decision may be appealed to the Hearing Examiner. Conditional Use Permits (PTMC 17.84) The City Council has determined that there are certain uses which should neither be absolutely permitted nor absolutely prohibited in certain zoning districts, but may instead be permitted on a case-by-case basis. These are the types of uses which the Council has found may be located in certain areas if speciﬁc conditions assure compatibility with neighboring properties.These uses may be established only by a conditional use permit. As is the case with a variance, there are speciﬁc criteria outlined in the zoning code for a conditional use application. Before receiving a conditional use permit, the applicant must satisfy each of the criteria set forth in the zoning code. These are: 1. The conditional use is harmonious and appropriate in design, character and appearance with the existing or intended character and quality of development in the immediate vicinity of the subject property and with the physical characteristics of the subject property; and 2. The conditional use will be served by adequate public facilities including streets, ﬁre protection, water, sanitary sewer and storm water control; and 3. The conditional use will not be materially detrimental to uses or property in the immediate vicinity of the subject parcel; and 4. The conditional use has merit and value for the community as a whole; and 5. The conditional use is consistent with the goals and policies of the Port Townsend Comprehensive Plan; and 6. The conditional use complies with all other applicable criteria and standards of the Port Townsend Municipal Code; and 7. The public interest suffers no substantial detrimental effect. Consideration shall be given to the cumulative impact of similar actions in the area. A public hearing before the Hearings Examiner is required for some applications. The Hearings Examiner may impose additional conditions on a particular use if it is deemed necessary for the protection of the surrounding properties, the — Continued on page 37
The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
— Continued from page 36 neighborhood, or the general welfare of the public. The process for a conditional use permit application is the same as for a variance request which is outlined above. Just as a variance cannot authorize a use which is not permitted by the zoning code, a conditional use permit cannot decrease the physical requirements (setbacks, height limits, parking, etc.) set forth in the code. In the event the City Council becomes aware of a neighborhood problem arising from an establishment operating under a conditional use permit, the Council may hold a public hearing to examine the extent of the problems and may impose additional conditions or rescind the permit. In order to maintain the conditional use permit, the use must not be abandoned for over one year (PTMC 17.84.140). Planned Unit Developments (PTMC 17.32) Zoning districts and density requirements serve the purpose of separating different land uses and determining to what extent individual lots can be developed in terms of height, lot coverage, etc. There may be situations; however, which call for more ﬂexibility, such as when a large tract of land is developed by a single owner in a coordinated fashion. This type of development is permissible under the Port Townsend zoning code as a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The PUD process provides an alternative to traditional development under prescriptive zoning and subdivision standards. It enables applicants to take advantage of incentives, including ﬂexible zoning standards, modiﬁcation of requirements of the city’s engineering design standards, and bonus densities in appropriate circumstances, in exchange for public beneﬁts. A PUD application must be accompanied by an environmental checklist and is processed with either an application for subdivision or binding site plan approval. A proposed PUD is reviewed by the Hearings Examiner at a public hearing. The minimum area allowed for a PUD is 40,000 sq. ft. in the R-I and R-II districts and 20,000 sq. ft. in the R-III and R-IV districts. There is no minimum area for the C-I/MU and C-II/ MU districts. The Hearings Examiner will review the PUD proposal and give preliminary approval, subject to conditions, upon ﬁnding that the minimum criteria have been met. The proposed PUD must conform to the Port Townsend Comprehensive Plan, SEPA, all provisions of the zoning code and engineering design standards which are not proposed for modiﬁcation, ESA ordinance and any other applicable regulations. Utilities and other public services necessary to serve the needs of the proposed PUD shall be made available. A proposed PUD may be denied because of ﬂood, inundation or swamp conditions. If the Hearings Examiner approves a PUD application, the developer is required to sign an agreement stating that the development will follow the city’s guidelines. Rezones The City of Port Townsend ofﬁcial zoning map divides the City into various zoning districts. The Zoning Code outlines the requirements and permitted uses for each district. Since the passage of the State Growth Management Act, there must be consistency between the zoning map and the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map, and the process for changing the zoning map is now part of the annual update of the Comprehensive Plan (see Title 20 for details). Appeals In order to streamline the permit process, the City Council has delegated several permitting decisions to the Development Services Department (DSD) Director. Examples are: environmental determinations; sensitive area permits; and minor conditional use permits or variances. If anyone is The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
unhappy with the decision that the DSD Director makes, s/he may appeal the decision to the City Hearing Examiner. The Hearing Examiner hears appeals in a manner similar to the way a judge hears cases - listening to facts presented and making a decision based upon applicable city codes.The speciﬁc appeal periods, procedures and fees for making an appeal are found in the Port Townsend Municipal Code. It is also possible to appeal written decisions by the City Building Ofﬁcial and Fire Chief regarding interpretations of the following codes: Building Code; Mechanical Code; Fire Code; Plumbing Code; Washington State Barrier Free Facilities and Design Code; Washington State Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Code; Washington State Energy Code; and the Washington State Water Conservation Performance Standards. Appeals under these codes may be made to the City’s Board of Appeals. Such appeals must be made within 14 calendar days from the date of the written code interpretation that is being appealed. The Board of Appeals is comprised of ﬁve members with experience and training qualifying them to pass judgment upon matters pertaining to these codes. Decisions by the Board of Appeals are ﬁnal unless further appeal is made to Jefferson County Superior Court within 21 days from the date of the board’s decision. Tree Cutting In Port Townsend On Private or Public Land (excluding public rights-of-way): In September 2003, the City Council adopted standards for the retention, planting, and conservation of trees on public and privately owned land. These standards, contained in Chapter 19.06 of the municipal code, were intended to prevent indiscriminant tree cutting on vacant land prior to development and require a minimum number of trees, expressed in “tree units,” to be incorporated into new commercial, multi-family, public, mixed use, and residential subdivision developments. In meeting the tree credit requirements, the retention of existing trees is preferred over planting new trees. The ordinance includes exemptions for certain tree cutting activities including: • Any tree cutting on lots zoned residential (R-I, R-II, R-III, R-IV) that are 40,000 sq. ft. or less in size and also contain an existing single family residence; • Limited tree cutting on lots zoned residential that are greater than 40,000 sq. ft. in size and also contain an existing single family residence; • The removal of trees deﬁned as “hazard trees”; • The removal of trees associated with an approved building permit or other project permit issued by DSD, however some projects (e.g. multifamily and commercial) are still subject to minimum tree conservation standards; • Tree removal that meets the deﬁnition of “tree thinning” on vacant land; • Tree removal associated with long-term forestry where seedlings will be replanted and the land will not be developed for a minimum of 10 years. For tree cutting on vacant land where no construction is proposed, tree removal beyond adopted “thinning standards” requires a tree conservation permit, the preparation of a tree conservation plan, and the removal of no more than 40% of the tree units or applicable tree canopy cover from the site. Tree cutting in environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) such as wetlands or steep slopes require a separate ESA permit or exemption. For further information, or to determine if a tree removal activity requires a written exemption or a permit, please contact DSD prior to tree cutting. On Public Right of Way: Enacted in 1987, and modiﬁed in 1997, the Street and Park Ordinance aims to maintain and preserve the beauty of trees situated along public rights-of-way. A Minor Im-
provement Permit is required to trim or cut trees and shrubs within any street or alley right-of-way. The ordinance applies to unopened as well as developed streets and alleys. Whenever trees are approved to be removed within a public right-of-way, it is the responsibility of the developer (party removing trees) to arrange compensation to the underlying owner for the loss of the trees. CHAPTER 18
Growth Management Act ▼ City of Port Townsend: The State’s Growth Management Act (GMA) requires cities and counties to make long range plans. The goals of the GMA include orderly provision of services to urban areas, protection of natural resources, affordable housing, directing growth into suitable areas, and other goals that improve the quality of life. Local jurisdictions develop their own plans that address these goals, and must at a minimum address land use, housing, transportation, capital facilities, and utilities. Port Townsend and Jefferson County coordinate planning decisions through a framework of County-wide Planning Policies that have been jointly adopted. Comprehensive Plan In 1996 Port Townsend adopted a new Comprehensive Plan which considers 14 state planning goals and includes ﬁve elements, or chapters, which are intended to guide land use development decisions into the next century. These elements are land use, housing, transportation, capital facilities, and utilities. The City has also adopted an additional and optional element which addresses economic development. The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to guide growth and development over the next 20 years by deﬁning: 1. How much population and job growth should occur, and where it should be located; 2. What type of transportation, utilities and public facilities are needed to serve the future population and employment base; 3. Where people will live and what type of housing they will need; and 4. How much it will cost to provide the necessary utilities and public facilities to carry out the community’s vision. The City’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted in July, 1996, includes maps showing new land use categories for different uses, as well as goals and policies to guide local ofﬁcials and the public in ﬁguring out how Port Townsend will look, grow, and function in the future. Development proposals are now evaluated on the basis of their compliance with the plan. Other development regulations, like the subdivision and zoning codes, have been revised to be consistent with the goals, policies and land use map of the Comprehensive Plan. Proposals that only apply to speciﬁc parcels of land must have the consent of the property owners and are subject to an application fee. Sitespeciﬁc proposals may be made by submitting a Comprehensive Plan Amendment/Formal Application to DSD by March 1. The process for changing the land use and zoning for speciﬁc parcels of land is lengthy, and there is no guarantee that the proposals will be approved. To ﬁnd out more about the process for changing the Comprehensive Plan, please contact the Development Services Department 360-3795095.
years. According to recently adopted county-wide population projections, Jefferson County’s population is expected to grow an additional 13,840 during the period 2000-2024, to a county-wide population of 40,139. The city’s growth within the same period could grow 1.97% annually from 8,344 to 13,329 The GMA requires that the County designate UGAs of sufﬁcient size to accommodate the urban growth likely to occur over the next 20 years. The Act also deﬁnes existing cities, including Port Townsend, as UGAs.Within UGAs, the full range of urban public facilities and services are to be provided (like sanitary sewers, piped and treated water, garbage disposal, public transit, etc.) to encourage people to live there. Outside UGAs, urban services are not to be provided and population densities will be lower, which should help to protect the rural character of the County and preserve important forest and agricultural lands from incompatible development. The challenge is to designate UGAs of sufﬁcient size to accommodate the projected urban population growth, and provide these UGAs with the facilities, services and amenities to serve new residents. Lots of Record (PTMC 18.18) This process is required: • When development of 2 to 9 lots platted before 1937 requires a building or other land use permit and the extension of public water and/or sewer utilities and/or the opening and development of an unopened street. • When certiﬁcation of one lot of record is needed. • When lots must be consolidated to meet minimum building site size requirements through restrictive covenants. Letter to the Assessor When multiple lots of record that are under one (or more) tax parcel number are proposed to be divided for the purposes of sale, trade or transfer, and new, separate tax parcel number(s) are requested from the Jefferson County Assessor, the applicant can apply for a “letter to the Assessor” process. City staff will research the property and fax a letter to the Jefferson County Assessor’s ofﬁce about whether the division of lots into separate tax parcels complies with the City’s subdivision code. The letter will contain basic information about current zoning, minimum lot size and the presence of any critical areas mapped on the property. A copy will be mailed to the property owner. The property owner must ﬁrst pay any property taxes due to the Jefferson County Treasurer’s ofﬁce and submit a signed letter conﬁrming the request. This process is not a substitute for the Lots of Record process. If you have multiple lots for sale, please contact the planning staff ahead of time if you wish to discuss development requirements. Jefferson County - See Chapter 16
Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) The GMA also requires that the County and City work together to accommodate a share of the State’s population growth. In practical terms, this means that the County and City must decide how and where they will accommodate the population growth forecast to occur over the next 20
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