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A. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to allow subdivision of certain housing types listed as allowed uses in Chapter 14.207 SMC where subdivision is not otherwise possible due to conflicts between characteristics of the development type and applicable dimensional standards in Chapter 14.210 SMC. In such cases, the unit lot subdivision process provides opportunities for fee simple ownership of land as an alternative to condominium ownership. Unit lot subdivision applies the dimensional standards in Chapter 14.210 SMC to the overall site, the “parent lot,” while allowing flexibility in the dimensional standards for the subordinate “unit lots.” This section is not intended to permit uses or densities that are not otherwise allowed in the land use designations in which a unit lot subdivision is proposed.

B. Applicability.

1. Sites containing a detached accessory dwelling unit pursuant to SMC 14.207.075(2) may not be subdivided into individual lots pursuant to this section.

2. Only sites located in the following zoning districts may be subdivided into individual lots pursuant to this section:

a. Low Density Residential;

b. Medium Density Residential;

c. High Density Residential;

d. Commercial;

e. Business Park;

f. Historic Business District; or

g. Pilchuck District.

3. Only sites developed or proposed to be developed with the following types of development may be subdivided into individual lots pursuant to this section:

a. One or more duplexes; or

b. Townhouses; or

c. Detached dwellings or cottage housing pursuant to Chapter 14.175 SMC; or

d. Manufactured home parks pursuant to Chapter 14.180 SMC.

4. For previously developed lots, eligibility for unit lot subdivision shall be subject to compliance with all standards applicable to the parent lot and proposed unit lots. Inconsistency of existing development with the provisions of this section shall not constitute justification for a variance under Chapter 14.70 SMC.

C. Deviation from Dimensional Standards. The overall development on the parent lot proposed for subdivision shall maintain consistency with the development standards applicable to the zoning district and the land use type at the time the application is vested, as specified by the applicable code provisions and this section. Subsequent additions or modification to the structure(s) shall not create any nonconformity of the parent lot. Deviation from setback, lot width, and lot area standards in Chapter 14.210 SMC may be approved for individual unit lots through a unit lot subdivision, subject to any limitations in this section. Structures on unit lots and structures divided by unit lots that conform to a recorded unit lot subdivision shall not be considered nonconforming under Chapter 14.80 SMC.

D. Subdivision of Cottage Housing and Detached Dwelling Developments on a Single Lot.

1. Setbacks from the perimeter property lines of the parent lot shall conform to the setbacks for the underlying zoning district where the development is proposed.

2. The minimum lot size for detached dwelling developments shall be 3,500 square feet. Cottage housing developments do not have a minimum lot size requirement.

3. Each dwelling unit shall be subject to the design standards referred to in SMC 14.175.030(D) except where they conflict with the provisions of this section.

4. Unit lots shall comply with all other provisions of SMC 14.210.215, except that lot lines shall be used in place of internal boundaries of exclusive use.

E. Mobile Home Parks. Mobile home parks shall be eligible for unit lot subdivision where consistent with the criteria and standards in Chapter 14.180 SMC, except that the unit lot subdivision and administrative development plan shall serve in lieu of the recorded development plan.

F. Approval Process. Unit lot subdivisions of four or fewer lots shall be processed in the same manner as short plats, as a Type 3 permit pursuant to Chapter 14.20 SMC. Unit lot subdivisions of five or more lots shall be processed as plats, as a Type 4 permit pursuant to Chapter 14.20 SMC. For subdivision of undeveloped land, the required site development plan process may be incorporated into the plat process.

G. Approval Criteria. In addition to any other standards and approval criteria applicable to a unit lot subdivision proposal, including but not limited to criteria in Chapters 14.65 and 14.210 SMC and this chapter, proposals shall be subject to the following:

1. Each unit lot shall have individual sewer service, water service, and a power meter specific to that unit.

2. Private usable open space of at least 400 square feet, exclusive of required parking, shall be provided for each dwelling unit on the same unit lot as the dwelling unit it serves. Such areas shall have a minimum dimension of 15 feet and shall be usable.

3. Parking shall be calculated and designed for each lot in compliance with Chapter 14.235 SMC, although parking required for a dwelling may be provided on a different lot or tract within the parent lot as long as the right to use that parking is formalized by an easement declared on the plat. Where parking is provided on a different lot or tract the following sections of Chapter 14.235 SMC shall not apply or shall be modified as indicated:

a. SMC 14.235.070, Joint Uses of Parking Facilities.

b. SMC 14.235.080, Conditions Required for Joint Use.

c. SMC 14.235.090, Location of Parking Spaces.

d. SMC 14.235.130(G), Backing into Streets: backing into private streets shall be allowed.

e. SMC 14.235.130(M), Tandem Parking: tandem parking shall be allowed for all types of development.

4. Access and utility easements, joint use and maintenance agreements, and covenants, conditions, and restrictions identifying the rights and responsibilities of property owners and/or the homeowners association shall be executed for use and maintenance of common garage, parking, and vehicle access areas; drainage facilities, underground utilities; common open space (such as common courtyard open space); exterior building facades and roofs; and other similar features, and shall be recorded with the Snohomish County Auditor.

5. Subdivision of zero-lot-line developments shall provide a five-foot wide building maintenance easement on adjacent lots for external walls, eaves, chimneys, and other architectural features that rest directly on or within four feet of the lot line. The maintenance easement shall be shown on the face of the plat.

6. The final plat shall note:

a. All conditions of approval;

b. That unit lots are not buildable lots independent of the overall development; and

c. That additional development of the individual unit lots, including but not limited to reconstruction, remodel, maintenance, and addition, shall comply with conditions of approval and may be limited as a result of the application of development standards to the parent lot or other applicable regulations. (Ord. 2240, 2012; Ord. 2353, 2018; Ord. 2444, 2022)