Planning Codes & Standards

The Planning & Development Services Department is responsible for enforcing adopted City codes and standards.

Current adopted codes are available in the documents listed below, in addition to Title 14 (Land Use Development) and Title 19 (Building and Construction) of the Snohomish Municipal Code.
The Historic District Design Standards are currently being reviewed and updated by the Design Review Board. All materials associated with this project are available to the public, and comments are welcome. Click here to access more information.

Code Interpretations

The Land Use Development Code, Title 14 of the Snohomish Municipal Code (SMC), authorizes the Planning Director to interpret the code where it is unclear or contradictory and to determine whether a land use is allowed when the land use tables don’t anticipate that use.  The Director must issue a written interpretation to formalize that determination in order to establish a clear precedent.  This authority and relevant rules for code interpretations are found in SMC 14.05.050 and SMC 14.207.060.

The Director has issued a code interpretation to clear up confusion regarding the difference between a Bed & Breakfast establishment and a vacation rental (sometimes referred to as an “Airbnb”).  While Bed & Breakfast establishments are regulated in Title 14 and have been since 1983, the code did not anticipate the popularity of vacation rentals so the term isn’t defined nor is the use identified in the land use tables.

The code interpretation defines “Vacation Rental” to mean the same as “Short-term Rental”.  A “Vacation Rental” is a furnished dwelling unit, or room within a dwelling, or an Accessory Dwelling Unit, that is rented out on a daily or weekly basis for periods of less than 30 days.  When the entire dwelling unit is rented it shall be occupied by no more than five (5) people who are travelling together as a group.  When a portion of the dwelling united is rented, only one room may be rented at one time and that room may be occupied by no more than three (3) people.

Vacation Rentals will be allowed in any dwelling unit and do not require any City permits.

To download the full code interpretation click here.

If you want to comment on the interpretation please contact Glen Pickus, Planning Director, at 360-282-3173.

Any aggrieved party to this interpretation may appeal the decision to the Hearing Examiner following procedures outlined in SMC 14.75.  Appeals include a $500 filing fee and must be submitted by March 17, 2017.

Proposed Amendments to Fence Regulations

At the request of a resident and by the direction of the City Council the Planning & Development Services Department analyzed the City’s current fence regulations (found in Snohomish Municipal Code 14.240.060) specifically considering the intent of the regulations regarding location of fences in the right-of-way.  Staff concluded the intent of the regulations was to allow fences in the right-of-way when:

  • Located on a parcel being used for residential purposes, not only on parcels located in a residential land use area as is currently stated in the code; and
  • Located in rights-of-way at least 60 feet wise, not only in rights-of-way greater than 60 feet wide as is currently stated in the code, because the typical right-of-way width on local streets in the City is 60 feet.

To review and download the proposed ordinance click here.

On Feb. 1 the Planning Commission held a public hearing to consider the proposed changes and recommended the City Council approved them.  The City Council will hold a public hearing to consider and act on the proposed ordinance 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at the Snohomish School District Resource Service Center, Boardroom, 1601 Avenue D, Snohomish.