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. The Director is also authorized to determine whether a land use is allowed when that land use isn't specifically listed in any land use table.
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 land use “preschools” is not included in any of the Land Use Development Code’s land use tables. Therefore, pursuant to SMC 14.207.060, the Planning Director has issued a code interpretation to fill this gap in the code.
In analyzing the issue as to whether preschools should be added to the land use tables and allowed in certain zones the interpretation answers four questions:
- What is the definition of preschool?
- Is a preschool different than a childcare facility?
- Do preschools have the same or similar land use impacts as elementary schools?
- If they do, should they be allowed in the same land use designation areas and regulated in the same way as elementary schools?
The Director determined preschools are different from childcare in that their primary purpose is to provide academic learning to younger children while a childcare’s primary purpose is to provide supervised play and socializing services to younger children. The new definition addresses this difference and also requires preschools to have a schedule similar to public schools meaning, among other things, they are closed in the summer and on school holidays.
The interpretation then addresses whether preschools have the same or similar land use impacts as do elementary schools. The Director concluded they do and that if anything the impacts are likely to be less because preschools typically serve fewer students and few facilities than do elementary schools.
Citing the above conclusions, the code interpretation then states that preschools should be an allowed land use and regulated in the same way as elementary schools.
The Planning Department is responsible for amending and updating the City's land development regulations. Development regulations in the Snohomish Municipal Code are found within Title 14.
Development regulations are intended to implement and be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan goals and policies. Proposed amendments to the development code are first considered at a public hearing by the Planning Commission, which makes a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council typically holds a second public hearing before taking action on a code amendment. All development code amendments are adopted by City Council ordinance.
Amendments to the development code may be initiated by the City Council, the Planning Commission, staff, or citizens.
Find links to our current codes on the Code Compliance page.
Non-commercial Banner Signs
Banner signs are regulated in SMC 14.245.075D as a type of temporary sign. Currently, there is no differentiation between commercial banner signs and non-commercial banner signs. Rules for banners address:
- Maximum size (45 square feet);
- Maximum height (15 feet or anywhere on a building façade);
- Where they must be placed (attached to a fence or building or strung between two support structures);
- Maximum number (one per parcel); and
- Duration of display (no more than 30 days per calendar year).
As part of the 2021 docketing process, the First Presbyterian Church of Snohomish submitted a docket application requesting a code change to all institutions such as theirs to be allowed to have more than one sign per parcel and to allow them to be displayed for more than 30 days per calendar year. That application was placed on the 2021 Final Docket so the Planning Commission is obligated to consider amending the relevant code sections to implement the request.
The proposal the Planning Commission includes:
- Amending the definitions chapter (Chapter 14.25 SMC) to define commercial and “non-commercial” banners;
- Amending SMC 14.245.075D to provide different regulations for “commercial banners” and for “non-commercial banners”.
Click on the following links to download the proposed draft code amendments:
The Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on these proposed code amendments 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, 2021. For information on how to attend this virtual remote only meeting and to offer your testimony on the issue, download the meeting agenda from the agenda center.
To submit written comments email Planning Director Glen Pickus or mail your comments to his attention at Snohomish City Hall, P.O. Box 1589, Snohomish, WA 98291.