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Planning & Economic Development > Development Regulation Amendments

City Council Approved 2018 Commercial Districts Update (August 2018)

2018 Commercial Code Update

The Growth Management Act of Washington (GMA) requires counties and cities to review and evaluate comprehensive plans and development regulations, and update them if necessary, according to a schedule established by RCW 36.70A.130.  The City of Poulsbo adopted an updated comprehensive plan in December 2016, which provides a framework of goals and policies.  In 2017, the City of Poulsbo updated the Critical Areas Ordinance and Land Division Ordinance.

The City’s next review of development regulations is the Commercial Districts, found in Poulsbo Municipal Code (PMC) 18.80. The general purpose of the city’s commercial districts is to provide the necessary commercial goods and services for the Poulsbo and greater north Kitsap communities. The commercial districts provide for the location of retail sales and services, professional services and offices, food and drinking establishments, lodging, personal and health services, arts, amusement, medical facilities, educational and recreational uses among others.

The primary purposes of the 2018 Commercial Districts Update is to incorporate development standards consistent with the land use and community character policies of the 2016 Poulsbo Comprehensive Plan; to ensure that commercial developments respect the scale, design and character of Poulsbo; provide for a mix of commercial land uses that respond to market changes, and serve the needs of residents, businesses, and visitors; and provide clarifications in some areas where ambiguity of the development standards exist.

The designation, location and boundaries of the commercial zoning are as shown and depicted on the Zoning Ordinance Map. The proposed amendments include changes within the commercial districts code language itself and does not include recommendations for site-specific rezones.

Summary of Proposed Amendments

Note: If you are interested in active proposals for development in the City of Poulsbo please see Current Application and Notices. The Commercial Code Update is not the review process for active development proposals.

The proposed amendments have been developed based upon several factors:  ownership change and potential redevelopment in the C-1 Downtown/Front Street zoning district; increased interest in mixed-use structures and development; adaptation of uses in commercial zones due to the impact of online retail; clarification or enhancement of some existing standards; and addressing the City Council interim prohibition on self-storage facilities in the C-3 zoning district.

C-1 Zoning District – Downtown Poulsbo
  • Building Design: Revisions and enhancements to the building design standards for the C-1 zoning district are proposed.  The purpose of the enhanced design standards is to meet the comprehensive plan policies  to continue the character as a small-town waterfront fishing village with Scandinavian heritage.
  • Site Design: Additional standards for new or redevelopment site features are identified, including providing for pedestrian features and connections, landscaping, and hardscape features (seating areas, steps, boulders, plazas).
  • Building Height: Limit the building height consistent with comprehensive plan policies.
  • Lot Coverage: New standards for lot coverage are proposed.
  • Shopfront Overlay: A new overlay is proposed and is intended to preserve the historical development pattern along Front Street defined by small parcels, pedestrian scale buildings, and retail and service uses. The shopfront overlay has specialized design standards for this limited area in the C-1 zoning district and requires the unique and individual ‘shopfront’ character be maintained.
Revisions to the Commercial Use Table

A review of Table 18.80.030, Commercial Zoning Districts Use Table, was made to evaluate and respond to the changing retail market through the growth of online sales, and to include uses that may be appropriate in the commercial zoning districts (within enclosed buildings).  Review of uses allowed within the C-1 zoning district were completed as well, with limited locational refinement proposed.

  • Additional uses are proposed in all C zones to allow for tech and IT, biotechnical, research and development, and electronics uses; light assembly and fabrication uses completely within enclosed buildings; and handcrafted artisan type products, crafts, or food processing.
  • Refinement of uses allowed in the C-1 zoning district shopfront overlay, to ensure the businesses in downtown continue to provide the diverse and unique shopping experiences, products or eating/drinking opportunities not found online or at typical retail settings. Some uses are proposed to be located above or behind the primary storefront uses of retail, services and food/drink establishments.
  • The Poulsbo City Council adopted an interim development regulation in 2017 to prohibit self-serve mini storage facilities in the C-3 zoning district (SR-305). Table 18.80.030 proposes making this prohibition permanent, while continuing to allow the use in the C-2 and C-4 zoning districts.
C-2, C-3, C-4 Development Standards

Development standards for the other commercial zoning districts were assessed as well.  Building design, site and parking lot landscaping, and screening standards (trash/recycling and mechanical) were all reviewed with some amendments proposed.  Additional development standards are proposed for siting of self-serve mini storages in the other permitted commercial zoning districts.  Amendments to the standards for mixed use structures are also proposed.

  •  Revisions and consolidations of building design standards for architectural details, articulation, roof expression, exterior materials and colors.
  •  Revisions to landscaping standards for setbacks and parking lots.
  •  Additional site design standards for self-serve mini storage in the C-2 and C-4 zoning districts and allowing existing mini- storage complexes in the C-3 zoning district to expand within existing property boundaries.
“Additional” Development Standards – PMC 18.80.080
  • Modifications to mobile vendors to clarify the allowance of mobile food trucks and associated standards.
  • Clarification to mechanical screening requirements.
  • Addition of standards for trash and recycling screening.
  • Amendments to mixed-use structures to respond to market trends.
  • Additional lighting standards and requirement for a photometric plan.


City Council Review

July 11, 2018 City Council Deliberations

June 20, 2018 City Council Public Hearing

June 13, 2018 City Council Workshop

June 6, 2018 City Council Workshop

May 30, 2018 Special Planning and Economic Development Committee Meeting

May 23, 2018 Planning and Economic Development Committee Meeting

May 16, 2018 Workshop

Public Comments Received


Review Timeline (revised June 1, 2018)

March 2, 2018: Public Release of Commercial Ordinance Update:  1) post on City’s website; 2) distributed to local, regional and state agencies; 3) distributed to Planning Commission and City Council; 4) email announcing availability of material sent to email list.

March 9, 2018: Notice of Application with Optional DNS published in NK Herald; distributed to resource agencies, Tribe, other interested parties

March 13, 2018: Planning Commission (PC) workshop – 6 p.m. | Council Chambers

March 20, 2018: PC Workshop – 6 p.m. | Council Chambers

March 23, 2018: Notice of Application with Optional DNS comment period over

March 27, 2018: PC Workshop– 6 p.m. | Council Chambers

April 10, 2018: PC Workshop– 6 p.m. | Council Chambers

April 25, 2018: Economic Development Committee – 3:30 p.m. | 3rd floor conference room

April 24, 2018: PC Workshop– 6 p.m. | Council Chambers

May 8, 2018: PC Public Hearing 7 p.m. | Council Chambers

May 16, 2018: City Council Workshop – 7 p.m. | Council Chambers

May 23, 2018: Economic Development Committee – 3:30 p.m. | 3rd floor conference room

May 30, 2018: Special Economic Development Committee – 3:30 p.m. | 2nd floor conference room

June 6, 2018: City Council Workshop – 7 p.m. | Council Chambers

June 13, 2018: Special Economic Development Committee – 2:45 p.m. | 2nd floor conference room

June 13, 2018: City Council Workshop – 7 p.m. | Council Chambers

June 20, 2018: City Council Public Hearing – 7 p.m. | Council Chambers

July 11, 2018: Continuation of City Council Deliberations – 7 p.m. | Council Chambers (please note that the public hearing is closed)

Public Engagement Opportunities

The City is committed to providing multiple opportunities for the public to engage in the Update throughout the process.  The City will take advantage of various modes of communication to inform the public and encourage their participation.

Website:  The City’s Planning and Economic Development page will house the 2018 Commercial Districts Code Update website where interested citizens and community members may visit for status updates, draft documents, official notices, minutes, and other project information.  This webpage will be the primary repository of all information related to the Update process.

E-notice mailing list:  An e-notice mailing list of interested persons and organizations has been established.  Those on the e-notice list will receive periodic notices regarding 2018 Commercial Districts Code Update progress.  Individuals interested in being on the mailing list should contact the Poulsbo PED Department at (360) 394-9748 or at plan& and request being placed on the Development Regulations updates e-notice mailing list.

Comment:  Interested citizens are encouraged to provide comments to the City by letter, email or fax.  All comments will be forwarded to the Poulsbo Planning Commission and City Council.  Written comments can be submitted by the following methods:

City of Poulsbo Planning and Economic Development Department

200 NE Moe Street
Poulsbo, WA 98370
Fax (360)697-8269

Attend:  Interested citizens are encouraged to attend and provide verbal comments to the City at the Planning Commission and/or City Council workshops and public hearings.