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Planning & Economic Development > Development Regulation Amendments

Land Use Housekeeping Code Amendments – Winter/Spring 2020

The proposed amendments to the Poulsbo Municipal Code (PMC) are part of the Planning and Economic Development Departments on-going effort to make land use regulations more usable for residents, developers, and City staff by correcting errors, eliminating text ambiguities, codifying internal policies, and reflecting changes in state law. The proposed amendments do not involve significant changes to the code.

Amendments are included for the following PMC Chapters: 15.35, Tree Cutting and Clearing; 16.20, Critical Areas; 17.30, Boundary Line Adjustments; 18.40, Zoning Definitions; 18.70, Residential Districts; 18.80, Commercial Districts; 18.120, Design Review; 18.130; Landscaping; 18.140, Off-Street Parking; 19.20, Application Classification; 19.30, Application Review Procedures; 19.50, Public Notices; 19.70, Decision Appeal Procedures; 19.80, Time Frames for Review; and 19.90, Post Decision Procedures.

Initial Release/Notice of Application w/Optional DNS

  • Public Participation Plan
  • Proposed Amendments (coming soon)
  • Summary of Amendments/Staff Commentary (coming soon)
  • Notice of Application w/ Optional DNS (coming soon)
    • SEPA Checklist (coming soon)

Planning Commission Review

  • Notice of Planning Commission Public Hearing (coming soon)
  • Staff Report (coming soon)
  • Public Hearing Presentation (coming soon)
  • Findings of Fact and Recommendations (coming soon)

City Council Review

  • Notice of City Council Public Hearing (coming soon)
  • Staff Report (coming soon)
  • Public Hearing Presentation (coming soon)


  • Adopted Ordinance (coming soon)
  • Notice of Decision (coming soon)

Zoning Regulations Regarding High Risk Secured Facilities

High-Risk Secured Facility means a facility that provides court-ordered housing, supervision, 24-hour security, and coordinates treatment services for persons who are found by the court to be a “Sexually Violent Predator” or pose a likelihood of serious harm to others as defined in RCW 71.05.020 and are civilly-committed to a less restrictive alternative as defined in state law.  Such facilities accommodate two or more persons placed by the court plus treatment and support stat.  A High-Risk Secured Facility does not include secure community transition facilities proposed under the authority of, and consistent with the provisions of Chapter 71.09 RCW; or nursing homes, assisted living, or adult family homes that become licensed as enhanced services facilities as defined in RCW 70.97.060(4).

Federal and state court decisions require cities and counties to allow secured community-based living facilities. Prior to this amendment, there were no local regulations for where these types of facilities could be located.

The Poulsbo City Council passed Ordinance 2019-07 on April 16, 2019.  This ordinance established a six-month interim development prohibition on High-Risk Secured Facilities.  The City Council authorized and extension to the interim development prohibition on October 9, 2019 (Ordinance 2019-16).  This code amendment proposes to replace the interim zoning regulations.

Interim Zoning Regulations (Spring/Summer 2019)

Permanent Zoning Regulations (Fall 2019)

C-1 Downtown Limited Zoning Amendments – Flexible Use

The City Council adopted amendments to the Poulsbo Municipal Code (PMC) Chapter 18.80, Commercial Zoning Districts, in 2018 (Ordinance 2018-20).  Amendments were to all four of the Commercial zones and addressed the permitted use table, landscaping, design standards, and the creation of the downtown shopfront overlay.

In early 2019, Mayor Erickson requested the Economic Development Committee (EDC) review the mixed use/residential component of the amendments for the C-1 (downtown) zoning district.  The EDC discussed options for residential uses in the C-1 district, as well as in the other commercial districts, at multiple meetings throughout the spring (2/27/19, 3/27/19, 4/12/19, 4/24/19). The EDC decided to focus on residential uses in the C-1 zone and at its 4/24/19 meeting requested that the full City Council hold a workshop to continue the discussion. A full City Council workshop was held on the topic on 6/19/19. Representatives from the private sector multi-family development have attended meetings to answer questions.

Within the C-1 zoning district, but outside of the shopfront overlay, the proposed amendment allows residential units on the first floor; provided that the first floor shall be constructed to commercial building and fire code standards and parking required at the applicable commercial ratio, to accommodate flexibility of use as both residential or commercial, as the market supports.

Clearing and Grading Amendments – Spring/Summer 2019

The City’s Grading and Clearing ordinance is found in Poulsbo Municipal Code Chapter 15.35 and was last substantially updated in 1995, with a few amendments since then.  As part of this update, the grading portion of the ordinance would be moved to a new Chapter 15.40, Grading. Chapter 15.35 will be repealed and replaced with the Tree Cutting and Clearing Ordinance.

The update is initiated to primarily reformat the existing ordinance to be consistent with the recent updates of other City land development ordinances (i.e. zoning, critical areas, land division, and permit procedures).   The City Planning and Economic Development (PED) staff believe that the reorganization of the existing Grading and Clearing ordinance will result in ease of administration for both the private sector users and City staff.  Additionally, the updated ordinance includes new or revised sections based on input received internally and externally.

The Tree Cutting and Clearing Ordinance and Grading Ordinance are new ordinances, and while most of the provisions are the same or similar to the current Chapter 15.35, the entirety of each draft ordinance should be read and reviewed based upon the newly formatted document.

Farmers Market Limited Zoning Amendments – Winter/Spring 2019

National public health initiatives have endorsed the expansion of farmers markets, particularly in urban environments, to allow more convenient access to healthier food. The City of Poulsbo wishes to encourage the growth and development of the farmers market. However, the City also recognizes the need to better regulate the market in order to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the residents.

The farmers market is currently permitted in the Poulsbo Municipal Code (PMC) with a Temporary Use Permit (TUP). However, a TUP is only valid for up to 2 years. The proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance (Title 18) would permit the use by right within residential zoning districts if they meet certain criteria set forth in the ordinance

Commercial Code Update – 2018

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.

Land Division Ordinance Update – 2017

The 2017 Land Division Ordinance Update was initiated to primarily reformat the ordinance to be consistent with updates of other City land development ordinances (i.e. zoning ordinance, critical areas ordinance and permit procedural ordinance).   The City PED staff believed that the reorganization of the ordinance would result in ease of administration for both the private sector users and City staff.  Additionally, the updated ordinance includes new or revised sections based on input received internally and externally.

Critical Areas Ordinance Update – 2017

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. 

The City’s review of development regulations includes the City’s Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), found in Poulsbo Municipal Code 16.20.  The CAO are regulations for the protection of critical areas in accordance with state requirements.  Critical Areas include: Wetlands, Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas, Geologically Hazardous Areas, Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas, and Frequently Flooded Areas.

Amendments to the City of Poulsbo’s Critical Areas Ordinance have been made throughout the document.  The amendments are based upon 1) new Best Available Science provided by resource agencies; 2) recommendations by the City’s consultant critical areas biologists; 3) amending corrections or conflicts; and 4) assist with ease of administration.

For further information, please contact the Poulsbo Planning Department at (360) 394-9748 or plan&