Code Development Projects
Purpose of Code Projects
To simplify development codes and streamline permitting processes in accordance with existing policies. Business processes will ensure that codes accomplish their intended purpose, can be effectively administered, and are consistent with the Snohomish County Comprehensive Plan. Code development projects also include code interpretations pursuant to Snohomish County Code (SCC) Chapter 30.83 and the development of rules pursuant to the rule making procedures of Chapter 30.82 SCC. For interpretations and rules, please see Codes & Regulations page.
Active Code Development Projects
There are several code projects underway that address a variety of issues. We seek your input on our code projects and invite you to contact the staff identified if you have specific questions on a particular project.
Compliance Review - Housing Code Project
2024 Compliance Review- Housing Code
Ahead of the 2024 Update to the Comprehensive Plan, the County is updating our housing regulations to incorporate recent changes to state law. These changes include:
- Regulations for emergency housing and emergency shelters on property owned or controlled by religious organizations. State law now requires that jurisdictions allow religious organizations to provide emergency shelters/emergency housing on property they own or control.
- Regulations for affordable housing bonuses for affordable housing on property owned or controlled by religious organizations. State law now requires that jurisdictions offer an affordable housing bonus for affordable housing developed on property that is owned or controlled by a religious organization.
- Changes to the definition of family in the county code to remove the limit on the number of unrelated people living together. This is to align with state law that does not allow jurisdictions to cap the number of unrelated people living together.
- Changes to the Health and Social Services Facilities (HSSF) Levels II and III uses related to permanent supportive housing and emergency housing and emergency shelters. State law requires that jurisdictions plan for and accommodate housing for all income groups, as well as permanent supportive housing, emergency housing and emergency shelters. These proposed changes clarify that HSSF Level II includes permanent supportive housing, and that HSSF Level III includes emergency housing and emergency shelters.
- Additionally, changes are proposed to the use tables to allow emergency housing and emergency shelters in the same zones that hotels are allowed by right. This is aligned with state guidance on meeting the need for emergency housing and emergency shelters.
The housing code regulations are available for review and comments. The regulations can be viewed at the link below. Comments and questions can be emailed to email@example.com. Please send any comments on the draft Housing Code by Tuesday October 31, 2023.
Mixed Use Corridor (MUC) Zone
The Mixed Use Corridor (MUC) zone is a proposed new zone for Snohomish County. The MUC zone is specific to the proposed Urban Core Subarea in the southwest unincorporated urban growth area (UGA) of the county. The MUC zone is to be applied along several highways and arterial corridors and allows a mix of high-density residential, office, and commercial uses with public and community facilities. The MUC zone supports development that utilizes mass transit systems including bus rapid transit (BRT) and future light rail. Light rail is being constructed by Sound Transit as part of the Everett Link extension.
The MUC zone will be the implementing zone for lands under the Mixed Use Corridor Future Land Use designation (“MUC FLU designation”). This FLU designation is being proposed as part of the Draft Urban Core Subarea Element. The element is being added to the Snohomish County Comprehensive Plan as part of the 2024 update. The element provides policies for the southwest urban unincorporated area of the County that will be serviced by future light rail transit. The Urban Core Subarea is located between the cities of Everett, Mill Creek, Lynnwood, and Mukilteo.
The following map displays the MUC FLU designation in the general locations listed below. All areas with a MUC FLU designation are proposed to be rezoned to MUC zoning.
- Hwy 99 from 112th St to Center Rd.
- Hwy 99 from Gibson Rd to 166th Pl SW.
- 164th St SW from 36th Ave W to 25th Ave W.
- 164th St SW from Larch Way to 3rd Ave SE.
- 128th St SW from 3rd Ave SE to Elgin Way SE.
- The intersection of 112th St SW and 4th Ave W.
The proposed MUC zone includes regulations regarding building height, setbacks, amenity areas, design standards, and inclusionary housing. Listed are some of the defining regulations of the zone:
- A maximum building height of 90 feet (6-7 stories). This may be increased to 135 feet (9-10 stories) if incentives are met that allow for additional stories. (30.31G.020(2))
- No maximum density limitations for dwelling units. (30.31G.020(5))
- Regulations regarding inclusionary housing for all new residential and mixed-use developments of five (5) dwelling units or more. (30.31G.160)
- Development applications within located within 0.25 mile of a Community Transit (SWIFT) stop may request a 100% reduction in the minimum amount of required parking. The applicant must demonstrate through a parking study effective alternatives to vehicle use and parking. (30.26.040(4))
The ordinance also proposed amendments to existing Snohomish County Code (SCC) provisions that will alter development standards applicable to projects in other zones. These changes are primarily to site access, landscaping requirements, and parking requirements. New definitions are also being proposed. Amendments are being proposed to the following sections of the Snohomish County Code (SCC):
- Number of uses per lot. (SCC 30.22.030)
- Access and road network requirements for developments. (SCC 30.24.070)
- Additional landscaping requirements. (SCC 30.25.031)
- Reduction of required parking spaces. (SCC 30.26.040)
- Definition for Amenity area. (SCC 30.91A.155)
- Definition for Amenity, active recreation. (SCC 30.91A.156)
- Definition for Amenity, passive recreation. (SCC 30.91A.157)
- Definition for Minor development activities. (SCC 30.91M.115)
Snohomish County is experiencing a housing crisis, past underproduction has led to a shortage of available housing and existing housing is increasingly getting more expensive. The Snohomish County Housing Affordability Regional Taskforce, looking at the housing challenges that the county faces, adopted a variety of strategies, including to prioritize affordability and accessibility within a 0.5 mi around high-capacity transit, and to require low-income housing in development near transit hubs. In 2020 71% of renters and 32% of homeowner households in the planning area around the future light rail stations are cost-burdened -spending more than 30% of their gross monthly income on housing. Demand for housing will only increase as light rail comes to Snohomish County, and it is important that new development not make housing out of reach for existing residents, and residents across the income spectrum. The MUC zone is an opportunity to direct growth along our high-capacity transit corridors
MUC Zone code related to housing
- Density – To encourage the development dense housing along the transit-rich corridors, multifamily residential is the only type of residential permitted in the MUC zone and there are no maximum density requirements in the MUC Zone.
- Inclusionary zoning-The MUC zone includes a requirement that at least 15 percent of the proposed units in new residential (or mixed-use developments that include housing) be affordable units. These units would be affordable to low-income households, which are households making 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). To encourage the development of housing affordable to very low-income households (those at 30% AMI), a developer may instead provide 2 very low-income units for each one low-income unit required. Including at least one very-low-income unit (or two or more low-income units) will allow the developer one additional floor in height.
Providing Feedback on the Draft MUC Zone
The draft MUC regulations are available for review and comments. The regulations can be viewed at the link below. A focused period of public comment concluded on Friday, September 8, 2023, but comments and questions can still be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 2024Update@snoco.org. Additional information is provided below, including the draft Urban Core Subarea Plan.
Mixed Use Corridor (MUC) zone documents
Urban Core Subarea documents
Additional Information Links
Planning Commission Timeline
The proposed Mixed Use Corridor (MUC) zone will be brought forward to the Planning Commission for review on the following dates.
- Tuesday, January 23, 2024 - Briefing at Planning Commission
- Tuesday, February 27, 2024- Deliberation at Planning Commission