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Home » Archives » December 2010 » Step Back On Setbacks

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12/22/2010: "Step Back On Setbacks"

The SJC Building Department will no longer determine setbacks by a foundation/flloor plan foot print, but by the roof, windows and deck "foot print" from a birds eye view. This is the latest interpretation of a basic lot coverage rule that will impact future submissions of plans.

The building and real estate industry has for years asked to be advised in advance of potential changes and additions to regulations prior to a final decision being made so that there is an opportunity to review and comment on the proposals.

Director/Chief Building Official Rene M. Beliveau sent out a press release announcing the changes, and also informing some in the building community that the the change has been made:

"It has recently come to our attention that we have been misapplying how setbacks are measured. Section 18.20.190 of the UDC defines “Setback” as meaning “the distance a structure is placed behind a specified line or topographic feature.”

While the Eastsound Subarea Plan (Sections 16.55.210.E.2.c, 16.55.220.E.3, 16.55.230.E.2.b, 16.55.240.E.2.b, etc.) allows that “Architectural appendages (i.e., roof overhangs, chimneys, bay windows, and decks not over 30 inches above grade) may extend two feet into required side yards.”; no such encroachment is authorized by Tables 6.1 or 6.2 in Section 18.60.050 of the UDC.

Therefore, unless specifically allowed by a Subarea, Village, Hamlet Plan, or other code, minimum setbacks are required to be measured from the outer most projections of a structure including, but not limited to, roof overhangs, bay windows, and decks.

Any permits which have already been issued with projections into the required setbacks will not be affected by this clarification. All such previously approved projections into the setbacks will be inspected and approved, as required under the State of Washington Land Use Petition Act (LUPA).


René M. Beliveau"

While the interpretation and policy change will not -under state law- affect permitted permits, it has the potential to be very costly for permits and plans developed, but not yet submitted,

Tom Bauschke
John Evans
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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