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Variances are considered for land owners where a hardship specific to their property exists that precludes a particular use otherwise permitted in its zone. Ordinarily, the hardship exists as a result of topography, lot size or lot shape. For example, a variance in setback requirements may be granted to an owner of an odd-shaped lot of adequate size who wishes to build a single- family house.

A property owner seeking a variance needs to fill out an application and SEPA checklist. A public hearing will be held before the Hearing Examiner who determines whether the application will be approved or denied.

View an application packet [PDF].

Administrative Variances

Administrative variances may be requested in cases where the request is 20% or less than the dimensional standard required by the Zoning Code. For example, the required front yard setback in the single-family residential zone is 20 feet. An administrative variance would allow up to a four (4) foot variance or 16 foot setback to this standard.
The property owner filing for an administrative variance must submit a completed application along with the appropriate fee. The request will be reviewed by the City Manager. No public hearing is required for an administrative variance.

View an application packet [PDF].

Sign Variances

Variances from the sign code (Zoning Code, Chapter 15.16) are obtained through a separate process.

View an application for a sign variance [PDF].

For more information, call the Department of Planning & Community Development at 206.973.4830.

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