In cases where unusual topographic conditions, nature of existing construction, unique or innovative development design or similar factors would make strict adherence to the width, design or alignment defined in any chapter of Title 11 and the City’s standard plans undesirable or impracticable, their requirements may be modified by the Director or designee. The Director may establish administrative rules and regulations to implement this section.
A. Submission Requirements. The request for a modification may be initiated upon formal submittal of the appropriate application form and a narrative that states the factors which would make approval of the request reasonable, and how the development proposal differs from other developments and adopted standards. The request shall also include at least a map showing the applicable conditions and topographic features, existing and proposed traffic patterns, any unusual or unique conditions not generally found in other developments and all proposed utility connections and street improvements for the development. All proposed modifications and utility connections shall be indicated on the civil plans submitted with the development application. An applicant for road modification shall submit the requisite fee as specified in Chapter 20.180.
B. Classifications of Road Modifications. Modification requests shall be classified as a minor deviation, a technical road modification, or a major road modification. Acceptance of a request under one category shall not preclude the City from reclassifying the request upon further review.
1. Minor Deviation. The purpose of a minor deviation is to allow minor modifications that occur routinely and that clearly meet the general approval criteria in Section 11.80.160.C. In order for a modification to be considered a minor deviation, the modification proposal shall meet all the following:
a. Does not require engineering analysis to demonstrate compliance with the approval criteria;
b. Does not involve safety or off-site impacts;
c. Involves minimal review to approve and document;
d. Does not involve the broad public interest; and
e. Is similar to other approved modifications that have shown to have no adverse impacts.
2. Technical Road Modifications. Technical road modifications may be approved for minor changes to standards that include, but are not limited to access, safety, road cross-sections or construction materials. Due to an increased potential for on-site or off-site impacts, these modifications require a greater level of review, discretion and documentation than minor deviations. In order for a modification to be considered a technical road modification, the proposal shall meet one or more of the following applicable criteria:
a. Limited engineering analysis by the applicant is sufficient to demonstrate the proposal meets the approval criteria in Section 11.80.160.C;
b. Potential safety impacts are expected to be minimal;
c. City review and approval requires moderate analysis, discretion, and documentation, and requires multiple review staff; and
d. The proposed modification is expected to generate minimal public interest.
3. Major Road Modifications. Major road modifications are those unique cases that have the potential for significant impacts to the public or the City and require extensive analysis and documentation. When one or more of the following apply, the modification will qualify as a major road modification:
a. The proposed modification requires an extensive analysis of public impacts; rough proportionality and nexus issues;
b. Extensive engineering analysis by the applicant is required to demonstrate the proposal meets the general approval criteria;
c. The potential exists for material impacts to public safety;
d. The potential exists for shifting improvement obligations on to future developers or the City;
e. The proposal may have material impacts to future development patterns;
f. The proposal requires significant City review and documentation;
g. The proposed modification can be expected to generate considerable public interest; and
h. Approval of the proposal may have public policy implications.
C. Approval Criteria.
1. In reviewing a modification request, the City shall consider the applicable factors that include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Public safety, durability, cost of maintenance, function, and appearance;
b. Advancing the goals of the comprehensive plan as a whole;
c. Any modification shall be the minimum necessary to achieve the stated purpose;
d. Potential benefits of low impact development or innovative concepts; and
e. Self-imposed hardships shall not be used as a reason to grant a modification request.
2. Modifications to the standards contained in Title 11 may be granted when the applicant demonstrates at least one of the following:
a. Topography, right of way, existing construction or physical conditions or other geographic conditions make compliance with standards clearly impractical for the circumstances, or
b. A change to a specification or standard is required to address a specific design or construction problem which, if not enacted, will result in an unusual hardship, or
c. An alternative design in proposed which will provide a plan that is functionally equivalent or superior to these standards, or
d. Application of the standards of Title 11 to the development would be grossly disproportional to the impacts created; or
e. A change to a specification or standard is required to ensure consistency with features adjacent to or affected by the site where those existing features are not expected to change over time.
3. In addition to sections 11.80.160.C (1) and (2) above, in considering a road modification request, the City recognizes that the Growth Management Act requires the City to prevent urban sprawl by focusing development in the underdeveloped portions of an urban area. Consistent with that legislation, the City will require that in the absence of geographic or development constraints, sufficient right of way must be dedicated and frontage improvements and cross-circulation roads be constructed in the City such that frontage and cross-circulation roads will be substantially completed within the 20-year period provided in RCW 36.70A.110.
D. Approval Process.
1. Road modification requests shall be proposed in conjunction with the application for any related or underlying development proposal, and shall be processed in conjunction with that application according to the procedures require by Title 20 for such underlying development proposal.
2. When a road modification request is filed subsequent to the decision on any related or underlying development proposal, such request shall be processed in accordance with the post-decision review procedures of Section 20.210.140 and shall submit the requisite fees, as specified in Chapter 20.180.
3. Road modification requests that are not related to any underlying development proposal shall be processed according to the procedures for Type I applications under Section 20.210.040. (Ord. M-4026 §10, 2012)