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Common Terms

Please see below common terms that you may encounter during your land use or building development project. In order to search, please click below the first letter of the word you'd like to look up and the page will open to the section where words starting with that letter are listed.

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Abutting - meeting up with a common boundary line; except that where two or more lots meet only at a corner or corners, they shall not be considered as abutting unless the common property line between the two parcels measures ten feet or greater in a single direction. Where two or more lots are separated by a street or other public right-of-way, they shall be considered “abutting” if their boundary lines would be considered abutting if not for the separation provided by the street or

Acceptable discharge point - an enclosed drainage system (i.e., pipe system, culvert, or tightline) or open drainage feature (e.g., ditch, channel, swale, stream, river, pond, lake, or wetland) where concentrated runoff can be discharged without creating a significant adverse impact.

Access - the place, means, or way by which pedestrians and vehicles shall have safe, adequate, and usable entry into and exit from a property or use, as required by this title.

Accessory building - is a secondary structure located on the same lot as an existing home.

Accessory dwelling unit (ADU) - separate living quarters detached from the primary residence. No mobile home or recreational vehicle shall be considered an accessory dwelling unit. This definition excludes guest houses.

Accessory living quarters - separate living quarters contained within the primary residence.

Adjacent - see abutting

Adjoining - see abutting

Adult family home - a dwelling licensed under RCW 70.128, in which a person or persons provide personal care, special care, and room and board.

Alkalinity - a measure of the acid-neutralizing capacity of water; the ability of a solution to resist changes in pH by neutralizing acidic input. 

Alluvial soil - a soil found in valley bottoms that is generally fine-grained and often has a high seasonal water table.

Applicant - a property owner or a public agency or public or private utility that owns a right-of-way or other easement or has been adjudicated the right to such an easement under RCW 8.12.090, or any person or entity designated or named in writing by the property or easement owner to be the applicant, in an application for a development proposal, permit, or approval.

Appurtenances - machinery, appliances, or auxiliary structures attached to the main structure, but not considered an integral part thereof, for the purpose of enabling it to function.

Aquifer recharge areas - those areas where the potential for certain land use activities to adversely affect groundwater is high.

Arterial - A road or street primarily for through traffic. The term generally includes roads or streets considered collectors. It does not include local access roads which are generally limited to providing access to abutting property.

Awning - a temporary or movable shelter (awning), or a fixed rigid shelter (canopy) supported entirely by the exterior wall of the building and generally extending over a pedestrian walkway. When used in conjunction with signs, only that portion of the awning or canopy that is actually used as a sign shall be included in sign area calculations. The lighting of the awning or canopy, whether directly, indirectly, or by backlighting, shall have no effect on the sign requirements, unless lighted signs are specifically prohibited in that area or zone.

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Back-up system - a retention/detention facility where inflows are routed through the control structure before entering the facility; they are "backed up" into the facility by the flow restrictor.

Baffle - a device, usually a flow-directing or impeding panel, used to deflect, check or regulate flow.

Bed and breakfast house - a dwelling or separate structure which is used by the owner or primary resident to provide overnight guest lodging for compensation including, not more than ten guest rooms, and which usually provides a morning meal as part of the room rate structure.

Berm - a constructed mound of earth or other material used to confine, control, spread, or filter water.

Best management practice (BMP) - any schedule of activities, the prohibition of practices, maintenance procedures, or structural and/or managerial practices approved by Kitsap County that, when used singly or in combination, prevent or reduce the release of pollutants and other adverse impacts to surface water, stormwater, and groundwater. 

Bioretention facilities - engineered facilities that treat stormwater by passing it through a specified soil profile, and either retain or detain the treated stormwater for flow attenuation. Refer to the Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington (Ecology Manual), Chapter 7 of Volume V for bioretention BMP types and design specifications.

Bioswale - a long, gently sloped, vegetated ditch designed to remove pollutants from stormwater. Grass is the most common vegetation, but wetland vegetation can be used if the soil is saturated.

BMP - best management practice

Boarding house - a building arranged or used for lodging for compensation, with or without meals, with any number of guest rooms and not occupied as a single-family unit.

Breezeway - a structure for the principal purpose of connecting the main building or buildings on a property with other main buildings or accessory buildings.

BSBL - building setback line

Buffer or buffering - space, either landscaped or in a natural state, intended and dedicated by easement or condition of approval to protect functions and value of wetlands and other critical areas.

Buffer, landscaping - a buffer treatment within or along the perimeter of a development that varies in numbers and types of vegetation and/or fencing depending on land uses. Landscaping such as trees, shrubs, ground covers, fencing, or vegetation planted as part of low impact development (LID) best management practices (BMPs) are to be provided as prescribed by RCW Chapter 17.500.

Buffer, screening - a buffer of evergreen vegetation, vegetation planted as part of LID BMPs, or sight-obscuring fencing intended to provide functional screening between different uses, land use intensities, and/or zones. Screening is to be installed or maintained as prescribed by Chapter 17.500.

Building - any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.

Building coverage - the area of land that is covered by a building or structure that provides a hard surface. Building coverage also includes uncovered horizontal structures, such as decks, stairways, and entry bridges.

Building height - is the vertical distance above a reference point measured to the highest point of the top of a flat roof, or to the deck line of a mansard roof, or to the average height of the highest gable of a pitched or hipped roof.

Building setback line (BSBL) - a line measured parallel to a property, easement, drainage facility, or buffer boundary that delineates the area (defined by the distance of separation) where buildings or other obstructions are prohibited (including decks, patios, outbuildings, or overhangs). Residential Setbacks

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CAO - Critical Areas Ordinance regulates development affecting Critical areas.

Carport - a roof designed to cover, but not enclose, automobile parking spaces and should be open on two or more sides.

Catch basin insert - a device installed underneath a catch basin inlet that uses gravity, filtration, or various sorbent materials to remove pollutants from stormwater. When used with sorbent material, catch basin inserts are primarily for oil removal.

Catchline - the point where a severe slope intercepts a different, gentler slope.

Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead (CESCL) - an individual who has current certification through an approved erosion and sediment control training program that meets the minimum training standards established by the Washington Department of Ecology Department(Ecology). A CESCL is knowledgeable in the principles and practices of erosion and sediment control. The CESCL must have the skills to assess site conditions and construction activities that could impact the quality of stormwater and, the effectiveness of erosion and sediment control measures used to control the quality of stormwater discharges. Certification is obtained through an Ecology approved erosion and sediment control course.

Channel - means a long, narrow excavation or surface feature that conveys surface water and is open to the air.

Channel, constructed - a channel or ditch constructed to convey surface water; also includes reconstructed natural channels.

Channel, natural - a channel that has occurred naturally due to the flow of surface waters or a channel that, although originally constructed by human activity, has taken on the appearance of a natural channel including a stable route and biological community.

Clearing - the conversion of a native vegetated surface to a non-native surface.

Compost - a product that is used as a soil amendment, mulch, or as filter media either alone or with other media, e.g. sand. Compost is the result of the biological degradation and transformation of biological organic source materials under controlled conditions designed to promote aerobic decomposition. As applied in this manual, compost must be stable regarding oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide generation. Compost must be mature regarding its suitability for serving as a soil amendment, for erosion control BMP applications, for facility media, and for flow control BMPs4. Compost varies in chemical and biological content, and physical gradation (screen size).

Comprehensive plan - the principles, objectives, and policies to guide growth and development, as required under RCW Chapter 36.70A. The Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan coordinates and provides policy direction for county programs and services, and establishes urban/rural boundaries.

Conditional use - an activity specified by this title as a principal or an accessory use that may be approved or denied based upon consistency with specific criteria (Chapters 17.540 and/or 17.550). Approval of a conditional use is subject to certain conditions. Conditional uses reviewed by the planning department are administrative (ACUP); those reviewed by the hearing examiner (C) require a public hearing.

Congregate care facility - any building in which people live in individual housing units that provide for independent living while providing common living areas and limited services such as health care, meals, and housekeeping.

Contractor’s storage yard - a place where heavy equipment, vehicles, construction equipment, or any material commonly used in the erection of any structure, is stored or accumulated. Sites that involve current construction of projects with active permits involving the materials on-site shall not be considered a contractor’s storage yard.

Covenant - an agreement, contract, or written promise between two individuals that frequently constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something. 

Conversion option harvest plan - a plan for landowners who want to harvest their land but wish to maintain the option for conversion pursuant to WAC 222-20-050.

Corner lot - a lot abutting upon two or more streets at their intersection, or upon two parts of the same street; such street or parts of the same street forming an interior angle of less than one hundred thirty degrees within the lot lines.

Cottage housing development - a tract of land under single ownership or unified control developed with four or more detached living structures sharing any of the following: common kitchen and sanitation facilities, common area/courtyard, and/or parking area.

Critical Areas - lands that contain natural hazards or lands that support valuable natural resources. Land use and building development projects on properties containing or adjacent to critical areas require permit applicants to provide information on how their project design will mitigate potential impacts and protect these unique land areas. Types of critical areas include wetlands, wildlife habitat, streams, bodies of water.

Culvert - pipe or concrete box structure that drains an open channel, swale, or ditch under a roadway or embankment, typically with no catch basins or manholes along its length.

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Danger Trees - means any tree of any height, dead or alive, that presents a hazard to the public because of rot, root system or limb damage, lean, or any other observable condition created by natural process or man-made activity consistent with WAC 296-54-529(290).

DCD Lobby Visits - Customers are provided a free, dedicated 15-minute question-and-answer session with a Department of Community Development review team member.

Density - a ratio comparing the number of dwelling units with land area.

Density, maximum - the largest number of dwelling units that shall be developed on a property(s) within a specific zone based upon the gross acreage of the property(s). In circumstances involving state or federal bald eagle habitat regulations, the calculation of maximum density may be affected.

Density, minimum - unless otherwise specified by Section 17.420.060, means the fewest number of dwelling units that shall be developed on a property(s) within a specific zone based upon the net developable acreage of the property(s).

Detention -  a release of surface and stormwater runoff from the site at a slower rate than it is collected by the drainage facility system, the difference being held in temporary storage.

Detention facility - a facility that collects water from developed areas and releases it at a slower rate than it enters the collection system. The excess of inflow over outflow is temporarily stored in a pond or a vault and is typically released over a few hours or a few days.

Development - any manmade change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, or drilling operations, and other land-disturbing activities.

Development moratorium - a pause on all development, land use, and construction applications. A temporary prohibition of an activity.

Direct discharge - undetained discharge from a proposed project to a "major receiving water."

Discharge - runoff, excluding offsite flows, leaving the proposed development through overland flow, built conveyance systems, or infiltration facilities.

Dispersed discharge - the release of surface and stormwater runoff from a drainage facility system such that the flow spreads over a wide area and is located so as not to allow flow to concentrate anywhere upstream of a drainage channel with erodible underlying granular soils or the potential to flood downstream properties.

Diversion - a change in the natural discharge location or runoff flows onto or away from an adjacent downstream property.

Drainage - the collection, conveyance, containment, or discharge, or any combination thereof, of stormwater runoff or surface water. 

Drainage area - an area draining to a point of interest.

Drainage facility - a constructed or engineered feature that collects, conveys, stores, treats, or otherwise manages stormwater runoff or surface water. "Drainage facility" includes, but is not limited to, a constructed or engineered stream, lake, wetland, or closed depression, or a pipe, channel, ditch, gutter, flow control facility, flow control BMP, water quality facility, erosion and sediment control facility, and any other structure and appurtenance that provides for drainage.

Dwelling unit - a single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation. A recreational vehicle is not considered a dwelling unit.

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Easement - the legal right to use a parcel of land for a particular purpose. It does not include fee ownership, but it may restrict the owner’s use of the land.

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Feasibility Study - a review of land prior to purchase to determine its suitability for your planned use and to determine what environmental features exists on the property.

Fence, sight-obscuring or sight-obscuring fence - a fence or combination of fence and planting arranged in such a way as to screen areas from view.

Forestry - the use of land for producing and caring for a forest, including the harvesting of timber.

Frontage - the actual length of the front property line abutting a street or alley (if no street frontage), or length of the property line of a flag lot that most closely parallels the street in which it receives access.

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Garage, private - an accessory building or part of the main building intended primarily for the storage of motor vehicles owned or used by occupants of the main building.

Geologically Hazardous Areas - areas susceptible to erosion, sliding, earthquake, or other geological events. They pose a threat to the health and safety of citizens when incompatible commercial, residential, or industrial development is sited in areas of significant hazard. 

Grade - the average point of elevation of the finished surface of the ground within five feet of a building or structure.

Gross floor area - the sum of horizontal areas of floors of a building when measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or, if appropriate, from the centerline of dividing walls. Gross floor area generally excludes vent shafts, covered walkways, porches, and similar areas. However, gross floor area shall include decks, or porches when covered by a roof or portion of the floor above.

Guesthouse -  living quarters in an accessory building for the use of the occupant, persons employed on the premises, or for temporary use by guests of the occupant. Such quarters have no kitchen facilities and are not otherwise used as a separate dwelling unit.

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Habitable area - the entire area of a dwelling unit or living quarters used for living, sleeping, eating, and/or cooking. Storage areas and garages are excluded from calculations of the habitable areas.

Hardscaping - the placement of nonplant elements such as fountains, patios, decks, street furniture, and ornamental concrete or stonework areas.

Hard surface - an impervious surface, a permeable pavement, or a vegetated roof.

Hearing examiner - a person appointed to hear or review certain land use applications and appeals pursuant to Title 21, Land Use and Development Procedures.

Heavy equipment - means, but shall not be limited to, self-powered, self-propelled or towed mechanical devices, equipment and vehicles of the nature customarily used for commercial purposes such as tandem axle trucks, graders, backhoes, tractor-trailers, cranes and lifts but excluding automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats and their trailers and equipment used for agricultural purposes.

Hourly Rate Meeting - Focused on a specific area of the code, DCD Review Teams research your area of interest and meet to discuss on an hourly basis. This is an option suited for thoroughly reviewing a specific area of concern. The fee for this service is listed online within the DCD Fee Schedule.

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Immediate vicinity - an area to include all lots, parcels, tracts, roadways, or other property(s) within a four-hundred-foot radius of the subject property.

Impervious surface - a non-vegetated surface area that either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil mantle as under natural conditions prior to development or causes water to run off the surface in greater quantities or at an increased rate of flow from the flow present under natural conditions prior to development. Common impervious surfaces include but are not limited to, rooftops, walkways, patios, driveways, parking lots or storage areas, concrete or asphalt paving, gravel roads, packed earthen materials, and oiled macadam, or other surfaces that similarly impede the natural infiltration of stormwater. Open, uncovered retention/detention facilities shall not be considered as impervious surfaces for the purposes of determining whether the thresholds for application of minimum requirements are exceeded. Open, uncovered retention/detention facilities shall be considered impervious surfaces for purposes of runoff modeling.

Infill development - the construction of housing or other uses on vacant or underutilized properties bordered on a minimum of two sides by existing development which is consistent with the current density and zoning of the area.

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Landscaping - the placement, preservation, or replacement of trees, grass, shrubs, plants, flowers, and other vegetative materials in accordance with an approved landscaping plan meeting adopted landscaping plan, design, and installation standards. Artificial plants, shrubs, bushes, flowers, and materials in movable containers shall not be considered “landscaping” for purposes of this title. 

Large on-site sewage system (LOSS) - an on-site sewage system (OSS) that consists of an integrated system of components, located on or nearby the property it serves, that conveys, stores, treats and provides subsurface soil treatment and disposal of domestic sewage with design flows of at least three thousand five hundred gallons of sewage volume per day up to and including one hundred thousand gallons of sewage volume per day.

Livestock - horses, bovine, sheep, goats, swine, reindeer, donkeys, mules, llamas, and any other hoofed animal, large and small (small being one hundred fifty pounds or less).

Lot - platted or unplatted parcel of land which meets the minimum area, setbacks, and widths required by this title for occupancy by a principal use and meets the access requirements of this title.

Lot area - the horizontal area within the boundary lines of a lot excluding public and private streets, tidelands, shorelands, and the panhandle of a flag lot if the panhandle is less than thirty feet in width. Areas consisting of only these exceptions are not considered lots. Further, rural lots shall be considered five acres if the lot is one-one-hundred-twenty-eighth of a section, ten acres if the lot is one-sixty-fourth of a section, and twenty acres if the lot is one-thirty-second of a section.

Lot coverage - the percentage of the total lot area covered by buildings.

Lot depth - the horizontal distance between the midpoint of the front and opposite, usually, the rear lot line. In the case of a corner lot, the depth shall be the length of its longest front lot line.

Lot line -  any line bounding a lot as herein defined. Lot lines for unusual lot configurations may be determined by the director.

Lot line, front or front lot line - the boundary of a lot which is along a street or approved private road or easement, or, for a flag lot, approximately parallel to a street or approved private road or easement; and thus generally where access is from.

Lot line, rear or rear lot line - the boundary of a lot which is most distant from the front lot line; or the ordinary high water mark on waterfront property.

Lot line, side or side lot line - any boundary of a lot which is not a front or rear lot line.

Lot of record - a lot which was created in accordance with the laws and regulations in effect at the time it was created and is shown on the records of the county assessor or county auditor.

Lot width - the average horizontal distance between the side lot lines.

Low impact development (LID) - a stormwater and land use management strategy that strives to mimic pre-disturbance hydrologic processes of infiltration, filtration, storage, evaporation, and transpiration by emphasizing conservation, use of on-site natural features, site planning, and distributed stormwater management practices that are integrated into a project design. LID is also known as green stormwater infrastructure or green stormwater solutions. LID is the preferred term used by the county.

Low impact development best management practices (LID BMPs) - distributed stormwater management practices, integrated into a project design, that emphasize pre-disturbance hydrologic processes of infiltration, filtration, storage, evaporation, and transpiration. LID BMPs include, but are not limited to, bio-retention, rain gardens, permeable pavements, roof downspout controls, dispersion, soil quality and depth, minimum excavation foundations, vegetated roofs, and water reuse.

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Maintain - to cause or allow to continue in existence. When the context indicates, the word means to preserve and care for a structure, improve or condition an area to such an extent that it remains attractive, safe, presentable, and carry out the purpose for which it was installed, constructed, or required.

Manufactured home - a single-family dwelling constructed after June 15, 1976, and built according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act. A manufactured home is built on a permanent chassis.

Manufacturing and fabrication - the transformation of materials or substances into new products, including construction and assembling of component parts, and the blending of materials such as lubricating oils, plastics, resins, or liquors.

A.    Light: Light manufacturing and fabrication is characterized by the use being contained within buildings, and materials or equipment used in production not being stored outside. Light manufacturing and fabrication activities do not generate external emissions such as smoke, odor, noise, vibrations or other nuisances outside the building. This definition may include, but is not limited to, manufacture and fabrication of electronic components, software, office products, furniture, glass products, and other manufacturing and fabrication uses as determined by the reviewing official.

B.    Medium: Medium manufacturing and fabrication is characterized by need for only very limited areas of outdoor storage and may create minor external environmental impacts during the conduct of operations but most impacts are contained on site. This definition may include, but is not limited to, manufacture and fabrication of paints, printing ink, leather goods, and other manufacturing and fabrication uses as determined by the reviewing official.

C.    Heavy: Heavy manufacturing and fabrication uses are often characterized by the need for large outdoor areas in which to conduct operations, and typically results in environmental impacts beyond their own sites. This definition may include, but is not limited to, manufacture and fabrication of automotive vehicles and their parts, cement, brick, lime, gypsum, asphalt, and other manufacturing and fabrication uses as determined by the reviewing official. This definition excludes manufacture and fabrication of hazardous materials.

D.    Hazardous: Hazardous manufacturing and fabrication uses are those engaged in the manufacture or fabrication of materials that are flammable, explosive, or present hazards to the public health, safety, and welfare, including all substances and materials defined as hazardous materials, hazardous substances, or hazardous waste.

Master plan - a large-scale development plan to guide the long-term physical development of a particular area. Such a plan shall be prepared and approved pursuant to Chapter 17.440.

Mixed-use development - the development of a site or building with a combination of residential and nonresidential uses in a single or physically integrated group of buildings.

Mobile home - a factory-built single-family dwelling constructed prior to June 15, 1976, to standards other than the Department of Housing and Urban Development Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act.

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Native growth protection easement - a protected corridor vegetated with native trees, shrubs, and groundcover that connects critical areas or permanently preserved natural areas within or adjacent to and across the project site.

Native vegetation - vegetation comprised of plant species, other than noxious weeds, that are indigenous to the coastal region of the Pacific Northwest and which reasonably could have been expected to naturally occur on the site. The Native Plant Listing for Kitsap County may be obtained from the department of community development.

Net developable area - the site area after subtracting all rights-of-way, critical areas (including bald eagle habitat regulations) and their buffers, stormwater controls, recreational facilities, public facilities, community drainfields or other area-wide sanitary sewer facilities, and open space.

Nuisance - means, in addition to those definitions contained in RCW Chapters 7.48 and 9.66, as amended, any violation of this title shall constitute a nuisance, per se.

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Open space - land used for outdoor active or passive recreational purposes or for a critical area or resource land protection, including structures incidental to these open space uses, including associated critical area buffers, but excluding land occupied by dwellings or hard surfaces not related to the open space uses and yards required by this title for such dwellings or hard surfaces. Open space may be used for native vegetation, drought-tolerant vegetation, and vegetated LID facilities. “Open space” is further divided into the following categories:

A.    Common open space - space that may be used by all occupants of a development complex or, if publicly dedicated, by the general public;

B.    Active recreational open space - space that is intended to create opportunities for recreational activity. Active recreational open space may be occupied by recreational facilities such as ball fields, playground equipment, trails (pedestrian, bicycle, equestrian or multi-modal), swimming pools, and game courts or sculptures, fountains, pools, benches or other outdoor furnishings;

C.    Passive open space - all common open space not meeting the definition of active recreational open space, including, but not limited to, critical areas and their associated buffers;

D.    Permanent open space - an area that is permanently reserved as open space and remains in native vegetation unless approved for forestry, passive recreational or access uses; and

E.    Recreational open space - an area that shall be improved and maintained for its intended use. Exterior as well as interior areas can constitute recreational open space. Examples of usable recreational space include swimming pools, community buildings, interior gyms, picnic areas, tennis courts, community gardens, improved playgrounds, paths and passive seating areas.

Ordinary high water mark - that mark that will be found by examining the bed and banks and ascertaining where the presence and action of waters are so common and usual, and so long continued in all ordinary years, as to mark upon the soil a character distinct from that of the abutting upland, in respect to vegetation as that condition exists on June 1, 1971, as it may naturally change thereafter, or as it may change thereafter in accordance with permits issued by a local government or the department; provided, that in any area where the ordinary high water mark cannot be found, the ordinary high water mark adjoining saltwater shall be the line of mean higher high and the ordinary high water mark adjoining freshwater shall be the line of mean high water.

Owner - the owner of record of real property or person purchasing a piece of property under contract. For the purposes of this title, in terms of violations and binding agreements between the county and the owner, “owner” shall also mean a leaseholder, tenant, or other people in possession or control of the premises or property at the time of the agreement, violations of the agreement, or the provisions of this title. For the purpose of processing an application for a land use approval or permit under this title, where such application or permit must be filed by an owner, the term “owner” also includes a governmental entity contemplating the acquisition of a parcel for a use which would require such permit or approval.

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Parcel - platted or unplatted portions of land carrying an assessor’s tax account number. Parcels may be but are not necessarily legal lots.

Parcel Search - an interactive map that is available on the Kitsap County website. It features critical areas, critical drainage areas, zoning, shoreline management, and more. Available online at Parcel Search.

Parking space - a permanently surfaced and marked area not less than nine feet wide and twenty feet long, excluding paved area necessary for access, for the parking of a motor vehicle.

Parking space, compact or compact parking space - a permanently surfaced and marked area not less than eight feet wide and eighteen feet long, excluding paved area necessary for access, for the parking of a compact motor vehicle.

Pedestrian-oriented facade - the ground floor frontage of a building design, which offers an interesting appearance to attract pedestrian interest in the locality and encourages pedestrian access.

Pedestrian-friendly street - any street designed for safe use by both pedestrians and vehicles. A pedestrian-friendly street includes sidewalks or walkways, landscaping, lighting, and other street amenities benefiting pedestrians.

Pedestrian walkways - formal standardized public walkways and informal paths worked into a site’s landscape design that provides a means for pedestrians to travel through the community along street sidewalks or other public routes.

Performance-based development (PBD) - a property development characterized by comprehensive planning of the total project, though it may contain a variety of individual lots and/or uses. Typically, such a project may include clustering of structures and preservation of open space with a number of flexible and customized design features specific to the natural features of the property and the uses sought to be implemented. Specific lot area, dimension, and setback requirements may be reduced or deleted in order to allow flexibility and innovation in building design or placement, to facilitate allowed densities, and to increase open space, critical areas protection, and similar components of the project.

Perimeter setback - in a performance-based development (PBD), the horizontal distance between a building line and the exterior boundary of the PBD.

Permeable pavement - pervious concrete, porous asphalt, permeable pavers, or other forms of pervious or porous paving material intended to allow passage of water through the pavement section. It is a hard surface, as defined herein, and often includes an aggregate base that provides structural support and acts as a stormwater reservoir.

Permitted use - a land use allowed outright in a certain zone without a public hearing or conditional use permit; provided, such use is developed in accordance with the requirements of the zone and general conditions of this title, and all applicable provisions elsewhere in the county code.

Pier - a fixed structure built over tidelands or shorelands used as a landing for marine or recreational purposes.

Porch - a covered attached structure providing a single entrance to a building, which may be either open or enclosed up to one third.

Premises - a tract or parcel of land with or without habitable buildings.

Prohibited use - any use which is not expressly allowed and does not meet the criteria under Section 17.100.040.

Project permit or project permit application - any land use or environmental permit or license required from Kitsap County for a project action, including, but not limited to, building permits, subdivisions, binding site plans, performance-based developments, conditional uses, shoreline substantial development permits, permits or approvals required by critical area ordinances, and site-specific rezones authorized by the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan (Plan) or a subarea plan, but excluding the adoption or amendment of the Plan, a subarea plan, or development regulations.

Public facilities - streets, roads, highways, sidewalks, street, and road lighting systems, traffic signals, domestic water systems, storm and sanitary sewer systems, waste handling facilities designated as public facilities in the comprehensive solid waste management plan, parks and recreational facilities, schools, public works storage facilities and road sheds, and utilities such as power, phone, and cable television.

Public sewer system a sewerage system which is:

A.    Owned, operated and maintained by a city, town, county, or other municipal corporation such as a water, sewer, or water-sewer district; public utility district; port district; or federal, state, local agency or department thereof, or a person regulated by the utilities and transportation commission; and

B.    Consisting of a collection system and necessary trunks, pumping facilities and a means of final treatment and disposal of sewage located on public property, dedicated easements, or within rights-of-way; and

C.    Approved by or under permit from the Department of Ecology, the Department of Health or the local health officer; and

D.    Located within a UGA or LAMIRD, or otherwise approved pursuant to RCW 36.70A.110(4).

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Rezone - a change in the zoning classification on the Kitsap County zoning map that affects one parcel or a small group of contiguous parcels, a section, or sections of Kitsap County consistent with Chapter 17.450.

Right of Way - 

Public: the strip of land over which facilities such as highways, railroads, power lines, or utilities are built and maintained. 

Private: a legal right of passage over another person's land.

Riparian Habitats - a land area adjacent to a water body that supports animal and plant life associated with that waterbody.

Road Approach Permit - a permit that allows you to construct a driveway accessing a county right-of-way or road.

Rural character - the patterns of land use and development that are consistent with the following:

A.    Open space, the natural landscape, and vegetation predominate over the built environment;

B.    Traditional rural lifestyles, rural-based economies, and opportunities to both live and work in rural areas;

C.    Visual landscapes that are traditionally found in rural areas and communities;

D.    Compatible with the use of the land by wildlife and for fish and wildlife habitat;

E.    Reduces the inappropriate conversion of undeveloped land into low-density development;

F.    Protects natural surface water flows and ground water and surface water recharge and discharge areas; and

G.    Meets the requirements of RCW 36.70A.030(15).

Rural cluster - site development that avoids sensitive areas while preserving forested land, steep slopes, wetlands, prairies, and other ecologically or visually valuable landscape features while still obtaining residential density. Typically a percentage of a site area is preserved in its existing natural or farmed state, with individual house lots occupying the remaining acreage.

Rural wooded incentive program development - development within the area designated “rural wooded” on the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan land use map that has utilized the clustering provisions of this title and for which final approval has been granted by the board of county commissioners.


Septic Design - reviewed by Kitsap Public Health District a septic design as a Building Site Application (BSA), proposes the size, type, and location of the septic system. It also includes information about the proposed drinking water supply for the property.

Setback - the horizontal distance from a property line to the nearest vertical wall or another element of a building or structure.

Site - the spatial location of an actual or planned development. A site may contain multiple lots or parcels, excluding public right-of-way.

Site Development Activity Permit - a permit that provides a mechanism to ensure stormwater quantity and quality concerns, as well as other infrastructure, including roads, sidewalks, utilities, and landscaping, are addressed prior to site development.

Site plan - a plan prepared to scale, showing accurately and with complete dimensions, all proposed and existing buildings, landscaping, open space, structures and features on abutting properties, and parking proposed for a specific parcel of land; including the specific requirements listed in the pre-application meeting summary and/or application. See Building Site Plan Brochure.

Staff Consultation - A by-appointment, 30-minute consultation meeting with a cross-functional mix of DCD Review Team members to help you identify potential requirements for a specific project. Review Team members provide general advice on your proposed project and possible requirements. A bulleted-list of comments shared during the meeting is noted and provided to the applicant. The fee for this service is listed online within the DCD Fee Schedule and can be applied towards your permit application cost for up to one year from the date of the Staff Consultation meeting.

Stormwater Management - rainwater runoff, its evaporation, absorption into the earth, or its entering bodies of water is nature’s way of managing stormwater. Land use and building development projects can negatively impact this natural process and require alternative stormwater management options to be incorporated into the project’s design. Complete the DCD Stormwater Worksheet to determine your stormwater management requirements or speak to a stormwater reviewer for project-specific guidance.

Structural alteration - any change or a repair of the supporting members of a building or structure and may be subject to the provisions of Chapter 17.570.

Structure - that which is built or constructed.

Subarea plan - a detailed, local land use plan which is a subcomponent of the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan. A subarea plan contains specific policies, guidelines, and criteria for a specific geographic area of Kitsap County.

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Temporary structure - a structure that does not have or is not required by the Uniform Building Code to have a permanent attachment to the ground. Temporary structures are subject to building permits.

Temporary use - a use which may occur on a lot on a seasonal basis or for a prescribed period of time which usually would not exceed one year’s duration.

Timber Harvest Activities - the activity pertaining to the cutting and/or removal of forest product, but shall not include fertilization, prevention and suppression of diseases and insects, and brush control. 

Tract - land reserved for specified uses including, but not limited to, reserve development tracts, recreation, open space, critical areas, stormwater facilities, utilities, and access tracts. Tracts are not considered lots.

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Undisturbed vegetation - plant life, which has not been altered by actions such as tree cutting, clearing, or grading.

Unmaintained Road - a road within county right-of-way that is accessible to public travel but is not maintained by the county. 

Use - the nature of occupancy, type of activity or character, and form of improvements to which land is devoted.

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Vacant - uninhabited or empty in the case of a building or unimproved in the case of land.

Vacation rental - a dwelling unit used by any person or group of persons, other than the owner, which is occupied through payment to the owner for a period of less than thirty calendar days, counting portions of days as full days.

Variance - a deviation from a required development standard. Variances do not apply to use, or required density, or required design standards.

Vegetation-based low impact development best management practices - distributed stormwater management practices, integrated into a project design, that emphasize pre-disturbance hydrologic processes of infiltration, filtration, storage, evaporation, and transpiration. Vegetation-based LID BMPs are a subset of LID BMPs and include, but are not limited to, bioretention, rain gardens, and vegetated roofs.

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Wastewater - water carrying waste from domestic, commercial, or industrial facilities together with other waters which may inadvertently enter the sewer system through infiltration and inflow.

Waterbody - surface waters including rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, marine waters, estuaries, and wetlands.

Watershed - the region drained by or contributing water to a stream, lake, or other body of water.

Water table - the upper level of groundwater or the zone of saturation for underground water. It is an irregular surface with a slope or shape determined by the quantity of groundwater and the permeability of the earth material. In general, it is highest beneath hills and mountains and lowest beneath valleys. Also referred to as the groundwater table.

Wetland or Wetlands - areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands generally do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from non-wetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities; or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway.

Wetland category - the numeric designation (1-4) assigned to a wetland to provide an indication of that wetland's overall function and value.

Wetland specialist - a person with experience and training in wetlands issues and with experience in performing delineations, analyzing wetland functions and values, analyzing wetland impacts, and recommending wetland mitigation and restoration.

Wildland - generally applies to those forested areas located outside urban growth areas that have the greatest potential for wildfire, as identified by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. 

Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas - typically identified by known locations of specific species (such as a nest or den) or by habitat areas or both and may occur on both public and private lands.

a.    Class I Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas.

i.    Habitats recognized by federal or state agencies for federal and/or state-listed endangered, threatened and sensitive species documented in maps or databases available to Kitsap County, including but not limited to the database on priority habitats and species provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife;

ii.    Areas targeted for preservation by the federal, state and/or local government which provide fish and wildlife habitat benefits, including but not limited to important waterfowl areas identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and WDFW wildlife areas; or

iii.    Areas that contain habitats and species of local importance have not been identified at this time, and may be identified at a later date through a public process when information necessitating such identification is made known.

b.    Class II Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas. Habitats for state-listed candidate and monitored species documented in maps or databases available to Kitsap County and which, if altered, may reduce the likelihood that the species will maintain a viable population and reproduce over the long term.

Windfirm - means a tree that is healthy and well-rooted, with qualified professional arborist evaluation and determination that it can withstand normal winter storms. 

Windthrow - the uprooting of a tree due to excessive wind.

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Yard - any area on the same lot with a building or a structure, which area is unoccupied and unobstructed by any structure from the ground upward to the sky.

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Zone - a section or sections of Kitsap County within which the standards governing the use of land, buildings, and premises are uniform, which is provided for in Chapter 17.120.

Zone classification - an area accurately defined as to boundaries and location and classified by the Zoning Code as available for certain types of uses and within which other types of uses are excluded

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