Land Use Applications

Land Use permits and approval authorize certain types of development, including subdivisions, and ensure compliance with the Lynnwood Municipal Code and state and federal regulations. 

Pre-development meetings are a valuable resource in the processing of your application, particularly if you are unfamiliar with City standards, required permits, or if your proposal is complex or needs multiple approvals.  Prospective applicants for building permits, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review, subdivision, or other land use action, permit or approval may find it useful to request a pre-development meeting.  At a cost of $200, this meeting provides you with an opportunity to discuss your proposal with City staff prior to submitting a formal application.  Upon formal application, the fee of $200 will be credited towards your development review charges. 

 

Project Design Review has the following purposes: (A.) To review the proposal for compliance with the Lynnwood Municipal Code and other applicable codes; (B.) To make sure the proposal is coordinated with development on private properties and with right-of-way and other public improvement projects within the area; and (C.) To encourage proposals that embody good design principles that will result in high quality development on the subject property. Project Design Review is required if the project proposes:

  • 1,000 square feet or more of construction and is not a single-family home.
  • Construction of any parking lot and/or parking structure with 20 or more stalls or paved parking area of 5,400 square feet or more

There are several different design guidelines that apply to certain building types and zones.  Project Design Review is regulated by LMC Chapter 21.25.


City Center Design Guidelines

These application materials and design guidelines apply to any City Center (CC-W, CC-C, CC-N) zoned property.  Citywide Design Guidelines do not apply to these properties. 


Highway 99 Design Guidelines

These application materials and Design Guidelines apply to any any Highway 99 Mixed-Use Zone (HMU) property.  Citywide Design Guidelines do not apply to these properties.


Alderwood - City Center Transition Area Design Guidelines

These application materials and Design Guidelines apply to any Alderwood - City Center Transition Zone (ACC) property.  Citywide Design Guidelines do no apply to these properties.


Citywide Design Guidelines

All building and structure types must comply with Citywide Design Guidelines unless they are single-family home or in zone with their own design standards, such as City Center, Highway 99, or Alderwood City Center Transition zones.  A place of worship or school in a single-family residential zone must also comply with Citywide Design Guidelines. 

An Accessory Dwelling Unit is a self-contained second residential unit subordinate to a primary single-family dwelling. Accessory Dwelling Units may be constructed in single-family residential zones if they meet the size, location, and design requirements of Lynnwood Municipal Code. An Accessory Dwelling Unit application is the first step and must approved before a building permit may be submitted.

A subdivision allows the division or redivision of land into lots, tracts, parcels, sites or divisions for the purpose of sale, lease or transfer of ownership. Subdivisions include Short Subdivisions, Full Subdivisions, Binding Site Plans, Boundary Line Adjustments, Lot Combinations, and Fee Simple Unit Lot Subdivisions. Subdivisions are regulated by LMC Title 19.

Single-family Residential

Subdivisions of single-family zoned property falls into two categories: Short Subdivisions (or Short Plats) allow the creation of no more than 9 lots, parcels, tracts, sites and other divisions; and Full Subdivisions (or Long Plats) allow the creation of 10 or more of the lots, parcels, tracts, and other divisions.

Short Subdivision (9 or less divisions):

Full Subdivision (10 or more divisions):


Binding Site Plans

Binding Site Plans are subdivisions of multiple-family, commercial or industrial zoned land into any number of divisions that meet minimum lot requirements.


Boundary Line Adjustments and Lot Combinations

Boundary Line Adjustments allow for minor or insignificant changes in property lines. Boundary Line Adjustments do not create new lots or combine lots. Those needs are provided by the subdivision application process and lot combination process found elsewhere on this web page.  Lot Combinations allow the combining two or more contiguous lots into larger lots for ownership, development, or redevelopment reasons.


Fee Simple Unit Lot Subdivisions

Fee Simple Unit Lot Subdivisions allow the division or redivison of land where the boundaries of the individual lots coincide with the interior walls of a structure. Depending on the underlying zoning, Fee Simple Unit Lot Subdivisions are processed as Short or Full Plats or Binding Site Plans.

The Washington Legislature enacted the State Environmental Policy Act in 1971. Commonly called SEPA, the law helps state and local agencies identify environmental impacts resulting from projects and decisions. Environmental review is required for site specific projects or other actions requested of local government (for example, a comprehensive plan amendment).  There are two categories of review: project and non-project actions.

Projects are site-specific, such as development projects or subdivisions. Project review is only required if a project exceeds established thresholds. The City of Lynnwood’s thresholds are:

  1. Single-family residential projects: 30 dwelling units or more
  2. Multifamily residential projects: 60 dwelling units or more
  3. Office, school, commercial, recreational, service, storage building, and parking facilities: 30,000 square feet and 90 parking spaces or more.
  4. Landfill, excavation, and grading: 1,000 cubic yards or more.

Non-project actions are government review and action on a request that is not site-specific. For example, if residents request a comprehensive plan amendment, that is considered a non-project action because it applies to the whole city not a specific site.

Conditional uses may have unique characteristics or impacts than uses permitted outright in a zone. A conditional use permit may be required for some uses not allowed outright in a zones. To know if you need to apply for a conditional use permit, check the allowed uses in the appropriate zoning chapter of Title 21 for your project. 

Zones regulate what land uses are allowed in specific areas. Rezoning (or Reclassification) reclassifies a property from one land use zone to another zone. Rezonings may be combined with a Comprehensive Plan Amendment.

A variance is an adjustment in the application of the specific regulations of Title 21 to a particular piece of property because of special circumstances applicable to it. Special circumstances with a piece of property may be suitable for a variance which is an adjustment to the application of Title 21 regulations to a particular piece of property.  A variance requires a hearing before the hearing examiner and is only considered to grant relief where practical difficulty renders compliance with the requirements of the code an unnecessary hardship.

Wireless Communication Facility applications review placement, design and screening criteria for all wireless communications facilities (WCFs) in order to protect the public health, safety, general welfare, and quality of life in Lynnwood while preserving the rights of wireless communications

Parking adjustments allow reductions to required parking based on unique circumstances or alternative means. Below are several applications for shared or reduced parking on commercial or multifamily zoned properties. Applications for shared parking, reduced parking, additional compact stalls, and remote parking lots are here, along with links to the municipal code.

Administrative Parking Reduction 
Commute Trip Reduction
Compact Stall Adjustment
Remote Parking Lots 

The Comprehensive Plan articulates a series of goals, objectives, policies, actions and standards intended to guide the day-to-day decisions of elected officials and local government staff. Lynnwood is required to adopt a Comprehensive Plan by the Growth Management Act. The Growth Management Act allows amendments to comprehensive plans only once per year, except in specified unique or emergency situations. Lynnwood accepts amendment applications from January 1st to April 1st. Amendments are considered by the Planning Commission and City Council only once every year. If you are considering applying for an amendment contact Community Development staff for guidance. 

Zoning Certification Letters (sometimes called Zoning Verification Letters) are requests for information on the zoning of a specific property. You may request a Zoning Certification Letter through the online portal. Please include a letter stating the specific zoning and land use information you wish to have addressed with your request. Zoning Certification Letters generally take one to two weeks to complete. 

 

A Zoning Code Interpretation clarifies conflicting or ambiguous wording, or the scope or intent of the provisions of the code. An interpretation of the provisions of the zoning code may not be used to amend that code. A request for a zoning interpretation must be submitted on the form. A request for interpretation applies to provisions of Title 21 and the interpretation will be a written decision of the department director.

 

Parties of record may appeal land use decisions. If the decision was an administrative decision, the decision is appealable to the hearing examiner (LMC 1.35.200) by submitting an appeal using the first form listed below. If the decision was a hearing examiner decision, the decision is appealable to the city council (LMC 1.35.700).