Frequently Asked Questions
Generally speaking, a site analysis looks at your proposal in a broad scope for suitability with the property it is intended for. The purpose of a site analysis is to evaluate the suitability of a specific piece of property for a specific development proposal in light of applicable development regulations (such as, but not limited to, the Okanogan County Zoning Code, GMA Critical Areas Regulations, The Master Program For Okanogan County Shoreline Management, and Okanogan County Flood Ordinance 97-2) which are not administered by the County Building Department. Planning regulations typically address issues such as, but not limited to, building setback from property lines, building height, building density, adequate parking, wetlands, steep slope and erosion concerns, significant riparian areas, wildlife areas, and development near airports. The Building Department evaluates structural-specific issues such as, but not limited to, building dimensions, foundations, insulation, roof load requirements, construction materials, etc.
The distance a structure may be placed from a river, stream, or lake, is a function of the type of development proposed, the particular water involved, the presence of riparian vegetation within a designated wildlife habitat, site slope, and the presence of the one hundred year flood plain and/or wetlands. This placement distance is measured from the “ordinary high water mark” (OHWM) of the water in question towards the land on a horizontal plane (as the crow flies). Most of the larger, and some of the smaller, bodies of water in Okanogan County have “Shoreline Environment” designations which are found in the Master Program For Okanogan County Shoreline Management. Different Shoreline Environments have different buffer distance requirements. For example: a residence may be placed up to fifty feet (50’) from the OHWM of a water designated as Rural Environment if flood plain, flood way, wetlands, riparian vegetation within a GMA Level I or Level II Habitat, and/or steep slopes are not present. Where flood plain, flood way, steep slopes, riparian vegetation within a designated habitat, and/or wetlands are present, other permits and/or an additional buffer distance may be required.
The easiest way to make this determination is to call (509/422-7160) or E-Mail the Office of Planning and Development with the Assessor’s ten-digit parcel number for the property. With this information, staff can then research the appropriate maps and determine which “Shoreline Environment”, if any, is associated with the property according to the Master Program for Okanogan County Shoreline Management. Generally speaking, the shoreline jurisdiction (area subject to regulation under the Master Program) extends across the water and then landward two hundred feet as measured on a horizontal plane from the ordinary high water mark (OHWM), or to the landward extent of the one hundred year flood plain, whichever is greater. If the property is within a Shoreline Environment, specific regulations may apply. These regulations differ depending upon which of the five Environments is involved. If the property is within a wildlife habitat area, and riparian vegetation is present, shoreline-related regulations administered under the adopted GMA Critical Areas Regulations may apply. Flood-related regulations are administered under Flood Ordinance 97-2 and the adopted GMA Critical Areas Regulations.
- the exterior boundaries of the parcel as indicated on the aerial photograph. This does not include adjacent properties under the same ownership;
- the distances to all property lines from the exterior boundaries of the structure, including decks;
- the location and distances to any streams, rivers, wetlands, steep slopes, wells, drainfields, roads, or other significant topographical features.
For GIS (Geographical Information System), floodplain, wildlife, zoning maps etc., please call the Office of Planning and Development, or click here. If you are requesting a copy of an aerial photograph or a copy of a recorded plat, contact the Assessor's Office (509/422-7190). If you are requesting a copy of a recorded record of survey, please contact the Auditor's Office (509/422-7240).
The Office of Planning and Development can determine if a particular property is within a Critical Wildlife Area if a parcel number and/or aerial photograph is given.
Copies of codes/ordinances/permits may be downloaded from this site. Copies may also be mailed to you for a copying fee.