Discussion of Proposed Zoning Changes
There are four major issues that this zoning code seeks to address.  The additional materials provided here include references to the draft code, maps, and supporting materials.  The four issues are described in more detail below.
Distinguishing between Unique Areas within C-1 Zone
Issue to be Addressed: The Tenino Municipal Code defines the existing C-1 zone as a large area that extends from Wichman Street to beyond the Tenino IGA, and from the south portion of Lincoln Avenue to the north portion of Central Avenue. This zoning district regulates downtown, residential neighborhoods along Lincoln and Central, and the IGA grocery complex exactly the same, even though there are clear distinctions between each of the areas.
Proposed Method to Address: The proposed code update would establish distinct regulations for each of thedifferent areas, by utilizing three commercial zones and a residential zone within the existing C-1 zone (Proposed Zoning Map). These zones would be situated as follows:
  • C-1   For the historic downtown;
  • C-2  For the area near the Tenino IGA and other areas typified by commercial development primarily accessed by the automobile.
  • C-3  For areas typified by residential development (or a mixture of residential and commercial development) along Highway 507 and surrounding the historic downtown.
  • SF-D. For portions of the existing C-1 zone that are characterized by residential development and are not likely to develop with commercial uses in the near future.
Adding Flexibility to the Existing Commercial Zones
Issue to Be Addressed: No stand-alone multifamily structures or buildings such as new or existing single-family homes are allowed within the existing C-1 zone. This zoning assumes the entire area within the C-1 zoning district will transition to commercial development in the future, and renders several structures, including existing apartments and single-family residences, as non-conforming uses under the existing code. These non-conforming uses are not allowed to expand in any way, and in some cases, are not allowed to rebuild when a fire has destroyed more than 50 percent of the value of the structure.
Proposed Method to Address: The proposed code update would use the proposed C-1, C-2 and C-3 zones to better craft standards for each of the distinct areas within the existing C-1 zone. These standards would not allow standalone residential units in either the C-1 or the C-2 zones (very few residences or apartments exist within these areas presently), but would allow existing residences and new multifamily structures within the C-3 zone. This use of distinct zones with standards tailored for different areas of the existing C-1 zone would eliminate the majority of non-conforming uses present within the City.
Issue to be Addressed: The existing zoning in the City of Tenino utilizes several maximum densities that also make existing structures non-conforming uses. For example, the C-1 zone currently allows maximum densities of fourteen units per acre, a density well below the density of some of the development in or near the area (as can be seen on the handout entitled “Depictions of Housing Types and Densities in Tenino”). In fact, a density of fourteen units per acre is achieved simply by building a duplex on an existing lot of record within certain portions of the City (as can be seen on the handout entitled “Depictions of Potential Housing Densities on Infill Lots in Tenino”).
Where the density of an existing development exceeds the maximum allowed densities, the uses are considered non-conforming and are not allowed to expand or rebuild (similar to uses that are not allowed within a zone) if more than 50 percent of the value of the structure is destroyed in a fire.
Proposed Method to Address: The proposed zoning code would address this matter by increasing the maximum density of the C-1, C-2, C-3 and MF zones from 14 to 40 units per acre. This density is roughly equivalent to the density of the Sandstone Apartments at McArthur Street and Sussex Avenue, and is similar to the density that would be achieved if an individual built a five-unit apartment complex on an existing lot of record within portions of the community.
Unnecessarily Complicated and Inflexible Regulations
Issue to be Addressed: Lastly, the existing Tenino Municipal Code is unnecessarily complicated and inflexible.  Existing use standards within the code are based on a scale associated with the size of the building or a use’s outdoor storage, and this approach creates as many as five different levels for a specific use (see for example the double crossed out portion for Multifamily Dwellings on page 9). This approach (while valid in certain instances) creates situations where individuals seek to develop a use, but are required to limit the size of their building or their outdoor storage because only a certain sized use is allowed. This approach is rarely used in other communities.  In addition, the code is needlessly complicated, defining use levels in one section of the code and then articulating the zones in which the uses are allowed in another portion of the code. This overall structure requires continual cross-referencing between different sections of the code to determine whether a use is allowed.
Proposed Method to Address: The proposed code addresses these issues through two primary methods: simplifying the overall number and types of uses specified within the code, and utilizing matrices to simplify the overall layout of the code. These methods continue to regulate buildings based on scale when the approach was deemed important by the Planning Commission, but remove all references to building or outdoor storage size, when the scale was not considered important (see for example the double underlined portion for Multifamily Dwellings on page 9).  Additionally, matrices were used to place all the information related to different uses, such as the zones in which uses are allowed, the maximum allowed height, and yard setbacks, in one place.
Supporting Information
In the Tenino Land Use Codes (linked below), where code references are provided, items that are marked with an underline are items that are proposed to be added to the code. Items marked with a cross-out are items that are proposed to be eliminated.  For additional information click on the links below.
Existing Zoning Map
Proposed Zoning Map
Tenino Land Use Codes: Draft Changes
Depictions of Housing Types and Densities in Tenino
Depictions of Potential Housing Densities on Infill Lots in Tenino
Comments or Concerns?
Contact Fred Evander
Fred Evander, Associate Planner
Thurston Regional Planning Council
2424 Heritage Court SW, Suite A
Olympia, WA 98502
Phone: (360) 956-7575
Fax: (360) 956-7815