Unified Development Code (UDC) Amendments

The Unified Development Code (UDC) is the set of development regulations that implement the Comprehensive Plan. Included in the UDC are provisions for the protection of environmentally critical areas and standards for agricultural activities and accessory uses.

MLA02-485: Existing & Ongoing Agriculture

Jefferson County and the Washington Environmental Council (WEC) reached a Settlement Agreement in 2002 regarding a WEC appeal to the December 2000 adoption of the Unified Development Code (UDC). One of the topics addressed in the Settlement Agreement is the regulation of existing and ongoing agriculture in the context of protecting "critical areas," specifically streams and wetlands. In order to implement this aspect of the Settlement Agreement, Jefferson County initiated a UDC amendment proposal, which was packaged as MLA02-485. Documents associated with MLA04-285 are linked in the bullet list below.

In addition to the agriculture component, MLA02-485 addressed wetland replacement ratios and permit review processes for applications that involve special reports, such as Habitat Management Plans. Issued in late 2002, the initial staff recommendation for limiting code exemptions for existing and ongoing agriculture was revised during the public process. The Planning Commission and the staff presented a unified recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in early 2003.

The BOCC adopted amendments to the UDC through MLA02-485 on April 28, 2003. Ordinance Number 05-0428-03 effectively amended the UDC in relation to various issues, including the regulation of existing and ongoing agriculture.

On May 5, 2003, DCD adopted an administrative policy that addresses the period of time slotted to complete Agricultural Lands planning. Because the consideration of parcels for Agricultural Lands designation was deferred to the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle, the grace period described in the administrative policy is effectively extended to the completion of that process. See Comprehensive Plan Amendments above for more information.


Documents associated with MLA02-485:
  • Ordinance Number 05-0428-03 April 28, 2003; includes UDC amendatory language as Exhibit
  • Planning Commission Recommendation: MLA02-485 April 16, 2003
  • Attachment: DCD Administrative Policy DRAFT re: 2003 Agricultural Lands Planning; On May 5, 2003, DCD Adopted an official Administrative Policy re: implementation of 2003 UDC amendments concerning regulation of existing and ongoing agriculture
  • Legal Notice for March 19, 2003 Public Hearing March 7, 2003
  • March 5, 2003 Motion by Planning Commissioner; tabled until after March 19, 2003 public hearing
  • Revised MLA02-485 Exhibit B: UDC line-in/line-out for agriculture exemption component February 28, 2003; includes Landowner Interpretation Key
  • Integrated GMA/SEPA notice January 16, 2003
  • MLA02-485 package September 12, 2002; includes amendments as initially proposed

MLA04-26: Agricultural Activities & Accessory Uses

After months of meetings and discussion in 2003 and early 2004, the Planning Commission Ag Lands Committee and DCD proposed a set of amendments for the UDC that address Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses. The full Planning Commission held a public hearing on February 18, 2004 concerning the proposal and continued deliberations in March and April. DCD staff proposed a revised UDC section 4.3 as part of its staff recommendation for discussion at the Planning Commission meeting April 7, where the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend a set of UDC amendments to the BOCC for MLA04-26.

The Planning Commission recommendation was presented to the BOCC on April 26. On May 10, 2004, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance that amends the UDC per the Planning Commission recommendation to establish regulations for Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses.


DCD produced an "Agriculture in Jefferson County Information Booklet," Summer 2004. This 12-page booklet is a must read for farmers and landowners interested in the new opportunities available on designated Agricultural Lands as a result of code amendments made under MLA04-26.

With the help of WSU Extension, and with local food provided by the Farmers Market, DCD held an Ag Lands Open House on June 23, 2004 to celebrate agriculture in Jefferson County. County Commissioners, County staff, Planning Commission members, and a Jefferson County Conservation District representative were available to answer questions about how some of the recent code changes positively affect farmers and about the opportunity to "opt in" to Agricultural Lands zoning during the 2004 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Cycle.
  • Ag Lands Open House Handout June 23, 2004


Refer to these documents for details on the MLA04-26 code amendments:
  • Legal Notice for Adoption of Ordinance Number 06-0510-04 May 19, 2004
  • Ordinance Number 06-0510-04: UDC amendments related to Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses, Case Number MLA04-26 May 10, 2004
  • Press release: "Jefferson County Commissioners Adopt New Agricultural Code" May 10, 2004
  • BOCC Agenda Request by DCD for consideration of ordinance adopting Planning Commission recommendation for MLA04-26, May 10, 2004
  • Press release: "County to adopt code language supporting agricultural activities and accessory uses" April 30, 2004
  • Planning Commission recommendation for MLA04-26: UDC amendments related to Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses, April 26, 2004
    • 3-page cover memorandum
    • 23-page attachment of UDC line-in/line-out amendments
  • BOCC Agenda Request by DCD for presentation of Planning Commission recommendation for MLA04-26, April 26, 2004
  • DCD Memorandum 3 to Planning Commission re: Staff recommendation for MLA04-26 April 7, 2004
    • Staff recommendation table April 7, 2004
  • DCD Memorandum 2 to Planning Commission re: MLA04-26 April 2, 2004
    • Staff recommendation for UDC Section 4.3, Agricultural Activities and Accessory Uses April 2, 2004
  • DCD Memorandum to Planning Commission re: MLA04-26 March 3, 2004
  • Summary table of UDC amendment proposal for agricultural and associated activities February 18, 2004
  • Press release on County consideration of new rules supporting local agriculture February 12, 2004
  • Legal notice for proposed UDC amendments related to agriculture February 4, 2004
  • Report of Agricultural Lands Committee to the Planning Commission February 4, 2004
  • Master Land Use Application (MLA) 04-26 February 4, 2004
    • MLA04-26 Exhibit B: table presenting proposed UDC amendments and integrated environmental analysis (legal size paper-23 sheets)