Standards that increase the physical accessibility of dwelling units – called visitability standards – must be met whenever three or more units are proposed for a site in a single-dwelling zone, for cottage cluster development in the RM1 zone, or to earn additional floor area in multi-dwelling zones. These minimal measures create opportunities to accommodate people living in or visiting the residence regardless of age or ability. Depending on how many units are proposed, one or more units may need to meet the following standards:
- Visitable entrance: At least one entrance must be accessible via a route that does not have any stairs between it and the street lot line or an on-site parking space. The slope of the route cannot exceed 1:8 (one foot in height for every 8 feet in length).
- Visitable bathroom: At least one bathroom with a sink and toilet must be designed to accommodate an unobstructed circle that is at least 60 inches in diameter. As an alternative, the bathroom may be designed to accommodate an unobstructed area that is comprised of two rectangles that are at least 36 inches by 60 inches, and oriented at right angles to each other. See Figure 110-14. The visitable bathroom must be on the same floor as the visitable entrance or be accessible from the visitable entrance via a ramp, elevator or lift. Adjustments are prohibited.
- Visitable living area: There must be at least 200 square feet of living area on the same floor as the visitable entrance or 200 square feet of living area must be accessible from the visitable entrance via a ramp, elevator or lift. Adjustments are prohibited; and
- Visitable doors: All door openings between and including the visitable entrance, visitable living area, and the visitable bathroom must be at least 34 inches wide. Adjustments are prohibited.
Figure 110-14: Visitable Bathroom Clearances
Where the Zoning Code states that Adjustments are prohibited, that means that if a proposal is not able to meet the code, requesting to modify the standard through a discretionary Land Use Review is not allowed. The proposal needs to be modified to meet the standard.
Exceptions to visitability standards
In the following situations, the Visitability standards are not required when three or more units in the single dwelling zones are proposed:
- Lots with an average slope of 20 percent or greater. Note that the average slope of a lot is determined as described in Zoning Code Section 33.930.060 Measuring Average Slope.
- Lots where there is more than a 3-foot rise between the highest elevation along the street lot line and the lowest grade measured at the front setback.
- All new units proposed are through the conversion of an existing residential structure.