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DAB 203 - Hillside/Streamside Overlay Effects


Streamside Overlay

If the zoning on your property contains the zoning designation “SS,” the property is within a Streamside Overlay zone district. The Streamside Overlay was originally established in 2002 and was revised in 2007; Section 7.3.508 of the City Code contains the description and requirements of the Streamside Overlay zone. In 2009, the Streamside Design Guidelines were revised to expand and clarify Section 7.3.508 of the City Code with respect to the goals and purposes of developing on streamside properties.


The purpose of the Streamside Overlay is to guide development and maintenance of property adjacent to stream corridors in a manner that is compatible with the environmental conditions, constraints, and character of the area.

When streamside features are not protected, damage can be done to the significant natural features and the banks of the streams. Repair of the damage to the streams is costly and time intensive.

Review Criteria and Development Standards

The Code defines eleven review criteria for properties adjacent to the stream. If a project is submitted on a Streamside Overlay zoned property, the applicant must show how all eleven review criteria are met. The review criteria look at site design, significant natural features, grading, wildlife habitat, trails, impervious surfaces, and stream bank stabilization and/or reclamation. Interaction with the stream is encouraged by the type of use, providing occupants and visitors a chance to interact with the stream (for example, incorporating seating and tables near the stream), and providing trail networks adjacent to the stream.

Site Plans and Development Plans

There are two types of applications that could be required for a Streamside Overlay property, a Streamside Site Plan (SSP) or a Streamside Development Plan (SDP). Streamside properties cannot be modified in any way, including site grading, until either a SSP or a SDP has been approved.

If the project has a small scope and lacks complexity, a SSP can be utilized to facilitate the review of a streamside development on a small parcel. Typical SSP applications include single lot, residential developments. The SSP will be reviewed at the time of building permit application.

SDP is required when land is developed or redeveloped within City limits and within the Streamside Overlay. If the project does not fall into the SSP category, a SDP is required. SDPs require that Streamside review criteria and development plan criteria be met and the plans be approved prior to building permit. Be sure to always include the Streamside Checklist when submitting Streamside projects. 

Hillside Overlay

The current Hillside Ordinance was approved in 1996. The Ordinance defines hillside terminology and outlines development requirements for properties within the Hillside Overlay Zone. A companion to the Ordinance, the Hillside Design Manual was first published in July of 1996 and reprinted in 2000. The manual can be found on the City Land Use Review website.


The purpose of the Hillside Overlay is to specify conditions for any type of development to ensure that these areas retain their unique characteristics, to safeguard the natural features of the City, and to protect the public health, welfare, and safety. The Hillside Overlay seeks to conserve the aesthetic qualities of hillside areas within the City, to provide safe and convenient access to those areas, to minimize water runoff and soil erosion problems, to assure type, distribution and densities of development which are compatible with the hillside, to preserve wildlife habitat and wetland areas, and to encourage innovative, environmentally sensitive design techniques.

As with the Streamside Overlay, the Land Use Review Division has published a development manual for hillside areas. The manual is available on the Land Use Review Division’s website.

Review Criteria and Development Standards

Development within a Hillside Overlay zone is subject to additional review requirements and criteria. No building or structure may be erected, reconstructed or structurally altered on land which is designated with the HS overlay zone designation, nor can any land be subdivided, graded or otherwise disturbed unless the developer/property owner complies with all hillside development requirements and first obtains approval from the City via site plan or development plan review.

Site Plans and Development Plans

The predominant development type in hillside areas is single family detached housing. For this type of development a hillside site plan is required. The content of the hillside site plan is outlined in the Hillside Design Manual. Care should be taken to minimize terrain disturbance, preserve natural vegetation, and mitigate visual impacts upon off site areas.

A hillside development plan is required before the submittal of a subdivision plat. The hillside development plan is only one part of the overall hillside development submittal package, which includes a master facilities plan, a land suitability analysis, and a grading plan, erosion and stormwater quality control plan. For more information, visit Section 7.3.504 of the City Code. 


Additional Information


Developing within either the Streamside Overlay or the Hillside Overlay zone districts requires an environmental sensitivity above and beyond that applied to general property within the City limits. Development within the Streamside Overlay must be compatible with the riparian nature and characteristics, must be interactive with the stream, and must be sensitive to wildlife and grading and runoff issues. Development within the Hillside Overlay zone requires additional attention to slopes, grading, vegetation and building height. Additional studies, such as Geologic Hazard Reports, will almost certainly be required in order to ensure lasting and safe development. 

Hillside Manual

Streamside Guidelines

Streamside Checklist