To assist in the implementation of the goals and policies of the City of Yelm, certain design standards are required for any new commercial establishment, sites that change their use, and certain multi-family and residential development.

These standards can be found in the Yelm Zoning Code and the Design Guidelines.

Building design and location is reviewed to assure that structures meet minimum setback requirements, provide pedestrian access from the street, and incorporate architectural design features to help create an attractive street edge.  Site planning standards also assures visual compatibility between properties and minimizes impacts of unsightly service areas.

Pedestrian access is required not only to comply with federal and state codes, but to also assure safe circulation within the project site and to adjoining uses.

Parking areas must provide adequate parking for the intended use, but to also accommodate safe pedestrian movement, and landscape features to provide visual relief from public streets and adjoining properties.  

Site access and driveways must be wide enough to provide safe turning movements, accommodate fire trucks and emergency vehicles, and be located so as not to cause safety issues on the public street from turning movements.

Landscaping provides aesthetic character to the site, buffers uses, and also promotes protection of existing vegetation.  Yelm also has an irrigation conservation program, so landscaping must be designed to be sensitive to the use of water.

Water System and Sewage Treatment Facility-The project must connect to the City’s Water System and Sewage Treatment Facility. Developments with additional impervious surface are required to treat and dispose of stormwater.

Transportation System-Improvements to the transportation system are often required, including frontage improvements and the payment of a transportation facilities charge (TFC).

Fire Protection- All projects must make provisions for fire protection, which often means fire hydrants on the property as well as access for fire department equipment.  Many buildings must be sprinklered.

Critical Area Protection- Projects must protect critical areas, including floodplains, high groundwater areas, wetlands, protected species, and aquifer recharge areas.