Chapter 17.455


17.455.010    Purpose.

17.455.020    Applicability.

17.455.030    Definitions.

17.455.040    Additional regulatory references.

17.455.050    Agricultural use, primary.

17.455.060    Agricultural, accessory use or agritourism.

17.455.070    Livestock and dairy management.

17.455.080    Agriculture structure requirements.

17.455.090    Existing agricultural uses, activities, or structures.

17.455.100    Right to farm and notifications.

17.455.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

A.    Encourage agricultural uses and activities in rural Kitsap County;

B.    Provide guidance for rural land owners to engage in the local food system through agricultural uses and activities, accessory agricultural and agritourism uses;

C.    Protect and promote the local food system and agriculture in the Kitsap County economy;

D.    Empower farmers and other rural land owners to continue or start new businesses that support local agriculture and the local food system;

E.    Provide for agritourism in Kitsap County that permits visitors to experience local agricultural lands;

F.    Encourage the conservation of lands which have the growing capacity, productivity, soil composition, and surrounding land use to have long-term commercial significance for agriculture and associated resource production;

G.    Enable implementation of the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan Goals and the Kitsap County Agricultural Strategic Plan;

H.    Provide local right to farm provisions consistent with Chapter 7.48 RCW; and

I.    Provide a framework of standards that will allow agriculture to thrive while protecting water, land, and air resources and public health in Kitsap County.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.020 Applicability.

Primary agricultural uses and accessory agricultural uses or agritourism, as defined by this chapter, shall be allowed in farm focus areas and in zones as indicated in Table 1: Kitsap County Agriculture Use Permissibility. Farms that file a schedule F or schedule C with the Internal Revenue Service or have an agricultural land designation tax exemption status with the Kitsap County assessor shall have the same permissibility and protections as farm focus areas.

Table 1: Kitsap County Agriculture Use Permissibility 

Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designation

Zone Classification

Map Symbol


Rural Residential

Rural Residential



Rural Protection

Rural Protection



Rural Wooded

Rural Wooded



Forest Resource Lands

Forest Resource Lands



Mineral Resource

Mineral Resource Overlay



Urban Low-Density Residential

Urban Restricted


P (2) / --




Urban Low Residential


-- (1)

Urban Cluster Residential


-- (1)

Urban Medium-Density Residential

Urban Medium Residential



Urban High-Density Residential

Urban High Residential



Urban Low Intensity Commercial

Urban Village Center



Neighborhood Commercial



Low Intensity Commercial



Urban High Intensity Commercial




Regional Center



Rural Commercial

Rural Commercial


-- (1)

Urban and Rural Industrial

Business Park



Business Center






Rural Industrial



Public Facilities




Limited Area of More Intensive Rural Development (LAMIRD) Type I

Keyport Village Commercial


-- (1)

Keyport Village Low Residential



Keyport Village Residential



Manchester Village Commercial


-- (1)

Manchester Village Low Residential



Manchester Village Residential



Port Gamble Rural Historic Town Commercial


-- (1)

Port Gamble Rural Historic Town Residential



Port Gamble Rural Historic Waterfront



Suquamish Village Commercial


-- (1)

Suquamish Village Low Residential



Suquamish Village Residential



Limited Area of More Intensive Rural Development (LAMIRD) Type III

Rural Employment Center



Twelve Trees Employment Center




(1)    Residents or community gardens may keep up to eight hens (no roosters) and two bee colonies for their own use.

(2)    Use prohibited within the Gorst Urban Growth Area.

(Ord. 565 (2018) § 14(7) (Att. 7) (part), 2018: Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.030 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

“Agricultural activity” means a condition or activity that occurs on a farm in connection with the production of farm products and includes, but is not limited to, marketed produce at roadside stands or farm markets; noise; odors; dust; fumes; operation of machinery and irrigation pumps; ground and aerial application of seed, fertilizers, conditioners, and plant protection products; keeping of bees for production of agricultural or apicultural products; employment and use of labor; roadway movement of equipment and livestock; protection from damage by wildlife; prevention of trespass; construction and maintenance of buildings, fences, roads, bridges, ponds, drains, ditches, waterways, and similar features and maintenance of stream banks and watercourses; and conversion from one agricultural activity to another, including a change in the type of farm product being produced. The term includes use of new practices and equipment consistent with technological development within the agricultural industry.

“Agricultural use, accessory or agritourism” means a use that directly supports, promotes and is incidental to a permitted primary agricultural use or agricultural activity on a farm. Such accessory and agritourism uses shall include, but are not limited to, temporary mobile slaughtering units or other activities which add value to a farm product such as processing or a commercial kitchen, warehousing of farm products, cold storage, farm stands or farm markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), u-pick self harvest activities and sales, educational how-to-farm workshops, farm tours, recreational hayrides and corn mazes, equine riding lessons and training clinics, seasonal harvest and holiday activities and other similar uses and activities.

“Agricultural use, primary” means using land for the production of food and fiber, dairying, pasturage, equine boarding or training, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture, apiaries, animal husbandry, and wholesale nurseries.

“Agriculture structure” means a structure designed and constructed for agricultural use and activities or to store, repair, service or maintain farm implements, hay, grain, poultry, livestock or other horticultural products, for occasional or seasonal processing, treating, or packaging, of farm products, and for stabling or training equines, or riding lessons and training clinics.

“Assembly event” means a use or activity where a group of persons gather to participate in a commercial or marketed event or activity including, but not limited to, entertainment, recreational or celebratory events or activities, conventions, retreats, or weddings.

“Best management practices (BMPs)” means established management practices that farmers use to provide for the economic, environmental and agronomic efficiency of a farm when raising crops and/or livestock to achieve the least possible adverse impact on the environment, and to minimize possible adverse impacts on human, animal and plant health. These practices are highly adaptable and reflect the individual conditions and capabilities of the farm where they are applied. One guide for BMPs is the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG).

“Farm” means any size parcel or parcels owned or leased by the same person or entity, wherein a majority of the net developable acreage is managed for primary agriculture uses. Multiple contiguous parcels in the same ownership or leased may be considered one parcel for the purposes of livestock management calculations. Multiple noncontiguous parcels under the same ownership or leased may be considered a single farm.

“Farm equipment” means, but is not limited to, tractors, trailers, combines, tillage implements, balers, and other equipment, including attachments and accessories that are used in agricultural activities such as planting, cultivating, irrigation, harvesting, butchering, slaughtering, and marketing of agricultural, horticultural, or livestock products.

“Farm focus areas” means areas identified by the Kitsap County Agricultural Strategic Plan that are prioritized by using subjective criteria which includes density of agricultural uses, lot sizes, and proximity to water service areas, watersheds and water quality hazard areas.

“Farm personnel” means an individual involved in the operational aspects of a farm including the farm owner and family, employees, interns, and volunteers.

“Farm plan” means a written report that explains how a crop or livestock operation can be conducted using best management practices (BMPs).

“Farm product” means part or all of a plant or animal, or byproduct thereof useful to humans and includes, but is not limited to, forages and sod, fruits, vegetables, flowers, seeds, grasses, trees, livestock, dairy, poultry, freshwater fish, apiaries, equine, or any other product which incorporates the use of food, feed, fiber, or fur.

“Farm stand or farm market” means a structure located on a farm which is used for the sale of farm products grown, produced or processed primarily in Kitsap County or counties immediately adjacent to Kitsap County and from Washington State.

“Farm stay” means any type of paid accommodation on a working farm where guests partake in operating the farm.

Federal Safety Inspection Service Slaughter Plant Categorization. The FSIS categorizes slaughter plants by size based on the number of employees as follows:

A.    Very small establishments: have fewer than ten employees;

B.    Small establishments: have from ten employees to five hundred; and

C.    Large establishments: have more than five hundred employees.

“Livestock” means (A) horses, bovine, sheep, goats, swine, reindeer, donkeys, mules, llamas and any other hoofed animal, large and small (small being one hundred fifty pounds or less), (B) poultry, (C) and ratites.

“Locally produced food” means food produced for an end user within four hundred miles from its origin, or within the state in which it is produced as defined by the United States Congress in the 2008 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act.

“Mobile slaughter unit” means a self-contained slaughter facility that can travel from site to site as defined by the Federal Safety Inspection Service.

“Nursery, wholesale” means an establishment where trees, shrubs or other plants are propagated on the property and/or continuously grown to a larger size for a period no less than one complete growing season and that is not open to the public on a regular basis. Temporary outdoor stands for the periodic and occasional sale of plants which are grown on the premises shall not disqualify an establishment for definition as a wholesale nursery. No bark, mulch, fertilizer or other similar landscape supply may be sold.

“Paddock” means a small enclosure used to house livestock.

“Poultry” means birds kept for their eggs, meat, or feathers.

“Tasting room” means a facility or portion of a facility supporting a winery, brewery, cidery, or distillery where the public may sample products produced by the facility and which has ancillary farm-related retail sales not including restaurant style food service.

“Temporary farm worker/intern” means an individual who works intermittently at one or more agricultural worksites, not having a primary residence, and doesn’t reside at the same worksite year-round.

“Temporary structure” means a structure which does not have or is not required by the International Building Code to have a permanent attachment to the ground. Temporary structures are subject to building permits.

“Winery, brewery, cidery, distillery” means a licensed facility designed for the crushing, fermentation, and/or barrel aging of wine, beer, cider, or liquor, and which may include barrel rooms, bottling rooms, tank rooms, laboratories, case goods storage, on-site sales, and offices. “Licensed” for the purposes of this title means a facility that has met the requirements of Chapter 66.24 RCW and 27 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter A, Part 1.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.040 Additional regulatory references.

Uses permitted by this section shall comply with the following regulatory elements:

A.    Kitsap County fire codes and building codes unless specifically exempted in this chapter; see Section 17.455.080, Agriculture structure requirements.

B.    Title 12, Storm Water Drainage;

C.    Title 15, Flood Hazard Areas;

D.    Chapter 17.520, Marijuana Regulations;

E.    Chapter 18.16, Timber Harvest;

F.    Title 19, Critical Areas Ordinance;

G.    Title 22, Shoreline Master Program;

H.    Kitsap Public Health District (e.g., sewage, solid waste, food handling or other applicable regulations);

I.    Livestock management using best management practices (BMPs); and

J.    Other applicable regulations from a county, state, or federal jurisdiction including, but not limited to, the Washington State Department of Ecology and United States Department of Fish and Wildlife. Examples of permit requirements include, but are not limited to, Washington Department of Ecology Water Rights and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Hydraulic Project Approval requirements for surface water maintenance activities.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.050 Agricultural use, primary.

A primary agricultural use, activity, and/or structure shall be a permitted use in the zones identified in Section 17.455.020, Applicability; provided, that the uses comply with this chapter. Agricultural uses, activities, and structures are allowed on vacant land where such uses, activities and structures are allowed in the applicable zone.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.060 Agricultural, accessory use or agritourism.

An accessory agricultural use or agritourism use is allowed on a farm where a primary agricultural use exists and is allowed. The accessory agricultural or agritourism use shall be operated so as to not interfere with the primary agricultural use and shall not significantly interfere with the rural character of an area.

A.    A farm stand or farm market is an allowed accessory agricultural use; provided, that:

1.    At least fifty percent of farm products available for sale must be grown or processed on the farm where the farm stand is located;

2.    At least seventy-five percent of farm products available for sale must be grown or processed within Kitsap County or counties immediately adjacent to Kitsap County;

3.    Farm support items or other incidental items available for sale must directly relate to the farm products sold at the farm stand such as seeds, garden and hand tools and supplies, feed and forage, agricultural education and training or show materials, compost, and other similar items. Sales of farm support or incidental items shall not exceed ten percent of the products available for sale;

4.    A farm stand does not include structures designed for occupancy as a residence or for activities other than the sale of farm crops, livestock, and incidental items identified in subsection (A)(3) of this section and does not include structures for banquets, public gatherings or public entertainment; and

5.    A farm stand shall use legal access, off-street parking, and implement traffic planning measures so that adjacent properties are not impacted.

B.    Mobile agricultural processing or production facilities, including for slaughtering, are allowed; provided, that:

1.    The facility and operations are shielded to minimize visibility from immediately adjacent residences and public rights-of-way; and

2.    The facility must have all appropriate registrations and licenses necessary to operate as a mobile slaughtering facility.

C.    A permanent use meeting the Food Safety and Inspection Service definition of a very small processing facility or a very small slaughtering facility may be allowed on a farm as an accessory agricultural use; provided, that a site plan review permit is acquired.

D.    A permanent use meeting the Food Safety and Inspection Service definition of a small or large processing or slaughtering facility may be an allowed use in industrial zones subject to a conditional use permit (CUP).

E.    A use meeting the state or federal definition for a certified feed lot, public livestock market, stockyard, warehouse, or grain elevator may be allowed in industrial zones subject to a conditional use permit (CUP).

F.    A facility used to breed, maintain, and sell herding dogs as defined by the American Kennel Club or livestock guardian dogs shall be considered an accessory agricultural use.

G.    Farm stays and agricultural schools may be allowed as an accessory agricultural use subject to an administrative conditional use permit (ACUP).

H.    Wineries, Breweries, Cideries, and Distilleries. A winery, brewery, cidery, or distillery as defined in this chapter is allowed as an accessory agricultural use; provided, that:

1.    A tasting room under this chapter may be allowed in conjunction with a winery, brewery, or distillery licensed by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board subject to an administrative conditional use permit (ACUP). As part of the ACUP applications shall include:

a.    A site plan review with a fee established by county resolution;

b.    A traffic management plan;

c.    A parcel(s) without direct access to a Kitsap County maintained right-of-way shall require the farm owner to obtain written consent by a majority of the owners of an easement used to access the farm. A notice to title for each owner of the easement shall be required and submittal of the associated fee established by county resolution;

d.    A written agreement to not serve products in serving glassware, cups, or containers greater than a four-ounce capacity;

2.    Structures and equipment related to the operations of a winery, brewery, cidery, or distillery shall comply with Titles 14 and 17 and are not exempted from building permits; and

3.    Retail sales are directly related to the facility, such as sales of wine, beer, cider, or spirits and related merchandise.

I.    Assembly Events. Assembly events as defined in this chapter are allowed on a farm; provided, that:

1.    The event(s) must be incidental and secondary to a primary agricultural use and may be subject to an assembly permit pursuant to Title 14;

2.    All operations comply with Title 10, Peace, Safety and Morals;

3.    A parcel(s) without direct access to a Kitsap County maintained right-of-way shall require the farm owner to obtain written consent by a majority of the owners of an easement used to access the farm. A notice to title for each owner of the easement shall be required and submittal of a fee established by county resolution;

4.    Attendance shall not exceed two hundred persons at any given time. A venue where the attendance will exceed two hundred persons may be allowed subject to an administrative conditional use permit (ACUP);

5.    Up to eight assembly events per calendar year are allowed; provided, that:

a.    Not more than one event can occur per twelve days;

b.    A permit is obtained after a site plan review and submittal of a fee established by county resolution;

c.    Access, egress, and parking facilities must be clearly identified on site. Adjacent properties can be used for parking if:

i.    A written agreement between the assembly event location owner and the owner of the parcel used for parking is provided; and

ii.    The off-site parking is included in the site plan review.

d.    Written notification shall be provided to the owner of any parcel immediately adjacent to the farm either six weeks prior to each event, or four weeks prior to the first event of the year where such notice is provided with a calendar indicating the date of future events. Noticing shall include the event, hours of the event, and contact information for the event manager that is available at all times during the event;

6.    Nine or more assembly events may be allowed subject to an administrative conditional use permit (ACUP). Kitsap County staff may restrict the number of events or timing of events during the administrative conditional use permit process;

7.    Each scheduled assembly event shall be considered a separate assembly event from any that preceded or came after;

8.    The duration of an assembly event or activity shall not exceed forty-eight consecutive hours including set-up and clean-up;

9.    Sanitation and solid waste shall conform to Kitsap Public Health District requirements; and

10.    Land use approvals for events or activities are transferable with the land. Occupancy and assembly permits are not transferable.

J.    Farm workers or interns may be housed on a farm in structures permitted through one of the two following processes:

1.    A temporary permit issued pursuant to Section 17.455.090 for a farm worker or intern to occupy a recreational vehicle (RV) on the farm where he or she works subject to the following conditions:

a.    The subject property must be located on a farm;

b.    The RV must be occupied by the farm worker or intern;

c.    The RV must be provided with water, electrical power, and obtain health district approval;

d.    The location of the RV must meet all setbacks required by the underlying zone;

e.    The minimum RV size shall be two hundred square feet; and

f.    A permit will be required each time the RV is placed on a parcel. If the RV is placed on the same parcel each year the application fee will be half of the initial fee.

2.    Where farm workers are needed to assist in the operation of a farm, a manufactured home or mobile home may be placed upon the same lot as a single-family dwelling for occupancy by the individual and their family subject to the following limitations:

a.    The subject property must be located on a farm;

b.    The farm worker must be actively working on the farm where the manufactured or mobile home is located;

c.    The manufactured/mobile home must meet the setback requirements of the zone in which it is situated;

d.    A permit must be obtained for a manufactured/mobile home. Such permit shall remain in effect for one year and may, upon application, be extended for one-year periods, provided there has been compliance with the requirements of this section;

e.    The manufactured/mobile home must be removed when the structure is no longer used for housing a farm worker; and

f.    Placement of the manufactured/mobile home is subject to applicable health district standards for water service and sewage disposal.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.070 Livestock and dairy management.

The purpose of the livestock and dairy management section is to allow farmers with smaller parcels the opportunity to participate in animal based agriculture while minimizing negative impact to neighboring properties.

A.    Best management practices shall govern animal densities.

B.    Manure piles and animal enclosures, including active pastures, shall maintain minimum horizontal separations for new and existing public/private water supplies pursuant to Kitsap Public Health District drinking water regulations.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.080 Agriculture structure requirements.

All agricultural structures, including those exempted from a building permit, shall be constructed to the standards in Title 14, Buildings and Construction. An agriculture structure where public access is allowed shall require a building permit and certificate of occupancy regardless of size or exemptions stated below.

A.    Setbacks. Agricultural structures shall comply with all setback requirements explicitly stated or referenced in this section.

1.    Structures which house, confine, or feed livestock shall be located no closer than fifty feet from any perimeter parcel line and must comply with the underlying zone minimum setback requirements for internal parcel lines.

2.    Animal enclosures, including active pastures, shall maintain minimum horizontal separations for new and existing public/private water supplies pursuant to Kitsap Public Health District drinking water regulations;

3.    Setbacks pursuant to Titles 19, Critical Areas Ordinance, and 22, Shoreline Master Program.

B.    Building Permit Exemptions.

1.    Temporary growing structures used solely for the commercial production of horticultural plants including ornamental plants, flowers, vegetables, and fruits are not considered structures subject to the State Building Code, Chapter 19.27 RCW, pursuant to RCW 19.27.065; and

2.    An agricultural structure is exempt from acquiring a building permit; provided, that:

a.    Agricultural buildings are no larger than eight hundred sixty-four square feet; erected exclusively for the storage of livestock, feed, and/or farm implements; located no closer than ten feet from the nearest structure and not attached to any structure; do not contain plumbing, except as necessary to maintain farm animals; do not contain a heat source, such as a wood stove or electric heat, unless specifically permitted;

b.    Agricultural buildings that contain plumbing other than that as authorized above must obtain a plumbing installation permit and health department approval;

c.    Agricultural buildings that contain a heat source for an agricultural purpose must obtain a wood stove permit or an electrical permit as appropriate; and

d.    All exempt permanent agricultural structures are registered with the Kitsap County department of community development and are fully taxable as land improvements by the Kitsap County assessor.

C.    Existing and Ongoing Structure. A legally constructed nonconforming agricultural structure may allow access to the general public subject to an assembly permit pursuant to Title 14.

D.    Maintenance. Maintenance or repair of an existing structure with materials comparable to the existing structure, or new materials, is allowed, so long as any required permit is secured for repair or maintenance in accordance with Title 14, Buildings and Construction.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.090 Existing agricultural uses, activities, or structures.

An agricultural use, agricultural activity, use of a structure or a structure that was legally established at or prior to the date of the applicable regulations or surrounding nonagricultural uses or activities shall be allowed to continue; provided, that they comply with Title 19, Critical Areas Ordinance, definitions and regulations.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)

17.455.100 Right to farm and notifications.

The conservation and protection of agricultural lands or farms in Kitsap County is considered economically and nutritionally beneficial. Protection of these lands will enhance the cultural and economic diversity and retain the Kitsap County character.

Right to farm protection for agricultural uses and activities that are consistent with best management practices included in this code shall apply to all farms which were established prior to surrounding nonagricultural uses or activities.

A.    In addition to Chapter 7.48 RCW (Right to Farm), Kitsap County declares that agricultural operations in conformance with agricultural best management practices are not a public or private nuisance under this code;

B.    No agricultural operation or any of its appurtenances will be considered by Kitsap County to be or become a nuisance, private or public, by any changes in or on the surrounding land; provided, that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply whenever a nuisance results from the unlawful operation of any such agricultural operation or its appurtenances;

C.    Notification. All landowners in Kitsap County shall receive a notice in the annual tax statement newsletter that unincorporated parcels in Kitsap County may be within or near agricultural lands on which a variety of commercial activities may occur.

(Ord. 536 (2016) § 4 (part), 2016)