Preliminary Director’s Rule Relating to Floating Residences

When does the Seattle Shoreline Master Program (SSMP) allow floating residences? DPD has been asked to provide a Director’s Rule to assist owners of vessels and other floating properties currently moored in Seattle waters who seek to use those properties as residences. The rule will provide criteria for determining whether a floating residence meets SSMP requirements. The rule will not apply to floating homes or house barges.

DPD has drafted a preliminary version of the rule, and wants stakeholder input before finalizing the preliminary draft and beginning a formal public review process.

This work is being done in anticipation of future changes in the SSMP that will specifically limit new floating residences to “traditional” recreational vessels such as sailboats and cabin cruisers. Although DPD does not regulate the operation of vessels, it does regulate uses on vessels. Until the new SSMP takes effect, expected in 2014, the current code applies. Under the current code, new floating residences are only allowed on a vessel designed and used for navigation that has steering and self propulsion. Floating residences that meet the current standard will be allowed to remain under the new, more strict, SSMP requirements.

The preliminary draft rule describes the proposed approach DPD would use to determine whether existing floating residences meet current code requirements.

Opportunity for comment:

DPD is accepting public comments on the preliminary rule through October 20, 2013. Comments may be submitted via email at or in writing to:

Department of Planning and Development
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
Seattle, WA 98124-4019
Attn: Shoreline DR

A public meeting will be held on October 1, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. at Kakao Coffee Shop, 415 Westlake Ave N. (Street parking after 6:00 p.m.; limited parking on site; paid parking at 9th and Republican.) The purpose of the meeting is to provide information and gather input on the preliminary draft of the Director’s Rule and its proposed criteria and processes. If you submit written comments you only need to submit your comments once.

Following the initial public comment period, changes may be made and a Draft Director’s Rule will be published. A formal public comment period of approximately four weeks will follow. The rule may again be updated after considering all comments received. When finalized, it will be filed with the City Clerk and will be used by DPD to evaluate existing floating residences.

Preliminary Draft, DPD Director’s Rule XX-2013

Download a copy of the preliminary draft rule.
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