In order to improve the design and variety of townhouses in Seattle, Mayor Nickels directed DPD to create an Administrative Design Review (ADR) process for townhouses in conjunction with adoption of a Multifamily Code Update. This project will extend Design Review to cover more townhouses in order to raise the overall quality of townhouse design, without adding significantly to project cost or affordability. ADR is a process in which DPD staff conduct a design review for applications that are below the threshold of what goes before the Design Review Boards.
Design Review is a successful City program that encourages compatibility of development projects in neighborhoods, and improves communication between the public, city and developers. In the past, most townhouses have not undergone design review. The recommended approach is to apply a streamlined ADR process for a better fit with the scale of townhouse projects. Other important outcomes of the proposal include introduction of flexibility in application of development standards to improve design, and earlier notice of townhouse development projects to members of the public.
DPD has drafted legislation to enact ADR for townhouses. The legislation is based on outreach to stakeholders, developers, community members, designers and DPD staff during the winter of 2008 and spring of 2009. A SEPA decision of non-significance was issued on the draft ADR legislation in August. In the coming months the ADR proposal will enter analysis and deliberations by the City Council Planning Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee. The public is welcome to review the draft legislation and the Director’s report on the website at www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/TownhouseReview/Overview. City Council hearings dates will be listed there as they are scheduled.
For more information about Administrative Design Review, contact: