The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Sustainability (PLUS) committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed regulatory reforms on March 28 at the Council chambers. This proposal, developed with the help of a roundtable group of environmental, development, labor and neighborhood leaders, was forwarded to the Council in February 2012. It includes several strategies meant to promote new housing development and entrepreneurial activity, and to enhance Seattle’s livability, environment and economic vitality.
Specific strategies address:
Encouraging home entrepreneurship: Increase the flexibility to start and grow a business at home, including the ability to advertise, work in legal accessory structures, add workspace in a home, and have up to two non-resident employees. Such businesses still must avoid impacts to neighbors.
Simplifying temporary use permitting: Encourage new micro-business activity with temporary use permits that last up to 18 months and are simple Type 1 permit reviews.
Expanding options to accessory dwelling units (ADUs): Modify rules that are overly restrictive of detached ADUs regarding height and location on “through lots.” Also, clarify code language that allows ADUs inside townhouses and rowhouses.
Concentrating street-level commercial uses in Pedestrian zones, and providing more flexibility for residential uses in commercial zones: Provide greater flexibility to mix residential uses into street-levels of buildings along commercial-zoned arterials, while retaining today’s rules in the most walkable neighborhood districts that are Pedestrian-zoned.
Allowing small commercial uses in multifamily zones in urban centers and station areas: Provide new flexibility to mix small-scale commercial uses into street-levels of buildings in Lowrise 2 and Lowrise 3 multifamily zones in urban centers and transit station area overlay zones.
Reducing and eliminating some parking requirements: Extend a no-minimum parking requirement to all commercial and multifamily uses within one quarter mile of frequently-served transit stops, including for major institutions in urban centers and station area overlay zones.
Changing SEPA environmental review thresholds in urban centers and station areas: In these growth centers, raise thresholds for this review to 200 dwelling units (250 in Downtown), and 75,000 square feet for commercial uses in mixed-use development. Design review will still apply to most developments affected by this change.
For more information please visit: www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/RegulatoryReform/Overview/default.asp or contact: