The City Council is sponsoring legislation that would amend Seattle’s regulations for processing land use permits. The proposed amendments would streamline administration of the Land Use Code and update methods for public notice. Many of the proposed amendments are technical corrections (such as correcting cross-references, combining sections that address the same topics, and updating grammar and format). The legislation would also expand public notice requirements and clarify procedures for Council land use decisions.
The main changes proposed in the bill would:
Add an option for notices and other documents related to permit applications to be sent by e-mail when the recipient provides an e-mail address;
Remove the requirement that notice of land use permits be posted at the downtown offices of City departments;
Add a requirement for mailed notice of application for Type IV quasi-judicial Council land use decisions such as rezones to property owners and occupants within 300 feet. Also add this requirement for Type V legislative actions that affect a specific site, such as the waiver of setback standards for a renovated City fire station;
Add specific requirements for notice of public meetings about proposed land use projects, such as Design Review Board meetings;
Add failure to pay past-due permit fees as a reason to delay further permit processing or to suspend or revoke a permit;
Change who may appeal a Hearing Examiner recommendation to the City Council for rezones and other quasi-judicial decisions to those who provided comments either to DPD or the Hearing Examiner earlier in the process;
Clarify the rules for land use permit expiration; and
Change the default expiration period for Council land use decisions from two to three years, which is the same as allowed for Master Use Permits.
As part of working on the legislation, DPD will establish a Director’s Rule that details how DPD will distribute its twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin. The bulletin provides public notice of many types of land use permits applications and decisions, and of public meetings and hearings about land use actions. The rule will state that DPD will send every issue of the Land Use Information Bulletin to a list of neighborhood and ethnic community newspapers, blogs, and social media that is updated on an annual basis in consultation with the Department of Neighborhoods (DON). In addition, the Rule will state that DPD will notify community and business representatives on DON’s mailing lists annually of the opportunity to receive the bulletin, in order to keep the distribution list up to date (it is up to these representatives to decide whether or not they want to receive the bulletin). People can also request that their names can also be added to the bulletin distribution list at any time during the year.
To carry out the changes in the proposed bill, the Council is also sponsoring amendments to the City Council Rules for Quasi-Judicial Proceedings, which are proposed to be adopted by a companion resolution. The amendments would:
Reflect the code changes proposed in the legislation;
Provide procedures for Council review of amendments to Property Use and Development Agreements for contract rezones, and of requests to extend Council land use decisions;
Specify the process for a Council request for clarification of an appeal; and
Clarify the process and criteria for applying for intervenor status in an appeal.
The City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Urban Sustainability Committee will hold a public hearing to take comments on the proposal on June 13, 2012. The hearing will be held in Council Chambers, 2nd floor of Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue. More information about the hearing is available at: www.seattle.gov/DPD/Planning/LandUseProcedure/default.asp. Please send comments to Sara Nelson of Councilmember Richard Conlin’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Councilmember Richard Conlin at email@example.com or via regular mail at 600 Fourth Avenue Floor 2, PO Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025.
Documents are available at the DPD and the City Council websites at this link: www.seattle.gov/DPD/Planning/LandUseProcedure/default.asp
Questions regarding the proposed amendments may be directed to:
City Council central staff
City Council central staff