On April 27th, City Council passed emergency legislation making temporary six-month land use permitting process changes that:
- Exempt affordable housing from design review
- Keep projects normally subject to Design Review moving forward by allowing City staff to complete review processes through administrative design review
- Allow for community participation during this public health emergency through the administrative design review process and by replacing in-person meetings with virtual meetings.
The legislation was signed by Mayor Durkan the following day.
With this legislation, projects that have been unable to move forward due to the statewide prohibition of in-person meetings can once again be underway. The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) will temporarily conduct the design review process administratively. Additionally, SDCI now has the authority to eliminate design review for City-funded affordable housing projects that can submit a building permit within the next six months. These projects can also request modifications from certain code standards as part of their building permit review. SDCI staff will continue to develop an online meeting platform to allow for virtual Design Review Board meetings.
The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is authorized to allow historic preservation staff to approve minor changes to City Landmarks, Special Review Districts, Landmark Districts, and Historical Districts. International Special Review District (IRSD) meetings will be postponed for at least 60 days.
The legislation also allows digital outreach to replace the in-person meeting requirements for the community outreach portion of the design review process.
This legislation is a temporary six-month solution to keep critical projects and processes moving and allows for community engagement during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
If you have questions about how this legislation may impact a specific development project, please contact:
Lisa Rutzick, SDCI
Landmarks and Historic Districts
Sara Belz, DON