On April 19, citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation became effective, implementing affordable housing requirements throughout the City of Seattle. The legislation amends the Land Use Code in many ways, but specific to the green building standards, it changes the triggers for when the green building requirements apply. The Land Use Code does not make green building mandatory. The code does make green building a requirement when a project exceeds floor area ratio (FAR) thresholds, and when gaining extra floor area and height in specific zones.
Changes are coming to the Street Use division of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT)! On June 10, 2019, SDOT is making updates to the way they issue permits and calculate fees for Street Use. Since many SDCI permit-holders also require Street Use permits, we want to make sure that you’re familiar with the changes and what you can expect when they take place in early June.
Applications for the Regional Census Fund (RCF) for Seattle and King County community groups are now open. The Regional Census Fund is a $1 million fund to help community organizations prepare for the 2020 Census. This is the first-ever partnership between the City of Seattle, King County, and Seattle Foundation to fund Census outreach.
We updated three tips and released two draft director’s rules in April, 2019.
On March 18, City Council voted unanimously to adopt zoning changes and Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) in urban villages and commercial and multifamily zones around the city. The legislation expanded ten urban villages within a 10-minute walking distance from transit stops such as light rail stations. The Council also passed a companion resolution requesting several work items including design guidelines, updates to historic inventories, and historic review protections. The Mayor signed the legislation on March 20. It becomes effective on April 19.
On April 16, the City Council’s Sustainability & Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing to take comments on proposed legislation to add new requirements for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new off-street parking spaces. The hearing will be held at 2:00 p.m. in the Seattle City Council Chambers at City Hall, on the 2nd floor at 600 4th Avenue. In addition, we will be providing a briefing on the legislation at the April 2 committee meeting. See the Sustainability & Transportation Committee’s webpage for all upcoming meetings related to this proposal
SDCI is proposing to amend the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) to increase the consistency of the use of terms in the code. The amendments would add additional language to the definition of vessel to clarify that the intent of the term “designed for navigation” is to transport people or goods over water. Additionally, the proposed amendments would add language to clarify what “used for navigation” means by including the term “capable of being used for navigation.” The term “capable of being used for navigation” would clarify that the use of the vessel isn’t dependent on the current owner of the vessel or the current condition of the vessel.
SDCI has a new policy calculating the number of stories for townhouses. A building’s “story count” is based on the calculated Grade Plane. Since adopting the first Seattle Residential Code (SRC) in 2004, SDCI’s policy has been that a series of attached townhouses can have only one grade plane. This has meant that when a series of townhouses steps up a hill it can become a four-story structure (in code terms), even though each individual unit only has three stories.
SDCI Code Compliance enforces violations of the Tree Protection Code and the Regulations for Environmentally Critical Areas related to tree-cutting. Trees serve an important environmental function as well as adding beauty to our city. Our trees may be unnecessarily and unlawfully cut, sometimes at the instruction of a real estate agent or a tree company, because people are unaware of the rules about tree-cutting. There are several factors you should consider before deciding to remove a tree.
A huge thank you to everyone who attended SDCI’s North and South Seattle Home Fairs! We were able to answer questions for over 300 people. Whether you’re a homeowner, landlord, renter, or potential homeowner, we hope that you learned something new and connected with our department and community. We’re grateful to have been joined by a variety of organizations, including Seattle Public Utilities, RainWise, Rebuilding Together Seattle, Habitat for Humanity, City Light, and Department of Neighborhoods to help us answer all your questions.