On August 14, 2023, the City Council amended the land use code to make two important changes to the design review program aimed at encouraging additional low income housing. The first change permanently exempts low income housing projects from the Design Review program while still allowing design departures that would result in additional housing. The second change to the land use code provides a new Design Review exemption for projects that meet Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements by providing units on site (the performance option under the Land Use Code). The same set of departures available to low income housing projects are available to these performance projects.
The King County Recorder’s Office will be moving from the Administration Building to King Street Center (201 S Jackson St) starting in mid-November 2022. The move will take approximately two weeks to complete. During this time, the recording processing of paper documents will be severely delayed. Online submittals will continue to be processed. This will affect SDCI projects that need to be recorded such as lot boundary adjustments, unit lot subdivisions, short plats, MHA, and ECA covenants.
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.
The Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) upzones are coming soon! The City Council is considering changes to the zoning designation and development standards for property throughout Seattle. The proposed MHA upzones will allow you to construct larger buildings than what is currently allowed. After an MHA upzone, your property will also be subject to the MHA requirements and you may need to contribute to an affordable housing fund or provide affordable units as part of your development.